Relationships are still a mystery to many people in many walks of life. Man to woman, woman to woman and man to man. Dating is not just the only form of relationship in question by theorists of communication but all types of friendship are thrown into the controversy as well.
In 1973, Altman and Taylor came out with a theory attempting to explain and interpret the way relationships grow, and even die over time. The theory, called the Social Penetration Theory, is a broad overview of how relationships work over a gradual increase in time but in the end it doesn't do justice to each personalized relationship. The theory came with a number of different premises.
[...] The Buried Self The concept of the buried self comes right from Altman and Taylor's onion analogy. The buried self is who you truly are, underneath all of the outer layers that you use mostly for protective reasons. The very outer layers are your biographical data and preferences, while your next few layers include: Your goals, religious convictions, fears and fantasies. The very inner layer is your concept of self your buried self (Griffin, 120). The buried self is Altman and Taylor's explanation of why we give only certain information about ourselves at certain times in our relationships. [...]
[...] Nonverbal Warmth: non-verbal affiliate expressiveness increases, uncertainty levels will decrease in an initial interaction situation” (Griffin, 132). If your boss gives you a hug, a pat on the back or any other form of non-verbal, yet positive (very important) affirmation, then your uncertainly level will go down because it is almost as if he has accepted you. Information Seeking: “High levels of uncertainty cause increase in information seeking behavior” (Griffin, 133). If you have uncertainty about working for a particular firm or a boss, you will do some research to find more about it. [...]
[...] Charles Berger's 1987 Uncertainty Reduction Theory was rooted in Heisenberg's 1927 Uncertainty Principle. His theory basically states how it is “focused on how human communication is used to gain knowledge and create understanding” (Griffin, 130). In other words, matter how close two people become, they always begin as strangers” (Griffin, 130). Assumptions Berger's basic assumptions about how to reduce uncertainty stem from three different factors. These three factors are: Anticipation of future interaction, incentive value and deviance. Let's look closer: Anticipation of future interaction: If you are going to see someone again, you may want to lower uncertainty between us. [...]
[...] Learn as much as you can and make sure you have a complex back up plan to beat uncertainty as well. Hedging: possibility of plan failure suggests the wisdom of providing ways for both parties to save face when at least one of them has miscalculated” (Griffin, 137). If one person discloses and the other does not then hedging will help ‘cover up' the ‘mistake' and allow for normal conversation to proceed. It is very important to keep your distance while uncertainty beckons. [...]
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