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Inter-Act, 13 th Edition. Chapter 6 Relationships. Chapter Objectives. Discuss the functions of communication in relationships Describe how relationships differ and are categorized Explain how relationships change during their life cycles

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Inter-Act, 13th Edition

Chapter 6


chapter objectives
Chapter Objectives
  • Discuss the functions of communication in relationships
  • Describe how relationships differ and are categorized
  • Explain how relationships change during their life cycles
  • Identify the issues in each stage of the life cycle that require effective communication

Relationship – a set of expectations two people have for their behavior based on the pattern of interaction between them

Good relationship –

interactions are satisfying to and

healthy for those involved

Abusive relationship–

interactions are physically, mentally, or emotionally harmful

functions of relationships
Functions of Relationships
  • Constitutive function – Relationships come about through interactions
  • Instrumental function– Communication is a way to “get things done” in the relationship
  • Indexical function – The “thermometer” of a relationship; measures who is in control, how much partners trust each other, and the level of intimacy in the relationship

How Relationships Differ

Impersonal vs. Personal

Voluntary vs. Involuntary

Platonic vs. Romantic

types of relationships
Types of Relationships
  • Acquaintances – people we know by name and talk with when the opportunity arises, but with whom our interactions are limited
  • Friends – people with whom we have voluntarily negotiated more personal relationships
  • Close friends or intimates – those with whom we share a deep commitment, trust, interdependence, disclosure, and affection
class activity
Class Activity
  • In groups of 3-4, identify the different expectations you have for acquaintances, friends, “best friends,” and lovers
  • What happens when two people have different expectations? How do you progress from one type of relationship to another? Do we sometimes have unrealistic expectations of people?
gender differences
Gender Differences

Women develop close friendships through:

  • Talking
  • Disclosing personal history
  • Sharing personal feelings
  • Joint activities
  • Doing favors for each other
  • Successive tests of dependability

Men develop close friendships through:

dimensions of relationships
Dimensions of Relationships
  • Interdependence
  • Depth
  • Breadth
  • Commitment
  • Understanding and Predictability
  • Communication Coding
  • Sharing Social Networks

As dimensions increase, relationships develop; as they decrease, relationships deteriorate.

self disclosure feedback the johari window
Self-disclosure & Feedback:The Johari Window


to self

Known to self



Known to




Not known

to others

V / V, ch.3

the role of self disclosure social penetration theory
The Role of Self-DisclosureSocial Penetration Theory:
  • Self-disclosure is integral to all stages of relationships, but changes over time.
  • The nature and type of self-disclosure change as people become more intimate.
  • When disclosure is reciprocated, the relationship becomes intimate.
self disclosure guidelines
Self-Disclosure Guidelines
  • Disclose information that you want others to disclose to you.
  • Disclose information appropriate for the type of relationship.
  • Disclose intimate information only when it represents an acceptable risk.
        • Be sensitive to your partner’s ability to absorb your disclosure.
        • Reserve intimate or very personal disclosures for ongoing relationships.
        • Continue intimate self-disclosure only when it is reciprocated.
extra credit opportunity
Extra Credit Opportunity
  • Do you have problems either disclosing personal information or providing your relationship partner with feedback? Write a communication improvement plan (for assistance see worksheet at ) and follow the Assignment Rubric
relationship life cycles
Relationship Life Cycles
  • Relationships move through identifiable stages.
  • Turning points:
      • Events that mark a transition from one stage to another
      • Lead to greater intimacy or to deterioration of relationship
      • Happen at all stages in a relationship
extra credit opportunity1
Extra Credit Opportunity
  • Observe and Analyze (p173)
  • Select one long-term relationship, identify the turning points, indicate whether each was a positive event that strengthened the relationship or negative event that weakened relationship intimacy. Discuss these with the other person and describe the outcome.
relationship stages
Relationship Stages





beginning relationships
Beginning Relationships

Communication focuses on:

  • Increasing knowledge of the other
  • Reducing uncertainty
  • Increasing interaction

Predicted Outcome Value Theory:

  • We gather information to predict whether the benefits of future interactions will outweigh the costs.

Stages of Beginning Relationships:

  • Entry
  • Personal
  • Exit
developing relationships
Developing Relationships
  • Increasing disclosure
  • Keeping a relationship at a particular level of closeness or intimacy
  • Frequent communication
  • Emerging interdependence

Interpersonal Needs Theory:

  • Relationship depends on how well each person meets the interpersonal needs of the other.
    • Affection
    • Inclusion
    • Control

Exchange Theory:

  • Relationships understood in terms of exchange of rewards and costs during interactions
      • Cost/Reward ratio
        • Rewards – needs met
        • Costs – time and energy spent developing relationship
  • Relationships develop and are sustained when partners choose to meet each other’s needs.
sustaining relationships
Sustaining Relationships
  • Use pro-social behaviors.
  • Observe ceremonial occasions.
  • Spend time together as a couple and with mutual friends.
  • Communicate frequently.
  • Words and actions reassure continuing affection, discretion, trustworthiness.
  • Share tasks.

Relational Dialectics

  • The conflicting pulls that exist in relationships as well as within each individual in a relationship


  • I need my own space. I want to be close.


  • I like sharing so There are some

things I don’t want

to talk about.


  • We need to do I like the familiar

rhythms we have.


Managing Dialectical Tensions:

  • Temporal selection
  • Topical segmentation
  • Neutralization
  • Reframing
relationship decline
Relationship Decline

The communication in declining relationships

is marked by three stages:

  • Recognition of dissatisfaction
  • Process of repairing or disengaging from relationship
  • Ending

Termination Strategies:

  • Manipulation/Withdrawal/Avoidance
  • Direct/Open/Honest
  • Relationship Transformation