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Chapter 9: Dynamics of Interpersonal Relationships

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joshua ousley

on 11 April 2013

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Transcript of Chapter 9: Dynamics of Interpersonal Relationships

Why We Form Relationships APPEARANCE:
Importance of appearance changes as a relationship progresses
We view the familiar as beautiful
After initial impressions, ordinary people with pleasing personalities are seen as attractive
Physical factors become less important over time, "positive illusions" Dynamics of Interpersonal Relationships Chapter 9 Strategies On a personal level, forgiveness has been shown to reduce emotional distress and aggression as well as improve cardiovascular function. Forgiving Transgressions One-time versus Incremental:
act of betrayal
verbal assault
walking out on an argument in anger One-time versus Incremental Distance
Physical separation (beyond what is necessary)
Psychological separation (avoidance, ignoring)
Criticism (especially in front of third parties)

Distance & Disrespect Failure to honor important obligations (e.g., financial, emotional, task-related)
Self-serving dishonesty
Unfaithfulness Lack of commitment This is when partners purposefully or intentionally say or do things to make the other partner mad or sad.

For example, cruel comments that will hurt the other person’s feelings. Deliberate Versus Unemotional Repairing Damaged Relationships Important to use I-Messages.

Some Transgressions are harder to repair, such as sexual infidelity and breaking up.

“A good apology is like an antibiotic, and a bad apology is like rubbing salt in the wound”

Researchers found that not apologizing leads to having more remorse than apologizing. Strategies for Relational Repair Problematic Emotions

Aggression Problematic Emotions and
Aggression There are certain social rules couples follow, and if they disobey and break them they are in violation. These social rules include:
Saving face. Not bring up possible embarrassing or damaging facts about their partner in public.
Relational in nature. These are pre-established rules stating a preference or protocol. Social Versus Relational
Minor versus significant
examples of this type of relational transgressions are
A little distance
jealousy Relational Transgressions Expression of relational messages COMPETENCY:
We like to be around people who are talented but can become uncomfortable with people we see as TOO competent
Aronson’s Study- attractiveness v. imperfection Why We Form Relationships REWARD:
“exchange theory” suggests we seek out people who can give us rewards greater to or at least equal to the cost in dealing with them

Rewards – Cost = Outcome

How do we define our cost and rewards? Why We Form Relationships COMPLEMENTARITY:
"Opposites attract" when partner’s characteristics satisfy each others needs Why We Form Relationships SIMILARITY:
Similarity Thesis is the most frequently discussed and strongly supported theory. Why? Why We Form Relationships If appearance plays an important role early in a relationship, but we create "positive illusions" later in a relationship, at what point does appearance stop playing an important role? Comparison Level of Alternatives (CLalt) A minimum standard representing what people believe they should receive in terms of rewards and costs in a particular relationship Comparison Level (CL) We use 2 standards to determine Cost and Reward Recalibration: communicators re frame dialectical challenges, so that the contradiction disappears. Balance: communicators recognize that both opposing forces are legitimate and try to manage them through compromise. Segmentation: partners compartmentalize different areas of their relationship. Alternation: communicators choose one end of the dialectical spectrum at some times, and the other end on other occasions. Disorientation: communicators are so overwhelmed and helpless that they are unable to confront their problems. Communicators seek important, but incompatible goals. This creates dialectical tensions. Reaffirmation: instead of making dialectical challenges go away, communicators accept or embrace them. Integration: communicators simultaneously accept opposing forces without trying to diminish them. Denial: communicators respond to one end of the dialectical spectrum and ignore the other. Strategies we tend to use for managing dialectical tensions Openness-Closedness Dialect: the struggle between expression and privacy.
Revelation-Concealment Dialect: not knowing whether you should reveal some personal information to someone or not. 3. Expression vs. Privacy
Predictability Novelty Dialect: knowing each other too well.

Conventionality Uniqueness Dialect: People in a relationship try to meet others expectations as well as their own. 2. Stability vs. Change Connection Autonomy Dialect: we seek involvement with others, but also want to remain independent.

Inclusion-Seclusion Dialect: Struggle to reconcile a desire for involvement with the outside world with the desire to live their own lives free of interference from others. 1. Integration vs. Separation
The stages of interpersonal relationships can be thought of as a pyramid. Stages of Relational Development Relationships vary from time to time, and communication creates and reflects the changing dynamics of relational interaction.

