Interpersonal Communication Notes Chapter 9 Student by 669p9n


									                          Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others (4e)



                                LEARNING OBJECTIVES
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

       1.   Explain how relationships are both systems and processes.
       2.   Differentiate between relationships of choice and relationships of circumstance.
       3.   Explain what it means to have an intimate relationship.
       4.   Describe the elements that contribute to interpersonal attraction.
       5.   Identify the principles of interpersonal power.
       6.   Describe the types of power and how to negotiate power in a relationship.
       7.   Explain how friendships can change during our lifetime.
       8.   Explain the triangular theory of love and identify the six types of love.
       9.   Discuss differences among the relationships found in families.

                                 CHAPTER OVERVIEW
        As a system, an interpersonal relationship is a set of interconnected elements in which a
change in one element affects all the others. One difficulty in analyzing a relationship as a
system is deciding what elements are part of the system, what are its boundaries. As a process, a
relationship is constantly changing, evolving, and dynamic. Once something is done in a
relationship, it cannot be undone.
        Some of our interpersonal relationships arise from circumstances while others arise
purely out of our choice to interact. Relationships of circumstance form because our lives
overlap with others in some way. Relationships of choice are ones that we seek ou t and
intentionally develop.
        One of the most significant aspects of any relationship is the level of interpersonal
intimacy, or the degree to which each person's self is confirmed and accepted by his or her
partner in the relationship. These intimate relationships provide us with information about
ourselves and bolster our self confidence by being confirmed by others who know us well.
        Relationships move through a series of relational stages that are associated with sharing
personal information. The communication behaviors and strategies are linked to the level of
intimacy in a particular relationship.
        We communicate our sense of intimacy to others both directly, through words, and
indirectly, through actions.
        Interpersonal attraction often sparks new relationships. This begins as short-term
attraction or the degree to which we sense the potential for developing an interpersonal
relationship. Long term attraction is the type that sustains relationships. Attraction can be based
on physical attraction, credibility, competence, charisma, proximity, similarity, complementary
needs, relationship potential, and reciprocation of liking.
        Your ability to influence other people in the direction you desire —interpersonal
power—is an important factor in the development and success of relationships. Five principles
                          Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others (4e)

help explain and manage power in day-to-day relationships.
        Different types of power exist in relationships. Complementary power is when one
partner dominates and the other submits. Symmetrical power is when both partners behave in
similar ways. A competitive symmetric relationship exists when both partners are vying for
control or dominance. A submissive symmetric relationship exists when neither partner wants to
take control or make a decision. Parallel relationships involve a shifting back and forth of
        Power can come from five sources. Legitimate power is based on respect for a position;
referent power is based on attraction or charisma; expert power is based on knowledge and
experience; reward power is based on another's ability to satisfy our needs; and coercive power
involves the uses of sanctions or punishment.
        Power is negotiated in relationships as a result of both partners weighing the costs of
compliance against the costs of noncompliance. Steps in the negotiation include an assessment
of the needs of you and your partner; an examination of how well a particular relationship meets
your needs and how well you meet the needs of the relational partner; an examination of your
interpersonal conflicts for unresolved power issues such as power, control, responsibility, and
decision making; and a direct discussion of power issues.
        Friendships provide valuable support in living a healthy life, coping with stress, and
developing our personality. Childhood friendships are usually superficial and self centered;
adolescent friendships involve peer influence; adult friendships provide emotional support or a
partner for activities and socializing; and the friendships for the elderly become increasingly
        Most of our friendships are with people who are similar to us. Age, culture, ethnicity,
and race can be factors that influence friendships due to the qualities and expectations held by
each group concerning being a friend. Cross-sex friendships and friendships with others who are
different from you can help you gain insights into how other people think.
        The closest relationship you will develop with another human being will probably be a
romantic one. Loving relationships are more passionate and intimate than friendships and can
exist between opposite sex couples, as well as same sex couples.
        The triangular theory of love identifies the three dimensions that that can be used to
describe variations in loving relationships. Intimacy involves trust, caring, honesty,
supportiveness, understanding, and openness. Commitment includes loyalty, devotion, putting
the other first, and needing each other. Passion includes excitement, sexual interest and activity,
and extreme longing. The presence and strength of each dimension varies from relationship to
relationship, with each combination defining a different style of love: eros (sexual, erotic love),
ludis (love as a game), storge (the love of friendships and family members), mania (swinging
wildly between highs and lows), pragma (a practical love based on partner's personal
requirements), and agape (spiritual ideal of love).
        Family relationships are important because they influence our self concept and sense of
self worth.

