Understanding Interpersonal Communication CH7 (Why We Form Relationships …
Understanding Interpersonal Communication CH7
Why We Form Relationships
Influences on our choice of relational partner
– we are attracted to people who we judge to be more physically attractive
– we are more attracted to people who are similar to us
– even though birds of a feather flock together, the opposite is also true
– we typically like people who like us
– we like to be with people who are at our level of competence, for the most part…
– appropriate self-disclosure can help build liking
– if we are near people, we are more likely to develop relationships
– Costs = Outcome aka the social exchange theory
Characteristics of Interpersonal Communication
What makes Communication Interpersonal
-All communication between two people (dyadic) is what is called
contextually interpersonal communication.
-The impersonal nature of some dyadic exchanges has led communication scholars to say that it is the quality of the relationship and the dyadic exchange that make it interpersonal.
-An interpersonal relationship exists between two people when they treat each other as unique, regardless of the situation in which interaction takes place or the number of people who are present.
Qualitatively interpersonal communication
is the interaction in which people treat one another as unique individuals, regardless of the context in which the interaction occurs or the number of people involved. This communication is scarce b/c it takes time and energy.
Interpersonal Relationships in Online Relationships
Can mediated interactions be interpersonal?
-The Internet/ Computer-mediated communication makes our interactions less personal, less qualitatively interpersonal. EX: Collecting “friends” on Facebook.
-Computer-mediated communication enhances the quantity and the quality of interpersonal communication.
Content and Relational Messages
focus on the subject being discussed.
make statements about how the parties feel toward one another:
- the degree to which people like or appreciate one another. Expressed nonverbally. EX: Do you like me?
– the degree to which we hold others in esteem. EX: Do you admire me?
– the degree of interest and attraction we feel toward and communicate to others. Expressed nonverbally. EX: Are you interested and/or attracted to me?
– the social need to influence others. EX: Do I have the control here or do you? Are we equals?
Metacommunication is the term used to describe messages about other messages. When we talk about our relationship with each other, we are metacommunicating.
EX: Successful marriages and long-term relationships “do” metacommunication.
Communication over the Relational Life Span
A Developmental Perspective
How communication operates in relationships was created by Mark Knapp, whose
broke down the rise and fall of relationships into 10 stages, contained in two broad phases 'coming together' and 'coming apart.'
Initiating – Brief, small talk to get to know one another and decide whether you want to get to know him/her.
-Your schemata are activated
-You are managing your identities
-Your Presenting Self is Shown
-Use social distance
In this stage is very short, sometimes as short as 10-15 seconds. In this stage, interactants are concerned with making favourable impressions on each other. They may use standard greetings or observe each others appearance or mannerisms.
-We decide whether we want to pursue the relationship.
-Small talk takes place in order to do 4 things:
Uncover topics and opening for future conversations
Act as an audition for a future relationship
Safe act of revealing who you are (Uncertainty Reduction)
Maintain a sense of community
In this next stage, individuals ask questions of each other in order to gain information about them and decide if they wish to continue the relationship. Many relationships progress no further than this point.
-Increase the amount of contact, expressing how they feel about one another.
-Start to meet the other’s friends and family
-Intimacy becomes part of the relationship – Intimate Distance
-Stage Doesn’t Last Long
Self-disclosure becomes more common in the intensifying stage. The relationship becomes less formal, the interactants begin to see each other as individuals, and statements are made about the level of commitment each has to the relationship.
-They become a “couple” in everyone else’s eyes
-Develop their own language
-Deeper sense of obligation
-Both people want to do everything right at this stage, however the perceived self has emerged.
-Social obligations are made on behalf of both
The individuals become a pair in the integrating stage. They begin to do things together and, importantly, others come to see them as a pair. A shared relational identity starts to form in this stage.
-Make a public declaration of their relationship either through engagement, marriage or moving in together, resulting in social support for the relationship
-This is a critical period in a relationship
-Show that spiritually and officially they are bonded.
-This form of bonding can be used to describe a business relationship
During the bonding stage, a formal, sometimes legal, announcement of the relationship is made.
-Some “you” language emerges
-You are an established couple, but feel the need to establish “me” distinctions.
-Realistic stage, but both people must remain committed
-You might need some time away to establish your individualism.
In this stage, partners begin to stress the "me" instead of the "we." In other words, the individuals begin to assert their independence. They may develop different hobbies or activities. The relationship may continue to dissolve, or this stage may be a warning sign that the couple needs to address their relationship status.
-Arguing takes too much effort, so one or both separates themselves from the conflict
-Sarcasm kicks in
-The first in a series of declining stages
Communication between the couple diminishes during this stage. hey tend to avoid certain topics of discussion. Outwardly, the couple appears normal. At this stage, attempts can be made to discuss the relationship and return it to a positive state.
