Interpersonal Relationships

The term ‘interpersonal relationships’ refers to a created bond between two or more people. To dive a bit deeper, it is a close association between individuals sharing common interests and goals.โ  We can break down interpersonal relationships into different categories, familial, friendship, professional, and romantic. Different forms of relationships can develop under each category, however, there are a number of musts for an interpersonal relationship to form.โ โ €โ โ €โ โ €

In order to develop an interpersonal relationship, the following must be met:โ  โ -individuals must share common goals or objectives with similar interestsโ  -individuals must respect each otherโ€™s views and opinionsโ  -there must be some form of attachmentโ  -trust and honesty play a pivotal roleโ โ €

Different Types of Interpersonal Relationships

Familial relationships are the first type of interpersonal bond we form beginning in infancy. Family plays an important role in protecting children and meeting their physical needs for survival while also providing emotional support and education.โ  There are many different roles within the family category of relationships, including mother, father, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Biological kinship and cultural norms define these roles and the nature of each relationship.โ  Familial relationships are the only category of interpersonal relationships which are involuntary. We do not choose the family we are brought up with. (This is up to debate, some cultures/religions state that we choose our parent’s spiritually at the time of conception. Who’s to say who’s religion is correct!) โ Over the course of a lifetime, our role within a family may evolve. We begin being completely dependent on caregivers, however as we age, our caregivers may become more dependent upon children for survival. In many cases, the child can increasingly provide emotional and physical support for their caretakers.โ โ €โ โ €

Friendships can share equal or even greater levels of intimacy than familial because friendships are voluntary, unlike familial relationships.โ  Friendship attachment typically forms through shared interests, experiences, and attitudes.โ  There are many types of friendships we experience throughout life. For today, weโ€™ll focus on the most meaningful type referred to as true friendship.โ โ €โ โ €True friendship can be defined as those who provide emotional support. A trueโ  friendship will remain during good and bad times without exceptions. (This does not indicate a relationship without quarrels, just one that will survive disagreements)โ  Friendships are a two-way street, at the core of every true friendship is trust. Friends are important to help challenge us, support us, and enable us to grow, and vice versa.โ โ €

The people we work with can make all the difference in loving or hating a job.โ  Relationship development among colleagues is important. After all, we may be spending 40+ hours a week with our coworkers. Professional relationships arise out of circumstance. โ โ Beyond working for the same organization, you may have very little interaction with them. There are various types of professional relationships, many of which donโ€™t go beyond acquaintances.โ  A team member may be a co-worker you work closely with regularly, making them slightly more than an acquaintance, but not necessarily someone youโ€™d call a friend.โ  A work friend is someone you have a personal connection with, someone you might have lunch with, sit by in meetings, or attend events with outside of work. As all interpersonal relationships, work relationships should display healthy boundaries, and align with your values and goals as an independent individual. These interpersonal relationships all add up to your overall wellbeing. โ โ €

Romantic relationships are often the most emotionally and physically intimate amongโ  the different relationship categories. Romantic relationships are formed through a deep attachment, passion, trust, and respect. There is usually a mutually strong attraction to both personality and physical attributes.โ  Romantic relationships are the closest form of a voluntary relationship. โ This will lead to a secure connection or bond between two people not shared with anyone else.โ  Romantic relationships meet our need for companionship, belonging, affection,โ  emotional support, and validation.โ  Romantic relationships can be short-lived or develop into a lifelong alliance.โ โ €


Relationships act to serve various functions between individuals. โ Here are two of them:โ  The first important function of relationships is to support thriving through adversity, not only by buffering individuals from negative effects of stress but also by enablingโ  them to flourish either because of or in spite of their circumstances.โ  Thriving through adversity teaches us to appreciate what we have. Adversity is a good reminder that some discomforts in life are only temporary. They act to teach us it is our reactions to a situation that counts rather than the situation itself. โ Relationships can help us develop this important skill.โ  The second important function of relationships is to support thriving in the absence of adversity by promoting full participation in life opportunities for exploration, growth, and personal achievement.โ  Personal growth is extremely important. It allows us to transform and continually work towards becoming the very best versions of ourselves. During life, we experience many phases, and no two phases look alike in any two peopleโ€™s lives.โ โ €โ โ €Relationships help facilitate growth by supporting oneโ€™s journey and sometimes teaching things that have been learned along their individual journey.โ โ €


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