Interpersonal Relationship Analysis Paper

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Interpersonal Relationship Analysis Paper...


Biggs 1 Summer Biggs Interpersonal Communication 7 May 2012 Professor Kennedy-Lightsey Relationship Analysis Many times during class I have taken notes and realized that the concepts we are learning can be applied to the relationships I am in right now. When we learned about culture, I was learning how to best communicate with the international players on my tennis team. And when we learned about conflict I was having problems with my roommate. At times throughout the semester, I saw this class as my relationship survival guide. It was great to be able to take what I already knew about interpersonal relationships and communication, and assign vocabulary and actual theories to that previous knowledge. Throughout this course, I have found many connections in the two most important relationships in my life. My relationship with my best friend Megan relies very much on support. We have been friends since my freshman year in high school and have grown closer ever since. Even though we don’t see each other everyday, we make sure to talk everyday. She goes to University of Texas at Austin and I go to St. Edwards so our schedules are very busy, yet very similar as well. We have so much in common and we help each other through everything. My relationship with Megan can be characterized by principles of reciprocity, affirmation, and ego support. Megan and I have the type of relationship based on reciprocity. “Reciprocity, a social norm dictating that an action performed by one party requires a compensating movement by the other, is a cornerstone of cooperative exchange relationships (Hoppner and Griffith). I think our relationship works so well because we are both very in tune with how we think relationships

Biggs 2 should be. We both believe in communication, respect, trust, support, honesty, and shared responsibility. We know our roles, and understand what each of us must do to maintain these roles. We match each other’s level of involvement and are responsible with our actions. Lastly, we hold our friendship very highly and will do what it takes to continue to become closer. Another basic friendship need, or reason why people develop friendships, is affirmation. In my opinion, this is the most important factor in a friendship. It means that the person confirms our personal values and helps reinforces our abilities. Megan and I have similar values about school, grades, priorities, relationships, family, religion, and friends. I believe this is because were raised similarly, in the same neighborhood and in the same schools. We also met each other through tennis, which has been one of the biggest parts of my life. The last principle that characterizes my friendship with Megan is ego support. This is a very large part of our friendship because we are so informed with each other’s lives. Because we are always so busy with schoolwork, we let each other know the big assignments and projects we have for that week. It is rare that we don’t know each other’s schedules. We relate to each other through empathy, knowing exactly what each other is going through with the stress of school. We are both majoring in communications, wanting to go into advertising so we have similar courses, assignments, and goals. We also have similar studying habits, where we stay up late to finish our work. We offer support and encouragement with every small assignment, project, paper, or test. It sounds strange to be so focused around school but when it is so time consuming and stressful, it is just something we have to help each other get through. It is so nice to have someone who gives you support, who tells you that you will get everything done, who understands the stress but doesn’t give you any pressure or criticism. Apart from school, Megan is very supportive of my tennis. We played on the same team

Biggs 3 in high school and Megan thinks it’s really great that I have continued to play in college. She was with me the entire recruiting process and came to my signing party when I chose St. Edward’s. Throughout the season, she has helped me deal with problems I have had with my coach and teammates. She knows how frustrating tennis can be and offers really great advice. She has also come out to many of our home matches to support our team. This all represents her involvement in my life and her support of my ultimate success. Knowing that she is there for me and that she understands has allowed me to become closer to Megan and has made our friendship more valuable. According to Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” triangle, ego support in friendships fits into the second tier from the top of the triangle, representing the importance of what people want and need in relationships (Collins 17). This diagram is based off of Abraham Maslow’s proposal of “A theory of human motivation” and organizes the theory in a pyramid shaped diagram. The ego support that I offer Megan comes from my support in her design skills. She is very artistic and talented in graphic design. For her design classes she is taking at UT, she spends hours and hours on projects, making magazine covers and product advertisements. Everything she does looks professional and perfectly composed. I encourage her to follow this and to make a career out of her skills. I’ve helped her find some small jobs she could work on like designing a website for a hair salon or designing the cover of a local band. It is difficult to put your work out there and I try to make sure she has the confidence to pursue her dream job. A second relationship that I have found to be consistent with the concepts we have learned in class is my relationship with my boyfriend Jacob. We have been friends for five years and have only started to date this year. I think the reason we get along so well as a couple is because we know almost everything about each other. The principles that characterize my

Biggs 4 relationship with Jacob are storage love type, similarity attraction theory, and equity theory. Out of all the love types discussed in class, Jacob and I fit the storage love type the best. This love type is about companionship, where friendships develop into romantic relationships. Because we have been best friends since freshman year in high school, our relationship has developed out of a non-romantic friendship. This has worked out well because by already knowing Jacob’s personality, his shortcomings and his positive traits, I already had an idea of what our relationship would be like. Dating my best friend has been easy and effortless. We know how to act around each other already and know what to do and what not to do. Our communication as a result of this love type is fairly similar to our communication that we had when we were friends. Our sense of humor is the same and we use inside jokes and personalized language. The amount of self-disclosure is about the same as well, but it is a different type of self-disclosure. It is now more focused on how we feel about each other instead of disclosing information about only ourselves. The first attraction theory that defines my relationship with Jacob is similarity. This goes hand in hand with the storage love type because the reason we started becoming friends was because of our similar beliefs, values, and interests. Jacob and I both play tennis and we have trained together for years. We have the same sense of humor and the same easy going personality. We have both ended up at St. Edward’s and play for the tennis team. Our parents have raised us in similar ways and therefore we have similar goals in life. In my opinion, this has a big impact on our attraction to each other. As Tamara Warta puts it, “…couples with similar interests tend to last longer, as their relationship is rooted in an emotional attraction rather than a more superficial one. Sharing a common interest in goals and activities, often attracts people before physique, leading to a deeper and more meaningful relationship.” This is true for

Biggs 5 Jacob and I because we reinforce each other and have a deeper connection due to our similarities. And finally the last concept that describes this relationship is the equity theory. This theory states that people develop and maintain relationships in which the reward to cost ratio is equivalent (or near equivalent) to their partner’s reward to cost ratio. Although I do not necessarily believe in relationships defined as solely rewards and costs, it definitely does exist. The benefits of being in a relationship with Jacob are companionship, happiness, comfort, and support. The costs are less time with my other friends, less freedom, and a little bit of jealousy. I would say that the same rewards and costs are true for Jacob as well. I do not believe that one of us is over benefited or under benefited. I think that at the stage we are in, we are both equal in reward to cost ratio and we are both equally happy. After analyzing these relationships, I can see how all the major concepts like culture, selfperception, relationship types, nonverbal communication, listening, conflict, and relationship management are all connected. The way we communicate with others directly affects the relationship we have with that person, and vice versa. This course has allowed me to see all the different elements in a larger picture of communication. It has encouraged me to become a more competent communicator and I am eager to use this as I continue to form new interpersonal relationships.

Biggs 6 Works Cited Collins, Suzan. Supporting Relationships And Friendships [Electronic Resource] : A Workbook For Social Care Workers. London : Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2010., 2010. ST EDWARDS UNIV's Catalog. Web. 8 May 2012. Hoppner, Jessica J, and David A Griffith. "The Role Of Reciprocity In Clarifying The Performance Payoff Of Relational Behavior." Journal Of Marketing Research (JMR) 48.5 (2011): 920-928. Business Source Complete. Web. 8 May 2012. Warta, Tamara. "Examining the Similarity Attraction Theory: Do Similarities Attract?." Lifescript. 10 Jan 2008: n. page. Web. 8 May. 2012.
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