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22 October - 13 November
FoSS and ESRC logos

How do we Forgive? Forgiving and not forgiving in Friendships, Families, and Romantic Relationships

What’s on offer?

This 1-hour seminar and its activities aims to illuminate the integral, but often unnoticed, role that forgiving (and not forgiving) plays in our personal relationships. Findings from an ongoing sociological research project will be used to highlight the multiple ways in which forgiveness becomes relevant to relationships: from the mundane maintenance of partnerships, and small-scale reconciliations in friendships and families, to recovery from the most challenging of circumstances, transgressions, and betrayals. It is hoped that this talk will engage participants with their own experiences of forgiveness, and get us to think about how relationships can both thrive and suffer in relation to forgiveness.

To illustrate the prevalence of forgiveness in our everyday lives, the event will begin with ‘Forgiveness Bingo’ to engage event participants with the kind of situations in which forgiveness has become relevant in their relationships. Bingo cards will be made up of questions such as, Have you ever forgiven a friend? Have you forgiven someone in the last month? Have you ever been told that you shouldn’t forgive someone? This will be followed by a discussion that seeks to engage with participant’s own feelings and experiences about forgiveness. The discussion will be framed through examples of forgiving and not forgiving, taken from Owen Abbott’s research findings. These will be used to spark debate about what participants in the event think about how they would respond to the circumstances given.

Note on sensitivity

This session will involve discussions of forgiveness in personal relationships that are likely to be sensitive in nature. Participants will be welcomed to reflect on and share their own experiences if they are comfortable doing so, however, you do not have to do so if you do not want to. Discussions of people’s experiences must be respected, and listened and responded to thoughtfully. The event will be supported by OnePlusOne, a charity with over 50 years of experience supporting and strengthening people’s relationships. They will be on hand to provide support to participants should it be required.

Who’s leading the event?

Owen Abbot, Research Associate in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University

Penny Mansfield, Joint Lead Researcher at OnePlusOne

Open to

Part of the premise of the research is that virtually anyone will have had some experience of forgiveness in their relationships, so the event is open to anybody.