When you think of the term "relationship," what comes to mind?
The concept of relationship is very broad and complex. But generally relationships are "a state of connectedness" between people, formed by an emotional bond or mutual dealings.
A relationship can also be seen as a series of experiences that bond you to a person, family, or community.
According to life coaching experts McLean and Jahnke, relationships are a continual process of growth, and to fully enjoy them we need skills, information, inspiration, practice, and social support .
The concept of "family" is an essential component in any discussion of relationships, but this too varies greatly from person to person.
The Bureau of the Census defines family as "two or more persons who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption and who live together as one household." But many people have family they don't live with or are related to by anything other than love.
Another way to look at family is by function. Families generally share beliefs and values and offer security, mutual support, care, nurturing of self-esteem, and love.
Although the concept of "family" is one of the oldest in human nature, its definition has evolved considerably in the past two decades. This evolution is consistent with the changes in society and the varying roles of family members.
The term "social support" often appears in discussions of relationships. Social support is: "having friends and other people, including family, to turn to in times of need or crisis to give a person a broader focus on a problem and positive self-image." Social support enhances quality of life and provides a buffer against hard times.
Social support can take different forms: