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Relationship Development

1) Think about the progression of relationships in your life. How is your communication different when you first meet a stranger, when you get to know the person and find something in common, and when you get to be good friends?

2) Does it change significantly if you establish an intimate relationship with that person?

3) Have you experienced the dialectical tensions described by Leslie Baxter and William Rawlins? Baxter and Rawlins have written about the tensions that beset individuals as they try to balance the demands of a relationship and their own personal needs. Baxter and Rawlins argue that individual must face three sets of tensions as they decide how much of themselves to invest in relationships. These are called the expressive-protective, the autonomy-togetherness, and the novelty-predictability dialectics.

4) How have you resolved them?

5) Have you known people whose relationships broke apart because they could not resolve dialectical tensions?

Solution Preview

1) My communication is different when I first meet a stranger because I'm more cautious and tentative about what I say, due to the fact that I don't know them very well. Once I get to know the person and find something in common with them, I communicate with them in a more relaxed and open manner. When we become good friends, our conversations become more deep due to the fact that we each feel that we can talk to each other about anything.

2) My communication does not ...

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