Are your relationships happy, healthy, safe?

Before you can determine whether your relationships are happy, healthy, and safe, it’s important to know what each component can look like in relationships!

Through the Healthy Relationships Initiative, we’ve developed a pyramid model for Happy, Healthy, and Safe relationships.  The concept is that in order for relationships to reach their optimal level of functioning (happy), they must first be safe and healthy.

Over the next few days, we’ll share our HRI definitions of healthy, happy, and safe to help you evaluate your relationships!


Healthy, Happy, and Safe Relationships

The Healthy Relationships Initiative promotes happy, healthy, and safe relationships of all kinds. But what does it mean to have healthy, happy, and safe relationships? Does healthy and happy look different in our romantic relationships, then for example, our work ones?

Over the next few days, we’ll share the HRI definition of happy, healthy, and safe relationships to help you assess all of your relationships in the context of our HRI framework.  Stay tuned!

We are still accepting Kindness Champions nominations!

Nominations are still open and have been extended to March 1st for the Healthy Relationships Initiative’s Kindness Champions of Guilford County! If there’s someone in your life known for their kindness, please consider nominating them as a Kindness Champion. 

In honor of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, the Healthy Relationships Initiative’s Kindness Champions of Guilford County aims to spotlight individuals who spread positivity to the people in their lives through kindness and compassion. If you think you know someone who fits this description, please take a moment to submit a nomination for them! This could be anyone you know in your life and your community: a friend, a family member, a co-worker, or even an acquaintance. Nominees of all ages are welcome. 

To nominate someone, please email Ella Porter at and provide the nominee’s name, contact info (preferably email; for child nominees, please provide the contact information for their parent/guardian), and a brief description of what makes them a Kindness Champion! All nominations are due by March 1st.

Kindness Champions will receive a small prize and will be featured on the Healthy Relationships Initiative’s blog and social media accounts in early March!

Final challenge of Healthy Relationships Week 2021!

Today, we’re wrapping up our Fifth Annual Healthy Relationships Week with a final challenge!

We encourage you to unplug your devices today and intentionally connect with someone you love. Spending time connecting with yourself also counts!

While technology can help us stay connected, especially during a pandemic, it can also contribute to our disconnection if we aren’t aware of its impact on our relationships and communication with others.  Put the phone down today and be present…you may find that you strengthen your relationships and also give yourself a much needed break from technology.

Some ideas to intentionally connect, either with someone or by yourself, without technology today can include:

  • Going for a walk
  • Playing a board game
  • Reading a book
  • Working on a task around the house
  • Doing something artistic or creative, such as drawing/painting or scrapbooking
  • Cooking a meal or a dessert dish
  • Sitting in silence and enjoying the space around you
  • Journaling and reflecting on what you’re grateful for

End Healthy Relationships Week by putting your phone away today! 

The History of the Healthy Relationships Initiative

HRI was an idea that started with Dr. Christine Murray in 2015, became a reality with the support and vision of the Phillips Foundation along with UNC Greensboro and a dedicated team of community-based leaders. Since then, HRI has developed hundreds of resources and programs to strengthen relationships of all kinds.

In this video, HRI Director Dr. Christine Murray provides a brief introduction to the history of HRI and its evolution throughout the years. We’re excited to share a little bit about our history and the history of  Healthy Relationships Week!

Check out the video on our Youtube page by clicking here



Guest Blog Post: Maintaining Healthy Relationships in Older Adulthood

Healthy Relationships in Older Adulthood: Navigating the Terrain

By Evelyn Smith, MA, LPA, Health Promotion Coordinator at the Piedmont Triad Regional Council Area Agency on Aging

No matter a person’s age, there is a desire for connection with others.

Researchers describe this as a basic human need. For some older adults, these connections may be lost for a number of reasons. These include the passing of a spouse or friends. Friends may move into care facilities or into the homes of their adult children. When older adults retire from their jobs, this can often weaken or end the bonds they had with coworkers. Health issues or driving difficulties may limit the amount of independence and access to social events an older adult previously had. Even though there are challenges, there is good news for older adults. There are many ways to establish or reestablish social relationships with others.

The first step is to think about the kinds of social relationships that are desired. What do you want? Is it to be able to talk with family on a regular basis? Are you looking for meaningful group activities? Do you just want someone to check on you now and then? Do you desire a romantic relationship?

Below are some ways that you can become engaged in different relationships:

With Family:

  • Contact your relatives and tell them that even if you seem to be doing okay, you really want and need them to call you on a daily or weekly basis. Share this request with multiple family members if possible. This may not always happen as often as you like, but you can work to spread your circle even wider to others beyond family members.
  • Ask if you can listen to the grandkids reading for their schoolwork. This helps you and them.
  • Offer to call them instead of waiting for their call.
  • If you do not have family you can turn to, consider reaching out to neighbors, joining an online support group for older adults, or you may contact your local senior center. Many of them offer daily calls to seniors who would like contact.

With Friends:

  • Connect with your homeowners association and ask if there are any opportunities for connecting with neighbors.
  • Do some research to track down old friends. If you are not good with the computer ask a family member or friend for help.
  • For those who are local, contact your Area Agency on Agency by dialing (336) 904-0300. They can inform you about virtual and in-person classes, and services for groups and individuals that are at no cost to you.
  • Volunteer as a Pen Pal. There are groups that can connect you to pen pal opportunities with military members, older adults and others.

With Potential Romantic Partners

  • Make a decision about what you want in a relationship.
  • Talk it over with a trusted family member or friend.
  • If you choose to use online dating platforms, be sure to first identify a trusted safety buddy to inform about all of your online dating activity. Let them know the date, time and location of any planned meetings, as well as the person’s name and other details.
  • Reach out to known networks (church, community organization, recreational facilities) and ask about opportunities to meet others.
  • Join groups that share an interest (music, gardening, reading, quilting).
  • Avoid sending money, gifts or financial information to someone you have met online.
  • Ask a friend to join you for the first in person meeting with an online date.
  • Be open but wise.

All of these strategies to connect require effort on your part. If you do not feel up to doing this, you can have someone to be an advocate to assist you. If you need expert support, consider meeting with a therapist who can provide a safe space for you to talk about aging, loneliness, and what you want to do at this stage in your life. Counseling is not just for the persons who are living with a mental health diagnosis. Counseling is a resource for those who are worried or wondering, wounded or wishing, the wise or the wisdom seekers. Counseling is available online or in person with social distancing and safety practices. Click here for an HRI resource on finding a counselor to help with relationship and family challenges.

Getting Started in Relationships:

Once you find people to engage with, look for some basic elements and gut checks of a healthy relationship.

  • Is communication between the two persons valued and encouraged?
  • Are the thoughts and feelings of each person respected even if there is disagreement?
  • Does the relationship allow adequate room for each person’s individuality without demanding that one person always mold to the wishes of the other?
  • Does the relationship add to your life and fulfillment rather than taking away from it?
  • Does the relationship allow you to maintain connections to family, friends and activities you engaged in before the new relationship started?
  • Does this person connect you to the rest of their world (family, coworkers, friends)?
  • Are your “No’s” respected?
  • Is there a balance of give and get or is one person mostly taking without giving?
  • Does this relationship feel good to your intuition or are there silent alarms?
  • Are you personally growing in this relationship of just going?

This is not a one-time checklist. Return to it often. You can navigate the terrain of relationships as long as you keep your eyes as open as your heart.

For more on this topic, check out this previously recorded video of HRI Program Director, Christine Murray, and author of this article, Evelyn Smith, as they discuss insights and strategies to maintain healthy relationships in older adulthood: click here.






Healthy Relationship Resources for Teens

Healthy Relationship Resources for Teens

We’re closing out our teenage resource spotlight during Healthy Relationships Week 2021 with a list of resources focused on helping teenagers strengthen relationships of all kinds and learn healthy relationship skills. Check out the list below for HRI Resources, along with Greensboro Parks & Recreation resources as well!


Parent of teenagers, we have resources for you as well! Check out the full list of HRI resources for parents of teenagers here



We’re grateful to Greensboro Parks & Recreation for their partnership with HRI during Healthy Relationships Week!  There are many resources available for teenagers through Greensboro Parks & Recreation.

To learn more about Teen-Friendly Health Care resources, follow this link: 



*Learn more about Healthy Relationships Week by clicking here!*

Healthy Communication Tips for Teens: A Short Clip

Day 5 of Healthy Relationships Week: Helping Teens Become Better Communicators

One of the most important skills that adults can teach teenagers is how to communicate effectively.  When teenagers know how to communicate their needs and listen to others, it helps them set the foundation for healthy, happy, and safe relationships later on in life.  In this short video developed by HRI, we share important tips to help teenagers fine-tune their communication skills.  This video can be widely shared amongst teachers, educators, providers, parents, and anyone else working closely with teenagers.

Check out our short HRI clip on Healthy Communication Tips for Teens here.

PARENTS OF TEENS, check out this HRI Toolkit designed to help you connect with your teenager and discuss healthy relationships in productive ways: 


We’re grateful to Greensboro Parks & Recreation for their partnership with HRI during Healthy Relationships Week!  There are many resources available for teenagers through Greensboro Parks & Recreation.

To learn more about Teen-Friendly Health Care resources, follow this link: 


*Learn more about Healthy Relationships Week by clicking here!*