Posted: August 4th, 2022

COM2006 Week 5 Discussion

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Relationship Challenges

© 2014 South University

2
Relationship Challenges

Stages of a Relationship

1. Preinteraction Awareness

At this stage, there is no relationship. One or both people who may potentially be involved in
the relationship are gaining information about the other person through passive strategies, such
as observing and talking with others about their person of interest.

Example

Dina has been noticing Dave, who just started working in her office. Dina’s interest in Dave
grows as she sees how he interacts with her officemates. She decides to ask her girlfriend, who
sits next to Dave, about what she thinks of him.

2. Acquaintance

At this stage, the relationship is casual and formal. Both people in the potential relationship
show their public selves and stick to superficial topics in their conversations.

Example

After talking to her girlfriend, Dina decides to introduce herself to Dave. She asks him what he
thinks about his new job, and they start talking about work.

3. Exploration

When a relationship escalates to the exploration stage, both parties are working at getting to
know each other on a deeper level. Discussions are still more superficial but are now more about
each person, such as personal history and interests.

Example

Dina and Dave start talking about topics other than work. Dina asks Dave where he went to
school, and Dave asks Dina about her family and where she grew up.

4. Intimacy

When a relationship reaches the intimacy stage, both people are committed to the relationship
and are at ease with sharing intimate thoughts and experiences. Communication becomes
highly personal. Intimacy requires trust, which is developed over time. In the intimacy stage, as a
couple, both people develop their own language, such as jokes or words that they use that have
meaning just for them.

Page 2 of 3
Interpersonal Communication

©2014 South University

3
Relationship Challenges

Example

Dina and Dave have been seeing each other for six months now. They have developed an
intimate relationship, and as they are building on their commitment to each other, their
emotional bond grows. Dave and Dina are now engaged to get married.

5. Turmoil or Stagnation

At this stage, the relationship flounders or is in trouble because of increased unresolved conflict.
On the other hand, the case may be that one or both people in the relationship have lost
interest and the relationship has become stagnant. This stage is often characterized by conflict,
which can erupt in fighting or cause one or both people to walk away with the issues
unresolved. At this stage, the couple spends less time with each other and limits communication
and physical contact.

Example

Dina and Dave have been married for four years now and have decided not to have children.
They both work overtime and spend very little time with each other. Over the years, both have
found more enjoyment going out without each other and those activities that they used to
enjoy together no longer interest either of them. The relationship has lost its vitality.

6. Deintensification, Individualization, and Separation

If the turmoil is not lessened or resolved and if the relationship stays stagnant, the relationship
can move into the deintensification stage. At this stage, one or both people in the relationship
significantly reduce communication and physical contact and reliance on each other. Each
person defines situations in terms of “I” and not “we.”

Example

Dave and Dina now have separate bedrooms and go out separately with their own friends. Dina
decides to buy a car and open a bank account in her own name because she feels that she needs
to start building her own credit history. Dave starts looking at apartment ads. After a frank
discussion, Dina and Dave both agree to separate, divide up their joint assets, and go their
separate ways.

Page 3 of 3
Interpersonal Communication

©2014 South University

SUO Discussion Rubric (80 Points) – Version 1.2
Course: COM2006-Interpersonal Communication SU01

Response

No Submission
0 points

Emerging (F-D: 1-
27)
27 points

Satisfactory (C: 28-
31)
31 points

Proficient (B: 32-
35)
35 points

Exemplary (A: 36-
40)
40 points

Criterion Score

Quality of

Initial Posting

/ 40No initial posting

exists to evaluate.

The information

provided is

inaccurate, not

focused on the

assignment’s topic,

and/or does not

answer the

question(s) fully.

Response

demonstrates

in

complete

understanding of the

topic and/or

inadequate

preparation.

The information

provided is accurate,

giving a basic

understanding of the

topic(s) covered. A

basic understanding

is when you are able

to describe the

terms and concepts

covered. Despite

this basic

understanding,

initial posting may

not include

complete

development of all

aspects of the

assignment.

