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Relationship Types

In every culture, people can have many different types of relationships, from the professional to the romantic. However, the dynamics of these relationships may be different in Australia from what you're used to in your home country.

In Australia it's accepted that consenting adults can be in many different kinds of relationships with each other, and although some types of relationships may not be widely understood, or fully accepted, everyone has the right to choose who they have relationships with, within the limits of Australian law.

  • Professional Relationships

    You have professional relationships with people like your doctor, lecturers, tutors, school staff, landlord or employer - that is, the relationship exists because one of you is providing a service for the other, and while it may be (and often is) a friendly relationship, neither of you will expect it to be anything more than a service transaction.

    Professional relationships are not necessarily formal - for example, your tutor may joke with you during tutorials and welcome your comments, observations and questions. However, it's a good idea to consider your relationship with your employer to be both formal and professional until you've got to know them and understand how they prefer to interact with their employees.

    Interactions with police officers and Government staff such Customs or Border Protection come under the heading of professional relationships, so you should always be polite and respectful when talking to them - and they should be polite and respectful in return. If the situation isn't very serious, even these interactions can sometimes become more casual and friendly in tone; however, it's always best to let the official you're talking to set the tone of the conversation.

  • Situational Relationships - Acquaintances/Friends

    Situational relationships are ones that develop because you and someone else happen to find yourselves in the same situation - for example, a tutorial group or a sports team, or a work shift. You may find yourself developing a familiar relationship because you know each other's names and have a shared experience to talk about. Casual relationships or acquaintanceships like this can develop into closer friendships over time, as you get to know each other better.

  • Close Friends

    Close friends are people you not only like, but trust. They're the sort of friends you can talk to about not just everyday things, but also important topics and personal issues such as friends or family, health issues or concerns, and relationships. With a close friend, you know that they won't pass on what you say to anybody else - and they know the same about you. You may spend more of your time with your close friends than with your acquaintances or casual friends, or contact them on social media more often, but this isn't always the case - sometimes friendships stay close even if you don't see each other very often.

  • Romantic Relationships

    A romantic relationship starts when you have an attraction to another person that goes beyond just being close friends. You might feel a very strong bond to your partner spiritually, emotionally and physically, and you may also be sexually attracted to them - and they, of course, feel the same way about you! If you start a romantic relationship with someone, you will probably spend a lot of your time with them and do a lot of things together, such as shopping, going to the pub, or going out for meals and to the cinema. Many couples also do these things with a larger group of their mutual friends.

  • Sexual Relationships

    You can find further information about sexual relationships on the Let's Talk About Sex pages.

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