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Intimacy and distance in relational communication. Chapter topics. Intimacy in Relationships Self-Disclosure in Relationships Alternatives to Self-Disclosure. Intimacy in Relationships. Dimensions of Intimacy Intimacy A state of “close union, contact, association, or acquaintance.”

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intimacy and distance in relational communication

Intimacy and distancein relational communication

Chapter topics

  • Intimacy in Relationships
  • Self-Disclosure in Relationships
  • Alternatives to Self-Disclosure
intimacy in relationships
Intimacy in Relationships
  • Dimensions of Intimacy
    • Intimacy
      • A state of “close union, contact, association, or acquaintance.”
      • When college students were asked to identify their “closest, deepest, most involved relationship”
        • 47% said their romantic partner
        • 36% said a close friend
        • 14% cited a family member
intimacy in relationships3
Intimacy in Relationships
  • Dimensions of Intimacy
    • Physical
    • Intellectual
    • Emotional
    • Shared Activities
intimacy in relationships4
Intimacy in Relationships
  • Masculine and Feminine Styles
    • Research shows that woman are somewhat more willing than men to share their feelings
      • In terms of amount and depth:
        • Female – Female were at the top
        • Male – Female came in second
        • Male – Male had the least disclosure
    • Generalizations do not apply to every person
    • Biological sex is not as important as the chosen gender role when expressing emotion
intimacy in relationships5
Intimacy in Relationships
  • Cultural Influences on Intimacy
    • Notions of public and private selves have changed over time
    • Collectivist cultures
      • Generally do not reach out to outsiders, often waiting until they are properly introduced before entering into conversation
    • Individualistic cultures
      • Make fewer distinctions between personal relationships and casual ones
intimacy in relationships6
Intimacy in Relationships
  • Intimacy in Mediated Communication
    • Studies show that intimacy may develop more quickly through mediated channels
    • Instant messaging, emailing and text messages offer more constant contact with friends, family and partners
    • Communicators chose varying levels of self-disclosure
intimacy in relationships7
Intimacy in Relationships
  • The Limits of Intimacy
    • It is impossible to have a close relationship with everyone
    • Obsession with intimacy can lead to less satisfying relationships
    • Intimacy is rewarding but it isn’t the only way of relating to others
self disclosure in relationships
Self-Disclosure in Relationships
  • Self-Disclosure
    • The process of deliberately revealing information about oneself that is significant and would not normally be known by others
  • Characteristics of Self-Disclosure
    • Usually occurs in dyads
    • Incremental
    • Relatively scarce
    • Best in context of positive relationships
self disclosure in relationships9
Self-Disclosure in Relationships
  • Degrees of Self-Disclosure
    • Not all self-disclosure is equally revealing
    • Depth of self-disclosure and the types of information we share
      • Clichés
      • Facts
      • Opinions
      • Feelings
self disclosure in relationships10
Self-Disclosure in Relationships
  • A Model of Self-Disclosure
    • Johari Window
self disclosure in relationships11
Self-Disclosure in Relationships
  • Benefits and Risks of Self-Disclosure
    • Benefits
      • Catharsis
        • Getting something off your chest
      • Reciprocity
        • Self-disclosure usually begets another
        • There is no guarantee that disclosure will be reciprocal
      • Self-Clarification
        • Used to clarify your beliefs, opinions, thoughts
        • Can occur with hairdressers, bartenders or close friends
self disclosure in relationships12
Self-Disclosure in Relationships
  • Benefits and Risks of Self-Disclosure
    • Benefits
      • Self-Validation
        • Disclosing information with the hope of obtaining the listener’s approval
      • Identity Management
        • Sometimes we reveal personal information to make ourselves more attractive
      • Relationship Maintenance and Enhancement
        • There is a strong relationship between the quality of self-disclosure and marital satisfaction
self disclosure in relationships13
Self-Disclosure in Relationships
  • Benefits and Risks of Self-Disclosure
    • Benefits
      • Social Influence
        • Revealing personal information may increase your control over the other person and sometimes over the situation
        • The strongest factor in why we disclose seems to be how well we know the other person
        • With strangers, reciprocity becomes the most common reason for disclosing
self disclosure in relationships14
Self-Disclosure in Relationships
  • Benefits and Risks of Self-Disclosure
    • Risks
      • Rejection
        • A: “I’m starting to think of you as more than a friend. To tell the truth, I love you.”
        • B: “I think we should stop seeing one another.”
      • Negative Impression
        • A: “I’ve been thinking that we should get another dog.”
        • B: “To tell you the truth, I really don’t like dogs. I haven’t said so before because I know how much you love them.”
self disclosure in relationships15
Self-Disclosure in Relationships
  • Benefits and Risks of Self-Disclosure
    • Risks
      • Decrease in Relational Satisfaction
        • A: “I need to tell you something. I really don’t like it when you want to cuddle so much.”
        • B: “But I want to be close to you. . . “
      • Loss of Influence
        • A: “I’d like to give you the weekend off, but to tell you the truth, I don’t get to make any judgment calls around here. My boss makes all the decisions.”
        • B: “ I guess I know who to ask if I want anything done.”
self disclosure in relationships16
Self-Disclosure in Relationships
  • Benefits and Risks of Self-Disclosure
    • Risks
      • Hurting the Other Person
        • A: “I’m so ugly! I can’t think of anything that will change the way I look.”
        • B: “Neither can I.”
self disclosure in relationships17
Self-Disclosure in Relationships
  • Guidelines for Self-Disclosure
    • Do you have a moral obligation to disclose?
    • Is the other person important to you?
    • Are the amount and type of disclosures appropriate?
    • Is the risk of disclosing reasonable?
    • Is the disclosure relevant to the situation?
    • Will the effect be constructive?
    • Is the self-disclosure clear and understandable?
    • Is the self-disclosure reciprocated?
alternatives to self disclosure
Alternatives to Self-Disclosure
  • Alternatives to Self-Disclosure
    • Silence
    • Lying
      • To save face
      • To avoid tension or conflict
      • To guide social interaction
      • To expand or reduce relationships
      • To gain power
alternatives to self disclosure19
Alternatives to Self-Disclosure
  • Equivocating
    • Language that has two or more equally plausible meanings
      • A lazy worker: “You will be lucky to get this person to work for you.”
      • A person with no talent: “I recommend this candidate with no qualifications.”
      • A candidate who should not be hired: “Waste no time hiring this person.”
alternatives to self disclosure20
Alternatives to Self-Disclosure
  • Hinting
    • A hint aims to get a desired response
      • Direct Statement
        • “I’m too busy to continue with this conversation.”
      • Face-Saving Hint
        • “I know you’re busy; I better let you go.”
      • Direct Statement
        • “Please don’t smoke in here because it’s bothering me.”
      • Face-Saving Hint
        • “I’m pretty sure that smoking isn’t permitted here.”
alternatives to self disclosure21
Alternatives to Self-Disclosure
  • The Ethics of Evasion
    • Times when we are not likely to challenge statements that we know are untrue:
      • When we expect theother to tell a fib
      • When the lie is mutually advantageous
      • When a lie helps us avoid embarrassment
      • When the lie helps us avoid confronting an unpleasant truth
      • When we have asked the other person to lie
chapter review
Chapter Review
  • Intimacy in Relationships
  • Self-Disclosure in Relationships
  • Alternatives to Self-Disclosure