Libby Gutschenritter, Barbara Soots
Health, Medicine and Nursing, Career and Technical Education
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Family Consumer Science
  • Healthy & Unhealthy Relationships
  • Healthy Behaviors
  • Relationships
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • onelove
  • wa-hpe
  • wa-sel
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Text/HTML, Video

    Education Standards

    Healthy Relationships - Practicing Healthy Behaviors

    Healthy Relationships - Practicing Healthy Behaviors


    Practice Healthy Relationship Behaviors: Everyone deserves to be in healthy relationships. This means having the knowledge and skills to: (1) live the 10 Signs of a Healthy Relationship, (2) set expectations for what we deserve in a relationship, and (3) build a healthy relationship with ourselves.

    Lesson Plan and Materials

    Practicing Healthy Relationship Behaviors


    Keep this in mind as you complete the activities below

    Participants will consider the following essential questions:

    What does a healthy relationship look like?

    How does your relationship with yourself impact your relationship with others?



    You may use some or all of the included activities:

    1. Opening
    2. 10 Signs Overview
    3. Activity #1: Healthy Relationships on Screen
    4. Activity #2: Building Healthy Relationships with Ourselves
    5. Activity #3: Healthy Relationships in Music
    6. Wrap Up Reflection


    Think about the following as ways of tracking your students' learning during the lesson

    Reflection: I used to think... Now I think...


    At the end of the lesson, please have participants use the following post-workshop survey link:


    Handouts and activities needed to complete this lesson plan

    Tools: sticky notes, chart paper, markers, blank paper


    Timing: 60 minutes


    SEXUAL HEALTH (Healthy Relationships)

    Explain how to build and maintain healthy family, peer, and dating relationships (H1. Se5.8a)


    SOCIAL EMOTIONAL HEALTH (Expressing Emotions)

    Summarize strategies for coping with difficult emotions, including defense mechanisms (H1.So4.HS)

    Demonstrate effective communication skills to express emotions (H4.So4.HS)

    Demonstrate ways to manage or resolve interpersonal conflict (H4.So4.8)

    Advocate for ways to manage or resolve interpersonal conflict (H8.So4.HS)



    Analyze functions and expectations of various types of relationships (13.1.1,3-5)

    Analyze personal needs and characteristics and their effects on interpersonal relationships (13.2.1-3,5)

    Demonstrate communication skills that contribute to positive relationships (13.3.1-5,7)

    Evaluate effective conflict prevention and management techniques (13.4.1-6)

    Demonstrate standards that guide behavior in interpersonal relationships (13.6.1-5)

    WA SEL


    1A: Awareness and understanding of one’s own emotions and emotions’ influence on behavior

    2A: Skills to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, impulses, and stress in a constructive way

    3C: Awareness and ability to speak on behalf of personal rights and advocacy

    4A: Awareness of other people’s emotions, perspectives, cultures, languages, histories, identities, and abilities

    5C: Ability to engage in respectful and healthy relationships with individuals of diverse perspectives, cultures, language, history, identity and ability





    Introductions and Check-In – 5 mins

    Start with a check in prompt: Think about something you did to show someone love recently.

    Facilitation Tip: You can ask students to share their responses, or keep it as a silent reflection time.


    Share the questions of the day and the agenda:

    What does a healthy relationship look like?

    How does your relationship with yourself impact your relationship with others?


    Introduction to One Love and Content Warning – 5 mins

    Share About The One Love Foundation

    One Love is a national leader in educating young people about relationship health. We equip young people to identify and avoid abuse, and love better in all their relationships.

    We believe that 100% of us are in relationships, 100% of us can improve our relationship health, and 100% of us deserve healthy relationships.

    Set Group Expectations

    Let students know that these conversations may get personal and bring up upsetting past experiences. Remind students that help is available that they can access now. Share national, local, and school-specific resources prior to starting the conversation

    Say: “Talking about relationships can be challenging, but it’s important and it’s for everyone. This is big issue, and big issues can bring big emotions.”

    Establish a set of norms and have participants commit to following those agreements throughout the course of this workshop (ex. “use ‘I’ statements when speaking, lessons leave but stories stay”). Encourage students to add their own norms, or use your pre-existing classroom norms instead.

    Video – 3 mins: Watch 10 Signs Video (click here to access, also embedded in slides)

    Start by introducing the 10 Signs of a Healthy and Unhealthy Relationship to your group. You should either print them out for participants or have them visible on a slide.

    Teaching Points: These behaviors show up in all types of relationships – talking, dating, hooking-up, platonic, familial. Not one unhealthy behavior alone is indicative that a relationship is unhealthy, but when they’re done consistently, they can be really damaging for the person on the receiving end. At One Love, we work really hard to teach young people these behaviors so that we can change them if we’re the ones doing them, or leave a relationship before they turn into a potentially dangerous pattern. 

    Vocabulary Note: Students usually have the most questions about sabotage, volatility, and comfortable pace. If no one asks about particular signs, you can say something like: “When I first saw these, I was curious about what volatility meant” and share some more examples

    10 Signs Activity – 5 mins

    Setup: Post chart paper; pass out sticky notes 

     Ask: “What sign of a healthy relationship is most important to you?” 

    Have a few students share their answers. Ask everyone to write their answers on a sticky note and put it on the chart paper in the front of the room. Note if there any patterns. 


    Activity #1: Healthy Relationships on Screen – 30 mins
    Note from One Love: Please watch the clip prior to playing for your students to ensure that the content and language is appropriate for your group.

    Heartstopper (Highlight Reel from Season 1): Nick and Charlie’s relationship evolves.

    Set the scene: “Nick and Charlie go to school together, and sparks fly early on in their friendship. Charlie is out at school, and has been bullied by it in the past. His friends are protective of him and don’t want to see him hurt again, but this doesn’t stop him from exploring a new relationship..”

    Ask: “Which healthy relationship behaviors do you see in Nick and Charlie’s relationship?

    Teaching Points: There are many healthy behaviors in this video. Some examples include:

    • Honesty: Nick doesn’t shy away from telling Charlie about his “proper full on gay crisis” and the jumble of emotions he’s working through. He never once makes Charlie feel like its his responsibility to do this for him, but wants to be transparent
    • Comfortable pace:  Charlie asks Nick before kissing him, and is patient with Nick as he works through the challenges of coming out. While this might not be the pace that Charlie wants to move at, he is respectful of Nick’s needs, and doesn’t pressure him to make their relationship public before he is ready
    • Taking responsibility: Nick apologizes for not being open and honest when Imogen asked him out. He recognized the hurt it may have caused Charlie, and promised to do better going forward
    • Fun: there are several examples of Nick and Charlie doing activities together that they both enjoy: playing rugby, bowling, going out for milkshakes, and going to the beach

    Ask: “Did you see any unhealthy behaviors?

    Teaching Points: Healthy relationships can still have the occasional unhealthy behavior– or missed opportunities for healthy behaviors. There are some moments where more open and honest communication would have helped Nick and Charlie to avoid feelings of hurt and confusion, but these healthy behaviors take practice!


    Ask: “What makes a relationship healthy?

    Teaching Points: Healthy relationships bring out the best in you and make you feel good about yourself. A healthy relationship doesn’t mean a “perfect” relationship, and no one is healthy 100% of the time, but the 10 Signs of a healthy relationship are behaviors you should strive for in all your relationships.


    Everyone deserves a healthy relationship. A healthy relationship is made up of qualities that build someone up and make them feel good about themselves. In a healthy relationship, your partner will empower you to be your best self and you won’t question if you’re being treated with respect. Some signs of a healthy relationship include: independence, kindness, trust, fun, respect, taking responsibility, among others.

    Ask: “How can unhealthy behaviors be present in a healthy relationship?

    Teaching Points: Everyone does unhealthy things from time to time, and everyone can work toward healthier relationships by recognizing and confronting these unhealthy behaviors before they escalate or turn into a pattern. When we’ve been with someone for a long time, it can be hard to recognize what is actually unhealthy when you’re so used to one another.


    We all experience emotions like anger and jealousy because we are all human. It’s okay! Emotions give us information about ourselves and signal us to pay attention to something — but it is what we do in response to those emotions that is up to us. It is important to remember that we are in control of our own behavior, our emotions shouldn’t control us.


    Ask: “What does taking responsibility look like?

    Teaching Points: A healthy apology means taking responsibility and making changes. While all of us will do unhealthy things, we can take steps to prevent those same behaviors from happening again. In a healthy relationship, people apologize for their actions, take responsibility for their behavior, AND change their behavior.  

    Ask: “What did Nick and Charlie do well when handling conflict? What did they do not-so-well?

    Teaching Points: Behaviors like healthy conflict and taking responsibility are hard to get right every time. The goal isn’t to be perfect, it’s to recognize when we’re not perfect and apologize, then do better next time.


    Ask: “How can you establish a healthy relationship in the early stages?


    Teaching Points: Starting a relationship with healthy behaviors from the get-go is key to creating agreed-upon expectations to build on. Relationships grow and change over time but talking about your beliefs and values from the start can help you and your partner figure out what will be important to both of you. 


    Everyone can work toward healthier relationships by recognizing and confronting unhealthy behaviors before they escalate or turn into a pattern. Because everyone does unhealthy things from time to time, think of it as a learning opportunity to reflect on how we can respond differently in the future. When conflict arises, make sure to listen to the other person’s feelings, and be confident that your partner cares about your feelings as well.


    Say and Display:

    • We all do unhealthy things sometimes—what matters is that we take responsibility for our actions and work on doing healthy things in the future 
    • A healthy relationship doesn’t mean a “perfect” relationship—love takes practice 
    • No matter your relationship status, it’s important to move at a pace that is comfortable for everyone 


    Ask: “Nick and Charlie both have friends who try to support them in their new relationship. What did their friends do well? What would do you differently if you were in Tao, Elle, or Tara’s position?


    Teaching Points: Elle and Tara are both encouraging and kind to Nick and Charlie when they learn about their new relationship. Tara offers an empathetic ear and respects Nick’s desire for privacy. She validates Nick’s mixed feelings around coming out, and doesn’t tell him how to feel, but instead helps him to lean into the positives of being in a relationship that makes him happy.


    Tao’s response is hard to watch at first, but he eventually comes around. Tao initially tries to stop Charlie from pursuing a relationship with Nick, but not with any malicious intent; rather, he’s worried that Charlie will get hurt by pursuing someone who isn’t interested in him. He later confronts both Nick and Charlie (separately) at Nick’s birthday party after hearing that Nick was planning to take Imogen on a date. Again, the intent is there– Tao believes he’s calling out unhealthy behaviors– but he doesn’t have all the information. In the end, his intervention led to Nick and Charlie having an important conversation, but it could have gone smoother had he led with open ended questions.


    Towards the end of the season (the end of this clip), Tao realizes that Nick does care deeply for Charlie, and switches his tactic. He talks to Nick about how Charlie is feeling about the pace of their relationship, and reassures Nick that Charlie would never want to rush him, but also lets him know that Charlie wants to be more open. Tao does this in a kind and caring way, while still advocating for his friend. This gives Nick the confidence boost he needs to be more open and honest.


    Ask: “Why should we talk to our friends about their relationships? Why is it our business?