-There is no continual growth and the two people become bored and frustrated with one another
-Selective and Defensive Listening Occurs
-Doing the same things – going to the same places – or going nowhere.
-Start to spend time apart to create your own excitement
During the stagnating stage, the individuals avoid discussing the relationship because they think they know what the other will say. Others begin to take notice that something is wrong.
-Creating physical distance between each other
The pair begins to physically separate themselves during the avoiding stage. The individuals try to reduce the opportunities for discussion.
-Ending the relationship
-It can happen quickly or over a period of time
This is the final stage of the relationship.Termination may come naturally, such as at the end of the semester when roommates move out, orarbitrarily, through divorce. Termination of the relationship can occur positively or negatively.
A Dialect of Perspective
Autonomy vs. Connection
– Do you want to be connected at the hip or be your own person? How are you defined? As a couple or as an individual that has a relationship with someone?
Novelty vs. Predictability
– You have a need for adventure and newness vs. you want to know what will happen at every turn and twist in the relationship.
Privacy vs. Openness
– Do you want to reveal yourself to the other? Or do you want to remain closed?
Intimacy in Interpersonal Relationships
Dimensions of Intimacy
Intimacy is a state of closeness between two (sometimes more) people. It can be manifested in several ways:
physically (hugs, sexual contact) intellectually (important ideas) emotionally (important feelings) and shared activities (playing together).
Personal Preferences for Intimacy
People show love and like to be loved in different ways. Gary Chapman, a relationship counsellor, observes that people typically orient to one of the five love languages:
physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts and quality time
Cultural Influences on Intimacy
-In more collectivist cultures, there is a greater distinction between in-group members and strangers. They go to extremes to hide personal information about in-group members.
-By contrast, more individualistic cultures have less of a distinction between personal relationships and casual ones
-The willingness to engage in disclosure (intimacy) is dependent on socioeconomic class.
Male and Female Intimacy
Research says that women are more intimate with their self-disclosures than men and men, if they could just open up about their feelings, would be close.
The truth is that men and women in same sex interactions, get to know and trust each other in different ways:
Emotional expression is not the only way to get “close”
-Male intimacy is based on shared activities, not talking
-Female intimacy is based on sharing feelings, talking.
Men do things to express their love whereas women do things as an expression of intimacy that has already been created
Self-Disclosure in Interpersonal Relationships
is the process of sharing personal information, opinions, and emotions with others that would not normally be known to them.
-Self-disclosure is multi-dimensional.
A type of communication in which we deliberately reveal new information about ourselves.
Information is significant – something that is truly a “part” of who you are.
This information would typically not be known by others.
Models of Self-Disclosure
Breadth and Depth: Social Penetration
Social Penetration Model
is a model describing how intimacy can be achieved via the breadth and depth of self-disclosure.
is the range of topics about what an individual discloses.
is the level of personal information a person reveals on a particular topic.
Describes the process of relationship bonding in which individuals move from superficial communication to deeper, more intimate communication.
EX: An Onion
The onion’s outer skin represents superficial information about your self and The inner layers close to the core represent intimate information.
Self-Disclosure, Self-Awareness , and Relational Quality
You control your thoughts and behaviours largely to the extent that you understand who you are.
is a model that describes the relationship between self-disclosure and self-awareness.
what you and others know about you
things about yourself that others know but you don’t know
your secrets; things you know that you do not let others know about you
truths about you that neither you nor others know
Characteristics fo Effective Self-Disclosure
– be aware of cultural differences when disclosing or when “judging” others about their disclosures or lack of disclosures.
– limiting your disclosure to one person at a time limits your personal, relational, and professional risks
– typically reciprocal in nature. If one person does all the disclosing, what problem might this indicate?
– amount of info increases over time. We “test” our disclosure partner to see how he/she takes care of the info.
– moderation is best. Not too much and not too little.
Guidelines for Appropriate Self-Disclosure
-Is the other person important to you?
-Is the risk of disclosing reasonable?
-Are both amount and type of disclosure appropriate?
-Is the disclosure relevant to the situation at hand?
-Is the disclosure reciprocated?
-Will the effect be constructive?
-Is the self-disclosure clear and understandable?
Lies, Equivocation, and Hinting
is the deception intended to be unmalicious, or even helpful, to the person to whom it is told.
is language with more than one likely interpretation.
Face-saving hint versus direct statement.
What surprised you in the readings?
Something that surprised me were the developmental model. Some of the 10 steps I knew about but I didn't know that they were 'steps' let alone part of the developmental model.
What bothered you?
Nothing bothered me about the reading it was all very interesting.
What confused you or made you want to find out more?
The Johari Window was interesting it would be nice to learn more information about that.