For the past three weeks, Students for Violence Prevention (SVP) has held emotional support meetings discussing how to identify and create healthy, lasting relationships. On Mon. March 29, the topic up for discussion was how to build positive and impactful friendships.
Megan Woodfield, graduate student in psychology and director of the six-week series, wanted to bring to light how building great friendships are crucial and often overlooked when people talk about healthy relationships.
“Friendships and healthy friendships I feel like aren’t really discussed a ton,” said Woodfield. “There is so much stuff on how to have a healthy romantic relationship, but there are literally statistics and research about how important friendships are. To have that community with people, to be able to cry with someone, to be able to cheer with someone, to be able to do and navigate the crazy world we live in, and for there not to be any discussion about what to look for and who to do that with has always been mind boggling to me.”
During the session, the metaphor of growing a healthy garden was used. Woodfield explained that one must have healthy soil, or a foundation, in a relationship. Then, one must plant the seeds and give it the nutrients to grow.
Grace Perkins, sophomore in elementary education and a member of SVP, said the biggest take away from this week is putting herself first and knowing her worth.
“Just knowing what I look for in a friend or what I should look for in a friend,” Perkins said. “What (Megan) said, realizing that it is a privilege to be in my life. Just having that validation that I’m not being picky and that it is okay to have standards. Not everyone should have access to me that way.”
Perkins also says that it makes her look at her own personal relationship with “a lens that is a bit different” and she hopes to become more invested in genuine relationships that go both ways rather than just settling for the bare minimum.
As the discussion continued, attendees started to discuss toxic relationships and when it was time to “cut out the weeds” or end the friendship.
Lin Chia Wei, junior in graphic arts, said she has had negative past relationships and attending workshops like this could help her solve future issues in her friendships.
“I think it’s good to know other people have the same problems, it’s not just you,” Lin said. “Some things have happened before (in previous relationships) and it was not good…but it’s nice to know I can do other things to fix (the problem) of it comes up again.”
SVP hosts the workshop every Monday at 5 p.m. in the Sunflower Room of the Overman Student Center. Next week, the fourth installment in the series, the topic is dating and romantic relationships.
“It helps you realize that there is a lot more to life than just walking through it,” Perkins said. “You have a say in where you go, you have a say in who you choose. It is not just, oh this person is here, so I have to be their friend. You get to choose who you have around you.”