Social Interaction: Definition, Characteristics, Terms, Factors and Examples

Social Interaction – Humans are not spared from their role as social beings who can never be separated from interacting, not only talking about important things but small talk sometimes being very important to add information.

For example, if someone is facing a problem, they will definitely tell whether it’s a friend, parent, sibling or whoever it is to pour out their heart and feel even more relieved to get the best advice. So what is Social Interaction?

A. Definition of Social Interaction

Social interaction comes from the word interaction which means an action that occurs in two or more people who react to reciprocity through direct or indirect contact.

Social which means mutually sustainable or working together just like humans are social creatures who cannot live alone and will need other people.

In simple terms, the notion of social interaction is a reciprocal relationship between individuals and groups to establish friendships, discussions, collaborations that are applied in social life.

B. Definition of Social Interaction According to Experts

The definition of social interaction according to 5 experts:

1. Gillin

Social interaction is described by Gillin as a dynamic social relationship between individuals with other individuals or with groups or relationships between groups. This relationship is created because basically humans cannot live without other people.

2. Bonner

Social interaction according to Bonner is a relationship between two or more people whose actions from individuals can affect / change the lives of other individuals.

3. Walgito

Walgito argues that the existence of reciprocal relationships in social interaction can have an influence on other individuals or groups. Social interaction also affects groups with other interconnected groups.

4. Soerjono Soekanto

Soerjono Soekanto argues that social interaction is a social process related to the way individuals and groups relate to building systems in social relations.

5. Murdiyatmo and Handayani

Murdiyatmo and Handayani explain the notion of social interaction as a relationship that is built by a person with other people in which in the process of life a social structure is built. In this social structure, relationships that influence each other are built.

C. Characteristics of Social Interaction

According to Sociology Charles P. Loomis the characteristics of social interaction, namely:

  1. The number of perpetrators is more than one even more
  2. There is communication between actors using symbols.
  3. The existence of certain goals, regardless of the same or not the same as predicted by observers.

D. Terms of Social Interaction

As humans, we cannot be separated from interactions in our daily activities, because humans definitely need someone to survive each other.

But to make it clearer in social interaction there are 2 conditions for social interaction to occur, namely:

1. Social Contact

In the sense of sociology, social contact is not only face-to-face interaction, but as for making contact without meeting face to face, such as information via, radio, telephone and even electronic mail, this includes social interaction that has developed in the progress of the times.

Social contact is divided into two:

  • Social Contact is Primary: Contact occurs directly as face to face.
  • Social Contact is Secondary: Contact occurs indirectly or using contact media such as telephone, electronic mail and even through social media messages.

2. Communication

In social interaction, communication is very important with the intention of exposing each other’s behavior whether it’s in speech, attitude and even gestures to convey messages. However, there are several main elements in communication, namely:

  • The communicator is a person or group of people who convey messages to be a source in a relationship or relationship.
  • The communicant is a person or group who receives messages from the communicator.
  • Message is something conveyed by the communicator. Messages usually contain information, questions, even expressions of emotions and feelings.
  • Media is an intermediary to convey messages. Communication media can be in the form of oral, written, pictures and even films, usually giving explicit messages.
  • Effects are changes that are expected to occur in the communicant, after getting a message from the communicator.

Communication that occurs between one individual and another individual can be referred to as interpersonal communication which has many theories in it. If you want to understand it more deeply, a book called Interpersonal Communication Theory Accompanied by Practical Phenomenon Examples by Dr. Ali Nurdin, S.Ag., M.Sc. will suit you.

E. Types and Examples of Social Interaction

Interaction has several types, for easy understanding, let’s look at the following:

1. Individual-to-Individual Social Interaction

Individual social interaction is a meeting between a person and another individual that aims to provide action or response to become friends and leads to working together if the reaction is positive, but if the reaction is negative it is likely that conflict or conflict will arise.

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  • When meeting greet each other, ask and inform about what is needed.
  • Invite to play bicycle games with younger siblings
  • The teacher teaches a language lesson to a student.

2. Individual Social Interaction with Groups

Individual social interactions with groups in one or even larger groups usually consist of more than 3 people who will provide information whether it’s promotions, even seminars. In addition, usually this social interaction is conveyed by only a few people, then the information conveyed will be heard by many people or groups.


