Interpersonal relationships - what they are, examples, what are their features, types, structure

“Communication” is one of the central categories in modern psychology and is on a par with such concepts as “personality”, “behavior” and “thinking”. Interpersonal communication is expressed in attempts to establish and further develop relationships between two or more persons. It involves the implementation of mutual influence on a certain regulation of the actions of all participants in the process, as well as on their individual behavior, intentions and views.

What are interpersonal relationships?

It is generally accepted that interpersonal relationships are a special type of interaction between people in society that develops between individuals. In any human group they begin with the birth of a baby and end only with his death. This set of interactions between people is based on existing connections and occurs through different methods of communication:

  1. Visual or non-verbal, which includes appearance, posture and gestures.
  2. Verbal or linguistic, that is, oral speech.
  3. Affective, expressed by means of sound expression: laughter, crying.
  4. Some scientists also include here complex languages ​​built as a result of the development of society: economic, political.

Examples of Interpersonal Relationships

Every day, individuals in any social group can see many examples of interpersonal relationships between people and become direct participants in them:

  1. At home, when people wake up, they begin to interact with those with whom they live together. These could be children, parents, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, etc.
  2. During the day, you can trace the business relationships that develop between individuals, for example, between a student and a teacher, or employees of different departments of the same company.
  3. Vivid examples include interactions with friends and acquaintances, a trainer at a fitness club, a regular client and hairdresser, and other social contacts.

Interpersonal communication among young people

In adolescence and adolescence, an individual begins to form interpersonal relationships with parents, classmates, teachers, friends, representatives of all layers and groups of society. During this period, teenagers become irritable and intolerant. Some of them have a tendency towards aggression. They talk loudly and become emotional.

By the age of 16, most young people begin a period of self-affirmation and self-discovery. They perceive all events that occur critically. Problems of interpersonal communication in the youth community most often result from a lack of compassion and unwillingness to conform to accepted standards of behavior.

What are the main features of interpersonal relationships?

There are also features of interpersonal relationships that make it possible to recognize this type of interaction:

  1. They are always based on conscious or unconscious emotional assessments of partners.
  2. In interpersonal relationships, individuals always appear unique and inimitable, with a set of character traits and emotional characteristics unique to them.
  3. Such interaction cannot be considered a spontaneous act, that is, it is formed over a certain time when people communicate with each other.
  4. The nature of such interaction is not constant. Relationships can develop dynamically and change the vector of their emotional coloring, sometimes to the exact opposite.

Unconventional relationships between a man and a woman

Relationships are:

  • Healthy;
  • Unhealthy;
  • Affiliate;
  • Dependent;
  • Happy;
  • Destructive;
  • Strong and not too strong;
  • Non-standard (polygamous).

Polygamous relationships are those in which there is no sexual attachment only to the husband or wife. In such a union, the wife or husband has one or more sexual partners.

Types of polygamous relationships

Polygamous relationships have several varieties:

  • Polyandry is when a wife has several husbands. There are practically no such marriages in the modern world. After all, a woman should be a standard of morality and ethics. The rarity of this type of polygamy is explained by the fact that women generally prefer to belong to one man and remain faithful to their husband throughout their lives;
  • Polygyny is when a husband has several wives. This type is typical for Muslims, who are traditionally allowed to have several wives;
  • Bigamy is bigamy. In some countries this is permitted by law. Here in Russia it is prohibited. Before starting a second family, a man must divorce his first.

Why do polygamous relationships occur?

A man develops a desire to have several partners at once for several reasons:

  • Lack of parental love in childhood. If a child, due to the constant employment of his parents, feels constantly unnecessary and unloved, growing up, he tries to compensate for the lost love with the help of other people. This way he increases his self-esteem and feels more confident;
  • Parental overprotection. All parents want their child to grow up in love and care. Therefore, they sometimes overprotect him and indulge all his whims. When he becomes an adult, his habit of being the center of attention remains. Therefore, he has many sexual partners and considers this normal;
  • Psychological complexes. This applies more to men. They are afraid of the responsibility for a serious relationship, and they try to prove their success through numerous sexual relationships;
  • Infantility. Some people, having already become adults, continue to behave and think like children. They do not want to get married for fear of taking responsibility for another person. Therefore, they lead open relationships and do not consider it necessary to remain faithful to one person.

Infantilism is immaturity in development, preservation in behavior of traits inherent in previous age stages.

