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Interpersonal Communication Essay

1087 words - 5 pages

Interpersonal communication is exchange of information between two or more people. It is also an area of study. Related skills are learned and can be improved. During interpersonal communication there is message sending and message receiving. This can be conducted using both direct and indirect methods. Successful interpersonal communication is when the message senders and the message receivers understand the message.

ContextEdit
Context refers to the conditions that precede or surround the communication. It consists of present or past events from which the meaning of the messages is derived, though it may also, in the case of written communications, depend upon the statements preceding ...view middle of the document...

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The theory argues that strangers, upon meeting, go through certain steps and checkpoints in order to reduce uncertainty about each other and form an idea of whether one likes or dislikes the other. As we communicate we are making plans to accomplish our goals. At highly uncertain moments we become more vigilant and rely more on data available in the situation. When we are less certain we lose confidence in our own plans and make contingency plans. The theory also says that higher levels of uncertainty create distance between people and that non-verbal expressiveness tends to help reduce uncertainty.[2]

Constructs include level of uncertainty, nature of the relationship and ways to reduce uncertainty. Underlying assumptions include that an individual will cognitively process the existence of uncertainty and take steps to reduce it. The boundary conditions for this theory are that there must be some kind of outside social situation trigger and internal cognitive process.

According to the theory we reduce uncertainty in three ways:

Passive strategies: observing the person.
Active strategies: asking others about the person or looking up info.
Interactive strategies: asking questions, self-disclosure.
Social exchange theory
Main article: Social exchange theory
Social exchange theory falls under the symbolic interaction perspective. The theory predicts, explains and describes when and why people reveal certain information about themselves to others. The social exchange theory uses Thibaut and Kelley’s (1959) theory of interdependence. This theory states that “relationships grow, develop, deteriorate, and dissolve as a consequence of an unfolding social-exchange process, which may be conceived as a bartering of rewards and costs both between the partners and between members of the partnership and others” (Huston & Burgess, 1979, p. 4). Social exchange theory argues the major force in interpersonal relationships is the satisfaction of both people’s self-interest. Theorists say self-interest is not necessarily a bad thing and that it can actually enhance relationships.[3]

According to the theory human interaction is like an economic transaction, in that you may seek to maximize rewards and minimize costs. You will reveal information about yourself when the cost-rewards ratio is acceptable to you. As long as rewards continue to outweigh costs a couple will become increasingly intimate by sharing more and more personal information. The constructs of this theory include discloser, relational expectations, and perceived rewards or costs in the relationship. Levinger (1965, 1976) discussed marital...

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