The information
provided is accurate,

displaying a good

understanding of the
topic(s) covered. A

good understanding

is when you are able

to explain the terms

and topics covered.

Initial posting

demonstrates

sincere reflection

and addresses most

aspects of the

assignment,

although all

concepts may not be

fully developed.

The information
provided is accurate,

providing an in-

depth, well thought-

out understanding

of the topic(s)

covered. An in-

depth understanding

provides an analysis

of the information,

synthesizing what is

learned from the

course/assigned

readings.

Participation
No Submission
0 points

Emerging (F-D: 1-
13)
13 points

Satisfactory (C: 14-
16)
16 points

Proficient (B: 17-
18)
18 points

Exemplary (A: 19-
20)
20 points

Criterion Score

Participation
No Submission
0 points
Emerging (F-D: 1-
13)
13 points
Satisfactory (C: 14-
16)
16 points
Proficient (B: 17-
18)
18 points
Exemplary (A: 19-
20)
20 points
Criterion Score

Participation in

Discussion

/ 20No responses to

other classmates

were posted in this

discussion forum.

May include one or

more of the

following:

*Comments to only

one other student’s

post.

*Comments are not

substantive, such as

just one line or

saying, “Good job”

or “I agree.

*Comments are off

topic.

Comments to two or

more classmates’

initial posts but only

on one day of the

week. Comments

are

substantive,

meaning they reflect

and expand on what

the other student

wrote.

Comments to two or
more classmates’

initial posts on more

than one day.

Comments are

substantive,
meaning they reflect
and expand on what
the other student
wrote.
Comments to two or
more classmates’

initial posts and to

the instructor’s

comment (if

applicable) on two

or more days.

Responses

demonstrate an

analysis of peers’

comments, building

on previous posts.

Comments extend

and deepen

meaningful

conversation

and

may include a

follow-up question.

Writing

No Submission
0 points

Emerging (F-D: 1-
13)
13 points

Satisfaction (C: 14-
16)
16 points

Proficient (B: 17-
18)
18 points
Exemplary (A: 19-
20)
20 points
Criterion Score
Writing

Mechanics

(Spelling,

Grammar,

/ 20No postings for

which to evaluate

language and

grammar exist.

Numerous issues in

any of the following:

grammar, mechanics,

spelling, use of

Some spelling,

grammatical, and/or

structural errors are

present. Some errors

Minor errors in

grammar, mechanics,

or spelling in the

initial posting are

Minor to no errors

exist in grammar,

mechanics, or

spelling in both the

Writing
No Submission
0 points

Emerging (F-D: 1-
13)
13 points
Satisfaction (C: 14-
16)
16 points
Proficient (B: 17-
18)
18 points
Exemplary (A: 19-
20)
20 points
Criterion Score

Citation Style)

and

Information

Literacy

slang, and

incomplete or

missing

citations and

references. If

required for the

assignment, did not

use course, text,

and/or outside

readings (where

relevant) to support

work.

in formatting

citations and

references are

present. If required

for

the assignment,

utilizes sources to

support work for

initial post but not

comments to other

students. Sources

include course/text

readings but outside

sources (when

relevant) include

non-

academic/authoritati

ve, such as Wikis

and .com resources.

present. Minor

errors in formatting

citations and

references may

exist. If required for

the assignment,
utilizes sources to
support work for

both the initial post

and some of the

comments to other
students. Sources

include course and

text readings as well

as outside sources

(when relevant) that

are academic and

authoritative (e.g.,

journal articles,

other text books,

.gov Web sites,

professional

organization Web

sites, cases, statutes,

or administrative

rules).

initial post and

comments to others.

Formatting of

citations and

references is correct.

If required for the

assignment, utilizes

sources to support

work for both the

initial post and the

comments to other
students. Sources
include course and
text readings as well
as outside sources
(when relevant) that
are academic and
authoritative (e.g.,
journal articles,
other text books,
.gov Web sites,
professional
organization Web
sites, cases, statutes,
or administrative
rules).

