A relationship is any recurring connection between two characters. In any relationship at least one character is receiving a message. A message can be new information, an opinion, or reaction.
Relationships begin because two characters have something in common: a physical trait, an experience, interest/concern, goal, or obstacle. Relationships continue as long as the characters regularly exchange some form of information, opinion, or reaction.
Relationships can be one-sided or two-sided, formal or personal, intellectual or emotional, cooperative or competitive, and stable or volatile. Each of these variables represent a spectrum or gradient, and together they combine to create many distinct types of relationships.
These are one-sided relationships where the characters never meet, such as an author, or meet as part of a large group all focused on an individual, such as an entertainer or political leader. These are relationships where a character is receiving but not sending out new messages.
Indirect relationships may change the character receiving messages, but the sender is usually unaffected by the recipient’s reactions, making the relationship a stable one.
Normally people seek out relationships for the sake of the individual, but in economic situations the relationship is focused on a shared goal; whether it’s completing a task, or an exchange of goods and/or services. In these situations the characters become incidental. Examples include workplace associates, as well as customers and vendors.
Business relationships are two-sided and often marked by an emotional distance. Characters in a workplace environment may feel strong emotions, but try to conceal them, to maintain their professionalism. This makes business relationships stable, though they can be a source of great frustration and emotional volatility for a character. This in turn can lead characters to look for other outlets for their frustration; such as aggressive physical activities, or self-indulgent behavior such as recreational drinking.
A mentor is anyone who provides a character with knowledge, training, or guidance. A mentor is either interacting with a single character or a small group, in contrast with an indirect relationship. Mentors send and receive messages, but a mentor is less likely to be changed by the relationship, since they are presenting most of the new information.
Mentor relationships are more stable, unless the mentor and student develop a more personal connection, or if the student expresses a strong emotional reaction, positive or negative.