The relationship oriented person sees other people as the best way to
achieve success. In an extreme case, almost everything such an individual
does in life must involve other people.
Some general factors that describe a relationship oriented person:
- When faced with a problem or a new situation, the first instinct
for a relationship oriented person is to contact a friend or family
member who might be able to help solve the problem or explain how to
deal with it.
- This person does not like to be alone. Almost all activities must
have a social element, even such simple tasks as doing the dishes, walking
the dog, or working in the garden.
- A weekend is not complete unless at least some parts have a social
element. A quiet Friday night makes a relationship oriented person uncomfortable
- unless by quiet you mean going out to a friend’s house for drinks
and a chat.
- Formal group settings, positive team spirit and a sense of camaraderie
are all things that enliven a relationship oriented person.
- Recreational activities are in and of themselves not important -
only the social element of the activity is important. Almost any activity
is fun if there are friends along and as long as the focus is on the
social element and not on the activity itself (an important distinction).
- Finding out about other people is a natural instinct for the relationship
oriented person. How people “fit” together - who is who’s
friend, for example, is extremely important to relationship oriented
- There is a hierarchy for relationship oriented people: One person
to share a meal with is good. Two is better, Three is even better, Four
or more is best. Adding people to an activity midstream, like asking
someone to join a lunch or meeting, is completely acceptable and even
makes the whole experience even livelier for the relationship oriented
- Verbal communication skills and body language awareness are the highest
of any orientation. Verbal skills are naturally developed from infancy
through the intense desire for interpersonal interactions. A relationship
oriented person can sometimes be seen actually repetitively practicing
speech patterns, mimicking people they have strong bonds with, and reveling
in verbal handshaking.
- As a group these people are also very aware of body language and
sensitive to personal “energy”.
- Relationship oriented people are irresistibly attracted to each other
in social and work settings. Of course in romantic love opposites are
said to attract, but in a general social setting, relationship oriented
people will gravitate to each other very quickly. This is not true in
all cases, however, as relationship oriented people are fascinated with
people in general and see others who have a goal orientation, for example,
as particularly fascinating. “I met _____, the Olympic athlete,
today!” might be something a relationship oriented person would
get excited about.
- Relationship oriented people who are not self-aware consider the
other orientations “boring and cold” (process oriented people)
or “greedy, selfish, and self-centered” (goal oriented people).
Caveat: These thoughts don’t last long if these other people show
a modicum of real sociability. All can be (nearly) forgiven if someone
- Homework or studying of any kind only works for relationship oriented
people if there are other people around to do the homework or studying
- Solitary, individual, no-talking exams are an abomination to the
relationship oriented person. Group projects with lots of time for social
interaction are a delight.
Things you will hear a highly relationship oriented person say:
- “Let me call my friend - he will know the answer.”
- “Call me tonight. I will be doing my ironing, which is totally
boring. We can chat while I do it!”
- “I want to start running again. Do you want to do it with me?”
- “Skiing? Sounds great! Who else is coming??”
- “Let’s go out to lunch together” (I never eat alone!)
- “Come and join us for lunch! This is great...Jane, meet my
friend Anne. Do you remember yesterday I mentioned Anne has a friend
who works at...”
- “I know that person. Hey Jim!! How are you doing!?!?”
- “Let’s study together tonight.”
- “Let’s work on a project together” or “Can
we do this project in teams?”
- “May we take the case study home the night before the exam
so we can have more time to read
it?” (not just to read it, of course, but to work on it together)
- “Sir, may I come to see you for help on my paper.” (Help
in this case means hoping that a friendly teacher will mean hints on
how to get an “A”).
- A relationship oriented primary school teacher: “That child
plays so nicely and is so friendly with the other children. What a good
Spaces a relationship oriented person enjoys being in
- Coffee shops - the ones where you can see everyone. Loud spaces are
good, because you can hear other people’s conversations - a good
thing for relationship oriented people.
- Bars - grouping around a table for drinks and chatting or sitting
at the bar - but only sitting at the bar if the bartender is friendly
and likes to talk.
- Open street cafes - where you can hear other people’s conversations
and watch who is going by (you might see someone you know!) Open cafes
are great places where others can see you, too. Then they might come
over and join you for a chat.
- Restaurants that have an open floor plan where everyone can be seen
clearly, particularly where the door can be watched to see who comes
- Wide open fitness clubs where you can watch other people.
- Wide open public spaces with lots of people walking around who you
can see, hear, and where you might meet someone you know. Beaches, public
walkways, and shopping malls are examples.
- Movie theatres, stadiums, and outdoor events where lots of people
gather for a purpose. These are great places for seeing, hearing and
spotting people you know while they are engaged in viewing an activity.
These places are also great because in them people are not actually
focused on doing the activity and can therefore engage in discussions
- Classrooms. “If you want to meet new people, take an evening
course at your local community college” is an old dating maxim.
The best classes for a relationship oriented person are the ones which
are not rigidly controlled, but open to discussions and lots of before
and after class chatting. These classes are a wonderful forum for socialization.
Learning through discussion in close proximity to other people is a
pleasure for the relationship oriented person.
Careers that attract relationship oriented people
Extreme relationship oriented people are rare. Most people are a mix
of two orientations, with one being dominant. A lot of people fall into
this second group: A dominant relationship orientation and a lesser process
or goal orientation. Those few people who have a very strong or extreme
relationship orientation tend to favor certain careers. If they are not
in these kinds of careers, they find themselves unhappy in their working
lives. Some typical careers for relationship oriented people:
- Sales - particularly where relationships are important - car sales,
real estate sales, financial sales, business-to-business sales - any
selling situation where interpersonal relationships play a role.
- Public relations
- Dating services
- Recruitment firms
- Relationship banking
Learn more about the relationship orientation by exploring your own ways
of doing things. There is no one right way of doing things in life - but
there seems to be some fairly common groupings of ways people go about
Want to learn more? Success orientations is an open source model. See the emerging web site that will support the dissemination, research, discussion, and critical analysis of the success orientations model:
Indepth information on Success Orientations
A much deeper and more fully explained look at the success orientations model is included in the first applied book on success orientations called "How to Teach International Students", available for purchase through this web site.