  • Become a resource person in seminar activities
  • Deliver promotional information to the community
  • The principal was talking to the students during the ceremony

3. Group interaction with groups

Group interaction with groups is a meeting between two or more groups with different groups, to communicate related matters but are not personal matters but for the benefit of the group itself.

However, to communicate between groups, sometimes facing the pros and cons, you have to be more careful, because each person’s opinion can attack other groups.


  • Youth youth organizations provide information to the public to cooperate with each other to clean the yard so that they become champions in the cleanliness competition at the Indonesian Independence Day event on August 17.
  • The TNI group and the Police group cooperate in social interaction to eradicate crime in their area.

Uniting individuals with different characters is not easy to do, but it’s good to interact with each other in a good, polite and clear to the point what the goal is. Because good communication will provide peace and agreement that might be a long-term thing. For example, the connection about business ventures being a customer, being someone who is trusted, and other things.

F. Patterns of Social Interaction

Patterns of Social Interaction Social interaction that occurs between individuals and groups that is dynamic and has a certain pattern, as well as habits that are carried out repeatedly for the long term will sustain the establishment of good social relations.

Patterns of social interaction have the following characteristics:

  • Based on social position (status) and role. For example, a teacher who teaches with his students must reflect the behavior of a teacher. On the other hand, students must obey their teachers.
  • Activities that continue until they find a goal point to produce the best thing and continue to develop thoughts or ideas. For example, from an interaction, a person establishes a business partnership, a conflict arises, there is competition, and so on.
  • Social interaction can occur to anyone, regardless of time, place and circumstances, usually it will be involved as the mindset of the community will be formed. For example: One school has good ratings in terms of discipline, cleanliness and student achievement which are so influential in one area. However, the public’s trust in the school has always been good, it’s just that at one time the school was polluted because of the behavior of students who committed acts that were not commendable.

G. Factors Forming Social Interaction

1. Imitation

Imitation is someone or more doing to imitate someone in terms of style, attitude, behavior so that appearance looks like someone’s physique. Usually this social interaction factor can occur in individuals who are  fans of one of their idols.

Someone who is  a fan  of their idol will usually try to wear clothes with the same model. Not only that, a  fan sometimes follows the same hairstyle as their idol.

2. Suggestion

Suggestion is someone who is affected because of an encouragement given by another person in a certain way in which a person will carry out what is suggested sometimes without thinking rationally. We can see this factor when there is a child who is given advice by his parents.

In addition, the suggestion factor that can lead to social interaction can not only occur because of being given advice by parents, but can occur because of being given advice by a teacher. With the advice that the recipient of the advice is expected to receive well and can be used as a guide in living the future later.

3. Sympathy

Sympathy is how we show an attitude of being attracted to someone for something or an interesting attitude to him such as his appearance, mindset and even his wisdom by applying the values ​​espoused by people who are sympathetic.

With this factor, someone will be moved to help others. If more and more people can be helped, social life will become more harmonious and social interaction can still be maintained properly.

4. Identification

Identification is a gift of a characteristic so that in fact it is related to the imitation of a person with the same or identical desire or even similar to another person who is imitated (his idol), thus eliminating his own identity. Things like this, should be avoided immediately because losing identity can make a person forget the strengths and weaknesses that are owned by him.

5. Empathy

Empathy is feeling something that is experienced by others, be it happiness or sadness. For example, when a student enters the expected PTN, his parents and even his friends will also feel happiness.

Interaction in society will foster a form of mutually reinforcing relationship and changing a condition of society in an area, for example in positive social interaction doing mutual cooperation is a form of social interaction. The form of social interaction is divided into two, namely associative and dissociative. What’s the difference, let’s learn more deeply.

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H. Forms of Social Interaction

Associative Social Interaction (Positive)

The form of associative social interaction is positive social interaction, to lead to goodness in cooperation and creating something between someone and another to achieve positive goals. However, this associative social interaction is further divided into four, namely:

1. Cooperation

A work done by a group of individuals or helping each other with the aim of realizing positive activities. In life, you always need the help of others but within reasonable limits. For example, such as mutual cooperation between neighbors.

