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CHAPTER EIGHT: Foundations of Interpersonal Communication CHAPTER OUTLINE I. Interpersonal climate is the overall feeling between people that arises largely out of the ways that people communicate with each other. A. Interpersonal climate is a foundation for effective interaction in all contexts. B. Interpersonal climate is important in a range of communication contexts. II. Self-disclosure is revealing personal information that others are unlikely to discover in other ways. A. Self-disclosure can foster personal growth. 1. The Johari Window describes different kinds of knowledge related to individual growth and the development of relationships with others. a. The open area contains public information that is known to both us and others. b. The blind area contains information that others know about us but we don't know about ourselves. c. The hidden area consists of information that we know about ourselves but choose not to reveal to most others. d. The unknown area is made up of information about ourselves that neither we nor others know. 2. The areas of the Johari Window are neither static nor the same for all relationships a. The areas of the Johari window may change over time. b. The size of the panes of the window may also vary across relationships. B. Self-disclosure is related to closeness. 1. Self-disclosures should take place gradually and with appropriate caution. 2. Reciprocity of disclosure is more important in early stages of a relationship than after intimacy is established. 3. Self-disclosure is not a primary dynamic in long-term relationships. 4. Declines in intimacy in friendships or romance are usually accompanied by declines in self-disclosures. III. Communication to build supportive climates involves establishing an interpersonal climate in which an individual feels supported or confirmed. A. Recognition is the most basic type of confirmation. 1. Recognition is communicated by verbal and/or nonverbal behaviors that affirm that a person exists. 2. Lack of recognition is communicated by verbal and/or nonverbal behaviors that ignore a person's presence. B. Acknowledgment is a second level of confirmation. 1. Acknowledgment is communicated by verbal and/or nonverbal behaviors that convey a person matters and is heard. 2. Lack of acknowledgment is communicated by verbal and/or nonverbal behaviors that disconfirm what a person thinks and/or feels. C. Endorsement is the highest level of confirmation.

1. Endorsement is communicated by verbal and/or nonverbal behaviors that convey acceptance of what another feels and/or thinks. 2. Lack of endorsement is communicated by verbal and/or nonverbal behaviors that deny or disapprove what a person thinks and/or feels. 3. Endorsement is not necessarily agreement. IV. Specific kinds of communication foster defensive and supportive communication climates. A. Descriptive communication fosters a more supportive climate than evaluative communication because evaluative communication can be seen as passing judgment on a person, while descriptive communication describes the behaviors without passing judgment. B. Provisional communication fosters a more supportive climate than certain communication. C. Spontaneous communication fosters a more supportive climate than strategic communication. D. Problem-oriented communication fosters a more supportive climate than controlling communication. E. Empathic communication fosters a more supportive climate than neutral communication. F. Communication that expresses equality fosters a more supportive climate than communication that expresses superiority. V. Conflict exists when individuals who depend on each other have different views, interests, or goals and perceive their differences as incompatible. A. Conflict is an inevitable part of all relationships. 1. Conflict is a sign that individuals are involved and interdependent. 2. Conflict does not indicate that a relationship is in trouble. B. Conflict may be overt or covert. 1. Overt conflict exists when individuals express differences openly. 2. Covert conflict exists when partners camouflage or deny differences and express them indirectly. 3. Covert conflict is less constructive and less open to resolution than overt conflict. C. Conflict can be managed well or poorly. 1. Four components of conflict exist: conflicts of interest, conflict orientations, conflict responses, and conflict outcomes. 2. Orientations toward conflict shape how we approach conflict and how you communicate with others. 3. Conflict responses are how we actually respond when conflict occurs: exit, neglect, loyalty, and voice responses. 4. Conflict outcomes are how the issue is resolved. D. Conflict reflects and expresses cultures and social communities 1. How we perceive conflict and how we act during conflict are shaped by our membership in particular cultures. 2. Our views of conflict and ways of dealing with it are also influenced by the social communities to which we belong.


E. Conflict can be good for individuals and relationships. 1. Conflict can stimulate individual growth. 2. Conflict can strengthen relationships. 3. Conflict can deepen insight into our own thoughts and feelings. 4. Conflict allows us to consider points of view that differ from our own. VI. Five guidelines help individuals build and sustain healthy interpersonal climates. A. Actively use communication to shape positive climates. 1. Creating supportive, confirming climates enhances the possibility that conflicts will be overt and will be managed constructively. 2. The discomfort of conflict can prompt positive growth in relationships. B. Accept and confirm others. 1. Acceptance and confirmation are cornerstones of healthy relationships. 2. We can accept and confirm others even when we don't agree with certain things they do, think, feel, or believe. C. Affirm and assert yourself. 1. The same degree of respect, acceptance, and confirmation extended to others should be given to one's self. 2. Assertion asserts your own needs while also recognizes another's needs. It is neither aggressive (putting your needs above another's needs) nor deferential (putting another's needs above your own). D. Self-disclose when appropriate. 1. Appropriately cautious and gradual self- disclosure tends to increase trust and intimacy. 2. Appropriate self-disclosure may also increase security and self-esteem. 3. The risks of self-disclosure should be considered and weighed before revealing private information to others. E. Respect diversity in relationships. 1. There is great variety in how people express and experience closeness. a. Closeness in dialogue is the reliance on talking to create closeness with others. b. Closeness in the doing refers to doing things for others as a primary, although not the only, way of creating closeness. 2. No particular ways of expressing and experiencing closeness are superior to other ways. 3. Striving to understand and appreciate diverse ways of communicating in relationships can enlarge individuals and enhance personal relationships. KEY CONCEPTS Acknowledgment Closeness in dialogue Closeness in the doing 204 Conflict Covert conflict 196 Endorsement Interpersonal climate PAGE IN TEXT 188 204 195 189 183


Overt conflict Recognition Self-disclosure Stonewalling ACTIVITIES

196 188 184 199



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