Why Are Close Relationships So Important?
Social psychology is the scientific study of the causes and consequences of people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions regarding themselves and other people. It is a set of concepts and discoveries that can fundamentally expand and enrich your understanding of yourself, of those in your social sphere, and of events in the world around you.
Relationships come in all shapes and sizes, including casual acquaintance relationships, life partners, and what can only be described as “It’s complicated,” popularized by Facebook.
We all have a sense that close relationships are different from our casual interactions with strangers and acquaintances, but what exactly makes them special? According to both scholars and laypersons, closeness involves six components: knowledge, caring, interdependence, mutuality, trust, and commitment.
Relationship TherapyThe Six Components/Parts of Relationship Therapy.
1. KnowledgePeople in close relationships know a lot about each other, and they are comfortable sharing intimate, often confidential, information about their personal histories, feelings, and desires that they do not typically share with casual acquaintances.
2. CaringPeople in close relationships also feel more care or affection for one another than they do for most of others.
3. InterdependenceThe closer people are, the more they experience interdependence (depending on each other): What each person does significantly influences what the other person does over long periods of time.
4. MutualityClose relationships are also characterized by a high degree of mutuality: Partners acknowledge that their lives are intertwined, and they think of themselves as a couple instead of two separate individuals “me” and “you”.
5. TrustPeople in close relationships also trust each other, meaning that they expect their partners to treat them with fairness, to be responsive to their needs, and not to cause them unnecessary harm.
6. Commitment.Closeness is defined by a high degree of commitment, meaning that partners invest time, effort, and resources in their relationship with the expectation that it will continue indefinitely.
Relationships that include all six of these components are the most satisfying and feel happy and enjoy being closer to each other. Nevertheless, closeness can exist to varying degrees when only some of these components are present. For instance, roommates who frequently influence each other (interdependence) and treat each other fairly (trust) are likely to feel closer to each other than they do to acquaintances, but not as close as they feel in relationships that include more components.
Parasocial RelationshipsBreaking down closeness into these components helps us to understand a curious but common phenomenon: People can feel surprisingly close to others whom they’ve never met face to face, and even to others who do not exist outside the world of fiction. We’re referring, of course, to people’s relationships with those in the media:- television characters, celebrities, talk-show hosts, athletes, Footballers, and fictional characters in soap operas and novels. These are called parasocial relationships. Unlike real close relationships with people we know personally, parasocial relationships lack inter-dependency: Media personalities influence fans’ lives, but fans do not normally influence the personalities’ lives. Fans believe that they know the media personalities, they care what happens to them, and they are committed to following and supporting them.
The Benefits Of Close Relationships.
Because close relationships involve a high degree of care, inter-dependency, and commitment, they can be very demanding. Your friends, family members, and romantic partners all expect you to respond to their needs in various ways, and often that means sacrificing your desires, your freedom, and even some of your aspirations. Close relationships can also turn to be the source of extreme stress, frustration, and emotional pain if the core principles are not followed.
Close relationships have many practical benefits, meaning that they facilitate our day-to-day activities. They allow us to pool resources and share labour. Relationships rule! Also, when we are distressed because we face a problem that is difficult to understand, others can provide much-needed advice and consolation.
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