By Peter Baugher
Title IX Coordinator and Youth Protection Officer Ann Booth, Confidential Advocate Katherine Holler and Residence Director Thomas Costello headed up an event on forming healthy romantic relationships and friendships on April 18.
The event, which took place in the lobby of Sts. Louis and Elizabeth Hall, began with Costello asking the men in the room to identify men’s strengths in relationships. A few students suggested that strength fits this category.
Then, Costello asked the women to identify strengths that men bring the to relationship. One student responded that men are naturally inclined to leadership, while another suggested that men are natural problem solvers, adding that the tendency to solve problems can be good or bad depending on the situation.
Holler said that men also tend to be highly analytical and logical, while Costello added that men are natural protecters and providers
Next, the panel discussed the strengths of women in relationships. Students suggested that woman have a lot of empathy and ability to care for others. Booth said that women can provide a safe place for men to be vulnerable, pick up on emotions and subtle social cues, and see the inner worth in others.
The Rev. Christopher Orante, MIC, said that women can provide a great warmth to relationships and more empathy, but warned against stereotypes, saying that everyone should “remember the unique dignity of each person”
Next, the talk transitioned into more practical advice.
First, Costello said that people need to be intentional in relationships, contrasting his experience dating freshmen year to the relationship he formed with his wife.
Costello said that both men and women need to be honest about their feelings towards each other. He told the men in the room to use the word “date” if they are interested in the other person.
Booth and Holler had similar advice to women responding to dates, saying that asking someone on a date requires vulnerability, so women should respect that vulnerability. However, she reminded women that “it’s okay to think for a minute” before responding to a date
On discerning dating, Costello said a person should ask themselves, “are we making each other better?”and if not, it’s probably not a good relationship to be in.
The Title IX office plans to host another event at the end of the semester, but the topic of that talk has not been finalized.