What are interpersonal relationships?

When we talk about interpersonal relationships, we refer to the way of bonding that exists between two or more people, based on

What are interpersonal relationships?
What are interpersonal relationships?

When we talk about interpersonal relationships, we refer to the way of bonding that exists between two or more people, based on emotions, feelings, interests, social activities, etc.

These types of relationships are the basis of life in society and occur in different ways in many daily contexts, such as family, friends, the work environment, sports clubs, marriages, and many more, as long as the possibility that two or more people communicate in a sustained way.

Furthermore, they are part of human life at such deep levels that they may even be regulated by law, by convention, or by custom. This creates a complex network of ties and social groups that make up society as a whole. In fact, the management of interpersonal relationships is a fundamental milestone in the growth of the individual.

Types of interpersonal relationships

Interpersonal relationships can be very diverse and complex, and some may not even have a name. But broadly speaking we usually recognize more or less the following:

  • Intimate or affective relationships. Those who pursue a deep connection with other individuals, and who basically understand the different degrees of affection. These are bonds of enormous trust and that seek to last over time, associated with pleasant feelings and protection, solidarity and belonging. Such is the case of love and friendship, for example.
  • Superficial relationships. Those that are handled in an initial layer of knowledge of the individuals, that is, in the formal and not very deep stages, whether they are pleasant or not. These are temporary bonds, not too important or central in the emotional life of the individual (as opposed to intimate ones). It's the kind of relationships we forge with strangers, with people we know to be ephemeral, or with an airplane seatmate, whom we'll never see again.
  • Circumstantial relationships. Those relationships that delve into the intermediate spectrum between the intimate and the superficial, since they involve people with whom we often share, but for whom we do not feel too deeply attached. These types of ties can always transcend and become deep, or diminish until they become superficial. This is what happens with our co-workers, for example.
  • Rivalry relationships. Those that start precisely from enmity, competition or deeper emotions, such as hatred. These are generally negative links, which mobilize our emotions to a greater or lesser extent, but which we do not value as with our intimate relationships, although they can always change category, depending on the circumstances. In this category are our rivals and enemies.
  • Family relationships. In this category are the people with whom we were born and with whom we are linked by a family or genealogical tree, that is, with whom we share a consanguineous link. In many of them there is also a certain principle of authority, and for them we can come to feel love or antipathy. In addition, in general they could be more or less deep or superficial, but unlike the others, they tend to persist enormously over time. Obviously in this category the ideal example is our parents.

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Importance of interpersonal relationships

The management of interpersonal relationships are the basis of the human personality and an inescapable factor in our way of living. This means that they are central to our journey and that they can be a source of enormous satisfaction, or a lot of suffering, depending on the choices we make and the type of links we establish with others.

More harmonious relationships with others tend to generate socially healthier, more flexible and tolerant individuals, or at least with more tools to integrate into the group and deal more successfully with others.

Characteristics of interpersonal relationships

In general, interpersonal relationships:

  • They can be deep or shallow.
  • They can be pleasant or conflictive.
  • They may be best done with a separate individual or with an entire group.

Characteristics depend on the individuals involved and their social skills, many of which are determined throughout key stages of childhood and youth. In this sense, they can be influenced by trauma or critical situations. They are often a clear symptom of our inner life or emotional life.

Examples of interpersonal relationships

It is not difficult to give examples of interpersonal relationships: love, in its enormous and varied range of ties, from filial to erotic, is a common type of interpersonal relationship.

Friendship and companionship, or labor relations and their hierarchical laws, are also good examples. Wherever there are two people interacting, there will be some degree of interpersonal bond.

Communication and interpersonal relationships

Communication is the ability to effectively exchange information. Therefore, it is the basis of all kinds of interpersonal relationships. In fact, for a relationship to emerge between two or more people, they must be able to communicate, even if it is to express displeasure.

In this sense, communication is a crucial and determining ability in our way of establishing ourselves in society. It is even capable of turning superficial or conflictive ties into deep friendships, or dissolving ties that were thought permanent