Source Wikipedia

Types of interpersonal relationships

Scientists identify different types of interpersonal relationships, depending on the classification criterion. According to the method of interaction there are:

  1. Formal
    , that is, normatively provided for and enshrined in official documents.
  2. Informal
    or those that develop between people based on their preferences, beliefs, temperaments, etc.

According to the area of ​​occurrence there are:

  1. Production
    , that is, between employees of the same organization, aimed at solving work problems.
  2. Household
    , that is, all those that arise in the ordinary life of an individual.
  3. Economic
    , in which each individual can act as both a buyer and a seller.
  4. Legal
    or those established by law.
  5. Political
    , concentrating around issues of power.
  6. Moral
    and aesthetic ones arise on the basis of people’s attractiveness to each other, their moral qualities and foundations.

An interesting classification is the division of interpersonal relationships according to emotional orientation:

  1. Positive
    , that is, those interactions that are based on love, friendship or emotional intimacy.
  2. Neutral
    or not emotionally charged: conformism, selfishness, indifference.
  3. Negative
    : hostility, hatred, aggression and other feelings guide the subjects of such relationships.

What are the relationships between a man and a woman?

All people are different, each has their own temperament and character. Therefore, the relationships between people are also different.

They are:


This option is the most common. Its advantage is that all responsibilities between partners are divided equally. And when conflict situations arise, they discuss them and find a solution that suits both. Partners in this union are usually already fully realized people.

But this union also has disadvantages. Each partner does not ask for help from the other, but relies only on himself. It is more suitable for a man, because he is comfortable in it. A woman lacks a surge of emotions, and sooner or later she will want to find a person with whom she will feel like a weak woman.


All the attention of a woman and a man is directed to romance and feelings. They are a mutual source of inspiration and support. They do not notice everyday troubles. Immersed in their relationships, they do not pay attention to their development. They are only comfortable when they are together.


In this union, the woman is the most active. And if she does not reproach her partner for weakness, the union will be quite strong.


Typical and one of the most common relationships between a man and a woman. He is the breadwinner, she is the keeper of the hearth.


A woman is a muse for a man, inspiring him to great deeds. He idolizes her.

The structure of interpersonal relationships

Sociologists argue that the concept of interpersonal relationships always has a certain structure, consisting of the following components:

  1. Cognitive or cognitive component. It is believed that this is the basis of interpersonal relationships, because thanks to such mental processes as sensation, perception, memory, thinking and imagination, the characteristics of partners are learned and mutual understanding is established.
  2. The behavioral component, that is, direct actions, words and deeds in the process of relationships.
  3. Affective or emotional component. This includes the individual's feelings and emotions about specific relationships and with other people.

Formation of interpersonal relationships

Classical psychology of interpersonal relationships studies the following characteristics of their formation:

  1. Dynamics, that is, emergence, strengthening or weakening, reaching a certain level of maturity, weakening and other processes that can succeed each other in different sequences.
  2. Mechanism for regulating interpersonal relationships. This can include both the moral and ethical characteristics of the individuals themselves, as well as existing regulations, instructions, etc.
  3. Development conditions, that is, a set of external factors under which interaction has a certain dynamics and emotional overtones.

Levels of interpersonal relationships

Based on the degree of involvement of individuals and the different depth of connections, interpersonal relationships in a group are divided into the following levels:

  1. Perceptual
    , in which partners perceive and understand each other’s personality traits. That is, interaction is just beginning and partners try to evaluate each other in a certain way.
  2. Level of attraction or repulsion
    . After the perception between partners has completed, they either try to understand each other more deeply and find new points of contact, or distance themselves from each other as much as possible. At this level, one person may be looking for a meeting, while another, on the contrary, may avoid contact as much as possible.
  3. Interactive
    The emotional connection in a relationship needs to be nourished, so individuals begin to either actively cooperate or conflict to a certain extent.

Modern trends in the development of interpersonal relationships

With the development of society, the connection between people undergoes certain changes. In the modern globalized world, interpersonal connections are characterized by:

  1. Deeper personification of personality. Individuals are more fully aware of the characteristics of their personality and partner.
  2. The growth of education and the needs of each of the participants in the interaction.
  3. Increasing the distance between generations and reducing the time an individual spends in the family.
  4. There are more and more superficial verbal contacts and interactions with the media.
  5. Accumulating information takes longer than discussing it. The emotional background of communication decreases.

Difficulties and defects

Difficulties in communication lead to ineffective interactions. There are two groups of difficulties:

  • objective (obvious to interlocutors and manifest themselves directly during communication and bring a feeling of dissatisfaction tied to the process and results of contact);
  • subjective (not obvious to the participants in the interaction and can manifest itself in the form of a lack of initiative, uncertainty and shyness of the individual).

Difficulties are also divided into primary and secondary.

The first category includes communication problems that arise due to a person’s character.

The second category includes difficulties associated with negative social experiences.

Communication defects are personality traits that interfere with the creation and strengthening of social connections. These include flaws in upbringing, selfishness, tactlessness, rudeness, excessive curiosity, arrogance, the habit of being biased towards opponents, etc.

Building interpersonal relationships

In order to establish a stable relationship between people, it is important to know the rule of successful relationship building, which many psychologists have been talking about for a long time. These include:

  1. A competent start to communication: pleasant appearance, open posture, non-aggressive facial expressions and gestures.
  2. Correct construction of dialogue: refusal of open denials, unreasonable disputes and conflicts, attentive listening.
  3. The desire to understand the characteristics of the partner and accept them.
  4. Respect the opinion of the interlocutor.
  5. Preserving your reputation and maintaining the importance of your partner.

Conflicts in interpersonal relationships

Among the things that interfere with interpersonal relationships, conflicts are always located separately. It is believed that this is an inevitable clash of different opinions, judgments and actions that are characteristic of different individuals. Conflicts can arise for each person with different partners, but the form of such confrontation will differ:

  1. In constructive conflicts, individuals try to solve the problem that has arisen or take relationships to a new, better level.
  2. In destructive conflicts, individuals try to show their importance or “push through” their own position. Such relationships are doomed to failure and degradation.

Forms and methods of interpersonal communication

The following forms of interpersonal communication are considered:

  1. Dialogue. The form of communication in the form of dialogue is considered the most positive. Relationships are built taking into account the openness and equality of partners.
  2. Manipulation. Manipulation is a form of communication that involves influencing a partner in order to realize desires and intentions that are hidden from him or replaced by others.
  3. Imperative. Imperative communication includes an authoritarian form of influence on the interlocutor, the desire of which is to directly incline him to certain actions. They can be interpreted as orders, demands or instructions.

The dynamics of building interpersonal relationships directly depends on the age of individuals, their nationality and gender.

Women are more dependent on the intensity of interpersonal communication. They feel more acutely the need to convey their personal information to others. They are more worried and depressed by loneliness.

Psychologists call empathy the main component of relationships and various types of communication—the conscious empathy of one person for another. The communication process is very complex. It is different in its manifestations and forms, and is extremely important both for the individual and for the entire society.

Methods for diagnosing interpersonal relationships

Professional diagnostics of interpersonal relationships can be carried out using the following methods:

  1. Observation, for example, the technique of F. Cronget and A. Moller, in which a person from the outside analyzes a real life situation or views an event in a recording and then analyzes it.
  2. An experiment, for example, the famous situational test by R. Bales, in which each action of a subject in a specific group and simulated situation is coded in a certain way.
  3. Tests, this includes both questionnaires, for example, T. Leary’s method for diagnosing interpersonal relationships, and projection techniques: drawings, color tests, etc.

Techniques for self-regulation of behavior

Self-regulation is the control of one’s own psycho-emotional state using certain thinking, images, body and breathing control.

Natural techniques are the simplest group of techniques that do not require additional effort or concentration. This may include:

  • humor, laughter;
  • positive perception (reproduction of pleasant images, events, scenarios, etc. in the head);
  • relaxing movements (stretching, ongoing control of muscle tone, etc.);
  • contemplation (observation of paintings, nature, interior elements, etc.);
  • compliments to the interlocutor.

Self-regulation through breathing control is the use of special breathing techniques .

Such techniques affect the muscles, nerve center, blood circulation, etc.

For example, taking slow breaths, holding your breath, or yogic breathing allows you to quickly calm down and relax.

Methods associated with controlling muscle tone are based on the principle of conscious concentration . A person identifies clamps and blocks, after which, with a strong-willed effort, he eliminates overvoltage.

Self-regulation with the help of words is based on a person’s ability to formulate thoughts in language. The two most popular methods in this category are self-orders and self-programming.

An individual formulates certain attitudes and then mentally reproduces them in order to tune in to a certain state or result.

There are other effective techniques, such as art therapy, exercise sets, the use of associations, etc.

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