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6.8: Summary

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    109724
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    Interpersonal communication is communication between individuals that view one another as unique. Quite often, interpersonal communication occurs in dyads. In order for interpersonal communication to occur, participants must engage in self-disclosure, which is the revealing of information about oneself to others that is not known by them. As we self-disclose, we manage our relationships by negotiating dialectical tensions, which are opposing needs in interpersonal relationships. We use a variety of strategies for navigating these tensions, including neutralization, separation, segmentation, and reframing.

    As we navigate our interpersonal relationships, we create communication climates, which are the overall feelings and moods people have for one another and the relationship. When we engage in disconfirming messages, we produce a negative relational climate, while confirming messages can help build a positive relational climate by recognizing the uniqueness and importance of another person.

    The three primary types of interpersonal relationships we engage in are friendships, romantic relationships, and family relationships. Each of these relationships develop through a series of stages of growth and deterioration. Friendships and romantic relationships differ from family relationships in that they are relationships of choice. Each of these relationships requires commitment from participants to continuously navigate relational dynamics in order to maintain and grow the relationship.

    Finally, all relationships experience conflict. Conflict is often perceived as an indicator that there is a problem in a relationship. However, conflict is a natural and ongoing part of all relationships. The goal for conflict is not to eliminate it, but to manage it. There are five primary approaches to managing conflict which include dominating, obliging, compromising, avoiding, and integrating.

    Discussion Questions

    1. In​ ​reference​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Relationship​ ​Dialectics,​ ​what​ ​are​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best​ ​ways​ ​to​ ​find balance​ ​between​ ​the​ ​two​ ​ends​ ​of​ ​each​ ​dialectical​ ​spectrums?
    2. Reflect​ ​on​ ​one​ ​of​ ​your​ ​important​ ​friendships​ ​and​ ​trace​ ​its​ ​development​ ​through​ ​Rawlins’ six​ ​stages.​ ​How​ ​was​ ​it​ ​affected​ ​by​ ​important​ ​transitions​ ​in​ ​your​ ​life,​ ​sexual​ ​attraction,​ ​and diversity?
    3. When​ ​was​ ​a​ ​time​ ​that​ ​you​ ​faced​ ​a​ ​challenge​ ​forming​ ​a​ ​friendship?​ ​Did​ ​it​ ​work​ ​out?​ ​Why or​ ​why​ ​not?
    4. Does​ ​Pearson’s​ ​definition​ ​of​ ​family​ ​fit​ ​your​ ​own?​ ​Why?​ ​Why​ ​not?
    5. Interview​ ​one​ ​or​ ​both​ ​of​ ​your​ ​parents​ ​about​ ​how​ ​their​ ​communication​ ​has​ ​changed​ ​as they​ ​have​ ​moved​ ​along​ ​the​ ​family​ ​life​ ​cycle.​ ​How​ ​did​ ​their​ ​relational​ ​culture​ ​change? How​ ​did​ ​they​ ​manage​ ​relational​ ​dialectics?
    6. Think​ ​about​ ​a​ ​time​ ​that​ ​you​ ​needed​ ​to​ ​deal​ ​with​ ​conflict.​ ​Was​ ​the​ ​outcome​ ​destructive​ ​or productive?​ ​How​ ​could​ ​you​ ​have​ ​used​ ​the​ ​information​ ​in​ ​this​ ​chapter​ ​on​ ​to​ ​better​ ​handle the​ ​situation​ ​if​ ​it​ ​was​ ​destructive?

    Key Terms

    • committed romantic relationships
    • conflict
    • content level of message
    • domestic partners
    • dyad
    • dyadic breakdown
    • dyadic phase
    • family
    • family life cycle
    • grave dressing
    • intrapsychic phase
    • interracial marriage
    • proximity
    • relational culture
    • relational level of message
    • self-disclosure
    • self-identity
    • similarity
    • social support

    References

    Augsburger, David W. Conflict Mediation across Cultures: Pathways and Patterns. Louisville, KY:Westminster/John Knox, 1992. Print.

    Baxter, L.A. "Dialectical Contradictions in Relational Development." Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 7 (1990): 69-88. Web.

    Bell, Sandra, and Simon Coleman. "The Anthropology of Friendship: Enduring Themes and Future Possibilities." The Anthropology of Friendship. Oxford, UK: Berg, 1999. 1-20. Print.

    Booth, Melanie. "Boundaries And Student Self-Disclosure In Authentic, Integrated Learning Activities And Assignments." New Directions For Teaching & Learning 2012.131 (2012): 5-14. Academic Search Premier. Web. 8 Oct. 2014.

    Burleson , Brant R., Amanda J. Holmstrom, and Susanne M. Jones. "Some Consequences for Helpers Who Deliver “Cold Comfort”: Why It's Worse for Women than Men to Be Inept When Providing Emotional Support." Sex Roles 53.3-4 (2005): 153-72. Web.

    Carrier, J. G. "People Who Can Be Friends: Selves and Social Relationships." The Anthropology of Friendship. Ed. Sandra Bell and Simon Coleman. Oxford, UK: Berg, 1999. 21-28. Print.

    Coates, Jennifer. Women, Men, and Language: A Sociolinguistic Account of Sex Differences in Language. London: Longman, 1986. Print.

    Cole, Mark. Interpersonal Conflict Communication in Japanese Cultural Contexts. N.p.: n.p., 1996. Print.

    Echols, Leslie, and Sandra Graham. "Birds of a Different Feather: How Do Cross-Ethnic Friends Flock Together?." Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 59.4 (2013): 461-488.

    Harriman, Ann. Women/men/management. New York: Praeger, 1985. Print.

    Kim, Kyungil, and Arthur Markman. "Individual Differences, Cultural Differences, and Dialectic Conflict Description and Resolution." International Journal of Psychology, 48.5 (2013): 797-808.

    Luft, Joseph. Of Human Interaction. Palo Alto, CA: National, 1969. Print.

    Mathews, Alicia, Valerian J. Derlega, and Jennifer Morrow. "What Is Highly Personal Information and How Is It Related to Self-Disclosure Decision-Making? The Perspective of College Students." Communication Research Reports 23.2 (2006): 85-92. Web.

    Monsour, Mike, and William K. Rawlins. "Transitional Identities And Postmodern Cross-Gender Friendships: An Exploratory Investigation." Women & Language 37.1 (2014): 11-39. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.

    Nishina, Adrienne, Jaana Juvonen, and Melissa R. Witkow. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will make me feel sick: The psychosocial, somatic, and scholastic consequences of peer harassment." Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 34.1 (2005): 37-48.

    Olson, David, and H. McCubbin. Families: What Makes Them Work. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1983. Print.

    Özad, Bahire Efe, and Gülen Uygarer. "Attachment Needs and Social Networking Sites." Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal 42.1 (2014): 43-52. Web.

    Pearson, Judy C. Communication in the Family: Seeking Satisfaction in Changing times. Vol. 2. New York: Harper & Row, 1992. Print.

    Rahim, M. Afzalur. Managing conflict in organizations. Transaction Publishers, 2015.

    Rahim, M. Afzalur, and Nace R. Magner. "Confirmatory factor analysis of the styles of handling interpersonal conflict: first-order factor model and its invariance across groups." Journal of applied psychology 80.1 (1995): 122.

    Rawlins, W. K. (1981). Friendship as a communicative achievement. Temple University.

    Thomas, Kenneth Wayne, and Ralph H. Kilmann. Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. Tuxedo, NY: XICOM, 1974. Print.

    Wood, Julia T. Interpersonal Communication in Everyday Encounters. 2nd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1999. Print.


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