Post 185 – by Gautam Shah
Interpersonal relationships signify the social interactions between two or more people. Interpersonal relationship at one extreme could be very intimate, or physical, and at the other extreme very casual and detached with no apparent contact except recognition of others’ presence.
The interpersonal relationships flourish in space that facilitate such interactions. It needs space for recognition, perception, expression and communication. One of the prime characteristic of such a space is its size or depth. ‘Adequate depth of space’ allows control over how much one want to distance own-self from others. For some personal encounters depth of a space determines the privacy, intimacy and security. The depth aspect of a space can also be debilitative factor negating the seclusion, familiarity and protectiveness.
Interpersonal relationships have less relevance in acutely sized and defined spaces (ergonomically sized, shaped and provisioned with very specific facilities), such as: toilets, kitchens, storerooms, study nooks, booths, etc. Spaces with a greater dimensional adequacy permit better recognition and perception. Security is also operative in a crowded space or participatory public space, as such places do not permit privacy or intimacy. Spaces with satisfactory depths allow time for decision making whether one wants to allow a relationship to flourish or not. It also allows sufficient time and space to improvise the body’s gesture, posture and orientation and thereby ‘correct the impression’.
Body posture, gesture and orientation vis a vis other person, are very important factors. All three begin to switch, the moment one realizes of being perceived. And, one needs time and space for the required improvisation. Often one needs momentary seclusion to effect the transition. The seclusion could be through furniture and other architectural elements or occlusion from perception range of the other person. It could also be achieved by intentional diversion.
Groups, to an extent subsists on spatial characteristics for expression and its perception and so the interpersonal relationships. Group level interpersonal relationships could be centric (one leader-many followers) or participatory (everyone involved in the process). The perception of a group leader and others may be partial or occluded (such as the audience in darkness) or fully perceptible (such as a round table conference, press interactions, discussion-workshops). In virtual communication modes the ‘depth of space’ required is irrelevant for domains like telephony or video conferencing, chat rooms, hangouts, etc.