This technique makes different types of relationships and positive relationship experiences visible and strengthens them. Due to its versatility, it can be used either as an opening, deepening, or closing activity, since it provides participants with resources and leaves them with affirmative associations regarding relationships.
This technique fits groups of various sizes and ages. If working with a smaller group (less than 6 people), participants can work individually and then come together to discuss their findings.
Since young people very often associate the term “relationship“ with romantic relationships, it should be mentioned at the beginning that there exists a variety of relationships and all are linked to different positive feelings.
An introduction can follow like this:
“There are a lot of things which contribute to and are important for a relationship. This is different for each person. Here, I have a poster with terms which describe a good relationship. Each person decides on five terms that are important for them and marks them with a dot/pen. Afterwards, we will discuss what has been chosen. Following terms can be marked…“
The instructing person reads all terms. To mark their five chosen terms, each participant receives five dots or a pen. When everyone has made their marks, the result will be discussed in the group.
If the group is too small, it is advisable to let participants work individually and give them all terms in a printed and cut out version. Participants are then invited to order their terms according to their importance and glue them in this order on a piece of paper. Afterwards, these papers will be discussed.
Working with very large groups poses the challenge that not all participants can mark their choices at the same time, and they have to find a way to do this democratically and inclusively. If the group shows difficulties to self-organize peacefully, this can be openly discussed before the exercise starts.
If one is working with more mature students, you can let them look for their own terms and definitions: either each person has to come up with five terms, or the group will produce twenty terms together.
Example guiding questions for the group discussion:
Was it easy/difficult for you to decide?
Why did you choose these terms?
Why did you leave out the other terms?
Can we see a cluster of terms, and why do you think so many people opted for these terms?
Can we see some singled out terms, and why do you think so few/only one/no one chose them?
If one notices gender-specific accumulations, it is advised to address them:
What could be possible reasons for these clusters?
What expectations can be hidden behind these choices?