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Interpersonal Communication Lecture4. Self-Disclosure and Intimacy Self disclosure is the willingness to reveal otherwise private information about ourselves.

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Presentation on theme: "Interpersonal Communication Lecture4. Self-Disclosure and Intimacy Self disclosure is the willingness to reveal otherwise private information about ourselves."— Presentation transcript:

1 Interpersonal Communication Lecture4

2 Self-Disclosure and Intimacy Self disclosure is the willingness to reveal otherwise private information about ourselves to another person In Western cultures, self disclosure is a measure of closeness – referred to intimacy

3 Self-Disclosure - Benefits Can be a tool to get to know others If one self-discloses, it is often easier for a partner to reciprocate Different depths of disclosure exist, and it should correlate positively with the appropriate relationship stage Self disclosure and intimacy correlate positively in relationships

4 Self-Disclosure - Risks By revealing so much, we increase our vulnerability – subject selves to rejection and criticism We often act in accordance with the norm of reciprocity –We expect self-disclosure equity in relationships –We feel safer with similar disclosure from others –Relationship breadth and depth may be affected

5 Social Penetration Theory Description of how breadth and depth of communication relate Relationships typically begin with relatively narrow breadth (discuss few topics with each other) and shallow depth (conversations about topics are relatively superficial) However, over time the intimacy we share increases and the level of intensity deepens

6 Benefits Social Penetration Model Provides two-dimensional depiction of relationships Enables us to understand why some relationships are stronger We are more willing to discuss particular subjects We increase relational bonds Take steps to enhance scope and nature of interactions

7 Nature of Disclosures Create feelings of discomfort if disclosures occur too soon in a relationship Response to self-disclosure is time-related Unable to have close relationship with everyone we meet; every relationship has optimal level

8 Johari Window Model Used to explore the roles that self- awareness and self-disclosure play in relationship building The window represents the SELF Contains four panes that help us explore how self-awareness and self-disclosure are relationship-dependent – how we view ourselves and how much we are willing to reveal varies among relationships

9 Johari Window Panes Pane 1: OPEN AREA –Information about you that is known to both you and another person Pane 2: BLIND AREA –Information about you that the other person is aware of but that you are not

10 Johari Window Panes (cont.) Pane 3: HIDDEN AREA –Information that you know about yourself but are unwilling to reveal Pane 4: UNKNOWN AREA –Information unknown to both you and the other person

11 Social Penetration and Johari Window Models Social Penetration model represents our relationships Johari Window model represents how we feel about another person and how comfortable we are revealing personal information to him Self-disclosure and relationship success share a positive correlation

12 Relational Dialectics Relational Dialectics Theory Explains the ups and downs, pushes and pulls, that dynamic, healthy relationships experience Dialectical Tensions –Integration - Separation –Stability – Change –Expression – Privacy The real challenge is how you manage the problems created by these tensions

13 A Challenge to Traditional Wisdom Social Penetration Theory suggests that partners want more closeness; Uncertainty Reduction Theory assumes that we seek interpersonal certainty; Most conceptions of intimacy assume that it is always best to be open; Relational Dialectics questions these traditional and conventional ideas;

14 We Also Seek the Opposite of the Conventional Goals We also seek –Autonomy; –Novelty; –Privacy; We can’t simply choose one end or the other of a dilemma: We are caught between, juggling; There are more paradoxes than the three, e.g., judgment and acceptance; Can you think of others?

15 CONNECTEDNESS & SEPARATENESS A primary strain within all relationships; Individual identities are important, but some individual identity must be sacrificed for the relationship to work; Some independence can be associated with a fear of being hurt; At the same time, we desire connection;

16 CERTAINTY & UNCERTAINTY Berger’s uncertainty reduction theory makes a strong case for the idea that people want predictability in their relationships; Relational dialectics theory does not disagree with this claim about predictability, but ….; Relational dialectics believes that it is wrong to ignore our equal desire for novelty, mystery, spontaneity, the occasional surprise;

17 OPENNESS & CLOSEDNESS Recall that Altman & Taylor’s Social Penetration Theory ultimately came to the conclusion that self-disclosure and privacy operated in a cyclical or wavelike fashion over time; In other words, relationships are not on a straight-line path to intimacy; A person’s need to tell all is countered by their need for secrecy;

18 An applicable example to help illustrate Relational Dialectics involves two college students in a romantic relationship, Jill and Josh.

19 *Connectedness and Separateness Jill and Josh are very close and Josh insists on spending all their free time together. Jill enjoys Josh's company very much, but sometimes she feels like she needs her own space and personal space. She tries to help Josh understand they can still be very close without being together every second of the day.

20 *Certainty and Uncertainty Jill and Josh also need a little more excitement in their relationship. Their activities with each other have become somewhat redundant, and they desire some spice in their relationship. They rarely go out anymore and when they do, they always participate in the same activities with the same people.

21 * Openness and Closedness Jill has a very high level of self-disclosure with Josh which helps maintain a sense of openness in their relationship. Josh has progressively gotten less and less open with Jill about stories from his past, how his day was, and his feelings toward Jill. This change confuses Jill and makes her feel less comfortable opening up.

22 How to Handle Tensions Denial – respond to one pole of the dialectical tension while ignoring the other Disorientation – feel overwhelmed and opt to give in to feelings of utter helplessness Spiraling Alternation – repetitive cycle of alternating tensions, causing you to move from one side of the dialectic to the other

23 Handling Tensions (cont.) Segmentation – you and partner isolate different relationship aspects and deal with them separately Balance – compromise approach Integration – responding to opposing forces without denying or diluting them Recalibrate – reframe situation Reaffirmation – realization by both partners that dialectical tensions will persist in relationships, often because our relationships are rich and complex

24 Relationship Maintenance Commit to working at relationships, whether we feel they are satisfying or now Keep relationship healthy; we don’t want them to suffer from ‘lack of nourishment’

25 Healthy Relationships Take time to talk to one another and share feelings and concerns in open, honest manner Talk about how we talk to each other (metacommunication) Rely on pro-social approaches Celebrate the relationship itself Have fun spending time together

26 Relationships: Repairable or Dysfunctional? Repairable –Identify the problem –Identify strategies to repair the problem –Decide to dissolve or save the relationship Dysfunctional –Toxic communication –Abuse –Predictable cycle

27 Stages of Dysfunction Relational tensions build Tensions erupt into violence Abuser experiences remorse Lull in violence until tensions build and cycle begins again For abuse to persist, victim must be isolated from family and friends

28 Grief Process Denial – trying to deny what has happened Anger – person feels helpless and powerless Guilt – anger turned inward, has regrets Depression – feels life is over, nothing will be right again Acceptance – will make it through and continue life

29 Media and Technology Less privacy when using Internet and Facebook (privacy settings) Affects long-distance relationships – has both advantages and disadvantages Online communications construct idealized views of one another. We are equipped to handle the ‘challenges’ of long-distance relationships – but do we handle them better?

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