Types of Relationships

We often call all the people we know our “friends”, but it is helpful to think more carefully about various types of relationships.

Adult/child:
– parent/child
– coach/athlete
– relative/child
– teacher/student
– supervisor/employee
(These relationships are generally ‘friendly’ but they are not friendships between people at the same level. One person is in a position of responsibility, and so each person must follow certain rules. For instance, students generally do not call their teachers by their first names.)

Helper/Helpee:
– peer tutor/student
– student/new student
– kind person/troubled person
– listener/lonely person
(Some people call these types of ‘friendships’ ministries. The person who is the ‘helper’ has the responsibility to take care of his or her own values and emotional needs and establish healthy friendships with other people. Sometimes helpers feel hurt or frustrated because the ‘helpee’ isn’t thoughtful or considerate, but ‘helpers’ will feel happier if they remember not to expect too much from the people they help. Many friendships have times when the relationship becomes one of helper/helpee, but if it remains at that level for an extended period of time, it will no longer feel like a ‘real’ friendship.)

Acquaintances:
– classmates
– team members
– some relatives
– people who work in stores or businesses
– people one sees occasionally
(These relationships generally require one to have goodwill and work together in a friendly fashion in a specific setting for a specific period of time.)

Friendships:
– people who like each other and are on the ‘green light’ level for relationships
(See the page called ‘Levels of Friendship‘ for descriptions of levels of friendship.)

Unhealthy Dependencies
– people who need each other to make themselves feel like they belong
– people who need each other to make themselves feel more powerful
– people who are willing to hurt or harm others in order to get what they want
(See the ‘red light’ level on ‘Levels of Friendship‘.)

[This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided: ©2012 Sophie Rosen.]

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *