Writer's Note: This is one of a series of 10 articles on the Clifton Youth StrengthsExplorer themes. For more info on StrengthsExplorer, click here.
“Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life and said, “I’m here for you,” and proved it.” – Author Unknown
Students with Relating in their Top 3 Strengths Explorer results build deep, enduring connections. They treasure friendships, growing the level of trust within the team and making it stronger than the sum of its parts. Like how human beings consider dogs as a human’s best friend, those with the Relating theme find joy in connecting personally to different individuals and being everyone’s friend.
For those with Relating, they can easily start conversations when they meet with new people anywhere and at any time. Though the styles of relating might differ from individual to individual, the more connections they built with people, the more fulfilled they feel. Because of the importance of relationships, someone with the Relating theme will always seem to be around different people in class. When their friends confide in them about their lives and struggles, they feel energized because they are able to be a listening ear to others.
While the Caring StrengthsExplorer theme feels most satisfied when they can say, “I am glad to be able to help you out,” the Relating theme feels most satisfied when they can say, “Thank you for trusting me enough to share this with me.” And while the Dependability Strengths Explorer theme would say, “You can count on me to help you with this,” the Relating StrengthsExplorer theme would say, “I will always be here if you need to someone to talk to.”
What does the Relating talent theme look like?
"I recently celebrated New Year's with my friends and family, and I really enjoyed spending time with them. I love having good conversations with people, but the best part was being able to connect deeper when they share more intimate parts of their lives, which showed their level of comfort and the confidence they have in our relationship. This energizes and motivates me to continue building and protecting the connections I have with people. I usually spend quite a bit of time and energy maintaining these relationships. But on that note, it drains me when I realise that people are drifting apart, or when this care is not reciprocated. I value every friendship deeply, but others may not feel the same way. I try not to let that get to me though. It matters a lot to me that I still do my best to maintain these relationships, so I would still move towards that goal." - P. C.
As a teacher, how do I develop a student with Relating?
- Identify how this student relates to his or her peers in class. This could help this student to realize the potential value of his or her individual friendships with others. Challenge this student to tap on his or her Relating theme by creating opportunities for this student to bring different individuals together to plan class-bonding activities or to start peer learning in study groups.
- Recognize that those with Relating appreciate the time spent with different individuals because they see it as an opportunity to build deeper connections. Take time to understand this student through one-on-one appraisal sessions to point the instances you have seen his or her Relating theme stand out. The simple act of listening a powerful affirmation of this student in the areas where he or she has done well.
- Encourage this student to begin taking ownership of their Relating theme by creating opportunities for them to mentor their peers, juniors or new classmates in school. Mentoring creates opportunities for interactions and sharing sessions, which the student with the Relating theme will enjoy doing. Create an accountability system for the student to update you about the progress and development through the mentorship.
As a student with Relating, how do I grow it to maturity?
- Tap on your friendships to help your peers in their studies by creating opportunities to bring different people together in a study group where everyone can learn from each other to improve their grades and understanding of different subjects. You can also use this chance to connect your friends together.
- Learn how to filter your interactions with people. Do not take every single interaction with people around you personally. Acknowledge and appreciate the trust people have in you to share their lives with you but do not add those emotional burdens on yourself. Know that it is perfectly fine just being a listening ear because this is what your friends need.
- Continue to be a friend to everyone. You will be a good mediator when situations arise and your friendships will be greatly appreciated. Think about how you can invest into others by growing your friendships. It can be as simple as learning a new thing about a friend every week. As the list of questions and answers increases, you will begin to see a deeper relationship forged.
Concluding Thoughts: Those with Relating theme value relationships with people around them and take heart in being able to connect with different individuals through listening and empathizing. As they learn how to take ownership of their Relating theme, they will find themselves being strong connectors that support their communities.
Written by Patricia Chin
As a Strengths Coach, Patricia is passionate about using Strengths to help students to discover their innate potential and embrace who they are. She enjoys connecting with people to listen and to share her personal experiences. She believes in making a difference by challenging the norms around her.