Defining Circle: Raising the Bar in Relationships

Introduction:

One general difference between the way a boy and a girl relate to the world is the greater weight a girl gives to relationships when she makes a life decision. This can be a significant strength, but can also hurt a girl when she surrounds herself with others who bring her down. It is important for a girl to recognize the power she gains or loses from her relationships. This activity provides a way to have a thoughtful conversation about which relationships in her circle elevate her, which bring her down, or both. It also helps her reflect on skills she needs to develop mutual, healthy relationships.  

Conversation Tips:

Don’t step in too early or too much as a girl explores the healthy and unhealthy qualities of her relationships.  You may want to overprotect, interpret or “rescue” her from how she truly feels. Try to share using a 3:1 rule (for every 3 things she says, you say 1).

Goals:

• Develop a deeper understanding of characteristics of unhealthy and healthy relationships and people in her life who fall into these lists

• Develop a fresh understanding of skills needed to end unhealthy relationships and build healthy ones

Do This Together:

1.  Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper.  On one side write characteristics found in valuable and healthy relationships (i.e. fun, common interests, respect, you can say what you really think, you can disagree and still be friends). On the other side write characteristics found in invaluable and unhealthy relationships (i.e. 'I never feel good when I hang out with them, they are mean to me, etc.).

2.  Explore the differences in the lists. Have her write down three people in her life that fall into one list, the other or both. Ask her: How does she feel when she spends time with various people she's listed? Why does she spend time with people that are on the 'unhealthy' lists? What is at risk if she cuts off an unhealthy relationship? This can be complex, for example it could be someone that she doesn’t feel she has a choice about (i.e. on her team at school, in her family).

3.  Explore the idea of expecting more from relationships. Ask her: What are the skills she brings to relationships?  How could she use these skills to strengthen the relationships she likes or better negotiate the ones that she struggles in?

4. Now read Power Circle and the skills that it takes to build it. Ask her this closing question: What is a skill she needs to develop related to this power? Who can help her?