Highly Relational People (HRP)

Are you the kind of person who immediately perceives the needs and emotions of those close to you? Are you unable to understand life without continually sharing it with other people? If so, you may have highly relational traits. Find out more here.
Highly Relational People (HRP)
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 29 August, 2023

We live in a culture that exalts the need to be independent and self-sufficient, to love without attachment, and to avoid any kind of emotional dependency at all costs. However, the exaltation of ‘me first’ doesn’t always work. Not when, as humans, we need to connect with others to feel safe and self-fulfilled.

Building ties with our partners, families, and friends doesn’t necessarily make us emotionally dependent. It just means we build our own relational circles. These are the spaces in which we alleviate our fears, extinguish stress, interact, learn, care, and are cared for. However, some of us need these dynamics more than others.

In fact, some of us have a greater tendency toward connecting with others. These are the kinds of figures who, in order to feel fulfilled, must always have someone by their side. They crave company, conversations, emotional warmth, and to feel that they’re useful. We could also define them as relational hypochondriacs. That’s because they’re afraid of failing, disappointing others, and being lonely.

We’re going to explore these kinds of personalities.

Being a highly relational person means being committed and focused on others in a generous and humble manner.

People Talking About Highly Relational People
Highly relational people understand life through their emotional connections with others.

Characteristics of highly relational people (HRP)

Highly relational people demonstrate harmony with others. At the same time, they’re really sensitive or reactive to these interactions. In fact, although they require daily interactions and connections, these situations can sometimes be exhausting for them on an emotional level.

There’s currently no scientific evidence to support the existence of this personality type. It was proposed by Dr. Melanie Joy. She compares it with the trait of high emotional sensitivity. She claims these individuals process relational stimuli with the same intensity that a highly sensitive person (HSP) does with bright lights or loud sounds.

This idea is interesting. Moreover, it’s not the first time it’s appeared. Indeed, the hypothesis was also proposed in the 2018 manual, Ergonomics and Psychology: Developments in Theory and Practice.

Now, we’re going to explore the characteristics of highly relational people.

One characteristic of highly relational people is hypervigilance. They fear disappointing others. This makes them analyze every conversation, word, and gesture.

Life is better when they have someone by their side

It’s difficult to deny this fact. Obviously, having partners, friends, and families make all of our lives more pleasant and happy. However, some people can’t stand moments of loneliness and need constant social connection. This usually manifests itself as follows:

  • They feel the need to share any experience with other people, however insignificant it may be.
  • Every thought, desire, or dream acquires greater value for them when they speak to someone else about it.
  • They’re extremely accessible people, even to strangers. This makes it easy for them to quickly build friendships.

In addition, they’re kind, familiar, and humble. They build their sociability through authenticity. The problem is that they often assume that others are the same.

They instantly intuit what others need

One characteristic that defines the highly relational person is social intelligence. A study conducted by the University of Cambridge (UK) defines this competence as the ability to understand and respond effectively to all social interactions.

Another striking quality that defines highly relational people is knowing what others feel and need. In fact, not only do they exhibit high emotional empathy, but they don’t hesitate in satisfying another person’s needs. For example, if they perceive that someone is worried or bored, they’ll quickly change their attitude or conversation to improve their well-being.

They take excessive care of their relationships

Highly relational people can often drift into states of great anxiety. They’re the kinds of people who, after saying goodbye to someone, then mentally review the entire conversation. They analyze each gesture and word in search of any nuance that means they may have offended the other person in any way.

This kind of relational hypochondria that looks for faults and problems is explained by their constant concern to take care of each and every relationship. But, these efforts can lead to obsession and also blindness. In effect, they’re able to see what they’re doing, but not the way others are treating them.

A highly relational person is defined by anxious attachment.

They’re unable to manage disagreements and interpersonal conflicts

Highly relational people experience any disagreement, no matter how small, with great embarrassment. For instance, someone only has to contradict them or make a subtle criticism to give them a sleepless night. This emotional reactivity to conflict causes them tremendous suffering. Moreover, it’s extremely difficult for them to regulate or manage.

If at some point, they have to end a relationship or friendship, it takes many months (or even years) for them to get over the breakup. They’ll continue to be stuck in their thought loop, trying to understand why certain things happened.

They experience emotional exhaustion

Highly relational people take all the responsibility in every relationship. This constant predisposition to care for the relationship and be helpful means the highly relational individual portrays themselves as a savior who solves every situation and anticipates every need. Consequently, they often end up feeling emotionally exhausted.

Added to this is the fact that they lack filters. As such, they let anyone and everyone into their lives. This inability to set boundaries often leads them to feelings of disappointment.

tired woman
Being highly relational often translates into great emotional exhaustion.

What lies behind highly relational people?

Are highly relational people generally happy? As a matter of fact, in this respect, they’re similar to highly sensitive people. They deeply enjoy sharing life with others and every emotional connection they make is magical. But, this comes at a cost.

The problems lie in their inability to set boundaries, their fear of abandonment, and their anxious attachment style. In fact, these personalities are rather like rough diamonds. They’re attractive due to their good communication skills, empathy, and humility. However, they have certain emotional gaps that they need to pay attention to and heal if they want to have full and happy lives.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Olexiy Ya Chebykin (2008) Ergonomics and Psychology: Developments in Theory and Practice (Ergonomics Design and Management. CRC Press
  • Kihlstrom, J., & Cantor, N. (2000). Social Intelligence. In R. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of Intelligence (pp. 359-379). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511807947.017

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.