The relational self is the part of an individual's self-concept that consists of the feelings and beliefs that one has regarding oneself that develops based on interactions with others.In other words, one's emotions and behaviors are shaped by prior relationships.

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Individuals seek out rewards in interactions with others and are willing to pay a cost for said rewards.

In the best-case scenario, rewards will exceed costs, producing a net gain.

There are multiple perspectives to understand this inherent motivation to interact with others.

According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, humans need to feel love (sexual/nonsexual) and acceptance from social groups (family, peer groups).

They may be regulated by law, custom, or mutual agreement, and are the basis of social groups and society as a whole.

The study of interpersonal relationships involves several branches of the social sciences, including such disciplines as sociology, communication studies, psychology, anthropology, and social work.

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This can lead to "shopping around" or constantly comparing alternatives to maximize the benefits or rewards while minimizing costs.