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The Range of Relationships

The Range of Relationships

Author: marlene johnson

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand that people participate in many different types of relationships and that each person values each relationship differently

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Video Transcription

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I interact with a variety of different people on a daily basis. You probably do, too. And out of these interactions, we both form the relationships in our lives.

Well, I'm Marlene. And in this tutorial today, I'd like to talk with you about those relationships, specifically about the range of relationships we have in our lives. So I'm going to ask you just to step back and think about the people that you interact with-- the relationships you've formed. There's probably friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers, people that you enjoy social activities with, perhaps social groups you belong to, perhaps places of worship. So out of all these contexts, you've formed relationships.

And chances are, the way you view these relationships-- the value you put on them-- might be a little bit different than someone else you know and how they would value relationships. So I'm going to ask you to think about these relationships in terms of four elements. Here they are-- intensity, obligation, privilege, and emotion. So those four elements-- think about those in terms of relationship.

Let's start with a relationship that everybody has. We all have families. And typically, we think of our families-- particularly our immediately families-- as a relationship where there's a lot of strong emotion, perhaps intensity. We have a sense of obligation.

We may even have a sense of privilege. There's no place like home. We can always go home. So we may have that kind of relationship with our immediate family. Or perhaps it extends outward to a relative-- perhaps a favorite uncle, or a grandparent, or a cousin.

But there may be people who do not have that feeling about their family. There may be some estrangement or conflict. And so there's not a sense of strong emotion, or privilege even, in that particular family situation and dynamic.

So these people may find that they have a stronger sense of intensity and emotion with friends. Friends might become substitute families. Now of course, this does depend on the kinds of friendships you have-- the length of the relationship.

Because we all probably have friends that are more acquaintances. We might do things with these people. But they're more on an outer circle.

And then there are friends that we've, perhaps, known all our lives. And we have very close relationships with those friends. And in some cases, people do replace family with friendships. So how you value your friends-- how you value your family may differ between people.

This is also true with the way we value our relationships socially. For some people, the relationships that they have that come out of places of worship can be filled with a lot of sense of obligation. It's a very important relationship to them-- strong emotion and a sense of intensity about the relationships they form at their place of worship. For other people, that may not be so true.

Think about coworkers. If you've worked really hard on a big project with your team members, chances are you've deepened the intensity and the emotion. And you probably feel a strong sense of obligation. You don't want to let them down.

So that may be a real value that you put on those relationships with those coworkers. Might not be so true for somebody else you know in their work situation. So we all have a wide range of relationships coming from many different experiences and contexts in our lives. Our relationships are important to us all. But we all value the relationships in a different way, depending on our experiences with the individuals in our lives.

Before we leave this tutorial today, I'd like to review our key terms with you. Relationship-- it's a group of two or more that share a sense of interdependence formed around common goals, values, and shared experiences. We can certainly see that in the range of relationships we all have. And out of those relationships, we become interdependent.

And interdependence is a state in which each member of a relationship is mutually dependent on the others, emotionally, economically, ecologically, and/or morally reliant on and responsible to each other. So in the range of variety of relationships we have in our life, we do form an interdependence. Well, I've certainly 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.