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4 Stages of a Healthy Relationship

All relationships are unique, and we all come together for different reasons. The sharing of a common goal or interest for exactly what you want in the relationship and where you desire it to go is what determines a “Healthy Relationship“. Healthy relationships don’t happen overnight. They take commitment, compromise, forgiveness, and most of all — a joint effort.

Forms of Relationships

ldoceonline.com online dictionary identifies the forms of relationships:

  • Love-Hate Relationship (someone both liking and disliking someone else at the same time)
  • Special Relationship (could be also referred to as a close relationship)
  • Supportive Relationship
  • Working Relationship (a relationship common among people who work together)
  • Family Relationship
  • Personal Relationship
  • Human Relationship
  • Social Relationship
  • Business/Professional Relationship
  • Doctor-Patient/Parent-Child/Teacher-Student Relationship

Healthy relationships do not necessarily mean a “perfect” relationship, same way nothing or no one is 100% efficient. Healthy relationships find expressions in healthy Communication, Love for one’s self/partner, and trust.

“A meaningful life is not being rich, being popular, being highly educated, or being perfect. It is about being real, being humble, being able to share ourselves and touch our lives of others. It is only then that we could have a full, happy, and contented life.”

Basically, as we go about our everyday business and social activities, we’ll surely come across lots of people. As we connect with people around us: in the bus, market, subway, train station, school, etc., there are four (4) levels of relationships that we build: the Acquaintance (Friends) Relationship, Casual Relationship, Closed Relationship, and Intimate Relationship.

Stage 1: Acquaintance Relationship

Is there a difference between an Acquaintance and Friend?

According to Socialpronow.com, “the difference between friends and acquaintances is your ‘Self-Presentation‘. Self-presentation represents behaviors used in establishing an identity with others; such behaviors may differ across various interpersonal relationships.”

It went further you say that, “self-presentation is the side of yourself you choose to reveal to a person, or how much of yourself you choose to share with somebody. What you choose to share about yourself, and the ways you choose to share it will be different from an acquaintance than with a true friend.”

An Acquaintance is a knowledge of a person acquired by a relationship less intimate than friendship (Wordnik.com)

The Acquaintance Stage is where all other relationships start. At this stage, we meet people that we don’t know and relate with them at a surface “Hello”, “Hi” level. We bump into this category of people at the bar, party, school-bus, parking lots, taxi, and we virtually have no control over who we meet. We meet them not by choice but by chance.

Acquaintances could be people you’ve known for a while, e.g. a Cab driver, a Clerk, a Librarian, a friend of your friend, or someone you regularly meet at a social event but you’ve never had anything to do with. It isn’t necessarily the amount of time you’ve known a person that makes them an acquaintance.

Stage 2: Casual Relationship

On like the Acquaintance level where we happen to bump into each other by chance, say ‘Hello” on a surface level but don’t make plans to hang out in the future. In a Casual Relationship, you may want to make some plans to see each other instead of just seeing each other in passing.

Though in a Casual relationship, your hang-outs may be periodic, and probably the interest may be about the type of event that brought you guys together. For example:

Someone you seldom eat lunch together with your colleague at the office, or someone you meet at the football fields and play together, etc. Generally, there is always a common interest in a casual relationship and that’s what brings both parties together.

According to verywellmind.com,

Casual relationships are more complex than most people think. There are different levels of personal and social engagement, as well as different pathways towards longer-term relationships.

Stage 3. Closed Relationship

By reason of the closeness experienced from hangouts and shared interest at the Casual Relationship Stage, a deeper level of interaction between two individuals builds up, as they begin to pay closer attention to both behaviors and what goes on in each other’s minds (emotions).

According to closerelationships.com, “most relationships psychologists define a close relationship as one in which people have the following distinctive experiences:

They know each other well.
They care about each other.
They depend on each other.
They share their lives, thinking of themselves as “us”.
They trust each other to be honest and fair.
They maintain a commitment to each other.

In a closed relationship, there’s a little level of intimacy. The word “intimacyhere is not to mean sex, but refers to a close level of communication (candid talk), meaningful shared silences, mutually enjoyed activities, comfortably discussing things, sharing secrets, celebrating events (birthdays) and being there for each other.

Stage 4: Intimate Relationship

Intimate Relationship is the deepest level of the four types or stages of a relationship. An intimate partner will never fail to show you your flaws but mostly in a bid to proffer solutions and bring up suggestions for improvement. At this stage, both partners already understand how deeply they care for each other.

Love is what binds this stage of relationships. There is a deep level of relationship.

Closed Relationship vs Intimate Relationship

According to Socialpronow.com:

“The difference between a close friendship and an intimate friendship is primarily time. A close friendship that withstands the ups and downs of life over an extended period of time is considered an intimate friendship.”

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Joy Charity Louis

Joy Charity Louis is a Young, Vibrant and Inspirational Leader. She's affected lives and mentored youths through her dedicated leadership. She's a seasoned and prolific Writer and the Chief Editor of InspiredStreams©

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