Friendships and Family


Relationships with friends and family can be some of the most important influences in your life as a college student, in healthy or unhealthy ways. College is a time of growth and exploration, and college students often feel that their family lives and friendships in college don’t mix and are not relatable. It is true that in college you begin your own life and become your own person, but having a good balance between relationships with friends and relationships with family is a healthy way to find yourself and stay on track.

Having healthy friendships can enhance your college experience and academic success, while giving you the freedom to stay close to your family. Hanging out with friends that value health and wellness can help you to make better decisions about your own health. Here are some characteristics of healthy college friendships that can guide you in your relationships with others around you:

  • open communication,
  • listening to one another,
  • acceptance of each other’s personality characteristics and life choices,
  • ability to let each other have close relationships with other friends and family without displaying jealousy,
  • honesty and trust,
  • encouragement and emotional support,
  • mutual respect,
  • and the ability to forgive and forget each other’s faults.

While it is easy to choose your friends in college, you don’t get to choose your family. The best way to maintain a healthy relationship with family members while in college is to capitalize on the positives of each of your relationships and think less about the negative aspects. Most people are away from their family members during college. Here are some ways to keep healthy relationships with them:

  • contact members of your family regularly,
  • tell them what you are up to in college and ask them about their lives,
  • don’t let time spent with your friends interfere with time talking to or visiting your family,
  • thank members of your family for what they have done for you,
  • and allow them to feel like they are a part of your life in college.

Below is a list of resources that provide more information about friendships and family relationships.

Last Updated: 6/13/2011