                           Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others (4e)

                                    CHAPTER OUTLINE
                                   (All key terms appear in bold)

I. Interpersonal relationships are connections between two people that are based on their
     interpersonal communication and can be thought of as a kind of system and a process.
     A. A system is a set of interconnected elements in which a change in one element of the
          relationship has an impact on all the other elements.
     B. One difficulty in analyzing a relationship as a system is deciding what elements are parts
          of the system.
     C. As a process, a relationship is constantly changing, evolving, and dynamic, moving to a
          new level and being redefined.
     D. One principle of a process is its irreversibility; once something is done, it can't be
II. An interpersonal relationship is an ongoing connection we make with another person that we
     carry in our minds (and, metaphorically, in our hearts), whether the other person is present or
     A. Relationships of circumstance form simply because our lives overlap with those of
          others in some way.
               1. Relationships with family members, teachers, classmates, and coworkers fall into
                   this category.
     B. Relationships of choice are those we seek out and intentionally develop.
     C. We act and communicate differently in these two types of relationships because the
          stakes are different.
     D. These categories are not mutually exclusive—relationships of circumstance can also be
          relationships of choice.
III. Intimacy and attraction in relationships.
     A. What seems to make relationships the most intimate is our ability to be ourselves with
          another person, the ability to be open and loved.
     B. Interpersonal intimacy is the degree to which each person's sense of self is confirmed
          and accepted by his or her partner in the relationship.
     C. We depend on intimate relationships to provide us with information about ourselves and
          to bolster our self-confidence.
     D. Only when you self disclose who you are can your self image be confirmed.
              1. We move through a number of relational stages when moving toward intimate
              2. These stages are associated with sharing information about ourselves.
              3. We communicate differently due to the level of emotional intimacy.
                       a. More intimate partners exhibit direct information seeking behavior to
                           reduce uncertainty.
                       b. Less intimate partners exhibit less direct behaviors.
              4. We communicate our sense of intimacy to others both directly, through words,
                   and indirectly, through actions.
     E. The process of developing an intimate relationship usually begins and is sustained
          because of your attraction to another person.
     F. Interpersonal attraction exists whenever you have a positive regard for another person;
          when you like them.

                      Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others (4e)

        1. The strength of the interpersonal attraction determines the degree to which you
            want to form or maintain an interpersonal relationship.
        2. Interpersonal attraction occurs in the early stage of relational development as
            short-term initial attraction: the degree to which we sense a potential for
            developing an interpersonal relationship.
        3. You may or may not act on this attraction.
        4. The primary reason for this initial attraction was found to be the other person's
            desirable personality, followed by their warmth and kindness.
        5. Long term maintenance attraction is the type that sustains relationships like
            your best friendships.
G. Interpersonal attraction is made up of seven elements.
        1. Physical attraction is the degree to which are attracted to the other person's
           physical appearance.
                a. Each culture has its own definition of the physical ideal.
                b. Physical attraction has been found to be more important for initial
                   attraction than for maintenance attraction.
                c. People tend to seek out others who have the same level of physical
                   attractiveness that they do.
                d. The decision to escalate a relationship depends on what happens in the
                   initial interaction and subsequent interactions.
        2. Credibility, competence, and charisma are also important.
                a. We assume people are competent if they seem skilled, knowledgeable, and
                b. Intelligence/competence is a more important predictor of initial attraction
                   in eventual romantic relationships than in friendships.
                c. We find people credible if they display a blend of enthusiasm,
                   trustworthiness, competence, and power.
                d. Competence, credibility, and physical attractiveness are all important
                   elements in charisma.
        3. Proximity (physical nearness to another) increases communication opportunities
           and the likelihood of forming relationships.
        4. We are attracted to people based on the similarities of our personalities,
           upbringing, backgrounds, values, personal experiences, attitudes, and interests.
        5. Most of us look for someone with complementary needs to ours.
                a. People seek a matching of needs such that one partner contributes
                   something to the relationship that the other partner needs.
                b. Shutz identified the interpersonal needs of inclusion, affection, and control
                   that motivate us to develop and maintain relationships with others.
        6. Relational potential is predicted by predicted outcome value theory.
                a. We assess the potential for any given relationship to meet our relational
                   needs and weigh this assessment against the potential costs.
                b. We are attracted to others with whom a relationship may yield a high
                   outcome value.
                c. Over time, our assessments may change.
        7. Reciprocating of liking means that we like people who like us.
                a. We often underestimate how much a new acquaintance is attracted to us.

