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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. Communication andRelational Dynamics Chapter topics • Why We Form Relationships • Models of Relational Dynamics • Characteristics of Relationships • Communicating about Relationships

  2. Whip Around • What cartoon character best describes you? • Think about this question. • Be prepared to share aloud with the whole class.

  3. 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 • Similarity is more important to relational happiness than communication ability

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Why We Form Relationships • Proximity • We are likely to develop relationships with people we interact with frequently • Allows us to get more information about other people and benefit from relationship • Rewards • Social Exchange Theory • Relationships that give us rewards greater than or equal to the costs of the relationship

  7. Models of Relational Dynamics • A Developmental Perspective • Mark Knapp • Rise and fall of relationships • Ten stages • Other researchers • Coming together • Coming apart • Relational maintenance

  8. Models of Relational Dynamics • Stages of Relational Development Figure 8.1 Page 276

  9. Stages of “Coming Together” • Initiating • Definition: stage where you will decide whether or not to begin a relationship – based on 1st impression • Usually a brief stage • Consider verbal and nonverbals, social and physical attractiveness • Example: • Verbal: length of comments and tone of voice • Nonverbal: smiling, eye contact, appearance NOTE: Alcohol introduces a whole new set of rules

  10. Stages of “Coming Together” (cont.) • Experimenting • Definition: screening process where people share information to see if they have anything in common • Example: First date • Follows a positive initiation stage • Many relationships do not move beyond this stage – not everyone can be your BFF • Some relationships skip this step completely • This stage can occur via Internet chat rooms

  11. Stages of “Coming Together” (cont.) • Intensifying • Definition: a decided shift in communicator’s focus as he or she changes from interacting regularly with a variety of others to focusing resources and time upon one partner • Example: dating several people to just one individual • Dating around becomes going steady • Become more exclusive • Make plans for the future • Marked by deep disclosures “we” & “us” vs. “you” & “I” • Immediacy and physical interaction increase; verbal shortcuts – “my friend Bill” becomes “Bill”

  12. Stages of “Coming Together” (cont.) • Integrating • Definition: partners share self-symbols, want to take on characteristics of their partner; becoming more alike • Example: inside jokes • Values are shared, then hobbies, friends, possessions, and the like are used to reinforce to each other and others outside the relationship

  13. Stages of “Coming Together” (cont.) • Bonding • Definition: occurs when there is a ceremony of some sort that publicly communicates the commitments the partners have made to each other • Examples: marriage, blood brothers/sisters Also note… • Increased interdependence • Communication patterns don’t shift much

  14. Stages of “Falling Apart” • Differentiating (opposite of initiation stage) • Definition: we attempt to re-assert our own individual identity • Examples: go back to school, best friend makes new friends • Develop separate interests and social networks • Potential for an increase in conflict/disagreement • Differentiation can be positive

  15. Stages of “Falling Apart” (cont.) • Circumscribing • Definition: keeping communication to be “safe” or non-disputed areas; selective about what information to share, avoid personal topics • Example: How’s the weather vs. politics Relationships at the circumscribing stage may appear normal at fist glance

  16. Stages of “Falling Apart” (cont.) • Stagnating • Definition: partners avoid new topics for fear of negative outcomes, so they stick to past communication routines • Often easier to stay in this type of relationship vs. terminating – no work involved Social Exchange Theory – we weigh the costs and rewards in our relationships to help us decide to stay or bail

  17. Stages of “Falling Apart” (cont.) • Avoiding • Definition: an individual actively avoids contact with his or her partner – both physically and psychologically • Example: BF/GF went to Bent Willey’s on Friday – you go to Chasers • Limited communication or interaction

  18. Stages of “Falling Apart” (cont.) • Terminating • Definition: ending the relationship • This could come suddenly (death) or take a long time (divorce) • The more integrated the relationship, the longer it will likely take to end it • Terminating is not always bad

