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Chapter 9: Understanding Interpersonal Relationships

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Lindsay Thomas

on 23 February 2014

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Transcript of Chapter 9: Understanding Interpersonal Relationships

Chapter 9: Understanding Interpersonal Relationships
design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
Interpersonal Relationships Defined
A connection you establish when you communication with another person
Genesis of Interpersonal Relationships: Attraction
An interpersonal relationship is a perception shared by two people of an ongoing, interdependent connection resulting in the development of relational expectations and varying interpersonal intimacy.

The degree to which you wish to form or maintain a relationship represents your interpersonal attraction.

As relationships escalate toward intimacy or de-escalate away from it, they through identifiable stages.

There are three theories that explain relationship development.
1. Define interpersonal relationships and identify two ways to distinguish among them.

2. Identify and differentiate between short-term initial attraction and long-term maintenance attraction.

3. Identify and describe the stages of relational escalation and de-escalation.

4. Describe the main components of the three theories that explain relational development.

Stages of Interpersonal Relationship Development
Theories of Interpersonal Relationship Development
Share Perception
Interpersonal relationship
is a perception shared by two people of an ongoing interdependent connection that results in the development of relational exceptions
Ongoing Interdependent
Ongoing interpersonal relationships
is constantly changing & evolving at times through stages that differ in levels of trust, self-disclosure, & physical attraction
Ex: Harry Potter
means that people are dependent on each other; one persons actions affect the other person
Ex: Friends
Interpersonal Intimacy
Interpersonal intimacy
is the degree to which relational partners mutually confirm, value, & accept each others sense of self
Circumstance or Choice
Relationships of circumstance
form simply because our lives overlap with others in some way
Ex: Families, teachers, & classmates
Relationships of choice
are relationships that we seek out & intentionally develop
Ex: Friends, lovers, spouses, and counselors
Complementary relationships
, one partner usually dominates or makes most of the decisions
Symmetrical relationships,
both partners behave towards power in the same way, either both wanting power or both avoiding it
Competitive symmetrical relationship
exists when both people vie for power & control of decision making
Parallel relationships
involving a shifting back & forth of the power between the partners, depending on the situation
Interpersonal Attraction
Degree to which you want to form or maintain an interpersonal relationship.

Short-Term Initial Attraction
: Degree to which you sense a potential for developing an interpersonal relationship.

Long-Term Maintenance Attraction
: Degree of liking or positive feelings that motivate us to maintain or escalate a relationship.

Michael Sunnafrank's Predicted Outcome Value Theory (POV)
: People predict the value of a relationship based on initial self-assessment compared to the potential costs and rewards of the relationship.
We Have Two Sources of Attraction
: Physical nearness to another that promotes and increases communication and thus attraction

Physical Appearance
: Nonverbal cues we observe about another person that allow us to assess relationship potential and predict who is most likely to have something in common with us.
Sources of Both Initial & Long-Term Attraction
5 Qualities that lead us to initiate relationships and continue to develop them...

: Quality of being skilled, intelligent, charismatic and credible.

: Conveys openness and interest, which increases attraction.

Reciprocation of Liking
: Attraction toward a person who seems attracted to you.

: Comparable personalities, values, upbringing, personal experiences, attitudes and interests.

Differences & Complementary Needs
: Appreciation of diversity; matching needs.
Think about some of your closer relationships. How did you move from being acquaintances to being close friends?
Steve Duck suggests we go through a process of
, in which we reduce the number of partners at each stage of relational development by applying selection criteria that a potential close friend must meet.
Theories of Interpersonal Relationship Development
Social Penetration
Theories of Interpersonal Relationship Development
Social Exchange Theory
asserts that we base relational decisions on getting the greatest amount of reward with the least amount of cost.
Rewards and costs affect our decisions to escalate, maintain or terminate a relationship.
Is this relationship really worth it?
Rewards and Costs
Immediate rewards and costs
occur in a relationship in the present moment
Forecasted rewards and costs
are based on projection or prediction (predicted outcome value/POV).
Cumulative rewards and costs
represent the total reward and costs accrued over he duration of the relationship.
Expected rewards and costs
represent the expectations and ideals implicit in people's relational templates.

