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Stages of interpersonal relationships
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Stages of interpersonal relationships

A visual representation of how a relationship forms

As inherently social creatures, human beings are hardwired to seek out and cultivate relationships. Interpersonal relationships are the cornerstone of human connections, shaping the fabric of our lives and influencing our well-being.

Understanding the stages of these relationships provides valuable insights into the dynamics that govern our interactions. When relationships evolve, they progress through distinct phases, each marked by unique characteristics and challenges.

stages of interpersonal relationships
Illustration by Devika Rawat | Canva

According to Gurugram-based counselling psychologist Shreya Gupta, the stages of relationships include:

  1. Initiation: In the initiation stage, people make first impressions and establish initial connections. This is often marked by polite exchanges, shared interests, and the exploration of common ground.
  2. Experimentation: Experimentation involves testing the waters to determine compatibility. People delve deeper into shared activities, hobbies, and personal stories, gauging the potential for a deeper connection.
  3. Intensification: The intensification stage sees relationships deepening, marked by increased emotional investment, vulnerability, and the establishment of a unique bond. Trust and commitment begin to solidify.
  4. Integration: Integration means the coming together of people. It happens when different groups of people start doing things together, have common goals, and feel like they are all part of one big team.
  5. Bonding: This final stage represents a commitment to a long-term connection. This stage may include formal commitments such as marriage or long-term partnerships, solidifying the relationship’s permanence.

The stages offer a systematic view of how relationships develop over time. This understanding helps individuals make sense of their experiences, providing a roadmap for navigating the natural evolution of connections.


Also, read: 5 red flags in a toxic friendship
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