I love working for the Teen Alert Program. One of my favorite things about visiting teens all across Hawai’i is having the chance to hear what they have to say! This month, we worked with students in 7th grade all the way to college age and asked them to come up with some healthy traits for a dating relationship. To no surprise, there were some really great and insightful answers! Respect. Love. Kindness. Equality. Humor. These are just a few of the traits we discussed, but one stood out to me that I heard from multiple groups.
We all have something we love to do or are passionate about. In talking with different groups, I realized what an awesome array of interests and hobbies we collectively have. Some of you shared your love of volleyball. One student’s face absolutely lit up when he told me how much he loves to practice skateboard tricks on the weekend. The answers ranged all the way from Choir to Football to making memes (he even showed me some and they were hilarious!). The message I got here was simple: we all have activities that are important to us, and support from our partner is equally as important.
In speaking with the student who loved skateboarding, I asked, “How might you feel if your partner told you skating was dumb and you needed to stop practicing on weekends in order to spend all your time with her?” He looked stunned and said, “Whoa…do you think someone would actually say that? That’d make me feel like crap.” Unfortunately, as I told him, not every relationship has support from both partners. (But isn’t it so great when it does?!)
So let’s talk about that word. Support. What is it when it comes to hobbies and interests? How do we show it? How do we know if our relationship has it? How do you put it in simple terms?
It doesn’t just mean helping them when they need it.
Supporting your partner means listening to their excitement when they tell you about the newest skate trick they learned. It means they listen to you gush over your new Gryffindor sweater for the third time (even though they’re a die-hard Hufflepuff). It means making time to attend some of their volleyball games and cheering them on from the stands. It means they encourage you to try out for the lead in the school musical despite your fear. It means having a relationship where both people feel heard, cared for, and valued in good times and bad.
Some people may argue that “I love you” is the most romantic thing you could say to a person. Personally, I feel that showing someone this love through action and support means just as much. So what can we say?
“You can do it.”
“Bae, you got this.”
“Is there anything I can do to make you feel more supported?”
And of course…
“I support you no matter what, babe!”
How else can you show support to your partner? Let us know below and share with your friends!