2. Accommodation

Accommodation is an adaptation of a person or even a group of people who previously conflicted with each other, in order to overcome tensions between conflicting parties, accommodation is needed.

The goal is to create a balance of social interaction that will be related to the norms and values ​​within the community. However, this accommodation is divided into several sections, including:

a. Adjudication

Adjudication is a process of how to resolve social conflict which is also known as accommodation. This dispute occurs because of social interaction between individuals or a group with other groups in various ways. Example: In divorce cases, corruption cases, fraud cases, defamation cases, murder cases and even copyright infringement cases.

b. Arbitration

Efforts to resolve conflicts with third parties as binding decisions cannot be contested by the two disputing parties. Example: A BK teacher gives punishment to two students who fight because they lose a soccer match.

c. Compromise

Compromise is an attempt to reach an agreement between two parties who have differing opinions or disagreements, the aim of which is to resolve the dispute.

d. Conciliation

An attempt to resolve disputes or disputes between parties by involving a neutral party called a conciliator who seeks a middle point (settlement or agreement) that brings together the wishes of the disputing parties.

e. Mediation

Mediation is an attempt to resolve conflicts by involving a neutral third party, almost like arbitration but only as a mediator. Example: The GAM dispute (Free Aceh Movement) was mediated by Sweden on 15 August 2005.

f. Stalemate

Stalemate is when two parties have conflicting conflicts, but the conflict stops due to facing an event so that both of them stop attacking each other. Example: The end of the cold war between the Western Bloc led by America and the Eastern Bloc led by the Soviet Union during the !990s.

3. Tolerance

Tolerance is an attitude of mutual respect and respect in society, both individually and in groups. In this case, it is like helping each other without looking at ethnicity, religion, race or between groups.

We can see this in Indonesian society, which has become the nation’s cultural heritage, manifested in existing cultural elements such as symbols, social practices, customs, and much more which is explained in the book Harmony in DIVERSITY: Traces of a Culture of Tolerance by Muhammad Nur Prabowo Setyabudi, et al.

4. Acculturation

Acculturation is the acceptance of all the new elements of today to become a new culture without losing the characteristics/things related to the old elements.

For example:

– Puppet shows that tell stories from India about the Mahabarata (history),

– The building of the Kudus mosque which reflects the interaction of Javanese, Islamic and Hindu cultures

– Lifestyle is the lifestyle of someone who follows trends whether from clothes, hairstyles and so on.

5. Assimilation

Assimilation is the mixing of a culture by eliminating the characteristics of the original culture and then forming a new culture and applying it in everyday life.

For example:

  • Assimilation of the Mongoloid Race and the Negroid Race on the Asian Continent formed a new race.
  • Marriage of different races and ethnicities
  • The style of houses in some cities combines modern styles such as European architecture

Dissociative (Negative) Social Interaction

Dissociative is social interaction that leads to conflict and division within individuals and groups, dissociative usually leads to negative things. Like:

1. Competition (Competition)

You must be familiar with the word ‘Competition’. Competition is social interaction to compete with each other individually or in groups, usually seeking advantages in certain fields without using threats of violence.

For example: Anthony Ginting’s 2020 Olympic Badminton match against Antonsen Anders.

2. Contraventions

Contravention is someone’s attempt to oppose a matter in secret so that there is no dispute. As for usually someone will be doubtful, uncertain, denial and even rejection by not disclosing it openly. This is due to differences in opinion among certain groups. For example: Divulge a friend’s secret to other people.

As for actions in the form of tactical intervention, for example: Making sudden accusations without reason, deceiving someone for various reasons and so on.

3. Opposition

Conflict is a conflict or can be a continuation of an open contradiction which will usually lead to conflict. The reason is that there are differences in arguments that make people angry to hate and can lead to attacking each other and even injuring a person or even a group


This social interaction is very important in social life wherever you are, the goal is to establish good friendships and even business relationships to make a profit. Social interaction is a skill that can be honed. In other words, everyone can have the ability to interact socially well as long as he always continues to hone his social interaction skills.

In addition, cooperation or collaboration with individuals and even groups will develop thoughts or ideas that were not in our minds before. With cooperation or collaboration, a job will be easier to complete optimally. Therefore, maintaining good social interaction is the key to helping and appreciating each other.