There's a lot of talk about what "red flags" to look for that you might be in an unhealthy relationship, such as controlling or overly critical behavior. But what about "green flags" -- signs that might indicate you're in a healthy relationship? 

When you feel an emotional connection with someone, you may not always trust your own judgment, especially if you've been burned before. To make it easier for you, we've compiled a list of five things people in healthy relationships do.

1. They Do Their Own Individual Work 

As human beings, we're always changing, evolving, and growing. In a healthy relationship, each person takes time to invest in their own self-improvement and growth, setting and working toward personal goals, ideally to develop into a better person and a better partner. 

This is an individual process that shouldn't rely on the other person. You have to take stock of where you personally are, emotionally, and otherwise. And sometimes it means you have to do some work to flex your emotional intelligence muscles and even work on your relationship skills. 

2. They Know How to Communicate Even in Crisis

It’s no surprise that emotionally intelligent couples are excellent communicators — even when stressful situations arise. They recognize that it's important to pause rather than react impulsively to intense situations. This allows you to carefully choose your words and reactions and take a moment to think them through before you react. 

This may not come naturally to everyone, but with help, such as from one of our Confidant counselors, you can hone your communications skills and learn how to communicate effectively and compassionately.

3. They Trust Their Partner's Feedback

Feeling comfortable sharing how you feel with one another can help you grow together and set realistic expectations. This means learning to accept feedback graciously, with trust that your partner is genuinely trying to help you better yourself, as well as learning how to offer constructive feedback openly, warmly, and respectfully. 

4. Avoid Judgement

Trust is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. Judgment chips away at that trust. Building and maintaining emotional intelligence, both individually and as a couple, can help you learn to avoid the pitfalls of becoming judgmental toward one another -- or even toward yourself. Acceptance of yourself and others is an ongoing project.

5. Keep Chipping Away at Difficult Conversations

Difficult conversations sometimes have to happen, and it's better to confront them, even small bits at a time, rather than avoid them or procrastinate. Be patient, and give each other time to process information.

Relationship skills take work, especially for people who grew up without healthy examples or had a history of dysfunctional relationships. At Confidant, we're here to help you learn to be a better partner for the people in your life -- and also how to recognize those qualities in others.