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Interpersonal Communication

Recap the following theoretical issues.

1. What are the main characteristics of interpersonal communication? Analyze the main rules that govern this kind of communication.

2. What are the main reasons people enter interpersonal communication? What rules govern interpersonal communication?

3. Recall the major sets of tensions individuals face in relationships. What are the ways to resolve these tensions?

4. What patterns of power distribution do couples face?

5. Describe the ways communicators can disconfirm one another.

6. What are the main relational development stages? What are the stages of relational dissolution?

7. What do you know about the filtering theory and the process people enter and move on in relationships?

Task 1. New York to Detroit

Ex. 1. Identifying aspects of communication. Read the short story “New York to Detroit” by D. Parker and get ready to dwell on the main elements of the communicative episode described in the text.

1. Which stage of relationships do you think the partners are going through?

2. Which stage were they in before everything went wrong?

3. Are they going through the stages simultaneously?

4. Find and analyse different types of disconfirming responses which occur in the conversation (interrupting, irrelevant, impersonal etc.).

5. Comment on the role of the participants’ vocal bahaviour in the communicative situation.

Ex. 2. Discussion. Express your opinion about the following. Who plays the one-up role in the given communicative episode? Prove it.

Ex. 3. Follow-up. Analyse interpersonal communication and its aspects in the presented communicative episode.

Task 2. Romantic Stories

Ex. 1. Identifying aspects of communication. Read the two romantic stories and get ready to dwell on the main elements of the communicative episodes described in the text.

Josephine and Lucas

By J. Callington

I met Lucas when I was nineteen. We both went to the same private college in Minneapolis, Minnesota where we were taking an elective course in Romantic literature. On the third day of class when we were both paired to read a series of letters that Napoleon wrote to his lover in 1795, the words became a living metaphor for the bond that we soon developed thereafter.

Our relationship began with simple flirtatious behavior, but quickly evolved into a beautiful friendship and more. Lucas and I studied together after class almost daily, and within weeks, we never spent a weekend apart. It wasn’t until Lucas invited me to meet his parents at their cabin in Northern Wisconsin that things really took form.

That evening, a Thursday as I recall it, I had the pleasure of meeting Oscar and Rose. They were both in their late forties, well educated, yet very humble. During the course of the evening we shared our ideas about politics and the local economy, but more importantly about their beliefs of monogamy and commitment – beliefs that surprisingly Oscar spoke more passionately of then Rose. After several hours of discussion, it was clear that Oscar and Rose were eager to welcome me into the inner fold of their family, but more importantly, into their son Lucas’ life.

After dinner Lucas and I took a walk along the lake. His recital of literary love combined with my imperfect balance of slightly too much wine made for something that was decidedly perfect. We spent the remainder of that evening on the pier.

Over the next several months, Lucas and I continued to develop our relationship. As our lives merged, we occasionally encountered obstacles. Surprisingly though, it was if our affection for each other had created a daze that made it nearly impossible to view anything as a challenge. Instead, our differences only served to strengthen our liking of one another.

I recall the reaction of my friends, who quickly felt left out. They scoffed at my newest preoccupation. Even when I would invite them to join Lucas and I for dinner, a walk or a movie at the independent theatre, they resisted. Perhaps it was because, even then, I unintentionally paid little attention to them. Their cynical labels failed to deter me. I knew better. While some of them have yet to forgive me, most have converted their resentment into jealousy.

At the end of the fall semester, Lucas decided to transfer to another school in Illinois. It was there that he had received a scholarship that would cover the cost of

the remaining credits that he needed to graduate. We struggled in parting. For several months we maintained our relationship through e-mail, long telephone calls, and weekend visits. As time continued to pass, so did our yearning to be together with the same frequency that permeated the beginning months of our courtship. Resting on faith alone, I finally moved to Illinois to be with Lucas after three agonizing months of separation. The reunion was indescribable.

When I first arrived in Chicago, Lucas and I spent every waking moment together – as if we had been separated for years. Gradually I became acclimated to the local community. I met new friends, involved myself with local campaigns, and taught an art class at the local day care. This initially presented itself as an obstacle to our relationship for Lucas. As we were spending less time together he felt as though I had taken more of an interest in other things and divested myself from the relationship. I reassured Lucas that nothing, even the distance that had previously kept us apart, would interfere with my commitment to him.

Both Lucas and I made a point of attending activities together and integrating our lives, but at the same time spending some time apart in order to form independent friendships. Yes, independent friendships. We had finally reached a point in our relationship where others did not detract from what we had; instead they enriched what we wanted.

Communication, flexibility, passion and a deeply rooted love for one another have really been the cornerstones of my relationship with Lucas. Today, nearly five years later, we are still just as much in love and desire one another more and more everyday. Had it not been for that silly class on Romantic literature, which I took only as a default option because it fit neatly into my schedule, I would never have met Lucas.