We also compare the rewards and costs of our current relationships to those we forecast for other potential relationships.
Comparison to Alternatives
Relational Dialectics Theory
Relational Dialectics Theory
views relationship development as the management of the tensions that pull us in two directions at the the same time.
We want to connect and be interdependent while remaining autonomous and independent. We want to be loved but we love our independence.
Most frequent dialectal tension
Also known as certainty vs. uncertainty, is knowing what to expect and being able to predict the circumstances around us helps reduce the tension that occurs from uncertainty. However, we get bored and are attracted to novelty and the unexpected. Relationships that fall into routines may be comfortable but they suffer from a need for freshness.
We want to achieve the ability to be totally open with our partners. We wish to disclose information to others and to have those we are attracted to disclose to us. However, we also value our privacy and feel a desire to hold back information.
The most important of the three tensions, although it doesn't occur as often.
What's the tension?
Coping with Dialectic Tensions
Your lover wants you to give up your free time on weekends so you can get together. How do you manage this tension?
Give up your free time and ignore your feelings? (
Flounder in uncertainty about what to do? (
You could become more involved but agree that every other Saturday you get to hang outwith your friends (
cyclic alteration
You could negotiate for occasional solo weekend activities like fishing or shopping (
You might find some balance that includes both connection and autonomy such as letting your partner join you on your fishing trip or shopping trip with the understanding that your partner gives you space and doesn't take control (
Reach an understanding that you will become closer yet still appreciate that you are separate individuals and have your own lives outside the relationship (
Rather than seeing autonomy as a threat to connectedness, it becomes part of accepting each other more completely (
). Being in relationships means you are in a constant state of dialectical tension; thus, you must develop and apply various coping strategies if the relationships are to succeed.
Self Disclosure and Social Penetration Theory
Self Disclosure
Occurs when we purposefully provide information to others about ourselves that they would not learn if we did not tell them.
Facebook reflects a form of self-disclosure
Social Penetration Theory
Movement toward intimacy is connected to increased breadth and depth of self-disclosing, as reflected in the
social penetration model
Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor
Social Psychologists
The Social Penetration Model
The Social Penetration Model
starts with a circle that represents all the potential information about yourself that you could disclose to someone. This circle is divided into many pieces like a pie with each piece representing a particular aspect of your "self", like hobbies, religious beliefs, family, school, political interests, and fears.
These pieces represent the
of information available about you.
The concentric circle in the pie represent the depth of information you could disclose.
means how personal or intimate the information is.
Characteristics of self-Disclosure
1. Self Disclosure Usually Occurs in Small Increments.
We typically don't share all that we know about ourselves with most people when we first meet them.
Communication Privacy Management Theory
We each have individual rules or boundaries about how much private information we share and with whom we share that information.
2. Self Disclosure Moves from Less Personal to More Personal Information
We can describe the depth of our self-disclosure by the intimacy level of the information we share. John Powell describes five levels of information we disclose as we progress toward intimacy.
Level 5:
Cliche' communication
Level 4:
Facts and biographical information
Level 3:
Attitudes and personal ideas
Level 2:
Personal feelings
Level 1:
Peak or gut level communication
3. Self-Disclosure is Reciprocal
In mainstream U.S. Culture, a
dyadic effect
occurs when one person's sharing of information about himself or herself prompts disclosure of similar information by the other person, particularly in the initial stages of relationships.
4. Self-Disclosure Involves Risk and Requires Trust.
According to Argyle, Henderson and Furnham, one of the most fundamental expectations people have of their friends is that they will not reveal confidences.
Vangelisti, Cauhlin and Timmerman suggest that we are most likely to share a family secret if...
during an intimate conversation with another person we found out that this person had a similar problem or we thought revealing the secret would help the other person;
we thought the secret would eventually come to light even if we didn't reveal it;
there was some urgency or importance in revealing the secret such that continuing to conceal the secret creates more problems than revealing it;
we thought the family member would not mind of the secret were told; the family member would still accept us; or
the topic came up in conversation, and it seemed normal and natural to reveal the secret.
: looking for clues to validate or invalidate an online claim
5. Self-Disclsure Reflects Perceptions About the Nature of Your Relationships.
What you reveal about yourself to others and what others reveal to you about themselves provide important information about how each of you perceives the quality, intimacy, and nature of your relationships.
Self-Disclosure gone CRAZY!!...
Relational Development proceeds in discernible stages, either escalating or de-escalating.
Relational Escalation:

The movement of a relationship towards greater intimacy.
Preinteraction Awareness
Preinteraction awareness
Passive Strategy
Casual Banter
Low- Risk Disclosure
Higher-risk disclosure
Confirms sence
of self
Relational De-escalation
Relationships decrease in intamacy or come to an end
Turmoil or Stagnation
Post-Intimacy Relationship:
Intimate romantic turns to friendship
Coercive Conflict (use of
negative tactics/ finding faults)
Redefine relationship
Less physical contact
You- Me
Linear process
Relational decline
Upward relational progression
turbulent relational progression
Principles Underlying Relational Stages
1. You can choose to remain in a given relational stage
2. Speed of progressing through the stages varies
3. Changes in relationships are signaled, Turning points
4. Change occurs within each stage
5. Change occurs between stages
6. Movement through stages can be forward or backward
7. Relational development involves negotiating change
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