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Communicating Closeness

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Presentation on theme: "Communicating Closeness"— Presentation transcript:

1 Communicating Closeness
Chapter 6 Communicating Closeness Affection, Immediacy and Social Support Chapter 8

2 Point of Clarification
Guerrero et al. use the term closeness throughout chapter 6. Note that some scholars refer to closeness as intimacy. Intimacy refers to feelings of warmth, trust, and deep caring in close relationships. Interaction plays a key role in creating and sustaining intimacy as well as closeness.

3 Types of closeness Physical
Touching, close proximity, time together, sexual closeness Emotional Sharing, caring, and deep conversations Relational Interdependence and overlap (self- expansion) Does a relationship need all three? What if one form is not possible? e.g., Physical closeness and LDR

4 Communicating closeness
Three broad categories: Affectionate communication Immediacy behavior Social support

5 Affectionate communication
Behavior that portrays feelings of fondness and positive regard to another. Signals potential increases in closeness but when withdrawn can signal decreases in closeness Paradox of affection Usually positive, but sometimes it can backfire. Examples??

6 Types of affectionate communication
Direct and verbal affectionate communication Doesn’t have the ambiguity of nonverbal messages I like you, I love you, I am in love with you Types: self-disclosure, direct emotional expression, compliments & praise, assurances (relationship talk) Direct and nonverbal affectionate communication Social meaning model of nonverbal communication Can we tell when a hug or smile is not genuine? What are the social cues? Less ambiguous cues include: Physical contact and distancing Eye behavior Vocalic behavior (tone, rate, pitch)

7 Types of affectionate communication (cont.)
Indirect and nonverbal affectionate communication Support behaviors Emotional and instrumental Idiomatic behaviors Behaviors move from scripted to idiomatic (meaning only known to couple)

8 Theoretical framework
Affection Exchange Theory (Floyd) Biologically adaptive behavior that aided early survival Reproductive advantage 1. relationships provide resources, help, protection 2. displays of affection signal potential mating/parenting skills 3. viability and fertility Affection to children and larger family make them more likely to survive and reproduce Displays own potential as sexual partner

9 Other benefits of giving and receiving affection
Related to mental health People who receive affection are happier, more self- confident, less stressed, more likely to engage in social activity, and better general mental health. People who give affection are happier, have higher self- esteem, less fear of intimacy, less susceptibility to depression, and greater relationship satisfaction. Related to physical health Hormones are produced that increase positive moods and decrease blood pressure and blood sugar, and lower heart rate (study--kissing lead to healthier levels of cholesterol!)

10 Affectionate communication in families
Children think affection is limited and must compete for it—parents see it as unlimited. Sexual and genetic bonds predict affection displays Biological children over step children More with spouses than siblings But siblings more than siblings-in-law.

11 Immediacy behaviors Actions that signal warmth, communicate availability, decrease psychological or physical distance, and promote involvement between people. Also called, “positive involvement behaviors” Immediacy refers to a style of communication that is relevant to a variety of interaction contexts (not just close relationships) e.g., ????

12 Immediacy (cont.) Verbal Immediacy Depth of disclosure
Word choice Forms of address Formal to informal Public to idiosyncratic Depth of disclosure Ironically, close relationships are the place where we can let down the “smiley face” somewhat, but too much negative emotion disclosure can be a problem Relationship indicators Friends, dating, hanging out, boyfriend-girlfriend, partners

13 Immediacy (cont.) Nonverbal Immediacy Visual or Oculesic Behaviors
A Gestalt—processed in Context Visual or Oculesic Behaviors Eye contact and gaze Pupil dilation Spatial or Proxemic Behaviors Intimate and personal distances Body angle Tactile or Haptic Behaviors Touch helps escalate romantic relationships Hugs, kisses, and touches to the face are especially affectionate and immediate

14 Nonverbal Immediacy (cont.)
Body Movement or Kinesics Nodding Open and relaxed body positions Smiling Body synchrony Vocalic Communication Animation in pitch, rate, amplitude, and duration Vocal warmth Chronemic Behaviors Spending time together Waiting for someone and being on time

15 Cognitive Valence Theory
Behavior (A increases immediacy) Perception (Does B recognize the display?) If no recognition, then no effect If yes, then B experiences arousal Arousal Level (Experienced by B) Low arousal = no effect Moderate arousal activates cognitive schemata High arousal = fear, stress

16 Cognitive Valence Theory
Cognitive Schemata (Valencers) Cultural appropriateness Personal predispositions Interpersonal valence, rewardingness Relational appropriateness Situational appropriateness Psychological or physical state + valence for all 6 schemata = + relational outcomes - valence for any of the 6 schemata = - relational outcomes

17 Cognitive Valence Theory
Positive Relational Outcomes Favorable appraisals of partner Reciprocity, increase immediacy toward partner Enhance relational growth, closeness Negative Relational Outcomes Unfavorable appraisals of partner Compensation, reduction in immediacy toward partner Reduction in relational closeness, disengagement

18 Cognitive Valence Theory

19 Comfort and Social Support
Invisible Support Through caring actions (routine affectionate behaviors) Keeps problem in background Person still feels capable Both for practical and emotional support Effective when responsive (communicates understanding, caring, and validation of partner)

20 Person-Centered Messages
High person-centered messages acknowledge and validate the feelings and concerns of the distressed person Moderate person-centered messages acknowledge the distressed person’s feelings, but do not help him/her contextualize or elaborate feelings Low person-centered messages implicitly or explicitly deny the legitimacy of the distressed person’s feelings.

21 Nonverbal Immediacy To comfort a roommate after a breakup—(p. 145)
Hugs % Close proxemic distance 40.9% Facial expression % Attentiveness % Touch % Pats % Eye contact %

22 Sex (not gender) Differences in Affection
Both men and women value intimate relationships, though men may be more socialized into task relationships (historically) Men friends show intimacy primarily through shared interests and activities (agentic friendships) Women friends show intimacy primarily through self- disclosure and intimate nonverbal communication (expressive friendships) Men display more intimate communication with women than men. (Why?) Overall, the differences between men and women small

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