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. It is important to understand that relationships of any kind are as complex as we are.

According to life coaching experts McLean & Jahnke, relationships are a continual process of growth, and to fully enjoy them we need skills, information, inspiration, practice, and social support (McLean, R. & Jahnke, R., 2002).


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.” 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 last two decades. This evolution is consistent with the changes in society and the varying roles of family members.

Social Support

The term “social support” often appears in discussions of relationship. 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 adverse life events.

Social support can take different forms:

  • Emotional (sometimes called non-tangible) support refers to the actions people take to make someone else feel cared for.
  • Instrumental support refers to the physical, such as money and housekeeping.
  • Informational support means providing information to help someone.
See bibliography for references