In this session we aim to explore friendships and relationships and their complexities and look at what makes a healthy relationship.
Young people will:
- Explore complex issues surrounding friendships and relationships
- Think about what constitutes healthy relationships, love and respect
- Be able to identify the components of healthy vs. unhealthy relationships and friendships
Supplied (click to download):
- A5 scrap paper
- Felt pens or markers
- Flip chart paper
- Read the entire session plan and familiarise yourself with the activities.
- Print and cut out the Pictionary words.
- Print the Love and Respect sheet, one per young person.
- Print and cut out the Continuum of Concern scenarios in sufficient numbers for your group, enough for young people to work in small groups with a minimum of three in each group.
PROCEDURE – Total time: 90 minutes
Introduction – 5 mins
Introduce the topic by reading the aims of the session.
Warm Up/Name Game – 10 mins
This name game explores connectivity between people:
- Everyone stands in their own space. The facilitator calls out something that is true for them, e.g. “Hi, my name is X and I have blue eyes”. Anyone else who shares the same connection, i.e. also has blue eyes, moves to stand by the facilitator.
- One of the people did not move, gets selected start a new connection, e.g. “Hi, my name is X and I enjoy playing Fortnite”. Young people who share this connection, can move in to this new group, and if someone already in the connected group wants to move, they take their whole group with them.
- In turn each of the young people outside of this group calls out “Hi my name is X and I *****”, young people who share this connection, can move in to this new group, and if someone already in the connected group wants to move, they take their whole group with them.
- The aim of the game is to have as many people connected, standing together with as few groups as possible.
Pictionary – 10 mins
- Tell the group we are going to play Pictionary, and that all the words are related to relationships and emotions.
- Split the whole group into smaller groups, with a minimum of three young people in each group.
- Give each group a few sheets of scrap A5 paper and a pen, and ask each group to nominate an ‘artist’.
- The “artists” to come to the facilitator to be shown a word, from the cut up Pictionary word sheet.
- The artist then goes back to their group and they have two minutes to draw the word, without using letters or numbers, or speaking!
- Team members can shout out what they think the drawer is drawing. The drawer that has a team members correctly identify the word being drawn within the time wins a point!
- After each round, ask the group to nominate a new ‘artist’, and repeat for as long as feels useful.
After a few rounds ask the group to discuss:
- Which words were the hardest?
- Why were they hard?
- If you were asked to describe the words instead of drawing them, would it be easier?
- Do we have language that can adequately describe feelings?
- Do these kind of words mean the same thing to everyone? Would I describe the word ‘love’ in the same way as you would?
Ideal Friend /Ideal Partner – 15 mins
- Split the whole group into two smaller groups and give each group a piece of flip chart paper and some felt pens or markers.
- Task one group with creating, on their flip chart paper, their “ideal friend”, and task the other group with creating on their flip chart paper, their “ideal partner”. Encourage young people to think about what they expect of each of these people, and suggest that they can draw, or write, or both.
- When it feels like the right time, feedback as a whole group. Ask the “ideal friend” group to feedback, followed by the “ideal partner” group.
Questions to ask the group:
- What are the similarities and differences between their “ideal friend” and their “ideal partner”?
- Does your “ideal friend” or “ideal partner” have the qualities of a “healthy relationship”?
- What are the qualities of a healthy relationship? Explore words like respect, trust, honesty, communication, self-esteem, and no fear.
- What are the qualities of the “ideal friend” or “ideal partner” that could be deleted, and this still be a healthy relationship?
- How many qualities would need to be deleted before it became an unhealthy relationship?
Healthy Relationships – 15 minutes
For this activity, you will need to clear all furniture from the centre of your group space. Create an opinion continuum, but sticking up a large piece of paper that says “OK” at one end of the room, and one that says “NOT OK” at the other end.
This activity uses the Relationships scenarios (see resources section above).
- Ask all the young people to stand in the centre of the room.
- Tell the group you are going to read out a series of short scenarios. If they think the situation is “OK” they should move to the side of the room that indicates this. If they think it is “NOT OK” they move to the opposite side. They can also choose to stay in the middle if they wish to discuss a ‘depends’ or ‘not sure’ scenario.
- Read out each scenario and facilitate a discussion using the choices the group make, using the prompts on the scenario sheet if needed. Young people can change positions if they have changed their minds following discussion.
It may be more appropriate for your group to run this activity as a discussion based seated activity, in smaller groups. If so you can make several sets of the scenarios (not the discussion prompts) and give each small group a set and ask them to create two piles… an “OK” and a “NOT OK” pile, and then go through each one.
Love and Respect – 15 mins
- Give each young person a “Love and Respect” sheet and pens/ felt pens.
- Ask them to write under each heading attitudes and behaviours they would expect from somebody that loved and respected them and the attitudes and behaviours they wouldn’t expect.
- When it feels appropriate, feedback as a whole group, exploring a few shared responses.
- Tell the young people they can keep their sheet if they wish.
Continuum of Concern – 15 mins
This activity uses the Continuum of Concern scenarios, written for young people aged between 13-16. You can alter the scenarios if needed, to suit your group.
- Split whole group into small groups of 3 – 4 young people, and tell the young people they are going to get a pile of cards with a description of a young person on each card.
- Ask them to rank the cards in order of concern. Tell them to put at the top the young person they are most concerned about, and the one they are least concerned about at the bottom.
- When each group has ranked their scenarios, ask them to join with another group and compare their rankings, considering how did they prioritised concern.
- Ask the groups to look at the cards again. Ask them, ‘If this was your friend would you feel differently? Would you place the cards in a different order? What would you do?’ Issues which should arise include consent, safety, empathy, support etc.
- Ask the young people if they can think of any other situations that could have been included in the exercise and explore as feels useful.
Reflect and Review – 10 mins
Ask the group:
- What did you enjoy about the session?
- Did you learn anything new?
- If we are talking about relationships, was there anything missing from the session?
Closing Game “My best mate is…” – 10 mins
- Everyone sits in a circle and the facilitator explains that we are going to think of as many words as we can, to do with a healthy relationship. Facilitators starts by saying “My best mate is [.e.g.] trustworthy”.
- The next person in the circle repeats the facilitators word and adds their own, e.g. “My best mate is trustworthy and thoughtful”.
- The third person repeats and adds and so on. The aim of the game is to remember everyone’s words!
- End by asking the young people which of those words mean them most to them.