Interpersonal relationships - types, forms and examples in social science

Concept and definition

In lessons, students are usually briefly explained about the relationships between people. A summary that can be used for an essay or message will help you better understand the topic. Interpersonal interaction is formed in a person from birth and throughout life. First, children learn to build relationships with society with the help of parents, educators and teachers. After a certain time, a personality is formed, and subsequent interaction with others depends on his individual characteristics and ability to communicate.

Some believe that any relationship is interpersonal, but many domestic (G.M. Andreeva, L.N. Bogolyubov) and foreign psychologists (J. Moreno, E. Bern) think differently. There are also social connections, which represent the interaction of roles in society. These units are not associated with personality. For example, in a work team, a role is considered to be the director, HR manager, secretary, operator, etc. The relationships between them are formed in accordance with job responsibilities, role behavior and the goals of the social group.

Interpersonal relationships arise and are formed between people on the basis of the various feelings that arise in them towards each other. This interaction has several distinctive features:

  1. Relationships are formed gradually in the process of communication between individuals.
  2. The interaction is based on feelings, emotions and the partners’ assessment of each other.
  3. People act as unique individuals who have their own unique character traits and emotional sphere.
  4. The characteristics of each personality can be stable or even change to the opposite.

Interpersonal communication is individual. There are no two pairs of personalities that have the same relationship. The development of interpersonal relationships depends on the nature of the interaction and the emotions of people.


Anyone can adjust their communication style in the right direction in order to establish harmonious relationships in a family or team. The beginning of such work is psychological testing, which helps to establish the individual’s real attitude towards others, his innate abilities and inclinations. There are many tests to determine personal communication style.

The most popular of them are:

  • Test of interpersonal relationships by American psychologist Timothy Leary, created in 1950, adapted for the Russian-speaking environment by Lyudmila Sobchik. The purpose of the test is to determine the personal image of oneself and the predominance of the type of communication. The test consists of 2 parts and contains 128 statements about a person’s character. How he sees himself ideally and in the present period. The test can be used for personal assessment and for assessing a person “from the outside.” It is also possible to determine the degree of objectivity of self-assessment.
  • The Persistence-Acquiescence Test is one of a series of interpersonal tests created by Hans Eysenck and Glen Wilson. The 210 questions have "yes" and "no" answer options. Using the test, the basic characteristics of an individual’s communication are determined: aggressiveness or flexibility, the ability to manipulate, the desire for leadership or subordination.
  • “Diagnostics of communicative aggression” is a technique developed by Russian psychologist Viktor Boyko. The test allows you to determine the degree of aggressiveness in a relationship and the ability to switch. The “Aggression Index” is based on 11 parameters.
  • “Diagnostics of the type of communicative attitude” was created under the leadership of Viktor Boyko to determine the presence and magnitude of the manifestation of negative attitudes in communication. The test consists of 25 questions that have “yes” and “no” answer options.
  • The Interpersonal Relations Questionnaire by the American psychologist William Schutz is designed to determine the communicative characteristics of a person.
  • The SMIL test was developed according to the basic method of L. Sobchik creates a complete psychological portrait of a person, including his communication styles. To get complete information about yourself you need to spend time and answer 567 questions. But there is also a shortened version of 65 questions.

Nowadays, you can take many tests and get results within a few minutes on the Internet online for free. The disadvantage of such studies is that a person who is not a specialist in the field of psychology cannot always objectively evaluate the test results. For serious research, it is better to contact a professional consultation center.

Psychological centers often conduct diagnostics of styles and other components of communication in the business sphere. Such services can be ordered by companies to assess the level of employees, or by individuals. The cost of services depends on the choice of specialist and the range of studies. The approximate initial cost of one test with comments from a psychologist is about 1,500 rubles.

Emotional side

Many psychologists consider the emotional component to be the basis in interpersonal interaction. Even with the business nature of the relationship, after some time people form the emotions that they evoke in each other. Empathy is important in such relationships. It means conscious empathy for a partner and a desire to support or help him.

The productivity of joint activities and the psychological climate in the group, which has a positive effect on relationships between people, depend on the emotional side of interpersonal relationships. In a family, a favorable atmosphere is formed on the basis of trust, affection and mutual care.

People who have empathy know how to rejoice in the successes of others. They are better predisposed to forming harmonious relationships with others, and others enjoy communicating with positive-minded individuals. Mutual hostility creates an unfavorable psychological climate, which causes anxiety in people and discourages contact.

The role of feelings and emotions in social relationships

All types of contacts between people are very closely interconnected, for this reason it is extremely difficult to distinguish between them. Also, interpersonal relationships are based on human feelings and emotions. The sensual development of relationships is characterized by both positive and negative emotional manifestations.

When we meet any new person in our lives, we immediately evaluate him - whether he is sympathetic to us or, on the contrary, extremely antipathetic. Based on this, the foundation for future contacts begins to be laid. All types of interpersonal relationships are built on this principle.

People who have a sense of empathy, know how to empathize and rejoice in the successes of others, are more predisposed to building harmonious relationships with others. Such individuals are conducive to communication, it is pleasant to contact them, you want to continue the connection, and also give in return those positive vibes that come from harmonious, positively minded people.

Relationship levels

Interpersonal connections differ in different depths and degrees of individual involvement in this process. These nuances allow us to distinguish 3 levels of relationships:

  1. Perceptual. At this level, individuals perceive each other. They try to recognize and understand the individual traits, characteristics and other characteristics of their partner. Although relationships are just beginning, sometimes people immediately feel like or dislike from the first meeting.
  2. Mutual attraction or repulsion. At the second level, the resulting feeling of sympathy makes people try to find out more about their partner. They try to find new features in another person. If individuals experience hostility towards each other, this emotion intensifies and develops into hatred.
  3. Interactive. People who feel sympathy for their partner begin to actively communicate and look for common interests. Individuals who hate each other and cannot avoid contact also interact, but on the basis of conflicts.

These levels go through all interpersonal interactions. When a relationship reaches its maximum level of emotionality, feelings begin to wane. They become an attachment or a habit. And hatred is replaced by ordinary hostility.


Communication style in psychology does not have a clear unambiguous definition. Representatives of various psychological schools interpret the concept in their own way.

So, the style of communication as interpreted by theorists is:

  • A constant way of building relationships for a particular person in various areas, which is an individual trait (Levin).
  • The form in which the exchange of acts of communication occurs (E. Subbotsky).
  • The model of communication between people that an individual prefers (S. Bratchenko).

Modern psychological schools, summarizing the experience of previous and the latest research, define the concept of communication style as an individually constant form of a person’s communicative behavior depending on the conditions of interaction.

Classification of relationships

Interpersonal connections are classified according to various criteria, for example, by purpose and nature. In educational literature they are presented in tables that can be used for lesson presentations.

According to the purpose, interpersonal connections are primary and secondary. In the first case, people communicate with each other on equal terms, without needing anything. Secondary relationships are formed when there is some need, for example, the provision of help or service from one person to another.

By nature, formal and informal (unofficial) connections are distinguished. The first relationship is based on adherence to strict rules of communication and the absence of choice of partner. Typically, such interaction is typical in a business environment. There are no boundaries for informal contacts . They are characterized by emotions, personal preferences and the ability to choose a partner for interaction.

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.

Types of interactions

Interpersonal relationships are also divided into several types. Each variety has its own characteristics.

Main types of interpersonal relationships:

  1. Familiar. This type of interaction is considered the most extensive and includes many people from the environment. This type of connection even includes people who are familiar to a person only visually.
  2. Buddies. Such connections are based on mutual affection, as well as the desire of both parties to spend time together and maintain relationships.
  3. Comrades. The participants in these relationships are united by common activities. Individuals who maintain companionship have a common goal that they wish to achieve in the group.
  4. Friends. Forming these relationships requires a lot of time, effort and certain personal qualities. Such connections bring great benefits to a person emotionally. In addition, friends provide each other with moral support and try to help in various matters.
  5. Love relationship. Harmonious connections develop against a favorable background and also require a lot of effort and time. Love is a powerful driving force that not everyone can comprehend. The formation of love relationships depends on the individual characteristics of individuals and the ability to find a suitable partner.

The building of any interpersonal connections depends on the people themselves. If a person understands his responsibility for interacting with another person, this shows the importance of the relationship itself.

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.

Other types of connections

Some psychologists divide interpersonal interactions into other 4 groups. One of them is represented by rational relations. Such connections involve the receipt of benefits or benefits for all participants in this relationship. Emotional relationships are based on personal preferences and feelings, which can be both positive and negative. Relationships with a favorable psychological climate include love and friendship. Antipathy and enmity represent relationships with negative emotions.

Interpersonal connections can be equal. In this case, communication between members of the same group is based on equal rights. Such relationships are characterized by complete freedom of choice. In subordination interaction, a clear hierarchy prevails. For example, this could be the relationship between a boss and his subordinates.

Friendship, camaraderie

For every person, reliable friends are of great value. There are many sayings, proverbs, and fairy tales on the topic of the importance of friendship in human life. There may be many friends, acquaintances, comrades, but only a select few become friends.

Friendship is a selfless interpersonal relationship based on sympathy, affection, common views on life and goals. The following qualities distinguish true friends from acquaintances:

  1. The ability and desire to come to the rescue in difficult times;
  2. The ability to keep secrets (this is how trust is established);
  3. Lack of envy, a feeling of joy in the event of sudden luck, happiness befalling a friend;
  4. Empathy, interest in a friend’s life, his well-being;
  5. True to your word.

To find a true friend, you yourself need to try to possess the above qualities, because friends are chosen based on their common interests, character, and perception of the world.

Partnership is mutual assistance, respect and goodwill between the participants in the relationship. Comrades do not communicate as closely and confidentially as friends, but their relationships are also built on sympathy and common interests. Most often, they become comrades by engaging in common activities: study, work, progress towards a common goal.

Example. There are 25 students in 6-a. The whole class has good relationships and there are no conflicts. All classmates are friends with each other, but everyone in the class has only 1-2 real friends.

Basics of proper communication

The inability to build relationships often becomes a problem in interpersonal interactions. If a person is afraid or does not know how to establish contacts, the development of connections is unlikely to be successful. Sometimes situations arise when a person cannot find the necessary words or expressions for a constructive dialogue. Because of this, misunderstandings arise in relationships.

The following tips from psychologists will help you learn to communicate with others faster:

  1. You must be able to listen to your interlocutor and be interested in what he says.
  2. A person needs to watch his facial expressions and smile more often.
  3. When communicating, a partner should be called by name more often, when pronounced, its owner experiences positive emotions.
  4. Speech is pleasant to the ear if it does not contain filler words.
  5. A person needs to watch his intonation. An indifferent tone discourages the desire to continue communication.
  6. A person who speaks clearly and beautifully is pleasant to listen to. When a person clearly expresses his thoughts, they will be understandable to the interlocutor.
  7. People need to regularly replenish their vocabulary in order to correctly structure their speech and understand others.
  8. If an individual feels fear when interacting with others, he needs to show willpower and work on his communication skills.

Any person is born and is in society throughout his life. It is impossible to isolate oneself from everyone, although a person can reduce the types of interpersonal connections and leave only the types of relationships necessary for it. However, only the successful creation of communicative interaction contributes to harmonious personal growth.

Mistakes that lead to divorce

All people make mistakes. Some get married and, although they make mistakes, continue to live happily ever after. And some people make mistakes that lead to the breakdown of relationships.

What mistakes do women make that will sooner or later lead to family breakdown?

  • Unjustified expectations . When choosing a partner, choose the person who meets your ambitions. And if you choose someone else, then do not have any complaints against him and do not try to make him the way you want;
  • Children come first . When children appear in the family, many women stop paying attention to their husbands and take care only of the children. And this can put a marriage at risk. Marriage is a relationship between a woman and a man, and children are the fruit of their love. If a woman turns all her attention and care to children, gradually two lovers turn into people simply living next to each other;
  • Constant reproaches and criticism . The husband perceives criticism from his wife as disrespect for himself. Moreover, he painfully perceives reproaches expressed in front of strangers. You can't compare him to other men. Be tolerant, do not offend each other. Before you say anything, think about how to hurt your significant other less;
  • Total control . A wife makes the mistake of controlling her husband in everything. She checks his phone, social media pages. If he went to see friends, he calls every 10 minutes and finds out when he will come home. Constantly trying to control your husband can result in divorce;
  • Silencing problems . Although women are more emotional than men, they do not always prefer to express their grievances out loud. Over time, they accumulate, and as a result, the woman dumps them on the man’s head in the most derogatory form. You need to talk about your problems, because a man does not know what you are thinking about and cannot read your thoughts;
  • Challenging supremacy . The wife makes a mistake when she starts to find out who is in charge in the house. Perhaps she thinks there is nothing wrong with it. But in this way she undermines her husband’s authority;
  • Solving financial issues . When a couple enters into a relationship, they should immediately discuss their approach to finances: how the money earned will be spent and how much of it should be saved. Problems can arise due to abuse and excessive spending by one of the spouses. To avoid financial conflicts, it is worth discussing in advance how much money will be spent on the needs of the family and how much you can spend on yourself;
  • Avoidance of intimacy . It is important for a man to feel loved. If he lacks the affection of his wife, he will look for her on the side. And if he finds what he needs there, he will leave the family. You can't punish him by not having sex. Over time, this may become a reason for divorce;
  • Wrong choice of partner . Some women, when making their choice, deliberately choose a man who is not suitable for them. They naively believe that they can re-educate him and make him the way they want him. It will not happen. We must understand that the main condition of marriage should be mutual love.
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