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Smart Relationships

Smart Relationships

Learn more about each of these seven keys to smart relationships:

Find common interests: Smart relationships are built on common interests. Do you enjoy doing things together? Do you enjoy talking to each other? Do you find each other interesting? Do you have similar attitudes about school and your future goals?

Think about values: Do you have similar values? What about priorities? Does your friend share and respect your values, morals/ethics or religious beliefs? Are your values about drugs and alcohol shared? Do you have the same opinions about what’s right, sex and what your boundaries are?

Don’t try to change someone into someone he or she is not: You will be let down if you think you can do a makeover and turn your friend into the type of person you want. Also, don’t be so desperate for a relationship or friendship that you fool yourself about who this person really is. Support someone in making the changes he or she wants to make, but also ask yourself if you like the person’s personality.

Don’t change yourself to get someone’s love or friendship: Don’t pretend to be somebody or something you are not just to get the other person’s love, friendship or acceptance. Smart relationships aren’t based on phony fronts. Know and build on your strengths. Work on changes that you want to make to yourself. Be real. Be yourself. And remember – nobody’s perfect.

Expect good communication: How well do you each communicate? How do you handle anger? Are you both willing to learn and improve communication? How you communicate and handle conflict says a lot about your future happiness with this relationship.

Don’t pressure or play games: Don’t manipulate or push someone to be your friend. For example, don’t try to make someone jealous. Don’t pressure them to do something they are not comfortable doing. A smart relationship is not based on games, pretending, manipulations or pressure.

Expect respect and know where your boundaries are: Have a standard for how you want to be treated and talked to. Expect respect for your values and boundaries, especially about drugs, alcohol and sex. Don’t tolerate disrespectful or abusive behavior! Adapted from the Dibble Institute’s “7 Principles of Smart Relationships.”

Smart Checkup Activity Steps

Six elementary youth sitting on bleachers with arms around eachother

    Everyone likes having friends, and we have choices to make when choosing our friends. Are your friendships smart? This game will help you find out.

    1. Stand up and make room to move from left to right.
    2. We are going to read statements about friends.
    3. After each statement, you should move to your right if you agree with what we say.
    4. If you disagree with what we say, move to your left.
    5. You can always stay in the middle if you cannot agree or disagree with what we say.
    6. Come back to where you started after each statement.
    7. Remember to make your decisions quickly. Move fast!

      Let’s Talk About It

        • Now that we’ve thought about our own friendships, what would you say are the seven keys to smart relationships?

          Submit Your Activity

          cartoon kid with an apple, carrot, bicycle, water bottle, soccer ball, tooth, toothbrush, flying WV, and 4-H Clover

          With the help from a parent or guardian, submit your answer to the question.

          West Virginia youth of 4-H age* who answer the Smart Relationship question will receive a 1.5" square vinyl 4-H sticker, while supplies last. There are six activities in total, so make sure to collect all of the stickers!

          All entries will be entered for a random drawing. The random drawing winner will receive $25 in Shop4-H merchandise of their choice.

          *Participants must have turned five years old by June 30, 2021 and have not yet turned 22 years old.

          The 2021 State 4-H Health Officer program and activities are funded by the William Lewis and Marie L. Campbell 4-H Fund.

          Learn more about the 2021 West Virginia 4-H Health Officer topic - Healthy Relationships.