Interpersonal Relationships: Types and Function | Shaves2U

Interpersonal Relationships: Types and Function

The relationships with your family, friends or even the barber that gives you a shave every other month are a form of interpersonal relationship.

A what relationship?

To put it simply, an interpersonal relationship is a bond between two or more people. You create this bond when you and others are brought together through similar interests or common goals.

We need interpersonal relationships to feed our social and emotional needs. A life without these relationships is a life that lacks support and love, and it’s as miserable as it sounds. However, not all interpersonal relationships are the same, and each of them has different expectations and intimacy levels between the individuals.


Different Forms of Interpersonal Relationships

All interpersonal relationships are not the same, but you can generally separate them into four categories: family, friends, romantic partners and business relationships.

  • Family

The first bond we share since our birth is usually with none other than our family members. Family relationships are unique because not only are they often the first bond we have, but it's also the only type of relationship that is not voluntary.

  • Friends

While we can't choose our family, we can choose our friends. Shared experiences and interests usually form the bond between friends, and grow into a stronger relationship as they get to know each other more. Sometimes, you might even feel closer to a friend than your family.

  • Romantic Partners

Relationship with lovers often have the highest intimacy levels, both physically and emotionally. When you have enough love and trust, it may even develop into a familial relationship.

  • Business Relationships

We usually form an interpersonal relationship between family members, friends, and lovers because we enjoy each other's company, but it's not always the case with business relationships. Connections between colleagues and bosses are professional and necessary to achieve a common goal.


The Life Cycle of an Interpersonal Relationship

All interpersonal relationships have a beginning, a life span and an end. You can generally categorise them into five stages: acquaintance, build-up, continuation, deterioration and termination.

The acquaintance stage begins when two people meet for the first time. You start to get to know each other, but you're not necessarily friends yet. The more you talk to each other, the more comfortable it feels to be together.

The build-up stage happens when you start to be friends with another person. At this stage, you'll probably ask to meet them outside of school or work to spend time with that person. The third stage, continuation, comes after this where commitments are made between two people. For example, couples will get married after dating for a few years.

Deterioration happens when misunderstandings and conflicts happen in a relationship. The lack of trust or compatibility causes relationships to fall apart, creating a strain between individuals. If you don't find a solution to a deteriorating relationship, it may end in the termination stage. However, termination doesn't mean the end, as there's a chance that a relationship may go through the first stage again.


Everyone Deserves a Meaningful Relationship

Interpersonal relationships with our family and friends are important because it brings value and colour to our lives. Even in the workplace, you need to form relationships with your colleagues to work together and get jobs done.

Just like how Rome wasn't built in a day, meaningful relationships don't develop in a day. It requires time, patience, and a sense of trust between the individuals. The stronger a relationship gets, the easier it will withstand the test of time.