10 Important Relationships That Could Change Your Life

5 min
Article preview picture

Many of us can identify at least one person who made an extraordinary impact on our lives. We are all, in many ways, ultimately shaped by all of our relationships – from the family we grow up with and the friends we make along the way, to the many people that come in and out of our orbit as we evolve. Some relationships are short-lived and some are with us for the long-haul, but even the briefest ones can have a profound effect on who we are and where we end up – whether that person knows it or not. Some inspire and encourage us, while others teach us how we don’t want to be – and that can be a blessing too. Here are some of the relationships that can’t be underestimated when it comes to informing who we are.

The Messy Bestie

Some friends are impeccable – turning up on time and never forgetting your birthday. Other friends are more chaotic. The messy bestie might leave your messages on read for days and can’t keep track of any money they owe you, but you still don’t doubt that they will respond when it matters or that they love you fiercely. This friend will teach you about accepting all the imperfect parts of someone you love, implementing boundaries, and that sometimes it’s ok to loosen up. 

The Angry Boss

If you’ve ever suffered under a manager that takes all their stress out on the team, you’ll know exactly how not to treat people to get the best out of them. Experiencing a boss that demeans and bullies their employees might just be the driver of your success as a positive leader.

The Companionable Pet

From the mighty horse to the tiny mouse, pets can make the best of friends. Animal companions are proven to benefit your mental health, provide purpose, and stave off loneliness. That’s a powerful relationship at any stage of life, whether it was your childhood canine playmate or the kitty you’ve just given a forever home. 

The First Love

Falling in love for the first time is an exhilarating experience that affects you in a big way. You’ll likely make your biggest mistakes in emotional intimacy during this partnership, and either learn lessons or establish patterns that, for better or worse, you’ll carry into future relationships. But you’ll also be seen and appreciated in a way that creates a whole new dimension to your self-perception. 

The Enduring Character

For many, a first love might come in the form of a TV or book character, and that can be an entire form of emotional and sensual awakening in itself. But there are all kinds of fictional characters that can have a profound impact on the way you think and see the world, acting as the role models you might not have had in your own life. 

The Gorgeous Godchild

Children can be such valuable teachers, whether they are your own, your sibling’s, your cousin’s kid, or a friend’s little rascal. They can show you the power of play, the joy of being fully embodied, and the importance of putting everything down and having a nice long snuggle. 

The Difficult Housemate

Cohabiting is not always easy and there are some people that seem to make it particularly difficult. Yet the challenges that come from living with someone can hold a mirror to your own unresolved issues, teach you how to ask for what you need and establish boundaries, and increase your compassion for what someone else might be going through.

The Spiritual Guide

This might come in the form of a yoga teacher, religious leader, or facilitator of any number of spiritual practices. It can also be a super wise friend or family member, or even a colleague that you meet who opens your eyes to a whole new perspective of the world. Your spiritual guides help you understand and connect to something bigger than yourself while creating a sense of community and participation.

The Fitness Coach

Someone who gets you moving in ways you might not otherwise can help you connect to your body on a deep level. A personal trainer, class instructor, sports coach, fitness mentor, or even a workout buddy can show you what you’re capable of when you really put your mind to it. 

The Self

And then we have the absolute most important relationship you’ll ever have – the one you have with yourself. This is the only person in the world that can answer to your deepest needs and consistently be there for you through every nuance of life. Deepening your self-intimacy can be a lifelong pursuit, but the rewards are rich – for mental health, physical wellbeing, and life satisfaction alike. Pour as much acceptance, love, and care into this relationship as you can, because it’s here for life.


All of the content on our website is thoroughly researched to ensure that the information shared is evidence-based. For more information, please visit the academic journals that influenced this article: Important relationships in a multilevel world: The role of network structure in explaining closeness of relationships and access to resources in later life; The Link Between Self-Esteem and Social Relationships: A Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies.

Share this story
Read more
  • Article preview
    6 Sep 2022

    Effective Ways to Manage Anger

    5 min

    Anger can bring out the worst in us. It can cause relationship rifts to grow greater, find fits of furiousness fueling violence, and unnecessarily escalate a situation from minimal annoyance to intense rage. But anger is still a normal (and mostly healthy) emotion, and learning to control it can help us to limit loathsome damage. 

    Read full article
  • Article preview
    4 Aug 2022

    How to Get Along with a Difficult Family Member

    4 min

    For good or bad, you can’t choose your family. Not the one we’re biologically related to, anyway. The clan we’re raised by is enormously influential on our worldview, our values, and our idea of a good joke. But sometimes it can feel like there’s a gulf between us and the people that we’re duty-bound to love – or at least put up with – simply because we are generally linked to them somehow, or raised within the same unit. Between tricky in-laws and guilt-laden relations with parents and siblings, to dealing with bigoted relatives that you normally try to avoid at every family wedding, trying to keep the peace and manage your own sanity within an uneasy family dynamic can be exhausting. But there are boundaries we can put in place to protect our energy and time, because difficult relatives do not have a right to drain them. Here are some tips on how to manage these relationships so that everyone can get along more peacefully.

    Read full article
  • Article preview
    9 Aug 2022

    How Decluttering Can Be Good for Your Mental Health

    3 min

    There’s something about a good old clear-out that’s incredibly liberating. Ditching years’ worth of unwanted items can be immensely satisfying for the soul – as if you’re being freed from carrying the energetic weight of all that’s accumulated over time. But a declutter can also be hugely daunting. Many of us put it off, even as our drawers begin to overflow with things we don’t use, and it becomes harder to find the things we do use and need. Because for many of us, there’s a direct link between the material clutter of life and the internal clutter of the mind. Studies have found that a cluttered living space contributes to stress and exacerbates shame and overwhelm. If Japanese home-clearing guru Marie Kondo hasn’t yet convinced you that a tidy-up can be life-changing (through her KonMari method, which has become a global sensation), then let’s explore how doing so can, at the very least, benefit your mental health.

    Read full article
  • Article preview
    6 Jul 2022

    How To Be a Better Friend

    3 min

    Friendship is a wonderful thing. A good friend can do so much for our well-being, helping to reflect back all the best parts of ourselves (not to mention helping us highlight the parts that we'd like to work on), and securing our sense of belonging. Good friends can cheer us up on difficult days, help us out of a bind, offer a fresh perspective, encourage us to be brave, make us laugh, call us out when we need to check ourselves, and go along with some of the more questionable ideas on our bucket lists. It’s a special kind of relationship that doesn’t get as celebrated as a romantic partnership, but can be far more enduring – and it is not to be taken for granted. Because the core of a friendship is less in the “doing” and more in the “being”. A true friend is someone you feel completely safe with – to be silly, to be real, to be radically honest about everything that’s going on with you. And being a better friend to somebody else is about cultivating that safe space for each other. If you’re looking to put a little more heart and thought into your friendships for stronger, and more long-lasting relationships, here are some tips to help you.

    Read full article
  • Article preview
    15 Jul 2022

    10 Traits That Make You More Attractive To Other People

    6 min

    There’s an age-old adage that claims “Beauty is only skin-deep.” And while we can all agree that a pleasing appearance is not necessarily an accurate guide to the character contained within, science continues to posit that “What Is Beautiful Is Good” – a stereotype that assumes attractive people are likely to possess more socially desirable personality traits, and are expected to lead better lives than their physically unattractive counterparts. 

    Read full article