4 Types of Relationships

What are the 4 Types of Relationships?

What comes to mind when you hear relationship? Is it, sexual intimacy between a man and a woman or how you relate with your parents, siblings and friends? As humans, we establish relationship with people on different levels and ways.

At the end of this lesson, you should know the four types of relationships that play important role in our lives.

  • Family Relationship
  • Peer Relationship
  • Acquaintances
  • Intimate Relationship

Before I give you the four types of relationships, take a look at this family tree which displays the terminology of relationships between relatives.

Household Membership Family Tree

This family tree shows the terminology of relationships between relatives.

  • Single person
  • Family
  • Single parent
  • Nuclear family (immediate family)
  • Spouse
    • Husband
    • Wife
  • Parent 
    • Father
    • Mother
    • Step-father
    • Step-mother
    • Legal guardian


  • Child
    • Son
    • Daughter
    • Step-son
    • Step-daughter
  • Sibling
    • Brother
    • Sister


  • Stepfamily
  • Extended family
extended family
    • Grandparent
    • Grandfather
    • Grandmother
    • Grandson
    • Granddaughter
    • Uncle
    • Aunt
    • Cousin
    • Nephew
    • Niece
  • Family-in-law
  • Father-in-law
  • Mother-in-law
  • Brother-in-law
  • Sister-in-law
  • Kinship
    • Consanguinity
    • Affinity
    • Fictive kinship

Source: Wikipedia

What is Interpersonal Relationship?

Interpersonal relationship refers to the bond, interaction, connection or association between two or more individuals. It may be as a result of limerence, love, solidarity, regular business interactions, among others.

There are many types of interpersonal relationship. For the purpose of this blog post, we will be looking at only 4 types.

Family Relationships

This is a type of relationship we don’t choose naturally. Although there are exceptions. For instance, parents who adopt choose whom to adopt and in some cases those they adopt also make choice to accept them.

In most cases, family is not a choice. The family relationship is a very broad type of relationship which include many segments and people usually coming together through blood relation.

Immediate family members may include parents (biological, foster), grandparents, siblings (brothers and sisters). Members of the extended family may include aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, and siblings-in-law.

Regarding extended family members, one may sometimes consider them as members of the immediate family. This is determined by kind of relationship which exists between them.

Family relationship is the body which provides shelter, upbringing and lays the foundation new members. The immediate members mostly teach new members how to relate with extended family and society at large.

Any sexual relation between these people is considered inappropriate and condemnable. Therefore, taken on by the law of the community or country.

Before experiencing any other form or type of relationship, we are already part of family relationship.

Importance of Family Relationship

  • Providing shelter and clothing
  • Protecting members from harm
  • Inculcating values, norms, family beliefs and societal ethics
  • Providing educational foundation or sponsoring members to learn a trade

Peer Relationship

Peers share similar interest. They come from same background and are of same age and experience similar financial condition.

Next stage your child moves in relationship after family is peers. This group contributes a lot to their mental upbringing. Peers shape our conviction system one way or the other.

Depending on a person’s age or family background, peer influence may be managed. Not all peer influence pose danger.

Type of friendship changes to adapt to age, educational grade, marital status, financial state, emotional state and environment.

By this, we experience a shift in friendship as time changes and a person’s need and priorities change.

Importance of Peer Relationship

  • Peers help us socialize
  • We learn how to care for others apart from family members
  • Peers teaches us subjects we find difficult at school
  • Peers introduce us to business opportunities
  • Our peers can become our business partners
  • Peer relationship can develop into intimate relationship

Disadvantages of Peer Relationship

  • Peer influence can be a threat to fundamental moral standard
  • Peers can introduce us to the use of alcohol or narcotics
  • Peers may lead you to teenage pregnancy or unplanned pregnancy
  • Friends can harm you out of jealousy and envy


They do not belong to nuclear nor extended family. They are not friends but someone you may meet once awhile. A neighbor’s son or tenant whom you have casual relation with.

