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To visually illustrate the categories of people within a social system and to help determine the levels of appropriate social interactions for each classification.
The Relationship Target has 4 circles. The inner one is You, the other 3 levels include:
- People you are closest to and talk with often, like family
- People you are kind of close to but don’t see as often, like friends
- People you are not close to and don’t see often, like the store clerk
Where someone goes in the circle often depends not just on how often you see them, but how close you feel to them.
For example, if your grandmother Jane lives with you and you are close to her, she would be in the closest circle to you. If she lives in another city but you still feel close to her, you would write her name in the first circle. But if she lives in another city and you never talk to her or feel close to her, she might be in the second or even third circle for conversations.
While you would need to make your own circle relationship to know how close you feel to someone, possible examples are:
- Mom, closest circle
- Sister or brother, closest circle, unless they do not live with you or you are not close to them, then they might be in a different circle
- Teacher, second or third circle, depending on how close you are to her
- Your best friend, probably second circle
- Sales clerk at Target, third circle.
This black and white circle relationship model comes from the convoy social model (Kahn and Antonucci, 1980) explained in the book "Intersections with Attachment" Edited by Jacob L Gerwirtz and William M. Kurtines, Chapter 10; Attachment and Close Relationship: A Life-Span Perspective by Mary J. Levitt., published in 1991, and catalogued in the Library of Congress, ISBN-0-8058-1076-6