Total / 80

Overall Score

No Submission
0 points

minimum

There was no

submission for

this assignment.

Emerging (F to D Range)
1 point minimum

Satisfactory progress has not

been met on the competencies

for this assignment.

Satisfactory (C Range)
56 points minimum

Satisfactory progress has been

achieved on the competencies

for this assignment.

Proficient (B Range)
64 points minimum

Proficiency has been

achieved on the

competencies for this

assignment.

Exemplary (A

Range)
72 points minimum

The competencies for

this assignment have

been mastered.

Family Relationships

Another, often emotional, relationship that people have is with their families. The old adage that you

can pick your friends but not your family can be true for many people. However, we know that there

are many different de�nitions of family other than the family of origin. Beebe et al. (2017) de�ne family

as a “self-de�ned unit made up of any number of persons who live or have lived in relationship with one
another over time in a common living space and who are usually, but not always, united by marriage

and kinship” (p. 348). They also propose that the circumplex model of family interaction gives clues to

why families can be functional or dysfunctional. This circumplex model of family interaction examines

the functionality of families using the dimensions of adaptability, cohesion, and communication

patterns. These dimensions are evaluated on a scale. For example, adaptability’s continuum runs from

chaotic to rigid, cohesion is measured on the scale from a feeling of togetherness to a feeling of
disengagement, and communication can run from competent to not competent (Beebe et al., 2017).

The last dimension, i.e., communication, is the key for helping families become or stay more functional.

Now, let’s look at the Brown family. Julie grew up in a rigid family, where the rules were strict,

especially when it came to her dating and going out with friends. Julie’s curfew was 10 p.m. on

weekends. This rule used to upset Julie because all of her friends were allowed to stay out until

midnight. Julie thought that she should have more freedom now that she was sixteen. However, her

father remained in�exible about the curfew and about her not being allowed to date yet. Julie tried to
get her father to soften his rules but to no avail. He repeatedly stated that that was the end of the

subject and that he was not going to talk about it anymore. Julie’s reaction was to withdraw from

family conversations and to make herself as unavailable as possible for family outings.

Following the circumplex model of family interaction, in this example, we see the dimension of

adaptability being more on the rigid end of the continuum, cohesion being more disengaged, and

communication being more monologue than dialogue. According to Beebe et al. (2017), the Brown
family characterizes a protective family where there are less instances of dialogue between a father

and a daughter and more expectations of conformity. So how can communication help improve their

family relations?

Strategies for family communication are being other oriented, being selective about disclosing

feelings, picking battles, carefully discussing what and when you start your discussions, and using

con�rming messages (Beebe et al., 2017). In the case of the Brown family, Julie decided to take a
different approach with her father.

First of all, she thought to herself that her father was afraid that she may run into trouble if she stayed

out late with her friends and that her father was only being protective. She tried to think about how he

feels. Second, she realized that she often approached her father about staying out late when he had

just come home from work. He was often stressed and tired at this time, and Julie realized that this

was not the best time to start the discussion. Also, Julie realized that she tended to whine about not

being allowed to stay out and that this made her father more adamant about his view point. Julie
thought to herself that she must be sounding like a child when she whined and that when talking about

this subject, it would be a better idea not to show how upset she was.

With these strategies in mind, Julie chose, instead, to talk to her father on a Saturday morning, when

her father was feeling more refreshed and relaxed. She discussed with him the reason he was

distrustful of her staying out and asked him what would make him feel more secure when she was out

with her friends. Her father admitted that he was afraid of her ending up in danger or getting into
trouble when she was out. Julie acknowledged his feelings and asked if he would feel more

comfortable if she got a cell phone so that she could call him to come get her if she encountered an

undesirable situation. She made an effort to keep the whining out of her voice and listen to what her

father had to say. As a result of this conversation, Julie’s father decided to extend her curfew to 11:00

p.m. on a trial basis. Julie agreed that this was a good compromise.

