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Communication and relational dynamics

Communication and relational dynamics

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Communication and relational dynamics

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  1. Communicationand relational dynamics Chapter topics • Why We Form Relationships • Relational Development and Maintenance • Communicating about Relationships

  2. Why We Form Relationships • Appearance • Is especially important in the early stages • Partners create “positive illusions,” viewing another as more attractive over time • Similarity • We like people who are similar to us • Friendships are more likely to last when friends are similar to one another

  3. Why We Form Relationships • Complementarily • Differences strengthen relationships when they are complementary • Each partner’s characteristics satisfy the other’s needs • Reciprocal Attraction • We like people who like us – usually • People who approve of us, bolster our self-esteem

  4. Why We Form Relationships • Competence • We like to be around talented people • If a person is too talented it can be difficult to be around them because they make us look bad • Disclosure • Revealing information about yourself can help to build liking • Not all disclosure leads to liking

  5. Why We Form Relationships • Proximity • We are likely to develop relationships with people we interact with frequently • Familiarity can also breed contempt • Most aggravated assaults occur within the family • Rewards • Social Exchange Theory • Relationships that give us rewards greater than or equal to the costs of the relationship

  6. Relational Development and Maintenance • Models of Relational Development Figure 8.1 Page 276

  7. Relational Development and Maintenance • Knapp’s Ten Stages of the Relationship • Initiating • Communication during this stage is usually brief • Simplistic communication is a way of signaling you may want to begin a relationship • Experimenting • After initial contact we decide if we with to pursue the relationship further • Uncertainty reduction • Getting to know others by gaining more information

  8. Relational Development and Maintenance • Knapp’s Ten Stages of the Relationship • Intensifying • The interpersonal relationship begins to develop • The expression of feeling becomes more common • Giving tokens of affection, hinting and flirting • Integrating • Parties begin to take on identity as a social unit • Partners begin to take on each other’s commitments • Close friends may begin to speak alike

  9. Relational Development and Maintenance • Knapp’s Ten Stages of the Relationship • Bonding • Parties make symbolic public gestures • Commitment is increased during this stage • Being together comes to be relied on • Differentiating • The “We” orientation shifts back to “I” • The stage is likely to occur when the relationship experiences its first feelings of stress

  10. Relational Development and Maintenance • Knapp’s Ten Stages of the Relationship • Circumscribing • Partners behave towards each other in old, familiar ways • Communication decreases in quantity and quality • Shrinking of interest and commitment • Stagnating • No growth occurs • The relationship is a hollow shell of its former self

  11. Relational Development and Maintenance • Knapp’s Ten Stages of the Relationship • Avoiding • Parties begin to create physical distance between each other • Unsuccessful couples deal with their problems by avoidance, indirectness and less involvement • Terminating • Includes summary dialogue • Depending on each person’s feelings, this stage can be quite short or drawn out over time

  12. Relational Development and Maintenance • Models of Relational Development • Alternate patters of relational development Figure 8.3 Page 282

  13. Relational Development and Maintenance • Models of Relational Development • Dialectical Perspectives • Communicators seek important but inherently incompatible goals through their relationship • Dialectical Tensions • Conflicts that arise when two opposing or incompatible forces exist simultaneously • Managing dialectical tensions can create the most powerful dynamic in relational communication

  14. Relational Development and Maintenance • Models for Relational Development • Dialectical Tensions • Connection versus Autonomy • We seek out involvement with others • We are unwilling to sacrifice our entire identity to even the most satisfying relationship • One of the most common reasons for relational breakups involve failure of partners to satisfy each other’s needs for connection • “We barely spent any time together.” • “I was feeling trapped.”

  15. Relational Development and Maintenance • Models for Relational Development • Dialectical Tensions • Openness versus Privacy • Along with the need to disclose, we have an equally important drive to maintain space • Even the strongest relationships require some distance • Predictability versus Novelty • Too much predictability can lead to feelings of staleness • The challenge is to juggle the desire for predictability with the desire for novelty that keeps a relationship fresh

  16. Relational Development and Maintenance • Models for Relational Development • Managing Dialectical Tensions • In one study married couples reported: • Connection-autonomy was the most frequent (30.8%) • Predictability –novelty was second (21.7%) • Openness-privacy was least (12.7%)

  17. Relational Development and Maintenance • Models for Relational Development • Managing Dialectical Tensions • Other Strategies • Denial • Reporting to one end of the dialectical spectrum and ignoring the other • Disorientation • Communicators feel so overwhelmed and helpless they are unable to confront their problems • Alternation • Alternating between extremes on the spectrum

  18. Relational Development and Maintenance • Models for Relational Development • Managing Dialectical Tensions • Other Strategies • Segmentation • Partners use this tactic to compartmentalize different areas of their relationship • Balance • Communicators try to balance dialectical tensions • Integration • Simultaneously accept opposing forces without trying to diminish them

  19. Relational Development and Maintenance • Models for Relational Development • Managing Dialectical Tensions • Other Strategies • Recalibration • Responding to dialectical challenges by reframing them so that apparent contradictions disappear • Reaffirmation • This strategy acknowledges that dialectical tensions will never disappear

  20. Relational Development and Maintenance • Characteristics of Relationships • Relationships: • Are constantly changing • Are affected by culture • Require Maintenance • Require Commitment • Relation commitment involves a promise – sometimes implied and sometimes explicit – to remain in the relationship and make it successful

  21. Relational Development and Maintenance • Repairing Damaged Relationships • Types of relational transgressions • Minor versus Significant • Recognize problems for what they are • Social versus Relational • Some transgression violate social, not relational norms • Deliberate versus Unintentional • Transgressions are not always intentional • One-time versus Incremental • Accidents do happen

  22. Relational Development and Maintenance • Repairing Damaged Relationships • An apology requires three elements: • An acknowledgment that the transgression was wrong: “I acted like a jerk.” • A sincere apology: “I’m really sorry. I feel awful for letting you down.” • Some type of compensation: “If I act that way again, you can call me on it.”

  23. Communicating about Relationships • Content and Relational Messages • Content Messages • The subject being discussed • Relational Messages • How the parties feel toward one another • Types of Relational Messages • Affinity • Immediacy • Respect • Control

  24. Communicating about Relationships • Metacommunication • Messages that people exchange, verbally or nonverbally, about their relationship • Communication about communication • Can be used as a way to reinforce the satisfying aspects of a relationship • “I really appreciate it when you complement me about my work in front of the boss.”

  25. Chapter Review • Why We Form Relationships • Relational Development and Maintenance • Communicating about Relationships