Interpersonal Relationships

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Establishing a close relationship with another person appears to be one of the major contributors to happiness. This chapter first distinguishes between interpersonal relationships and impersonal ones. Basically, what makes a relationship interpersonal is interdependency, since in impersonal relationships the communicators are independent. Furthermore, in impersonal relationships, the social role of the person governs, whereas in personal interactions the psychological uniqueness of each person leads the communication. This psychological data characterizes interpersonal relationships. Second comes the explanatory knowledge, where a person becomes able to predict and explain the other’s behavior rather than just describing it. The third factor is the personally established rules stating that interpersonal relationships should go beyond rules of interactions set by social norms, to rules set by the communicators themselves. Adding to those differences, the author sheds light on relationships’ benefits and inconveniences in general. Some improvements are that interpersonal affiliations help alleviate loneliness, gain self-knowledge, enhance self-esteem, maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Some of the drawbacks is that those connections put pressure on the partners to reveal themselves, impose significant financial, emotional and temporal obligations. It may also lead to isolation from former friends and present difficulties in dissolving. Next, the chapter discusses a stage model for relationships, providing a general description of their development. It mainly applies in face-to-face relationships. 1-Contact: it is somewhat a perceptual contact, where one forms a physical and a mental picture of the other, and then initiates an interactional contact through exchanging basic and superficial information and impressions. 2-Involvement: one mutually connects with the other by trying to learn more about him/her. It starts with a testing phase to prove your previous...
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