Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Coffee Talk

The tug-of-war dialectics of close relationships.

Social life is a dynamic knot of contradictions - a ceaseless interplay between contrary or opposing tendencies.

A ceaseless interplay between contradictory or opposing tendencies, such as :
a) integration-separation
b) stability-change
c) expression-non expression.

Quality relationships are constituted through dialogue, which is an aesthetic accomplishment that produces fleeting moments of unity through a profound respect for the disparate voices.

Although most of us embrace the traditional ideals of closeness, certainty, and openness in our relationships, our actual communication within family, friendship, and romance "seldom" follows a straight path toward these goals.

This is because we are also drawn toward the exact opposite – autonomy, novelty and privacy.

These conflicting forces can’t be resolved by simply “either/or” decisions. The “both/and” nature of dialectical pressures guarantees that our relationships will be complex, messy, and always somewhat on edge.

Integration & Separation
This is a primary strain within all relationships. If one side wins this “me-we” tug of war, the relationship loses.

No relationship can exist by definition unless the parties sacrifice some individual autonomy. However, too much connection destroys the relationship because the individual identities become lost.

Stability & Change
Normal people want stability and predictability in their relationships. However, we cannot ignore our simultaneous need for the opposite, novelty.

We want a bit of mystery, a touch of spontaneity, the occasional surprise that are necessary for having fun. Without the spice of variety to season our time together, the relationship becomes bland, boring and ultimately, emotionally dead.

Expression & Non Expression
Revelation & concealment

In an interpersonal relationship, communication partners feel the pressure to be transparent and reveal extensive personal information. 

However, this pull counters a natural individual desire for privacy.  This dynamic struggle demonstrates that intimacy in relationships is not a straight-line path.

Relational Dialectics Theory by Leslie Baxter & Barbara Montgomery highlights the tension, struggle, and general messiness of close personal ties.

What is dialectics? Check out the dictionary and learn a new word today. Here you go -

This blog post is written based on my understanding of Baxter & Montgomery's theory, extracted from the book - A First Look at Communication Theory by Em Griffin.

You might be interested to check out my previous blog post below :

Blog name – carrot head and applemint

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