Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Relationships Come in All Forms

Types of Relationships

As you’re building your social network and social capital, know that relationships can come in all different forms. Some are close relationships with people you see often. Some might be with people who you see or talk to only occasionally, but you still value your relationship with them. And some can even be tense or marked by conflict.

Strong Ties

People we have strong connections with, see often, and rely on for emotional support.
Examples: close friends, family members

Weak Ties

People we aren’t necessarily close to, but we know and can rely on for certain kinds of support, like advice or information.
Examples: a friend of a parent, an employer, a teacher

Conflictual Ties

People we may receive some kind of support from, but currently have strained relationships with.
Example: A coach you used to rely on for support and advice… but recently he has been upset with you for missing several practices.

The Value of Weak Ties

We need both strong and weak ties in order to build up sufficient social capital. We get most of our day-to-day support from strong ties, but weak ties provide access to information and opportunities that strong ties might not have.

For instance, you probably have plenty of strong ties, including family and friends you can turn to for emotional support and encouragement. But these strong ties aren’t able to help you with many of the challenges you will face, like choosing the right path for your future. You do not yet have a strong network of weak ties—people outside your immediate social circle, who might not offer a lot of emotional support, but can serve as valuable sources of information.