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No One is an Island: The Need for Relationships

No One is an Island: The Need for Relationships

Author: marlene johnson

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand the importance of the human need for relationships

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No one is an Island: The Need for Relationships

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When parties are in conflict they are always in some sort of relationship. Conflict involves parties in relationship of some sort and relationships are something that are very important to all of us as human beings. I'm Marlene and in this tutorial I'd like to take up the subject of relationships.

Now we are all social beings and we have an inborn need to relate, it's in our very genetic code because we need to live in groups in order to survive in nature, family groups, tribal groups, community groups. So a relationship really is a group of two or more that share a sense of interdependence formed around common goals, values, and shared experiences. So our shared experiences and our goals and our values are what bind us together. Now, this could be on a level as a country. We all Americans, we feel that we have a relationship with our fellow citizens and it could be within our communities, with our friends, and of course with our family.

So we have different kinds of relationships, but relationships all develop basically from ongoing shared experiences. So when we're younger and we're in school we may have our friends that we are in school, then we form relationships with them. We form relationships with families perhaps who have children if we're raising children. We have relationships at work, people that we're working on projects with and those relationships become important to us. Relationships at places of worship, clubs we belong to, so all of these different places in our life brings them to contact the people we form relationships.

And out of these relationships there becomes an interdependence and an interdependence is a state in which each member of a relationship is mutually dependent on the others. Now it could be emotional, economical, ecologically, or morally reliant on one another and responsible to each other. So we come to feel a sense of mutual responsibility for one another and this inner sense of interdependence is really based on the positive relationships we have with one another, the more experiences we share together, perhaps how long-term the relationship is, there's a sense of belonging together and a sense that we have to care for one another mutual interests are in each other's welfare and needs.

We can see this coming on a larger level a society level when there's been a disaster and we all bind together as citizens, as countrymen to come to help one another when there's been some sort of natural disaster or tragedy in a community there's that interdependence. Of course, we see it very close to home in our own families. We say we'd do anything to protect our families and we come dependent of course on our communities to help protect us the police department, the fire department. We're dependent on people to bring us our food. So these energy dependences form within our communities, within our families, within the larger society as a whole.

Now the more we have a shared experience the more we're willing to really go to bat for one another, to really seek to help someone meet their welfare and their needs. Some cases this may mean we'll go to war to protect our country, because there's a strong sense of being an American and defending the relationship we have with our fellow citizens and the right to live in this country, so on that level we feel interdependence and a need to protect our mutual interests. And we certainly feel it of course on a very personal level within our families.

So relationships are key to who we are in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. They fit right into under love and belonging, we all have a very strong need to feel connected to one another and these connections of course are based on the interdependence we feel with one another, whether it be on a very close level which is familial, or it be on a larger scale, which is societal.

So I've enjoyed being part of this tutorial and I look forward to next time.

Terms to Know

A state in which each member of a relationship is mutually dependent on the others (e.g. emotionally, economically, ecologically and/or morally reliant on and responsible to each other).


Groups of two or more that share a sense of interdependence formed around common goals, values, and shared experiences.