A friendship passes through various stages, and has an optimal pace of development. One important social skill involves understanding the subtle issues of timing and staging in a relationship. Relationships may be doomed if students try to force a friendship to proceed too quickly, or if they move too slowly, and lose interest in each other.
Students who are effective at understanding timing and staging are able to monitor the progress (i.e., stage) of a relationship, as well as how quickly or slowly (i.e., timing) the relationship should progress.
Here are some strategies to help students develop their skills in timing and staging.
- Enhance students’ awareness of verbal and non-verbal indications that interactions and relationships with peers are proceeding too quickly, or too slowly.
- Hand out an advance organizer to help students focus on ways in which the specific skill to be worked on (e.g., pacing relationships) fits into the context of their daily social setting, friendships, etc.
- Use models (from stories, film, etc.) to portray the timely development of relationships, i.e., where peers do not expect too much from each other too quickly.
- Students may benefit from developing their ability to exhibit the appropriate level of social control when interacting with their peers, i.e. relating to others in neither too passive nor too controlling a manner.