    Teaching Points: While 100% of us are in relationships (think classmates, family members, friendships), we're not taught how to talk about them. Truthfully, sometimes we tell ourselves it's easier not to. Getting comfortable with potentially uncomfortable conversations takes time. One of the reasons it's important to move at a comfortable pace in a relationship is to understand whether you are able to have healthy conflict with this new person. If you can be honest and open with a person in your life, and them with you, then you're ready to have balanced conversations about hard things, which is a building block for a strong relationship.


    If the relationship starts to become unhealthy, you might not feel like it's your place to step in, but as a friend, it's important to talk about what you see happening. You might be assuming that if the relationship was that bad, your friend would leave, but it's very common in unhealthy relationships for a person to not realize it's unhealthy until after they’ve left. Even if you're worried that talking to your friend might push them away, you could save their life by starting a conversation. It's better to play it safe than be sorry you didn't speak up.


    Say and Display:

    • You might think it’s not your business to talk to a friend about their relationship, but you should always check in—you might be exactly what they need
    • You can’t tell someone what to do in a relationship, but you can be a caring and supportive friend and help them understand their options

    Extension: Building Healthy Relationships with Ourselves – 10-15 mins
    Set Up: You will need markers, sticky notes, and blank paper for all students

    Instructions for Students:

    Step 1: Draw a stick figure with a big circle around it
    Step 2: Inside the circle, write the things Nick is saying to himself in the video
    Step 3: Outside the circle, write all the messages Nick is hearing about being gay (these don’t have to be directed at him)

    Step 4: Circle all the positive messages

    Step 5: Cross out all the negative messages

    Ask: “What do you notice?

    Now repeat the activity, with a variation:

    Step 1: Draw another stick figure, this is you
    Step 2: Around the stick figure, write the things you say to yourself-– this could be about your abilities, your interests, your identities

    Step 3: Circle all the positive messages

    Step 4: Cross out all the negative messages

    Ask: “How did that feel? What does self-love mean to you?

    You can facilitate this discussion in two ways:

    Option 1: Place all of the sticky notes on the center of a table or wall to show the diversity of beliefs/experiences/definitions of self-love.

    Option 2: Have students fold/crumple up their definition and place/throw it somewhere across the room and/or table. Then tell them to go around the room and pick up a sticky note. If you have time, have each student read aloud the definition of self love that they picked up on their new sticky note.

    Teaching Points: Self-love can look different for everyone, including members of the LGBTQIA+ community, but does not necessarily have to. Part of self-love for LGBTQIA+ individuals may have to do with re-affirming and reflecting on their identities. It’s important to reflect on those identities because doing so allows you to challenge any negative associations you may have with expressing your true self (internalized stigmas, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, etc). Remember, your WHOLE self is AMAZING, no matter who you love or how you identify!

    Ask: “How does the relationship you have with yourself impact the relationships you have with others?

    Teaching Points: Find time for you! Independence is key! It is always easy to get caught up in a relationship. Don’t forget that being ok with who you are comes first and taking time for yourself is a must. Sometimes we forget that we have other interests outside our relationship. Make sure to remember the things that you enjoy!

    Remember, your WHOLE self is AMAZING, no matter who you love or how you identify! Reflect and be honest with yourself about who you are and who you are becoming. What are aspects you want to work on and how you can do so? Making a habit of reflecting like this will allow you to see other sides to things and learn more about yourself. Maybe you want to become even better at treating your partner equally. Go for it!

    Make time for the relationships and hobbies that give you energy. Focusing on the things that are important to us, like our friends, family, and hobbies while taking a break from romantic relationships can often help us remember what we value, how we want to be treated in a future relationship and build back confidence in ourselves.

    Say and Display (if you haven’t covered these points already):

    • The hardest and most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one with yourself—know that you are worthy of love 
    • Healthy relationships with ourselves take practice too. Give yourself the patience and grace that you would give a friend or partner.