The above example illustrates how important competent and other-oriented communication is for
families. Often, families can strum our emotional chords; and when emotions reign, communication

can become less effective. Being other oriented helps us see the situation from another’s point of view

and overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed by our own thoughts and emotions.

Social Media and

Relationships

Social media is a part of many people’s lives. Relationships can be formed using social media. Romantic

relationships can be attracted, developed, and maintained through social media (Beebe et al., 2017).

However, �nding a partner through social media is different than meeting face-to-face. First of all, the

medium of social media, like Facebook, allows us to pick what we want to disclose and edit what we
want the public to see. Oftentimes, people edit out the less-than-stellar aspects of themselves. It is

even common to use outdated pictures and erroneous facts in pro�les. With this in mind, you need to

carefully scrutinize what is being posted. The trick is to keep the conversation going by asking

questions and carefully considering the answers. There are many instances of successful relationships

that were started by connecting through social media sites, but often, this takes time and care to make

sure that you know what the other person is really about. The same can be said about starting a
relationship through face-to-face interactions; but in face-to-face interactions, you also have

nonverbal cues to con�rm the other person’s messages.

A common question is whether social media is causing a decline in our interpersonal communication

skills. There are different opinions about this question. A common opinion is that engagement in social

media is being preferred over face-to-face interactions and, especially in younger people, decreasing

interpersonal communication skills. For example,it is not an uncommon experience to see two people

out for a meal together where both people are on their phones, texting or sur�ng, and not talking to
one another. This suggests that mediated communication is decreasing the amount of face-to-face

communication.

In addition, social media may cause privacy issues. Since personal information can be added to social

media pro�les, which can have public access, our personal information may be used unethically or

unlawfully by others. It is important to be careful about what information we post about ourselves.

The other side of the issue is that social media has its place and that the same issues that people have
when communicating in social media venues can also happen in face-to-face communication. For

instance, bullying is done through the Internet and face-to-face. Also, on the positive side, social media

gives us an opportunity to connect more easily with more people than we could do before. People who

are reticent in talking with people face-to-face may gain more self-con�dence because of

communicating successfully with social media friends. Since communicating in social media is not

usually in real time, people are able to think about how to communicate more clearly and effectively
what they want to say; however, in real time, as in face-to-face conversations, it can be harder to

choose the appropriate words that represent your intent.

Another bene�t of social media engagement is the ability to network professionally. The growing

popularity of professional social media networking is showing how professional people can help each

other more easily forcareer and professional opportunities, advice, and resources. Social media sites

are also excellent resources for business and public relations purposes. An example of a popular social

media networking site is LinkedIn. LinkedIn serves to build professional networks, access knowledge
and insights, and build opportunities.

The following are the strategies for engaging social media successfully:

Be careful about what you post in your personal pro�le as this information may get in the hands

of someone who will use this information unlawfully or unethically. For example, some people

either omit their birthdays or post a different day.

Be careful when communicating with someone you don’t know through other connections as
that person may or may not be who he or she is claiming to be.

Guard against using social media as a crutch to avoid face-to-face interactions. Social media

should not replace possible face-to-face interactions.

Remember, since you do not have nonverbal communication cues when communicating through

social media, as you do when interacting directly with someone, you need to ask questions about

the intended meaning. Emoticons are more contrived than genuine face-to-face responses.

Ask yourself if social media engagement is taking up too much of your time. Is social media

engagement replacing time spent with others or time spent on important tasks?

Remember when applying for a job that employers are looking for applicants’ social media pages.

So don’t post anything that you would not want a potential employer to see.

Make a conscious choice not to engage in a con�ict through social media. Interpersonal con�icts

are more effectively solved in face-to-face interactions.

Finally, remember that whether you choose to communicate face-to-face or through social media, you
need to be ethically other oriented. This is akin to the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have

others do unto you.”

Additional Materials

Relationships

Click each topic to learn about how social media and relationships are connected.

