Chapter 6: Interpersonal Communication

6.6: Summary, Discussion, References

As you can see, Interpersonal Communication impacts every aspect of our life. If you are taking Communication 101 at Indiana State University, then by now you have experienced both the benefits and the challenges to negotiating a relationship. This chapter has introduced you to a wide range of theories that help explain interpersonal communication as well as skills for improving our relationships. Additionally, it is important to realize that our relationships are not static or fixed in any singular way because we are always changing as individuals. We must communicate effectively to others during these changes, especially when conflicts arise. Our chapter on Conflict Management offers more insight into managing relationships effectively by understanding the nature of conflict and strategies for success in conflict situations.

Discussion Questions

  1. Select an important person in your life and pay attention to your communication climate. How do you and this other person demonstrate recognition, acknowledgment, and endorsement?
  2. Reflect on one of your important friendships and trace its development through Rawlins’ six stages. How was it affected by important transitions in your life, sexual attraction, and diversity?
  3. Reflect on a current or past romantic relationship. How did you communicate attraction or needs for connection and separateness?
  4. Does Pearson’s definition of family fit your own? Why? Why not?
  5. Interview one or both of your parents about how their communication has changed as they have moved along the family life cycle. How did their relational culture change? How did they manage relational dialectics?
  6. How was conflict managed in your family while growing up? Was it viewed as positive or negative? How did those early messages and lessons about conflict shape your current attitudes?

Key Terms

  • acknowledgement messages
  • autonomy-connection
  • avoiding
  • bonding
  • circumscribing
  • communication climate
  • confirming climate
  • developing a family
  • differentiating
  • disconfirming climate
  • dyad
  • encouraging independence
  • endorsement messages
  • enlarging a family
  • establishing a family
  • experimenting
  • family
  • friendly relations
  • initiating
  • integrating
  • intensifying
  • interpersonal communication
  • Johari Window
  • Knapp’s Model
  • launching children
  • moving toward friendship
  • nascent friendship
  • neutralize
  • novelty-predictability
  • openness-closedness
  • post-launching of children
  • recognition messages
  • reframing
  • relational dialectics
  • relationship maintenance
  • retirement
  • role-limited interaction
  • segmentation
  • separation
  • self-disclosure
  • Social Penetration Theory
  • stabilization
  • stabilized friendship
  • stagnating
  • terminating
  • waning friendship



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