    Activity #3: Healthy Relationships in Music – 10-15 mins

    Note from One Love: Please listen to each song prior to playing for your students to ensure that the content and language is appropriate for your specific group. You can just use the selected lyrics, or play the song on Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube.  If neither of these examples resonate with you, feel free to select your own example and use the following as a template.

    Choose one or both examples to discuss with your students

    As You Are – Charlie Puth: The singer shares his commitment to his partner

    'Cause I, I will always love you
    Baby I could never judge you
    I would take you as you are, are, are, are, are
    I, I will always love you
    Baby I could never judge you
    I would take you as you are, are, are, are, are

    You know me like inside and out, how I feel
    Nothing more nothing less you're the real

    I wanna take this time to thank you baby
    For you, I could climb
    Mount Kilimanjaro a thousand times
    Oh my friend, I'll never break your heart again

    Ask: “Which healthy behaviors do you recognize?

    Teaching Points: This is not a perfect relationship, but the singer is trying to practice healthy behaviors as as they move past a conflict. In these verses, we have examples of equality, kindness, respect, and taking responsibility at the end. The taking responsibility isn’t perfect– we’re still not really sure what he’s apologizing for– but there is a commitment to be better going forward, which is an important element.

    Ask: “Based on the lyrics, which healthy behavior do you think is most important to the singer?

    Teaching Points: Some healthy relationship behaviors are going to come more easily than others, and some will require more practice and ongoing awareness of when they can be used. Being aware of values and behaviors that are most important to you reflects each person’s uniqueness! This means that it’s important to have open and honest conversations with your partner about what stands out to each of you. What you believe and value will impact the choices you make in your relationships. For example, if you value independence, you’re going to want to take some time for your own hobbies! That’s something that your partner should know about you.


    Come Close - Common: The singer is fighting with his partner

    Are we living in a dream world?

    Are your eyes still green girl?
    I know you’re sick and tired of arguing

    But you can’t keep it bottled in

    Jealousy, we got to swallow it

    Your heart and mind baby follow it

    Smile, happiness you could model it

    And when you feel opposite

    I just want you to know

    Your whole being is beautiful

    I’m going to do the best I can do

    Cause I’m the best when I’m with you

    Ask: “How do you respond to emotions like anger, sadness, or jealousy in a healthy way?

    Teaching Points: If you’re feeling jealous, calmly talk it out. If there’s a lack of trust in the relationship, it’s usually for a reason. Express your feelings and the worrisome behaviors you’ve noticed to open up the conversation with your partner without blaming them for your feelings. If they shut you down or lash out, that’s a sign that the relationship may be unhealthy. If you are feeling distrustful of your partner, it’s okay to end the relationship. Take some time to think through what you want and why trust was lacking. 

    If you feel your anger escalating, take a break. Take a minute for yourself, and then come back to the conversation when you’re able to approach it in a healthy way. Signs your anger may be escalating are often physical, like heat rising in your chest or needing to move, stomp, etc. Check in on what is making you feel tense. Try and dig beneath the surface of your own reaction and think about where it’s coming from. Once you begin to understand where your feelings are stemming from, you can begin to communicate about it with your partner.


    Ask: “Find your own example! What other songs are about a healthy relationship?”

    Facilitation Tip: If your school blocks access to YouTube, encourage students to use Genius Lyrics to search for examples.

    Say and Display (if you haven’t covered these points already):

    • It’s hard to talk about issues in our relationships, but it’s important. The more you do it, the easier it gets. 
    • If you’re feeling jealous, talk it out! It’s better to be honest than to let unhealthy behaviors take over 

    Wrap-up Activity – 5 mins

    I used to think… Now I think…

    1.  Take a minute to write a couple of ideas starting with, “I used to think...” and then adding a sentence or two about, “Now I think...”
    2.  Share! Break into partners or stay in the whole group. Take 5 minutes for some sharing of the ideas. It’s important for others to hear about how people’s thinking can shift even within the space of just one workshop.



    Additional Resources


    Additional One Love Resources

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