Strategies for Developing
Online Friendships

Strategies for Developing
an Online Romance

View the PDF Transcript of Relationships (media/transcripts/Week5/SU_COM2006_W5_G2 ?

_&d2lSessionVal=83vkmmrsczcH8ATfvgTLx0emF&ou=91172)

https://myclasses.southuniversity.edu/pub/content/9652b600-efbf-483c-a22f-adb1324c66bc/SU_COM2006_W5_G2

https://myclasses.southuniversity.edu/content/enforced/91172-17115841/media/transcripts/Week5/SU_COM2006_W5_G2 ?_&d2lSessionVal=83vkmmrsczcH8ATfvgTLx0emF&ou=91172

Six Stages of Relationships

Beebe, Beebe, and Redmond (2017) metaphorically describe the escalation and de-escalation of a

relationship as the escalation and de-escalation of an elevator. When a relationship is escalating, the

stages progress from acquaintance to intensi�cation and, �nally, to intimacy. The stages of de-

escalation are turmoil or stagnation, deintensi�cation, individualization, separation, and
postseparation effects.

Using the example of Toby and Yolinda, let’s look at how these stages progress.

Preinteraction Awareness

Toby met Yolinda at work. At �rst, he hardly noticed her, but after a while, he started looking for her.

Yolinda didn’t notice Toby either until Toby started to stop by her desk to chat.

Acquaintance

Yolinda thought that Toby was a nice guy but didn’t think any more about it until Toby asked her out for

lunch. Yolinda agreed because she and Toby had been talking lately about work issues, things to do in

their city, and other casual topics.

Exploration

At lunch, they discovered that they both went to the same high school and that both of them were the

oldest in their families. After several lunches together, both Toby and Yolinda started to look forward

to getting together.

Intensi�cation

After a month or so, Toby suggested that he and Yolinda go out for a movie. Yolinda agreed, and they

both had a great time. Toby felt at ease with Yolinda because she had a great sense of humor. Yolinda

loved it when Toby laughed at her jokes. Frequent meetings between Toby and Yolinda resulted in

closeness between them.

Intimacy

They dated for about a year before Toby asked Yolinda to marry him. Yolinda, happily in love, agreed.

Unfortunately, after Toby and Yolinda were married for a couple of years, they started having

problems.

Turmoil

The problem started when Yolinda got a promotion at work and was asked to relocate to the corporate

headquarters. Toby was upset by this idea as his own career track was going well and he wanted to stay
back. Yolinda pointed out that Toby was being envious as she could make a lot more money than he.

Toby thought Yolinda was being sel�sh and was just thinking about herself as he would have to give up

his job. He was told that he would not be able to work at corporate headquarters with Yolinda. They

fought about this every day.

Deintensi�cation

After a while, the �ghting became purposeless since neither one was going to change his or her stance.

Yolinda started to go out with her friends more, and Toby went off to the health club more. Both were

moving away from each other. They stopped discussing whether they should relocate together or not,

and, �nally, they both decided to stay in separate bedrooms.

Individualization

Toby realized that their relationship was ending when he overheard Yolinda talking to a friend on the

phone, exclaiming that she was looking for an apartment in the city. He also heard Yolinda and a friend

talking at work about how well Yolinda will do on her new job. The �nal straw was when he saw a

checkbook on the desk from an account that was only in Yolinda’s name that she had recently opened.

Separation

Shortly after Toby found the checkbook, Yolinda announced her intention to take the new job and

move to the city. Toby believed that it was no use arguing and agreed to a separation. He and Yolinda

divided up the furniture and bank accounts and formally separated.

Postseparation Effects

After the divorce of Toby and Yolinda, friends remarked about how amicable their separation had been

as neither blamed the other for the breakup of the marriage. Both Toby and Yolinda had remarked to

their friends that they just went their separate ways because they both had different goals and values
and that it was nobody’s fault. This postseparation effect stage was how Toby and Yolinda made sense

of what had happened.

As you can see from this example, relationship stages can be either short or long. The intensity of each

stage, especially with de-escalation, can vary greatly depending on the circumstances.