                          Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others (4e)

                    b. Adapt your decision making accordingly.
IV. Interpersonal power is the ability in an interpersonal relationship to influence another
    person in the direction you desire - to get another person to do what you want.
    A. There are five principles that help us to understand and manage power in our day to day
        interactions and ongoing relationships.
            1. Power exists in all interactions and all relationships.
                    a. When you talk you are attempting to exert power over other people, if for
                       no other reason than to get them to listen.
                    b. Being in a relationship means letting someone have some influence on
            2. Power primarily derives from an individual's ability to meet another person's
                needs within a given relationship.
                    a. In a dependent relationship one person has a greater need for the partner
                       to satisfy his or her needs.
                    b. Your ability to satisfy your own needs without reliance on another person
                       reduces the amount of power another has over you.
            3. Both partners in an ongoing relationship have some degree of power.
                    a. When two people are mutually satisfying each other's needs, they create
                       an interdependent relationship: each person has some power over the
                    b. The more intimate and exclusive a relationship, the more we turn to that
                       one person to satisfy a broader spectrum of our needs.
                    c. Our ability to successfully resolve power issues is a major factor in
                       achieving and maintaining intimate relationships.
            4. Power is circumstantial.
                    a. Because our needs change, so does power.
                    b. When you were young, you were very dependent on your parents but this
                       dependency is reduced when you grow older.
                    c. The circumstantialities of power can lead to a feeling of being used when
                       we have been meeting the needs of another person only to have the
                       relationship discarded when those needs no longer exist.
            5. Relational development involves a negotiation of each person's power.
                    a. In a relationship, each partner decides who will have power and the type
                       of power they will have.
                    b. This negotiation between partners often involves tension and conflict.
                    c. Relational stability occurs when partners reach agreement about power in
                       their relationship.
    B. There are different types of power relationships.
            1. In complementary relationships, one partner dominates and the other submits.
            2. In symmetric relationships, both partners attempt to have the same level of
                    a. A competitive symmetric relationship exists when both partners are
                       vying for control or dominance over the other person.
                    b. A submissive symmetric relationship exists when neither partner wants
                       power and control.

                          Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others (4e)

           3. Most relationships are parallel relationships where power shifts back and forth
              between partners based on the circumstances.
   C. There are five sources of power in relationships:
           1. Legitimate power comes because of respect for a position that another person
           2. Referent power comes from our attraction to another person, or the charisma a
              person holds.
           3. Expert power is the influence a person derives from their knowledge or
           4. Reward power comes from another person's ability to satisfy our needs.
           5. Coercive power is the use of sanctions or punishment to influence others.
   D. There are steps to satisfactorily negotiating power in interpersonal relationships.
           1. The first step is to identify your needs and the needs of your partner and to assess
              and understand the met and unmet needs.
           2. Examine how well a given relationship meets your needs and how well you meet
              the needs of your relational partner.
           3. Identify need based conflicts and tension: To what degree is power a factor in
              relational conflicts?
           4. Directly discuss power issues.
V. Relationships with friends, lovers and family are the most important relationships to us.
   A. Friendship is a relationship that exists over time between two people who share a
       common history.
           1. We each have our own expectations of friendship that may include qualities such
              as self disclosure, openness, compatibility, similarity, ego reinforcement,
              acceptance, respect, helping behavior, positive evaluation, trust, and concern and
           2. Friends represent a relationship of choice.
           3. Friends help us enjoy a healthy life by helping us cope with stress, taking care of
              our personal needs, and helping in the development of our personality.
           4. An important function of our friends is to help us manage the mundane parts of
              life, such as talking or sharing a meal.
           5. Typically, people have five close friends, fifteen other friends, twenty or more
              members of a social network, and many more people who are social
           6. Friends may bolster our self esteem or provide material help when we need it.
   B. Friendships at different stages of our life.
           1. Childhood friendships can be categorized into five sometimes overlapping stages.
                   a. From ages three to seven, we have momentary playmates - we interact
                       with those in our presence.
                   b. From ages four to nine, our friendships involve one way assistance where
                       we view friendships as a "take" perspective as friends as instruments to
                       help meet our needs.
                   c. From ages six to twelve, we experience the fair weather friend stage where
                       there is more give and take in the friendship but the reciprocity occurs
                       when things are going well and may end if conflict develops.

                      Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others (4e)

