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Learning Activities

All Learning Activities

Delaying Tactics

From Reducing The Risk


Students observe the teacher demonstrate and practice delaying skills in role-play situations.


  1. Write the Delaying Tactics (see box below) on the board or flipchart.
  2. For each student, copy Possible Delaying Tactics (Handout 1).
  3. For each student, copy Presents and Flowers (Handout 2).
  4. For each student, copy Observer Checklist (Handout 3).

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Introduce Delaying Tactics (20 - 40 minutes)

  1. Explain that delaying tactics are another way to handle difficult situations and avoid unwanted and unprotected sex. For many reasons, it's usually better to simply say no to offers you don't like. But people often feel confused about how to say no. Others may not have the courage to say no to their friends. Without time to think of what to do, they can impulsively make a poor decision. In such cases people might use a delaying tactic to gain time to think about what they really want. Remember, sooner or later you have to give a clear no message.

  2. Provide an overview of the delay model students will be using (see Delaying Tactics in the box below). List the five behaviors on the board. It is important to point out that an effective delay doesn't need to use all these behaviors. The goal is to end the interaction as quickly as possible and not let it drag on.

Delaying Tactics  

  • Make a delay statement.  
  • Take a delay action.
  • Create space.
  • End the situation quickly.
  • Build the relationship (if appropriate).

  1. Pass out Possible Delaying Tactics (Handout 1). Briefly review the examples and ask students to add additional statements and actions.

Demonstrate and Practice Role Play (5 - 15 minutes)

Pass out Presents and Flowers (Handout 2) and the Observer Checklist (Handout 3) to each student.

 a. Allow the students to write responses that Person 2 in the Presents and Flowers role play could use. Ask them to try to apply one or two of the delaying tactics.
 b. Have two students demonstrate the role play.
 c. Divide into groups with at least two males and two females in each group. The students will rotate between the following four roles:
Student Role Player #1: read lines
Student Role Player #2: respond to lines
Student Observer #1: set the stage for the roleplay and use the Observer Checklist (Handout 3)
Student Observer #2: use the Observer Checklist (Handout 3)
 d. Students should count off in the groups and rotate scripted, unscripted and observer roles. Tell students they don't have to repeat Setting the Stage each time they enact the role play. Once they understand the setting they can go directly to the dialogue. The Observers should look for behaviors that show delaying tactics. It is not necessary to use all the tactics to be effective.
 e. If the groups do not have equal numbers of boys and girls, then have them assume the other role so everyone has the opportunity to participate in both roles. If there is time to go around a second time, the script readers can repeat the script or choose to ad-lib and make up their own lines.

Note to the Teacher
It is important to help groups get going with the role plays. It may be necessary for the teacher to designate who in each group will start the scripted and unscripted roles and to guide the role-play process.

During the role plays, walk around the room to assess how students are using the skill. You may offer coaching if students are stuck or are using the skill incorrectly.

Time each round of practice and tell students when to change roles. Once students become more familiar with this type of practice, you can allow each group to monitor the rounds.

 f. When groups are finished, have students return to the full group and discuss the experience. Use the following points to guide discussion:

  • Identify feelings that came up about using the delaying tactics during the practice. What was easy? What was difficult?
  • Discuss how this situation was or wasn't similar to real life.
  • Discuss any barriers to using the delaying tactics. Have students identify ways to overcome these barriers.
  • Ask what left the biggest impression as a result of the role play.
  • Ask students to identify how they will use delaying tactics in the next week with their friends.