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Communication and
Relational Dynamics
8
CHAPTER TOPICS
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Why We Form Relationships
Models of Relational Dynamics
Characteristics of Relationships
Communicating about Relationships
Looking Out/Looking In
Fourteenth Edition
Why We Form Relationships
• Appearance
• Is especially important in the early stages
• Partners create “positive illusions,” viewing
another as more attractive over time
• Similarity
• We like people who are similar to us
• Similarity is more important to relational
happiness than communication ability
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
2
Why We Form Relationships
• Complementarily
• Differences strengthen relationships when
they are complementary
• Each partner’s characteristics satisfy the other’s
needs
• Reciprocal Attraction
• We like people who like us – usually
• People who approve of us, bolster our selfesteem
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
3
Why We Form Relationships
• Competence
• We like to be around talented people
• If a person is too talented it can be difficult to
be around them because they make us look
bad
• Disclosure
• Revealing information about yourself can help
to build liking
• Not all disclosure leads to liking
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
4
Why We Form Relationships
• Proximity
• We are likely to develop relationships with
people we interact with frequently
• Allows us to get more information about other
people and benefit from relationship
• Rewards
• Social Exchange Theory
• Relationships that give us rewards greater than or
equal to the costs of the relationship
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
5
Models of Relational Dynamics
• A Developmental Perspective
• Mark Knapp
• Rise and fall of relationships
• Ten stages
• Other researchers
• Coming together
• Coming apart
• Relational maintenance
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
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Models of Relational Dynamics
• Stages of Relational Development
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
Figure 8.1 Page 276
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Models of Relational Dynamics
• Knapp’s Ten Stages of the Relationship
• Initiating
• Communication during this stage is usually brief
• Usually follows a conventional formula
• Experimenting
• After initial contact we decide if we wish to pursue
the relationship further
• Uncertainty reduction
• The search for common ground
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
8
Models of Relational Dynamics
• Knapp’s Ten Stages of the Relationship
• Intensifying
• The interpersonal relationship begins to develop
• The expression of feeling becomes more common
• Integrating
• Parties begin to take on identity as a social unit
• Partners begin to take on each other’s
commitments
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
9
Models of Relational Dynamics
• Knapp’s Ten Stages of the Relationship
• Bonding
• Parties make symbolic public gestures
• Commitment is increased during this stage
• Differentiating
• The “We” orientation shifts back to “I”
• The stage is likely to occur when the relationship
experiences its first feelings of stress
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
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Models of Relational Dynamics
• Knapp’s Ten Stages of the Relationship
• Circumscribing
• Communication decreases in quantity and quality
• Restrictions and restraints
• Stagnating
• No growth occurs
• The relationship is a hollow shell of its former self
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
11
Models of Relational Dynamics
• Knapp’s Ten Stages of the Relationship
• Avoiding
• Parties begin to create physical distance between
each other
• Indirectly
• Directly
• Terminating
• Includes summary dialogue
• Relationships don’t always move toward
termination in a straight line
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
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Models of Relational Dynamics
• A Dialectical Perspective
• Dialectical tensions
• Conflicts that arise when two opposing or
incompatible forces exist simultaneously
• Several dialectical forces that make successful
communication challenging
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
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Models of Relational Dynamics
• A Dialectical Perspective
• Dialectical tensions
• Connection versus autonomy
• Openness versus privacy
• Predictability versus novelty
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
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Models of Relational Dynamics
• A Dialectical Perspective
• Managing dialectical tensions
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Denial
Disorientation
Alternation
Segmentation
Balance
Integration
Recalibration
Reaffirmation
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
15
Characteristics of Relationships
• Relationships Are Constantly Changing
• Rarely stable for long periods
• A cycle in which partners move through a series of
stages
• Relationships are affected by culture
• A variety of differences can make relationships
between people from different cultures challenging
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
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Characteristics of Relationships
• Relationships Are Affected by Culture
• A variety of differences can make relationships
between people from different cultures challenging
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
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Communicating about
Relationships
• Content and Relational Messages
• Content Messages
• The subject being discussed
• Relational Messages
• How the parties feel toward one another
• Types of Relational Messages
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Affinity
Immediacy
Respect
Control
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
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Communicating about
Relationships
• Metacommunication
• Messages that people exchange, verbally or
nonverbally, about their relationship
• Communication about communication
• Important method for resolving conflicts in a
constructive manner
• Can be used as a way to reinforce the
satisfying aspects of a relationship
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
19
Chapter Review
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Why We Form Relationships
Models of Relational Dynamics
Characteristics of Relationships
Communicating about Relationships
COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONAL DYNAMICS
20