Overview on Social Interaction | Definition, Types & Example

Social interaction is a process in which one person, group, or society interacts with another. Social interaction is a relationship between a person interacting with his environment. For example, when we interact with people, we talk to them, and they give a response in return.

To understand social interaction, we take the example of a friend chatting with his friend in a group. We share our experiences and live with people through different means. When we spend time with family, we are also in the mode of social interaction. It provides a basis for social groups. For getting knowledge, social interaction is the first step. Social interaction is fundamental to social life.

Types of Social Interaction

There are five types of social interaction:


Exchange is the most common type of Social interaction. Information exchanges between two or more persons in a society. When one person transfers or shares information, he gets a response in return.

Exchange is a social process in which things exchange for a reward. This reward could be equal to or greater than the behavior. For example, at the workplace, when workers do something good for the organization, they get a reward like a bounce or a gift from the organization. When they get rewarded, the relationship between them is close.


Competition is also a social process. It starts with a specific or general goal. It is a contest between people to have control over resources or achieve a goal. In this process, two or more people participate.

Competition is considered a positive thing in society. Often, it takes place in a democratic country. Let this situation apply to an individual two individuals compete with each other to gain a goal. Another example is when two parties want to sell their product, they will grab more customers. One can reduce their products’ prices.


Cooperation is another type of social interaction. In this process, two individual works together to achieve a common goal. People exchange their ideas and work on these ideas for a shared goal. Cooperation is crucial in this social process for the maintenance of society. No one can achieve his goal without cooperation with the other party or individual.

Sometimes, cooperation works as a competition between two entities. For example, in a group, a task is given to two people. These two individuals work on this task by sharing their ideas and implementing them to complete the work. Another example will illustrate cooperation clearly; Two brothers go to school and get homework from the teacher. They return home and start working by discussing with each other. In an organization, every member works on a task for the betterment of the organization.


Conflict is another type of social interaction. In this process, every individual opposes each other for their purposes.

One can disagree with other arguments. Resources are scarce in this type. Everyone wants to have control of these resources. For example, In a group when a leader asks which thing is good for the group, everyone answers regarding his own experience or perceptions. In this process, knowledge is utilized for goodness and badness.

Another example will illustrate conflict clearly. When two friends talk about which restaurant is best for fast food, then there may be the possibility of conflict between these two. War is a classic example of the conflict concept. The army fights for resources like land, weapons, and morale.


Coercion is a form of conflict. In this form, one can force the other party to do something. Intimidation is the main element of coercion. It is a characteristic of coercion. For example, a kidnapper blackmails parents for money when he kidnaps their children.

Cultural Impact On Social Interaction

Culture plays a crucial role in social interaction. Symbols, behavior, tradition, and language are the characteristics of these aspects. Symbols are the cues while interacting with people, like nodding for a piece of specific information.

Behavior is also crucial regarding social interaction. Someone behaves in bad situations that would represent his culture, like talking about holy books. Traditions have an impact on the conversation while interacting with people. Every society has its traditions.

Important means of communication known as language is the fundamental element of social interaction. Every country has its traditions and language. Language can be gestures, symbols, and behavior in specific situations. For example, In business and society, we need language for conversation. Social interaction is termed as the building block of society.

Importance of Social Interaction

  • It can increase the mental ability to think.
  • It can enhance mental health.
  • It can improve communication skills.
  • Social interaction builds and strengthens the relationship.
  • One can learn different things while interacting with people.
  • Social interaction is termed as the building block of society.
  • Social interaction plays a crucial role in positive change.

Universal Generalizations

  • It is key for the survival of society.
  • Social interaction takes place all over the world.
  • Every member of society interacts with people for survival.
  • It enables individuals to express themself.

Does Social Interaction Have Positive Effects On Humans?

Social interaction starts with humans and ends with humans. Some of the benefits of social interaction are as follows:

  1. Learn: When people interact every time, they learn from each other.
  2. Survive: They need survival. They exchange information and things for benefits.
  3. Communication Skills: When someone interacts with a great personality, he learns some attributes of that personality. When people interact with each other daily, they enhance their communication skills.
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