There are 2 different characterizations of relational development and interaction:
1. Developmental Model of Stages
2. Dialectical Perspectives Communication and Relational Dynamics - Timing plays an important role within disclosure of information.
- Self- information: Only share personal information that you can trust the other person to treat respectfully. Disclosure cont. Disclosure - We form relations with those we interact with frequently or
cross paths with frequently Proximity Bonding Integrating Intensifying Experimenting Initiating Differentiating Circumscribing Stagnating Avoiding Terminating Making and continuing contact Friendships become stronger Search for common ground Invitations addressed to "couple”
Social circles merge
Begin associating things as a group (we, our)
Rituals form
Expectations heightened, sharing is commonplace Public gestures common
Bonded relationship can be defined a number of ways: engaged/married/sharing residence/public ceremony/written or verbal pledge
Bonding is the next "significant step" Some relationships stay strong, others move apart
Instead of using "our" it becomes "my" or "I"
Differentiation can be positive for a relationship
The key is allowing space in differentiation stage Communication decreases in quality/quantity
Dissatisfaction is more evident
Teasing is less good-natured
Arguing is more common
Shared things become individual things once again No growth
No progress
“Stagnant" Varying degree of how it happens
Doesn't have to be negative, can be a learning experience
Friendships still possible afterward
Positives include 'person positives', 'relational positives', 'environmental positives' and 'other positives' Creating distance
expressing detachment
avoiding involvement
showing antagonism
mentally dissociate

“Handwriting on the wall" Limits of Developmental Models Relationships aren't always defined by one stage
There are 5 patterns of relational development and deterioration Friendliness Sexual desire Superiority Helplessness Irritation Attraction can turn to dislike when people are similar to us in many ways, but different in ways we find strange, offensive, or socially awkward Why are we drawn to people similar to ourselves? 1. Validation 2. More easily make accurate predictions, reduces anxiety and uncertainty 3. Self-fulfilling prophecy "Can you help me for a minute?" Tone of voice can easily be misinterpreted It's good to confirm what someone is trying to convey in a message instead of jumping to conclusions Meta-communication Communicating about communication Taboo in most relationships despite its importance. Very important in a healthy relationship Do you think older couples have more of a difficulty with changing things up in a relationship than younger couples, why? Which dialectical tension do you see happen the most, how can you tell? (what signs do they show) Without metacommunication, simple problems can turn into relational transgressions *Do you think it is easier to begin conversation with someone right next to you (in line for food, on the bus, in class?) as opposed to across the room? Why? Problems in a relationship can arise from many different external and personal factors Violating explicit or implicit terms or 'rules' of a relationship, and letting your significant other down in some important way Relational Transgressions Content Messages: What is being said in a message. Relational Messages: indicates how the communicator feels about the other person. Mainly nonverbal queues like tone of voice
Deals with social needs What are some ‘Relational’ rules that govern your life in some way? Please share a time when you experienced a relational transgressions, and how did it turn out? Depending on the transgression committed, do you find it easy or difficult to forgive others and why? How do you think disorientation could play into managing a relationship? What positive or negative consequences could result from using the recalibration strategy to manage a relationship? *When you first meet a person, and engage in conversation with him/her, what sort information qualifies as safe, or worthy, to give them? What does not? *Talk of a time, or give an example of a time, when you think you may have given too much information to another person…what about them asking you? *How do you think that initiation of relationships changes from, say, middle school to now? A comparison of relational rewards in a current relationship to available rewards from alternative relationships or being alone *Do you think it is easier to begin experimenting – searching for “common ground” – online rather than face-to-face? Why? Using conventional formulas for brief conversation Can be difficult for shy people
"Hiding behind a keyboard"
-> As we get older, we are more cautious of who we interact with and are selective in who we want to get to know. "Small talk" is the hallmark of experimenting We seek out information depending on what type of relationship we are looking for Social media changes the nature of this stage Participating in the same activities; this also becomes more frequent Dating "I love you" - Negative and positive feelings. - Social Media constitutes virtual proximity. - People within close proximity to others may be more similar to us as opposed to people who are not (same neighborhood = social status). -Proximity allows us to gain more information about other people and benefit from relationships with them. - Telling others about ourselves can help build liking in person or in mediated settings. -Many times, the basis of attraction is similarities between two people that are DISCLOSED during conversation. - Information ranges from:
o Experiences
o Attitudes
o Ideals/views
o Etc. - Self-disclosure indicates regard and thusly increases liking; this initiates trust and respect. -The type of information disclosed can result in a multitude of reactions. Incremental acts keep occurring over and over Another type can be emotional withdrawal: being emotionally unavailable as well as physically unavailable. Please share a relational transgression that you have experienced. Jealously, Unjustified suspicion, Rage Verbal hostility Physical violence What are some ways to keep the balance? What is your opinion on merging “social circles”, belongings, and living space? Are there some things that should really just stay separate? What role does self esteem play when using the Comparison Level/ Comparison Level of Alternatives formula? When do you consider a relationship bonded? What would you say the main difference is a bonded friendship between males and females? What do you think the main reason is for differentiating (growing apart) in a relationship? What do you think the best way is to break off an unhealthy relationship? Are you reluctant to discuss the state of your relationship, where it is going, or the rules that govern it with your significant other? These transgressions can be fine in moderation and even beneficial to improving a relationship, but if not addressed and worked out they can damage a relationship. Communicating About Relationships How do you think denial could help or hurt a relationship? Radical differences that may first appear intriguing can later be cause for breakup
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