          d. The last stage, from age twelve to adulthood, allows for more
              independence and interdependence with friends, which allows for more
              intimacy and sharing.
2.   Adolescent friendships move away from intimacy with parents and other adults to
     greater intimacy with our peers.
          a. During adolescence, peer relationships are the most important social
              influence on our behavior.
          b. Boys are more likely to join either more socially desirable groups, such as
              sports or debate, or less socially desirable groups bent on violence and
              destruction of property.
          c. Girls are more likely to develop intimate relationships with one or two
              good friends.
          d. Friendships usually peak in late adolescence and early adulthood before
              we choose a mate.
3.   Adult friendships are among our most valued relationships.
          a. These friendships provide a partner for activities or socializing.
          b. Women friends are more likely to engage in rituals of sharing, supporting,
              and venting than are men.
          c. Having neighbors, relatives, and coworkers as our adult friends means that
              many of them are temporary relationships.
          d. Adult friendships are affected by a partner's marriage.
4.   The elderly and friendships
          a. The elderly make new friends but value the old friends the most.
          b. Older adults maintain a small, highly valued network of friends.
          c. As friends get older, they engage in more negative self disclosure.
5.   Intergenerational, intercultural, interracial, and cross sex friendships may be more
     challenging to maintain due to the differences.
          a. Casual friends who differed in age were found to admire each other more
              than casual friends of the same age.
          b. Individuals of different cultures can develop a unique relationship defined
              by their own relational rules rather than cultural rules (third culture).
          c. We can develop cross sex friendships with minimal sexual attraction or
              redefine romantic relationships as friendships.
          d. Cross sex friendships can help you gain insight into how other people
          e. Men value friendships with women for providing more nurturance and
              intimacy than their friendships with males.
          f. Women did not enjoy the same level of intimacy with their male friends as
              they did with their female friends but enjoyed the "masculine" interaction
              style involving fun activities and learning about the male perspective.
          g. The important goal is to work toward a mutual understanding and
              acceptance of what your expectations are for your friendships.
6.   Lovers are people who are involved in a romantic relationship.
          a. Romantic loving relationships differ in quality from friendships.
          b. Lovers talk about their relationship differently.

                        Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others (4e)

                          1). Friends are less likely to talk about what attracted them to each
                         2). Friends are less likely to celebrate anniversaries and mark the
                     passage of time in formal ways.
         c. Love involves an increase in a sense of "we-ness," of passionate solidarity, and
             identification with the other.
         d. Rubin developed two scales to measure love and liking.
                          1). Love relationships are more passionate and intimate than
                              friendships but people like their lovers only slightly more than they
                              like their friends.
                         2). Women make a greater distinction between loving and liking than
                              men do.
         e. The closest relationship with another human being will probably be a romantic
         f. Sexual orientation is another factor in how people think about romantic
                          1). Romantic relationships can exist between opposite sex couples as
                              well as same sex couples.
                         2). Gay and lesbian romantic relationships share many of the same
                                qualities as heterosexual relationships but may be subject to added
                              pressures from society.
C.   The triangular theory of love identifies three dimensions that can be used to describe
     variations in loving relationships.
         1. Intimacy includes attributes such as trust, caring, honestly, supportiveness,
             understanding, and openness.
         2. Commitment includes loyalty, devotion, putting the other first, and needing each
         3. Passion includes excitement, sexual interest and activity, and extreme longing.
         4. Despite controversy over the validity of this theory, recent research has found
             relationship satisfaction to be related to variations among these three dimensions.
D.   Sociologist John Alan Lee defined six types of love found in both romantic and
     nonromantic relationships
         1. Eros is sexual love based on the pursuit of beauty and pleasure.
         2. Ludis describes love as a game, something to pass the time.
         3. Storge is the love of friendships, siblings, and family members.
         4. Mania describes a relationship that swings wildly between highs and lows:
         5. Pragma is a practical love based on partners' personal requirements;
             personalities, backgrounds, likes, and dislikes are compatible.
         6. Agape is based on the spiritual ideal of love.
E.   Family relationships are those we have as parents, siblings, and children.
         1. These relationships continue to change over time.
         2. Family relationships affect our self concept and sense of self worth.
F.   Husbands and wives have received formal recognition through the recognition of

                          Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others (4e)

        1. When two people marry, they spend alot of time defining their roles and working
           through the trials of cohabitation.
        2. Couples can be classified according to how the partners communicate with each
        3. Fitzpatrick has identified four types of married cultures found in American
               a. Traditional couples are interdependent, exhibit a lot of sharing and
                   companionship, follow a daily schedule, are not assertive, have conflicts,
                   emphasize stability over spontaneity, and follow traditional community
               b. Independent couples exhibit sharing and companionship and are
                   psychologically interdependent but allow each other individual space.
               c. Separate couples support the notion of marriage and family but stress the
                   individual over the couple.
               d. Mixed couples each adopt a different perspective from the other three
                   perspectives on marriage.
               e. Research shows traditional couples to be most satisfied with separate
                   couples being the least satisfied.
G. Parents and children.
        1. The exact effect of the parents' communication style is unclear, but it is clear
           there are effects.
        2. Many of the interpersonal communication skills and principles covered can be
           applied to enhance interactions with your parents and children.
H. Sibling relationships can be influenced by factors such as gender and age.
        1. Sibling rivalry can lead to conflict.
        2. Siblings can provide warmth and support for each other.
        3. Young adults may be more likely to turn to their siblings than to parents to
           discuss such things as dating experiences and life problems.


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