Tracing the decisions that we make and the effects that they have on our lives can provide incredible insight on where we are and how we arrived. While I don’t believe in having regrets, I do believe in learning from past mistakes. At this point in my life, I wouldn’t change a single thing!



Florence, Italy

By C. Ritchie

Some say Paris is the city of romance, but I beg to differ.  I found true love in Florence, Italy.  I had just arrived in Italy for my junior year abroad.  I would be spending an entire school year in the city of art and love and was very excited to immerse myself in a new language and culture.  Little did I know where that would lead me. 

One of my passions is singing, and I wanted to maintain that a part of my life while abroad. My university was holding auditions for its choir, which I saw as a great opportunity to meet some natives my age. 

I arrived at the audition hall with six other American girls that I had convinced to join me, but being new to the school, we were not certain if we had the correct building.  Our nerves got the best of us, and we became frightened as we stood in the tiny, dark street somewhat late at night.  We knocked on the door to a building where we’d seen the light on, and someone finally let us in. 

That someone soon became an important part of my life in Florence.  My first impression of him was that he was tall, but what really caught my attention was his long, black, curly hair and dark eyes. I awkwardly asked him if I was in the right place, and he assured me that I was, but that the auditions didn’t start for another half hour.  He told us we could hang out with him and wait.  He kept to himself mostly, typing on his laptop, but he was very nice and wished us luck during our audition. 

We made small talk when I finished auditioning, and later I found out that I was the only one in my group of friends to be accepted to the choir.  I had to return a couple of weeks later to begin rehearsal, and since I was the only foreigner there, I was extremely intimidated and felt out of place. Everyone was hanging around after rehearsal while I was waiting for my ride home, when I spotted the handsome guy who’d kindly opened the door for my friends and me a few weeks prior.

He was talking to his friends and munching on a bag of chips.  I nervously approached him, and he smoothly held out his bag of chips to share with me. We finally had our first real conversation, and I found out that his name was Giuliano and that he was from Rome. Eventually my ride home interrupted us and said, “Well, I’ve got to get Candy home now.  She isn’t hanging around here just for your beauty.”  I thought to myself, “Speak for yourself.”  We parted ways in the traditional Italian way- by giving each other one kiss on each cheek. 

For the next couple of weeks we just talked casually after rehearsal.  Then it came time for our big concert at the Palazzo Vecchio.  The palace is a beautiful Renaissance residence of the Medici family.  Now it is the seat of the regional government.  It’s absolutely gorgeous, and all the important politicians including the president go there to give speeches and do business.   We meet up after the concert, and he asked me what I was doing the rest of the day.  When I told him I was about to get some lunch, he offered to go with me.  Of course, I said he was welcome to join me.

We spent the next few hours walking around the historic center of Florence, and he bought me lunch.  The best part was when we stood on the Ponte Vecchio for a bit and enjoyed the view of the river.  Then we took a photo of ourselves together with the beautiful Florentine landscape in the background.  He walked me to my class and we said “ciao.”

A couple of weeks later I went to his graduation ceremony and got to meet his entire family from Rome. It was a lovely time, but unfortunately our courtship would soon be interrupted by the holiday break.  I spent a month travelling with my family, but returned to Florence in January.  Around Christmas he wrote me a sweet email wishing me well. 

The next time I saw him was at rehearsal, and he had brought me a gift. It was a homemade box with candy in it from his parents as a thank you for attending his graduation ceremony. Then he invited my friend and me out for drinks that weekend.  At the end of the evening, he walked us back to our house and we sat outside and talked on the porch for a little while.  My friend excused herself and left us alone on the porch. He moved closer to sit by my side.  I was wearing a blue dress and he said that I looked very beautiful in it. I thanked him and then he leaned over and kissed me.  Then he asked me out on a proper date without my roommate.  We were together for the rest of the semester and have continued our relationship even now that we live on separate continents.


1. Which model is more appropriate for the analysis of the texts under consideration – Mark Knapp’s Model (initiating, experimenting, intensifying, integrating, bonding stages; differentiating, circumscribing, stagnating, avoiding, terminating stages) or Duck’s Relational Dissolution Model (the intrapsychic, dyadic, social, grave-dressing phases)? Give your reasons.

2. Identify the relational development stages which the two couples have been through.

3. What kind of behaviour characterizes each stage?

4. Analyse the filters that caused the young people to enter relationships.

Ex. 2. Discussion. Express your opinion about the following. Find as many differences between the communicative behaviour of the two couples as possible.

Ex. 3. Follow-up. Analyse interpersonal communication and its aspects in the presented communicative episode.

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