Ratha (papertygre) wrote,

Pyramid of relationship types

A psychologist explained to me this system for categorizing relationships. It's a pyramid, because there are supposed to be fewer and fewer people in your life at each relationship level as you move up.

He said that most issues arise when people move too fast and skip levels, which can happen, for example, if they get drunk.

First level: Strangers.
Appropriate information to exchange with this type of person: Directions, time of day.

Second level: Acquaintances.
Acquaintances are people you have a minimal amount of trust for because they have been vetted by either an institution (via a meeting or an event) or a person you both know (via an introduction). This is the level at which networking occurs.
Appropriate information to exchange with this type of person: Name, occupation.

After making someone's acquaintance, you may begin probing what their interests are and sharing what some of your interests are. If common interests are found, you may progress to...

Third level: Friends
Friends are people who share interests, and who get together to pursue those interests. At this level, the activity is more important than the particular person you are doing it with.

After making friends with someone, you may begin discussing current events with them and seeing if you have similar feelings about right and wrong. If so, you may choose to progress to...

Fourth level: Close friends
Close friends share values. At this level, spending time with the person is more important than the particular activities you choose to do with them.

After becoming close friends, you may begin expressing romantic interest/attraction. If both people feel this, you may progress to...

Fifth level: Romantic partners
Romantic partners share intimacy. However, at this level, the individuals' feelings are more important than the relationship, meaning that either partner can end the relationship if he or she becomes inclined to do so.

After becoming romantic partners, you may begin discussing life goals. If both people agree on their life goals and decide to collaborate on them, you may progress to...

Sixth level: Committed intimate
Committed intimates share life goals. At this level, the relationship is more important than the individuals in it, in the sense that according to the agreement, the only valid reason to terminate the relationship is if one or the other partner makes the stated life goals impossible to achieve. Otherwise, the partners are supposed to hang in there and work issues out.
Tags: relationships

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