Likes and Dislikes Print

A Lesson Plan from Life Planning Education: A Youth Development Program (Chapter Four)

NOTE:  Life Planning Education (LPE) is currently being revised. The printed/for-sale version includes an older version of this lesson plan. Please make sure you have looked at the PDF of Life Planning Education before purchasing - that is the version that is available to buy. 

To identify qualities to like and dislike in the other gender

Newsprint and markers or board and chalk; masking tape

Time: 40-50 minutes

Planning Notes:
This activity focuses on relationships with people of the opposite sex, but not necessarily romantic relationships. Outline a list of instructions for Step 3 and a list of rules for reporting for Step 5.


  1. Explain that participants will explore and identify things they like and dislike about members of the other sex. This will include roles as sisters or brothers, friends, classmates, romantic partners, and other roles.
  2. Explain that the adolescents will work in small, same sex groups.
  3. Divide participants into two all female and two all male groups. Distribute newsprint and markers and review the instructions you outlined:
    • In your group, brainstorm: (a) things you really like in a person of the other sex and, (b) things you really dislike.
    • Focus on behaviors or physical characteristics that can be changed. Don’t focus on traits people can’t change, such the color of their eyes or their height.
    • For what you like, think about what makes you enjoy talking and being with people of the other sex.
    • For what you dislike, think about what discourages you from meeting or spending time with a person of the other sex.
  4. Allow five minutes to work on the list of likes. Then say that the groups have five more minutes to work on the list of dislikes.
  5. After 10 minutes, bring the groups together to share their results. Post and go over the rules for reporting:
    • When the females report, the males cannot argue or make comments about what the females say. They can, however, ask questions if they do not understand something.
    • When the females finish, the males will restate the major points the females made about what they like and dislike in males.
    • After the males have restated the females’ major points, they can comment on what the females have said, using “I statements” only. For example, a male participant may say, “I don’t think that all males are insensitive I think that’s an unfair statement.” He cannot say, “You are crazy and your statements are unfair.”
    • We will use the same rules when the males report.
  6. Conduct the reporting process using the above rules and do not allow participants to make inappropriate comments to groups of the other sex. Encourage the groups to listen to each others’ points, rather than to argue. Point out that people rarely have an opportunity to hear from the other sex about things they like or dislike. Pay particular attention to each group’s restatements of the major points made by the other sex.
  7. Conclude the activity using the discussion points below.
Discussion Points:
  1. What differences of opinion did you hear in your groups?
  2. What did the females learn that surprised them about what males like and dislike? What did the females learn that made them feel especially good?
  3. What did the males learn that surprised them about what females like and dislike? What did the males learn that made them feel especially good?
  4. What different things do you think you would put on these lists if you were all about 10 years older, say in your mid-20’s, and you were working with colleagues of the other sex?
  5. If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change about the other sex?
Life Planning Education, Advocates for Youth, Updated 2009.

Adapted with permission from Life Skills & Opportunities, Vol. 1, Public/Private Ventures, Philadelphia, PA, 1992.
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