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Interpersonal Communication. John A. Cagle. Interpersonal Communication. Interpersonal communication deals with relationships between people, usually in face-to-face private settings. Interpersonal communication is the primary way relationships are created, maintained, and changed.

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interpersonal communication2
Interpersonal Communication
  • Interpersonal communication deals with relationships between people, usually in face-to-face private settings.
  • Interpersonal communication is the primary way relationships are created, maintained, and changed.
rosenfield hayes frentz 1976 relationships defining main characteristics
Rosenfield, Hayes, & Frentz (1976): Relationships: Defining Main Characteristics
  • FORMALITY: the amount of distance between the people defines the type of relationship, from formal to intimate.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: the openness, willingness to exchange information (self-disclosure).
  • RECIPROCITY: certain behaviors are called for in the relationship and others are prohibited; each person has expectations which must be fulfilled.
  • COMMITMENT: the degree to which each person is uniquely a part of the relationship; the interchangeableness of the people.
  • SPONTANEITY: the freedom or lack of freedom to engage in spontaneous behaviors, free of role expectations of the other.
watzlawick beavin and jackson 1967
Watzlawick, Beavin, and Jackson (1967)

Their theory is based on a systems paradigm.

Their book, Pragmatics of Human Communication, posited five axioms of communication.

watzlawick beavin and jackson 1967 five axioms of communication
Watzlawick, Beavin, and Jackson (1967)Five Axioms of Communication
  • 1. One cannot not communicate.
  • 2. Every communication has a content and a relationship aspect such that the latter defines the former and is therefore metacommunication.
  • 3. Every communication sequence is defined by the way the interactants punctuate communication events.
  • 4. Interpersonal contacts are digital and analogic.
  • 5. Communication relationships are either symmetrical or complementary.
if conflict occurs it could be because
If conflict occurs, it could be because:
  • They agree and mutually understand each other on the content issue, but they still have a relationship conflict.
  • They agree on the content issue, but one or both misunderstand the other’s position.
  • They disagree on the content issue and understand that they do.
  • They disagree on the content issue and, on top of that, one or both misunderstands the other’s position.
  • They agree and understand each other on relationship definition, but have a content conflict.
  • They are in relational agreement but misunderstand that they are.
  • They disagree relationally (e.g., both wish to control the relationship) and understand that they do.
  • They disagree relationally and, in addition, misperceive the other’s relational stance.
timothy leary 1957 interpersonal circumplex
Timothy Leary (1957): Interpersonal Circumplex
  • Definitions of relationship pull behaviors from each person.
  • Behaviors on the Love-Hate axis tend to pull the same behavior.
  • Behaviors on the Dominance-Submission axis tend to pull opposite behaviors.