Relationship Therapy - Why Are Close Relationships So Important?

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 Therapy

The Six Components/Parts of Relationship Therapy.

1. Knowledge

People 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. Caring

People in close relationships also feel more care or affection for one another than they do for most of others.

3. Interdependence

The 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. Mutuality

Close 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. Trust

People 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.

Relationship TherapyCloseness 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 Relationships

Breaking 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.