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Relationships, Objectives, chapter 5
Be able to describe ways to improve
Define social
Objectives continued:
Be able to describe characteristics of
healthy relationships and how to
effectively maintain them.
Describe barriers to intimate relationships.
Describe factors that are important in
determining the success of an intimate
Describe when to get help for relational
Brett’s story:
Having his mom be worried about…..could
have affected how she raised him.
What other issues did Brett discuss?
Violence and its influence on social circles
Being grateful to have his father, a male
role model in his last four years of life.
Do men-boys need male role models?
Do women-girls need male role models?
Healthy relationships
Humans are social animals and need to belong,
feel loved, appreciated and wanted.
All relationships involve some degree of risk.
By taking some risks, we grow.
By looking at how we relate to others, we learn
about how to be better human-beings.
Communication, is a major key:
We communicate uniquely according to
family influences, gender, culture, race
and personality.
Communication is “a shared process of
symbolic meaning”: every action, word,
facial expression, gesture, body posture
becomes a part of a shared history.
Improving communication:
There is no “right way”.
Sometimes silence is the best way.
Some pointers include: learning how much,
when and who you can trust to share
information, thoughts, feelings and frustrations.
Sometimes the real message is not in what is
said, but in the non-verbal message, and what is
not said.
Learning to listen:
Focus on the speaker, maintain eye
contact, ask questions.
Avoid interruptions, try not to be thinking
about your response.
Avoid focusing on speaker quirks.
Use non-verbal cues to demonstrate
Listening well:
Ask for clarification
Avoid snap judgments and “trying to set
the other person straight”.
Try to stay focused on the subject, even if
the speaker tends to wander.
Sometimes a person just needs to feel
heard before they can listen to another
opinion or change their position.
Assertive Communication:
Get your point across, while being
respectful of the other person.
It involves verbal and nonverbal skills
(showing body language that is confident).
Speaking calmly directly, using “I”
Formula: I feel…when….because would
like….. Or DEAR…..
Non-assertive communication
* being shy, doormat
* passive-aggressive
* aggressive
Characteristics of intimate
Behavioral interdependence-daily activities
intertwine. One may feel a great void when the
other is gone.
Needs fulfillment:
Emotional attachment
Emotional availability-give and receive without
fear of being hurt or rejected.
Each of these can be related to family, close
friends and romantic partners.
What is a family?:
Is it who you live with?
What is the family of origin?
What are characteristics of a healthy
Establishing friendships:
“A friend is one who knows you as you are,
understands where you have been, accepts who
you’ve been and still gently invites you to grow”.
Author unknown
You like people who like you.
Similarity in attitudes, opinions, and background.
A sense of equity, that allows the sharing of
confidences and actions to maintain the
Characteristics of healthy
Enjoyment, most of the time
Mutual trust
Mutual assistance
Understanding-not puzzled by actions
Spontaneity-feel free to be themselves
Group: Please do exercise on page 110 What do you think?
What is love?
Many social scientists say that there are
two kinds: passionate and companionship
Companionship: secure, trusting, feel for
family and friends.
Passionate, high arousal, ecstasy, agony
of being rejected.
Researchers: Hatfield + Walster
passionate love will not occur unless:
Person must live in a culture where “falling
in love” is idealized.
A “suitable” love object must be present;
what we have learned about partner’s
appearance, socioeconomic status, racial
Physiological arousal, sexual excitement
Triangle theory of love, Sternberg:
Intimacy, feelings of closeness
Passion- romantic sexual attraction
Decision/commitment- the cognitive
component, decisions about the degree of
The higher degrees of the above, the
more likely that the person is involved in a
healthy, positive, love relationship.
Attraction, falling in love, Anthropologist: Helen
Imprinting- our evolutionary patterns, genetic
predispositions, and past experience trigger
romantic reactions.
Attractions-neurochemicals produce feelings of
euphoria and elation.
Attachment-endorphins cause lovers to feel
peaceful, secure and calm.
Cuddle chemical-oxytocin, feelings of
Love chemicals:
Produce – flushed skin, sweaty palms,
heavy breathing (similar to a stress
response). Due to:
Nor epinephrine
Phenyl ethylamine or PEA
All these are chemical cousins of
Gender Issues in communication:
Tannen’s work has described women as
being more “expressive, relationship
oriented, concerned with creating and
maintaining intimacy”.
Men are more concerned with “tasks,
concerned with gathering information or
with establishing or maintaining social
status or power”. Rapport vs. Report
Barriers to communication/
Differences in background, age, culture,
education, social status, political beliefs,
and many other variables.
Remember the goal of good
communication is not to have everyone
agree, it is to have everyone understand
each other.
“Jealousy: is not a barometer by
Which the depth of love can be read. It
merely records the depth of the lover’s
insecurity” Margaret Mead
Do you agree or disagree?
What factors play a role in jealousy?
When to get help for relational problems:
Problems with feeling secure in the
relationship, lots of mistrust.
Problems with passion.
Problems with commitment.
One of our biggest challenges in life are
relationships and if we haven’t
experienced “role-modeling” of healthy
relationships it is extremely difficult to
have one ourselves.
Finding excellent role-models and
communication is KEY!
Take classes in communication!!