This is a person you run into perhaps at public places and exchange greetings a few times in a month or two.
Many friendships grew from acquaintances.

Advantages of Acquaintances

  • Help in the socialization process
  • May develop into intimate relation
  • Introduces us to a world outside the immediate family

Intimate Relationship

Intimate relation may involve legally married man and woman (husband, wife), close friendship, cohabitation, courtship etc.

In marriage, a man and a woman are legally bound together by cultural or religious regulation or laws of a country.

Couples relocate under same roof and consummate their marriage to seal the vow taken on the altar or before elders and members of both families or a court of law.

Couples are responsible for each other’s wellbeing and new members they introduce to the family.

They must impact their children with values and norms of the society. Educate them, clothe and feed them.

Importance of Intimate Relationship

  • It helps replicate
  • Produce pleasure
  • Help others to become responsible as they need to commit to their long-term intimate friendship

Basic Types of Relationships

List of other types of relationships.

  • Familial relationship e.g., family members
  • Friendships or peer group membership e.g., special interest group, pen pals
  • Acquaintances
  • Intimate relationship e.g., close friendship, courtship, engagement, marriage, romantic relationships
  • Business and professional relationships e.g., employer and employee, coworker, customer, landlord and tenant
  • Organization membership e.g., cooperatives, universities, corporations, governments, non-governmental organizations, partnerships
    Teacher, student relationships
  • Community membership e.g., citizenship, neighbor, society
  • Enemies or rivals

Romance and Intimacy

Courtship – this is the stage in relationship where couples get to know each other before deciding to marry.

Importance of Courtship Examples

  • Courtship helps make informed decision about who to marry.
  • Courtship does not only help you know the one you court but also help you figure out what suits you best.
  • Courtship prepares you for marriage even if you don’t marry same person you courted.
  • Courtship prevents hasty decisions e.g., rushing into marriage you will later regret or impregnating someone to later find out you are not compatible.

How to Court

  • Make known your intentions to the one you are interested in
  • Avoid sexual intercourse or anything which triggers sexual intimacy during courtship
  • Court different people till you find your suitable helpmate

Things You can do During Courtship

  • Begin with group dates to avoid going ahead of yourselves
  • Go for movies
  • Go for coffee
  • Hang out
  • Stargazing
  • Take a walk
  • Read books together

Romance – is an emotional feeling of love for, or a strong attraction towards another person.

Interpersonal Communication

In every relationship, communication is the key. There are different ways to communicate with members of the relationship.

Here are some familiar ways of communication adopted in interpersonal relationship.

  • Face-to-face – one of the most important ways to communicate with people is to meet them in person and talk verbally or engage in nonverbal communication.
  • Love letter – sending love letters to husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend can improve the relationship.
  • Telephone – during lunch time at work, you can call your partner to check on them. The phone can also be used to keep conversation when members are not together.
  • Internet romance – with the use of the internet, you can send message via email, and social media platforms.


During dating, couples do the following:

  • Couples cook
  • Couple dance
  • They go to movies
  • Play games


Physical intimacy is where couples play with their bodies for pleasure.

  • Touching of erogenous zones
  • Cuddling – placing arm around shoulder, around abdomen, laying head on shoulder or putting head on lap
  • Hugging – embracing each other to show affection
  • Eye contact – communicating with the eye
  • Holding hands – holding hands when walking in public places or when alone
  • Kissing – nuzzling body parts when alone for pleasure

Types of Marriages

  • Arranged marriage
  • Forced marriage
  • Cousin marriage
  • Open marriage

How Relationship can be Established

  • Marriage
  • Adoption

5 Ways Relationship can End

  • Breakup
  • Divorce
  • Disownment
  • Emancipation
  • Widowhood

What is Limerence

It is an involuntary intense romantic desire towards another person which involves obsessive thoughts and fantasies with the mind of fostering relationship and receiving same attention from the person.



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