Communication and
Relational Dynamics
Chapter 8
Relational Stages/Attitudes
► “We
have a terrific relationship”
(Interpersonal needs are being met)
► “I’m looking for a better relationship”
(interpersonal needs are not being met; it’s
important that you identify what your real
needs are in the relationship)
► “Our relationship has changed a lot”
(Interpersonal need may or may not be
met; what has changed?)
Why We form Relationships
► Communication
both defines and reflects
our interpersonal world
► Our interpersonal relationships involve the
way we deal with one another
► Why do we form relationships with some
people and not others?
► Appearance
(While we say, “We should
judge others on their actions not on how
they look,” the reality is quite opposite)
► Similarity (Research reveals that people like
people that are similar, at least in MOST
► Complementary (Opposites attract too; “She
fills in my gaps” Rocky Balboa)
► Reciprocal Attraction (We are attracted to
people who are attracted to us; they bolster
our feelings of self-esteem)
► Competence
(We like being around competent
people; their skills may rub off on us; this is “part”
of the attractiveness of power)
► Disclosure (Revealing important information about
yourself can build “liking;” shared experiences,
attitudes and feelings)
► Proximity (In many cases, proximity, i.e.,
neighbors, work, social/religious activities, leads to
► Rewards (We often seek out people who can give
us rewards that are greater or equal to the costs
we encounter in dealing with them –Social
Exchange Theory)
Relational Development and
► Look
at the Developmental Model on page 272
(coming together, coming apart, relational
► Initiating (showing interest)
► Experimentation (interest in pursuing the
► Intensifying (open expression of feelings; shared
interests/activities; hinting and flirting; getting to
know family and friends
► Relational development is the stage depicted most
often in movies
Invitation to Insight
“Your Relational Stage” on
page 278 - 279
►Get with a “shoulder Buddy” and
discuss the five questions
►Examine the stages on pages 273
to 278
Understanding Dialectical
Perspectives and Tensions
► Connection
verses autonomy (No one is an
island, John Donne)
► Openness versus Privacy
► Managing Dialectical tensions (challenges)
 Denial (respond to one end of the dialectical
and ignore the other)
 Disorientation (overwhelmed/helpless and
unable to confront problem)
 Alternation (switches between ends of the
dialectical spectrum)
Segments in the relationship; some things
shared, some not)
Balance (balance dialectical tensions,
recognizes both sides are legitimate;
Integration (accepts both opposing forces
without trying to diminish them)
Recalibration (reframing tensions so that
they “appear” to disappear)
Reaffirmation (acknowledges that dialectical
tensions will never disappear; accepts or
even embraces the tensions present)
Characteristics of Relationships
Relationships are constantly
Relationships are affected by
culture and previous relational
Relationships require maintenance
Relationships Require Maintenance
► Gardens
need tending (entropy process), cars
need tune-ups, bodies need exercise, and
relationships need on-going maintenance to keep
them successful and satisfying (natural process of
deterioration –entropy law)
► Communication accounts for as much as 80% of
the difference in satisfying and unsatisfying
► What kinds of communication help maintain
Positivity (positive and upbeat climate)
Openness (disclosing personal needs and
Assurance (let the other person know
verbally and non-verbally that they matter
to you)
Social network (Communication with
others can provide support and relief;
helps partners understand and appreciate
each other)
Sharing tasks (assisting in life’s chores
and obligations)
Repairing Damaged Relationships
► Minor
versus significant (small doses of separation
can enhance a relationship: “absence makes the
heart grow fonder”)
► Social versus relational (social expectations/family
► Deliberate versus unintentional
► One-time versus Incremental (act of betrayal,
verbal assault; withdrawal
► Forgiving transgressions (forgiveness reduces
emotional distress and aggression; sexual infidelity
and breaking up a relationship are the least
forgivable offenses)
Interpersonal Relationships
 Good
ones take time … and work: