COM 202 Week 5 Notes
COM 202 Week 5 Notes COM 202A
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Taylor McAvoy on Thursday April 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to COM 202A at University of Washington taught by Malcolm Parks in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 38 views. For similar materials see Intro to Communications II in Communication Studies at University of Washington.
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Date Created: 04/28/16
Week 5 Lecture 9 Tuesday, April 26, 2016 Connecting with others- relationships as communication and communication as relationships Interpersonal communication helps us think about communication and relationships Connecting with others: relationships as communication We don’t have a relationship and then communicate- the way we communicate is the relationship Relationships as interdependence If communication is about how we influence each other, then our relationships are about how much and in what ways we influence each other About interdependence: how we influence each other 7 dimensions of social relationships (of communication in relationships) You can use all 7 to ask questions and analyze your own relationship 1. Interdependence- the extent to which each person's behavior depends on what the other person does or says Examples Carol's desire to see a particular movie depends on how much her friend Felicia wants to see it John is comfortable visiting Jill's mom only if Jill and her mom are getting along well Huong agrees to cook if roommate Tracy agrees to clean up Ezra used to check with Garry when making plans but now he makes plans without considering Garry Patterns of interdependence also set expectations in motion- like contracts Explicit contracting: if you do this, ill do this Implicit contracting: my roommate goes out every Sunday night to study with her boyfriend so I expect I have the apartment to myself Sunday nights Secret tests: We set up personal tests that the other person is not be aware of Examples If he forgets my birthday one more time, it's over between us Taking a new partner to meet the parents or group of friends Relationships can have too much interdependence Codependence: when both partners are drained by the demands of the relationship EX: If you live with an alcoholic, you are affected by it in many ways and you learn how to shape your life around them to not anger them, not talk about certain things Frequency of interaction The amount or frequency of communication is important because More frequent interaction increases interdependence Significant changes in amount of interaction are seen as relational evolutions - ex: first big talk More frequent interaction signals continuity in times of crisis Continuity means that the couple will continue the relationship even if things are hard in the moment EX: starting to talk again after a fight 3. Depth of interaction Expressing feelings and judgements about each other Sharing more personal information Becoming sexually intimate Revealing negative information about ourselves Being open about habits others may disapprove of The exchange of more personal, subjectively important information and behavior Taking larger risks, putting more resources into play, greater consequences Can be either positive or negative- becoming more intimate or becoming more hurtful 4. Breadth of interaction- range of things in the relationship Three aspects influence this 1. Variety of topics discussed EX: you go a certain barber every so often- you first talk about sports and weather, then start talking about hobbies and jobs, then family and friends There is a big expansion even if they are safe, surface topics 2. Variety of behaviors exchanged, displayed in the relationship- show more aspects of yourself 3. Variety of settings in which the interaction occurs EX: You go to the gym every day at the same time and see a common person, the two of you start talking, one day he asks you out to lunch, there was a shift in the setting A sign that a relationship deteriorates is when you close off certain topics, limit how you behave, limit settings 5. Degree of code specialization As relationships develop, people don't just talk about new things, they talk about the same things differently and develop specialized and personalized ways of relating to each other Three ways communication changes as relationships develop Abbreviation- shortening, leaving things out EX: completing each other's sentences or making specific shortened references like "palm springs '14" Downside: when the relationship is in trouble, it can be harder to communicate Substitution- nonverbal expressions take the place of words (looks) Specialization- special nicknames, terms of endearment, code words EX: 4/20 how the term came into being is debated but stoners everywhere know it is the weed holiday 6. Predictability/ understanding Communication is driven by a desire to manage uncertainty and to achieve some optimal level of understanding Trust and dependability are all about how you manage uncertainty The feeling that you know how the other person is going to act The feeling that what they do and say makes sense to you The feeling that you know how to respond to them Signs of deterioration are not knowing why someone does or says something or that they are unpredictable But wait, don't we also like surprises, new things? Yes but in a particular way We only like good surprises If we think knowing might make us unhappy, we prefer not knowing (uncertainty) - this is the major reason for silence in relationships 7. Commitment Three aspects of commitment 1. Personal desire to continue the relationship (personal commitment) 2. The belief that the relationship ought to continue (moral commitment) Ex: If you believe that divorce is wrong or to stay together for the kids 3. The belief that it would be difficult to end the relationship (structural commitment) Examples: Staying with a bad roommate because you have a lease Barriers getting out of personal relationships - the horror of dividing up property Prof found public records of divorce and found that people stayed together for a long time before getting a divorce because of the expense and hassle You want to break up but all your friends are his friends too so it would disrupt your social network Aren't there a lot of cultural and gender differences in relationships? The dimensions themselves are universal but there are many cultural differences in how these dimensions are expressed Gender EX: Book by John Gray Ph.D. Men are from Mars Women are from Venus The book fails because there actually aren't many differences between men and women There are few gender differences in commitment or in how men and women judge relationships more generally Do these ideas and stereotypes arise from general cultural and societal ideas? Three reasons we put so much weight on gender in society 1. Social identity- gender is very visible 2. A way to make money- tons of books and videos targeted toward understanding the opposite gender 3. Gender roles are changing in the big picture- more women getting higher education and entering the workforce We perceive bigger gender differences than actually exist The 7 dimensions are interrelated Less developed relationships "weak ties" ←←←→→→ more developed relationships "strong ties" Weak ties - we often discount these but Maintaining acquaintances, big online networks, and talking to strangers can be good for you Familiar strangers: people you know the faces but not the name, people you commonly see but never talk to There are many types of weak ties but they have some things in common 1. Less developed on nearly every dimension 2. Often bound to a particular place EX: you see the same checker at a grocery store a lot Sometimes you see a person outside that place but its hard to recognize them unless one of you remembers where 3. Often limited by time or schedule EX: you don't see someone as often because both your schedules changed 4. They are less interconnected with each other EX: generally your closest friends know many of your other close friends Strong ties bond while weak ties reach Strong ties bring people together and are interconnected Weak ties have few interconnections and reach more diverse people What we get from weak ties Two personal functions Allows you to compare yourself to a much larger, more diverse set of others- less fortunate, more fortunate, different interests- this enriches the sense of who you are Weak ties can provide support and information we cannot get from our strong ties- support groups, online contacts, local news, and gossip Two broader social functions- ways weak ties are good for society Weak ties spread new ideas, products, and services farther, faster than strong ties because there are more of them and they are less interconnected Weak ties promote working together in larger groups and a sense of community- they tie small groups together and allow diverse groups to stay in contact, to empathize and feel more secure Strong ties are too small and gathered to connect a large community Strong ties - the importance of close relationships EX: Barbara Bush commencement speech Relationships with family and friends are most important sources of meaning in people's lives. They are put ahead of Financial success Career success Religion Personal relationships are also important in two more ways Personal relationships are big business - we spend on birthdays, mother's day, father's day, more on weddings than 2/3 of the other countries income Personal relationships play a key role in business innovation- we talk to people we are closest to about our new ideas Disordered personal relationships can create costs for taxpayers - kids in school social programs- law enforcement Quality of our personal relationships affects our health- positive relationships Help with stress Physically safer- less likely to engage in risky behavior Better cardiovascular health Better immune system functioning Risks of inadequate relationships are as great a risk as Obesity Cigarette smoking Week 5 Lecture 10 Thursday, April 28, 2016 Last time- Relationships as communication This time- Messages that damage relationships Messages that enhance relationships Focus on messages: what we say and do or fail to say and do Includes: Messages you send and how they're interpreted Messages your partner sends and how they are interpreted Four messages that damage relationships Research by John Gottman and his collegues- how couples argue and how that affects the relationship and health 1. Criticism 2. Defensiveness 3. Stonewalling 4. Contempt Based on how often these appear, Gottman and his team predicted which couples would still be married 15 years later with 90-95% accuracy Videotaped the couples disagreements and coded the statements people made to identify the most damaging 1. Criticism- attacking the other person's personality or character a. Generalizations: "you never" "you always" "you're the kind of person who " b. Demands for explanation: "why are you so…" c. Arguing about how to argue: "I refuse to listen when you use that tone of voice" Criticisms are about the person Complains are about the behavior 2. Defensiveness- seeking to excuse of justify oneself, portraying yourself as the victim, warding off a perceived attack Making excuses (external circumstances beyond your control forced to act in a certain way) "It's not my fault" Cross-complaining: meeting your partner's complaint or criticism with a complaint of your own "You forgot to take out the trash" "yes but you forgot to make the bed" We are better at recognizing