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6.8: Summary

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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


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    6.8: Summary is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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