  19. Additional Predictions About Stages • Differentiating may be positive for a relationship • Terminating will differ depending on what stage you are in • Length of time spent in a given stage may relate to personality traits • Perceptions of stages may differ • Terminating is not necessarily bad

  20. Additional Predictions About Stages PARTNER 1 PARTNER 2 Initiating Initiating Experimenting Experimenting Intensifying Intensifying Integrating I integrating Bonding Differentiating Differentiating Circumscribing Circumscribing Stagnating Stagnating Avoiding Avoiding Terminating Terminating

  21. Reasons to Study Relational Stages If you are able to recognize what stage you’re in, it’s more likely you can save the relationship if you so desire

  22. Page 252 Activity • Ready page 252 titled, “Online Liars Leave Leads” • With a partner discuss the following questions. • Why do YOU think people lie about themselves online? • What are the downfalls of lying about one’s self online when seeking a romantic relationship? • Is it ever okay to lie about one’s self on an online profile? Why or why not? • Have you personally experienced someone lying about their profile or know someone who has? Discuss this experience. • Be prepared to share your thoughts aloud with the class.

  23. Relational Dynamics Continued

  24. Whip Around • What quality do you most look for in a friend? • Think about this question. • Be prepared to share aloud with the whole class.

  25. Overview of Relational Stages • Recognizable by type of communication that occurs What are the nonverbals when a relationship is just beginning? • More space between the two people • Example: opposite sides of table • Fewer eye gazes • What are the nonverbals when a relationship has progressed? • Less space between the two people (become more immediate) • Example: site beside each other, hold hands, hug

  26. Overview of Relational Stages (cont.) • Recognizable by type of communication that occurs • What subjects are discussed in the new relationship vs. the one that has progressed? • New relationship: less risky information • Relationship that has progressed: intimate information

  27. Overview of Relational Stages (cont.) • Changes in Psychological/Emotional Closeness • During the “coming together stage” get closer • During the “falling apart stage” begin to put yourself at greater distance Degrees of closeness are not constant, relationships are dynamic and constantly changing

  28. Overview of Relational Stages (cont.) • Stages may vary in length • No set time limit for any stage • No set order or sequence of stages

  29. Overview of Relational Stages (cont.) • Relationships are a process: change is inevitable • Relationships do not stay the same from the day they started • Strangers -> Friends -> Boyfriend/Girlfriend • There are times when we move further away – can come back and make relationship stronger

  30. Models of Relational Dynamics • A Dialectical Perspective • Dialectical tensions • Conflicts that arise when two opposing or incompatible forces exist simultaneously • Several dialectical forces that make successful communication challenging

  31. Models of Relational Dynamics • A Dialectical Perspective • Dialectical tensions • Connection versus autonomy • Openness versus privacy • Predictability versus novelty

  32. Models of Relational Dynamics • A Dialectical Perspective • Managing dialectical tensions • Denial • Disorientation • Alternation • Segmentation • Balance • Integration • Recalibration • Reaffirmation

  33. Characteristics of Relationships • Relationships Are Constantly Changing • Rarely stable for long periods • A cycle in which partners move through a series of stages • Relationships are affected by culture • A variety of differences can make relationships between people from different cultures challenging

  34. Characteristics of Relationships • Relationships Are Affected by Culture • A variety of differences can make relationships between people from different cultures challenging

  35. 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

  36. Communicating about Relationships • Metacommunication • Messages that people exchange, verbally or nonverbally, about their relationship • Communication about communication • Important method for resolving conflicts in a constructive manner • Can be used as a way to reinforce the satisfying aspects of a relationship

  37. Page 262 Activity • Read page 262 titled, “Your Relational Stage” • Answer questions 1-5 by yourself. • Be prepared to share aloud with the class.

  38. Chapter Review • Why We Form Relationships • Models of Relational Dynamics • Characteristics of Relationships • Communicating about Relationships