Socialization does not consist of myriad influence attempts scattered helter-skelter across millions of transactions with innumerable partners. Rather, the social encounters of human beings occur within organized frameworks that comprise interlocking relationships embedded in interlocking social networks. Most writers regard this design for living as having evolved with the species to protect individuals from environmental danger and increase chances of reproductive success.
“Relationships,” defined as aggregations of interactions that endure over time and that form the basis for reciprocal interpersonal expectations (Hinde, 1997), are thus basic social contexts. Competence in communication, impulse regulation, getting along with others, and knowledge about the world emerge mostly from early relationships and are refined continuously within them. Relationships are resources that buffer one from stress and are instruments for both cooperative and competitive problem solving. 

Relationships are also forerunners of other relationships. No wonder, then, that well-functioning relationships have a bearing on mental and physical health, mortality, and well-being. Moreover, these synergies “do not appear to be artifacts of personality, temperament, behavior, or lifestyles but instead reflect the direct influence of relationship events on biological processes” (Reis & Collins, 2004, p. 233).

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