By Leah Rodriguez

What are interpersonal relationships, and how are they defined? First, we need to explain what the word “interpersonal” means. Interpersonal is defined as relating to relationships or communication between people, and relationships is how two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected. In short, it means building connections and relations through everyday occurrences with those around us.

Now, with the word relationships planted right after interpersonal, it may seem as though it has more of a romantic meaning. However, that is not the case because there are four different types of interpersonal relationships: family, friends, acquaintances, and romantic relationships.

Family: Our family members are people we are connected to through some form of kinship, whether it is through blood, marriage, romantic relationships, or adoption. The family includes siblings and parents, who you may see every day growing up, and other relatives such as cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, who you may not see so frequently. 

Friends: Friends are people who we are not related to but choose to interact with. These are people we trust, respect, care about, feel that we can confide in, and want to spend time with. A good friendship should be built on honesty, support, and loyalty. A friendship is a reciprocal relationship; in order for it to exist, both people must see each other as friends. Of course, friendships vary in terms of closeness and who we consider to be our “best friends”.

Acquaintances: Acquaintances are people you may encounter regularly, but they are not friends or relatives. For example, an acquaintance could be a neighbor who you say “hello” to if you see passing, a colleague, or someone you have seen a few times at a social event but do not know very well. It is important to be polite and respectful to acquaintances by having harmonious relationships with them, which is an important way of avoiding stress and conflict.

Romantic: A romantic relationship is the closest form of a relationship, and the two people involved will often describe themselves as being “in love”. They feel an incredibly strong connection and bond with each other that they do not feel with anyone else.

So there it is – a full-proof explanation of what interpersonal relationships are and how we all participate in them, as well as a demonstration of where and how relationships are built through communication. 

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

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