Self-Advocacy Dating Relationships

How To Be Chill in a Relationship (+ 8 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be)

I have no clue when the idea of “being chill” became so desirable, especially in terms of wanting to learn how to be chill in a relationship.

Did cavewomen want to “be chill”? Doubt it.

But look, I get it. It gets tiring to hear that women are so “emotional” and “crazy,” so our first defense is to try to act the exact opposite of whatever a man might think seems, well, “emotional” or “crazy.”

The problem with this is that a man can deem anything he dislikes or feels uncomfortable with as emotional or crazy – especially if he isn’t emotionally intelligent, emotionally available, or either.

But you might not recognize that right away. You might very well think that he’s the one. And that the only way to ensure you “get” him or “make it last” or “don’t mess this one up” is if you can successfully stay “chill.”

But what does it even mean?

I’ll break down what some women mean when they say they just want to be chill in a relationship, discuss the difference between “being” chill and “feeling” chill, and highlight scenarios and reasons against this nebulous, arguably outdated ideal.

How To Be Chill in a Relationship: What Does This Even Mean?

how to be chill in a relationship and reasons not to be
Photo by SHVETS production

Before I go into attack mode, I’ll start by being fair and reasonable toward this concept (sigh).

When people say they want to know how to be chill in a relationship, it may be because they have experienced an overwhelming flood of emotions far too early in a past relationship – either in their opinion or based on what that past partner said to them.

Therefore, they want to know how to not be overly clingy or come off as too needy, possessive, or dependent.

Sure – These are all reasonable traits to want to avoid.

But the evaluation of these traits is where this concept tends to steer in the wrong direction.

Who decides what makes someone too needy, possessive, or dependent in the first place?

And by what metrics are we basing this?

A Note on Codependency

Sometimes, when someone says that they are afraid of coming off this way – i.e., “not chill” – it’s because they actually struggle with neediness or even codependency.

But if you know you have dependency issues, learning how to be chill in a relationship won’t solve those issues. Better questions to ask might be:

  • What are some of the codependent traits I display? How can I manage them?
  • How can I learn to be independent, healthy, and not need someone else for my emotional regulation?
  • How can I shift my anxious attachment behavior to a secure one?

Trust me: Working with a good therapist about codependency will help you more than studying “the art of chill.”

A Note on Simply Being Excited or Having Needs

Now, there are other times when someone who has been told they are “needy” or “emotional” by their partner (or society) doesn’t authentically feel like they’ve displayed this behavior at all.

They know deep down that their entire world doesn’t depend on their partner. 

Perhaps they were told this after simply displaying excitement, curiosity, openness, vulnerability, or honesty. 

They wanted to share their thoughts, feelings, and goals. Or maybe they wanted to ask for what they wanted.

And now, they feel like those are the types of behaviors that “scare men away.”

In reality, those are the types of behaviors that scare the wrong men away – which is perfectly fine.

So, if this sounds like you, here’s how to be chill in a relationship: Don’t.

Being Chill VS Feeling Chill

sportive woman with bicycle resting on countryside road in sunlight
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Have you ever met a person who was just so… zen? As if nothing in the world could bother them too much?

These types of people aren’t trying to “be chill.” And they aren’t looking up how to be chill in a relationship. They just are.

Good for them – but that’s not us.

We (yes, I’m talking to you) are, in fact, not chill. We are in touch with our emotions. We feel deeply and passionately. We care about the people we are around because they affect our feelings. Plenty of thoughts are running through our minds, and we tend to be big dreamers.

And guess what? That’s okay!

We don’t have to “be” anything other than who we are.

However, sometimes it’s nice to balance things out by finding ways to feel chill when our emotions are, admittedly, running a mile a minute:

Maybe you get caught up in your daydreaming and start imagining someone you just started dating as your future husband – whoops. 

Or maybe you go on an excellent first date and are overjoyed with how it went, so you tell your friends that this might be the one – uh oh. 

This doesn’t mean you need to “be chill,” per se, but there is a benefit to balancing out these big heart-centered emotions by adding some head-centered logic and practical tools to the mix. 

6 Tips for How to Feel More Chill When Need Be

So, here are some tips for feeling more chill in a relationship – especially in a new relationship or situationship – but on your terms:

  1. Remind yourself that there is no rush and that you don’t need to have everything figured out at this very moment.
  2. Take a step back and objectively evaluate your feelings, taking time to separate what you know about this person from who you hope this person is.
  3. Use mindfulness practices like meditation, journaling, yoga, or deep breathing to center yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  4. Remind yourself that no matter what happens, you will be okay.
  5. Make sure you maintain a healthy balance in your life and do not sacrifice everything else for this relationship.
  6. Prioritize self-care by treating yourself well, maintaining your other relationships, and doing things you love.

At the end of the day, it’s helpful to remember that you don’t need to be chill in a relationship to have a successful and healthy one. You just need to be true to who you are and cultivate a relationship that honors both of your truths.

8 Reasons You Should Not Be Chill

how to be chill in a relationship
Photo by Katerina Holmes

Now we’ve gotten to the part of this post where I get to fully attack this concept of “being chill” and beat it to the ground without any more remorse or sympathy.

Okay, fine, fine – let me chill out…

But on the real, there are certain times when it’s not only important to not be chill, but rather it’s necessary for you to speak up and stand up for your needs.

Here are 8 Times You Shouldn’t Be Chill:

  1. When you have an issue with something in the relationship that you’d like to address
  2. When your partner is being disrespectful, cruel, vindictive, or hurtful towards you in any way.
  3. When your partner is crossing boundaries or not respecting your limits.
  4. When you feel taken for granted and unappreciated in the relationship.
  5. When you’re nervous about your partner judging you for how you feel
  6. When you’re feeling like your opinions or feelings don’t matter in the relationship.
  7. When someone is trying to take advantage of your generosity.

And I saved the best for last, as this is probably the most significant time to not be chill:

8. When you’re afraid you’ll lose someone if you show them your true self.

You deserve someone that wants to be with you for you.

Not only is real love one that accepts you for who you authentically are, but it’s also one of the best parts about being in a healthy relationship! And “being chill” directly hinders you from finding that.

So, if you ever feel this way, that feeling should be your number one sign to stop what you’re doing and take a step back to reassess the situation.

Be you – so that you don’t lose yourself in someone else. 

Say what you need to say, value your feelings over anyone’s reaction to your feelings, and act in alignment with your authentic self – as opposed to a contrived, “chill girl” version that you won’t be able to keep up with (and probably don’t like that much anyway)!

How To Be Chill in a Relationship: Final Thoughts

All in all, there’s a difference between wanting to feel chill when necessary, which tends to come from a place of self-care, vs. wanting to “be chill,” which usually comes from a place of self-criticism (or criticism from your emotionally unavailable ex).

Learning how to feel chill, relaxed, and confident in your relationship doesn’t necessarily mean taking a backseat in the relationship, and it definitely doesn’t mean sacrificing your wants and needs.

That just means practicing self-care and thinking things through before getting too emotionally involved.

So, you don’t need to learn how to be chill in a relationship.

Instead, know how to stay true to yourself and your needs, even when things get rocky. Be honest, be real, and don’t pretend to be something you’re not just to please someone else.

All the love,


Did this resonate with you? Follow me on Instagram for more tips or apply for a free coaching session to talk through your unique situation.

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