Additional Materials

Relationship Challenges

Click each stage of a relationship in the chart to learn more about it.

Preinteraction
Awareness

Acquaintance
Exploration
Intimacy

Turmoil or
Stagnation

Deintensification,
Individualization,
and Separation

View the PDF Transcript of Relationship Challenges

(media/transcripts/Week5/SU_COM2006_W5_G1 ?

_&d2lSessionVal=83vkmmrsczcH8ATfvgTLx0emF&ou=91172)

https://myclasses.southuniversity.edu/pub/content/12837833-42fa-4cdb-aa9e-8ae3519cc7f3/SU_COM2006_W5_G1

https://myclasses.southuniversity.edu/content/enforced/91172-17115841/media/transcripts/Week5/SU_COM2006_W5_G1 ?_&d2lSessionVal=83vkmmrsczcH8ATfvgTLx0emF&ou=91172

Relationships

© 2014 South University

2
Relationships

Let’s learn about how social media and relationships are connected.

Strategies for Developing Online Friendships

• Always be honest, truthful, and genuine.

• Be careful about what you disclose to whom.

• Search for social networking sites where community members have similar interests.

• If you are looking for more friends, search for people who know the friends you already have on
your social media network.

• Start private chats or exchange e-mails so that you can get to know someone on a more
personal level since most social media sites are too public for anything too personal.

• Share pictures, interests, and other things of interest to you.

• Communicate on a regular basis.

• Emphasize commonalities to establish rapport.

• Communicate support and caring. (Anderson & Emmers-Sommer, 2006).

Strategies for Developing an Online Romance

• Always be honest, truthful, and genuine.

• Be careful about what you disclose to whom.

• Look for reviews for online dating social media sites before you sign up.

• Share pictures, interests, and other things of interest to you.

• Communicate on a regular basis. The more you communicate, the greater the chance for
intimacy.

• Keep conversations friendly and pleasant; avoid disclosing personal issues or problems until
trust has been established.

• Disclose personal information only to the extent the other person has disclosed his or her
personal information.

• Ask open questions to initiate and invite reciprocal conversations.

• Be careful not to form rigid expectations for initial conversations.

Page 2 of 3
Interpersonal Communication

©2014 South University

3
Relationships

• Seek information about the other person to reduce uncertainty and build trust.

• Communicate that you are confident, independent, and open minded.

• Communicate support and caring. (Anderson & Emmers-Sommer, 2006).

Reference:

Anderson, T. L., & Emmers-Sommer, T. M. (2006). Predictors of relationship satisfaction in online

romantic relationships. Communication Studies, 57(2), 153–172.

Page 3 of 3
Interpersonal Communication

©2014 South University

COM2006Week 5 Discussion $10.00

Chore Troubles

You and your new husband or wife came to an agreement early in your marriage that you both will create a schedule and divide up responsibilities for chores since both of you have demanding careers. In the beginning, each of you was doing his or her part. Gradually over the course of several months, your spouse starts to slack off. At first, you didn’t say anything—hoping that the situation would correct itself. After a while, you found yourself doing everything and were feeling real resentment at having to shoulder all the chores and responsibilities.

In this assignment, you need to:

Describe strategies and orientations for remedying and improving this situation.

Explain at least four strategies or ways to approach your spouse to more effectively manage this conflict.

Explain at least four strategies that the spouse who’s grieved by handling the burden of responsibilities could use to more effectively manage the conflict over chores and responsibilities.

Describe specific suggestions for how the nonparticipating spouse could effectively respond.

Before the end of the week, critique at least two of your classmates’ posts on the basis of the following points:

How well did the discussion of relationship conflict management strategies fit the situation?

Were the strategies or responses discussed from both points of view?

Were there four different orientations or strategies for managing the relationship conflict discussed?

To support your work, use your course and text readings, the Internet, and the South University Online Library. As in all assignments, cite your sources in your work and provide references for the citations in APA format.

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