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Relationships explained

There are heaps of different kinds of relationships, and we can have different types of relationships with different people. From a very young age you started developing relationships with your family, friends and teachers. As you get older you develop a larger range of relationships with your ‘bestie’, work colleagues and you may also develop intimate relationships.

Relationships are an important part of life – they can be a great source of enjoyment and fun as well as providing you with comfort, support and security. It’s good to have a range of different types of relationships. It’s also important to understand that some relationships will come and go, while others will remain for a lifetime. Sometimes this is a natural progression e.g. you change schools and you contact each other less often, other times it can be because of changing interests, some kind of conflict or ‘out-growing’ the relationship.

It’s important to maintain respectful relationships, to be able to identify the valuable relationships in your life, and to identify those relationships that may become unhealthy.

Whatever the relationship is (or was), relationships can have a strong influence on your life, your sense of self and your identity. Relationships can also be a lot of work and require respect, communication and compromise.

Know yourself

One of the most important relationships of all is the one you have with yourself. Many things make you who you are, such as your values, beliefs, culture, experiences, relationships, thoughts and feelings – just to name a few!

Figuring out what makes you who you are, and what’s important to you, can help you understand what you want and need from your other relationships. To know yourself also means being aware of what your limits are, what you are comfortable with physically and emotionally, and what you are not.

Knowing yourself can help you to communicate (express) your wants and needs more clearly in relationships, and knowing your limits can help you to make the right choices for you and feel confident about them.


As you get older, your relationship with your family will change; you will become more independent. Maybe you’ve moved out of home and developed different views and ideas as you’ve grown up. Talking to your parents or other family members about what’s going on in your life is a good thing. It’s also good to have other friends and people to talk to about things you can’t discuss with your family.

If there is something bothering you that is too awkward to discuss with your family, talk to someone else, like a trusted adult or youth service.

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 is always available for you to call and chat to someone. Or for information and advice on reproductive and sexual health you can call Family Planning NSW Talkline 1300 658 886.

Group of teens


Friends are people you can talk to and share your feelings and experiences with. Sometimes you might fight or want to spend time apart for a while, but friends are people who make you feel good when you are with them.

You might have a best friend, or a few best friends. It’s great to have special people that you are close to, but it is important that friendships don’t stop you from making new friends or being yourself. Sometimes you may need to reduce the amount of time you spend with one person and open up your friendship to other people. It’s also OK to spend time on your own.

Whatever way your friends fit into your life, you are always in control of who you are friends with. Choose friends that you enjoy hanging out with, who will positively impact upon your life and who you can trust.

Explore the other topics in Relationships: Figuring it out for lots of helpful tips and information about how to have healthy respectful relationships.

Intimate relationships

Sometimes you might become attracted to one special person. You might want to spend more time with them and get sexy feelings when you think about them. Sometimes that person will feel the same way, but sometimes they won’t. This can be hard to deal with at first, but try to remember that you are a unique person with lots of great qualities.

If two people are attracted to each other, they can decide to have a closer relationship. It’s up to you how your relationship works. Both people need to talk about how they feel, the limits of the relationship and what kinds of activities they want to do.

Even though intimate relationships can be very special, a healthy relationship shouldn’t get in the way of your other relationships with friends and family. If you find that you don’t have time for other relationships, you might need to think about how to balance your time between your different relationships in a better, more healthy way.

Relationships Explained