other's defensiveness than our own Yes-butting: start off agreeing but end up disagreeing Undercuts proposals and ends up in a spiral Whining "that's not fair" Responding to proposed solutions with counter-proposals 3. Stonewalling- refusal to engage in topic, withdrawing from interaction Silence Indirect answers Very short answers Changing the subject Making a subject "off-limits" for discussion Removing oneself physically Especially damaging when done as punishment More generally, suppressing anger and conflict in relationships damages participant's health Harburg in Journal of family communication (2008) tracked married couples in Michigan for 17 years and found a. Controlled for age, smoking, weight, blood pressure, education, and heart and lung problems b. Couples where both suppressed anger in the relationship- 50% of them died in the time period c. Couples where both expressed anger in the relationship- 25% of them died in the time period Contempt - attacking your partner's sense of self- abusive language and nonverbal behavior that places them beneath you Insults and name calling Sarcasm, mockery, hostile humor Dismissive nonverbal cues such as sneering, rolling eyes, curling upper lip Messages that enhance relationships Effective emotional support Principled negotiation of differences Giving emotional support effectively Unsupportive but common responses Messages that ignore the other's feelings "if you studied harder, that wouldn't have happened" "maybe things would have been better if you talked about it" Messages that challenge or deny the other's feelings "don’t worry about it, you'll find a way- you always do" "don’t worry about it, you'll find another guy" Worst kind- messages that condemn the feelings of someone "you shouldn't feel that way" "that’s stupid, you shouldn't feel bad about the situation" Somewhat supportive but less effective messages Attempts to distract the other from the feelings being experienced "lets go get drunk and forget about it" "there are other fish in the sea- lets go see if we can find someone better" Messages that acknowledge the other's feelings but do not attempt to help achieve greater understanding- these are good but not enough on their own "sorry you feel that way" Attempts to explain away the other's feeling "maybe your professor graded the test wrong" "maybe she didn’t realize how you felt about her" Highly supportive messages Explicitly acknowledging the other's feelings- may offer an additional or different perspective "I understand you're really upset that you failed your test and received a bad grade in class. It's really hard to get a grade like that, I'm sure the professor didn't like giving it." "I really cared for somebody but I realized they weren't the right one. It doesn’t mean they didn't care for you" Gender differences- Men are less effective at support messages Studies say that men feel that speaking effective support messages makes them look weak Heterosexual fear that this language makes them appear gay Note: this varies from person to person and is a highly debated topic Giving advice is not the same as giving support Researcher Daena Goldsmith looks at couples with cancer or serious illness and how they communicate she gives three tips on giving advice 1. Don't make advice the first or only response They may not be looking for advice Even if they are, they may want support too 2. There is more to advice than solutions- consider how advice might Make the other person feel or look Affect your relationship with that person 3. Effective advice is not so much given as negotiated, its worked out during interaction with participants Not giving advice till asked Asking the person if they want advice Negotiating differences Three approaches to conflict in relationships Show strength, try to win Not look weak, try not to lose, win but not by much Danger! Avoid! Each approach has a place but usually not the best available option More effective to approach conflict using principled negotiation strategies From Roger Fischer and William Ury's book "getting to yes" 1. Focus on the problem to be solved, not people 2. Focus on interests, not positions 3. Invent options for mutual gain 4. Evaluate options using objective or shared standards 5. Gain flexibility by improving your "bail out" position Let's go in detail 1. Focus on the problem to be solved, not people Approach the problem as shared rather than something that resides with one person or other Try to agree on what the problem is Seek to understand other's perspectives EX: Two friends disagree about which apartment to rent Bad- Pam: "She's so rigid about this" Lyn: "I know which apartment is the best" Better- Both: "we haven't agreed on which is best" Best- Both: "we haven't found the apartment that works for both of us" 2. Focus on interests not positions Find out what each person "gets" from getting their way What is each person trying to accomplish What do they like about their solution What do you like about the other's solution EX: Pam likes the natural light and Lyn likes being close to the bus stop 3. Invent options for mutual gain Once you identify both interests look for options that promise mutual gain- that addresses both interests 4. Evaluate options using objective or shared standards Standards not defined by one person Objective standards are something separate from the people involved Shared standards: agrees on standards even if they are subjective EX: both agree its important to feel safe 5. Gain flexibility by improving your "bail out" position What you are left with if negotiations fail Improving this gives you flexibility and power BAINA- Best Alternative In Negotiated Agreement EX: lyn explores dorm options while pan thinks about other people to live with
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