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10: Building and Maintaining Relationships

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    Learning Objectives

    • Identify and understand different types of interpersonal relationships, needs, roles, and norms
    • Discuss how interpersonal communication changes as we move through various relationship stages
    • Explain the influence that context, identity, and culture have on our interpersonal communication interactions and relationships
    • Apply interpersonal communication theories and strategies when discussing and analyzing relationships

    Interpersonal communication is vital to building, maintaining, and even ending our relationships. In this chapter, we discuss the foundations of relationships, relational stages, and the tools and strategies to achieve the relational outcomes we desire. We talk about healthy and unhealthy communication in relationships, and how to deal with relationship termination.

    • 10.1: Introduction to Building and Maintaining Relationships
      A short vignette and reflection questions are used to introduce the Building and Maintaining Relationships chapter.
    • 10.2: Foundations of Relationships
      Types of relationships, boundaries, norms and rules are discussed.  We examine which relationships are voluntary, involuntary, social or personal, and explore dialectical tensions that exist in all relationships.
    • 10.3: Common Relationship Types
      Family, friendships, work relationships, and romantic relationships are common relationship types discussed in this section.  Additionally, we look at Family Types, based on how Conversation and Conformity Orientations interact in different ways.
    • 10.4: Relationship Stages
      A review of Knapp and Vangelisti's (2009) Model of Relationship Stages.
    • 10.5: The Role of Self-Disclosure
      Self-Disclosure plays an important role in the development of our relationships.  The Johari Window is a tool we can use to examine how we handle both self-disclosure, as well as feedback from others.  Uncertainty Reduction Theory speaks to the strategies we use to increase predictability about other people.
    • 10.6: Couple Communication
      Focusing on evidence-based theories of couple communication, including the Gottman Method and Emotionally-Focused Therapy, we examine strategies for healthy communication in love relationships.  We also explore how jealousy and sexual communication play a role in our love relationships.
    • 10.7: Cycle of Abuse and Coming Apart
      The Cycle of Abuse describes the unhealthy relationship communication that is often present in abusive or violent relationships.  This section also discusses healthy versus unhealthy ways relationships end or terminate.
    • 10.8: Summary and Review
    • 10.9: References

    Thumbnail: Sisters Laughing Together by Alex Starnes in Public Domain