I. The idea of creating a close, intimate relationship with another person is a relatively recent historical
A. Intimacy, as we define it today, means psychological closeness, or sharing personal
knowledge with one another on a regular basis.
B. In our culture"s colonial era, intimacy largely referred to physical proximity rather than
psychological closeness. Married couples, for instance, interacted in formal, prescribed ways
consistent with their roles and a relatively homogeneous social order.
C. As our society became more pluralistic, the need to choose among alternative value
systems created the conditions for close, personal relationships as a means of reinforcing
II. In our contemporary era, close relationships evolve as public, impersonal roles and rules give way
to more private definitions of a relationship and how to communicate within that relationship.
A. Intimacy becomes defined as a unique bond created by two people through interdependent
actions, individualized rules, and personal disclosures and is viewed by both parties as
relatively affectionate, intrinsically rewarding, and irreplaceable.
B. The most common types of intimate relationships in our culture are romantic relationships
(nearly 50%) and friendships (36%), and relationships with a family member (14%).
C. People sometimes use conscious strategies in attempts to move a relationship toward
intimacy. For instance, the ritual of dating or using compatibility services (e.g.,
eHarmony.com) are strategic ways of measuring the intimacy-potential of another person.
D. At other times, intimacy seems to sneak up on us, for a variety of reasons.
1. Physical proximity increases the likelihood of frequent interaction and the
opportunity to enjoy activities together or disclose personal information. Many
people who develop intimate relationships first met while working in the same office or
2. Certain times, places, and dates such as Valentine"s Day or the junior prom, can
create a state of intimacy readiness that encourages us to consider the potential for a
romantic relationship. Such situations coupled with positive self-talk about the
attractiveness of the other and heightened physiological arousal help define one as
having romantic feelings for the other.
III. Attraction to another person is an important component in the development of romantic
relationships and friendships. Lots of things influence attraction, including a process of filtering and
other specific factors:
A. Filtering theory suggests that attraction is determined by different criteria over time.
1. Sociological or incidental cues, such as proximity or expectation of future interaction
2. Pre-interaction cues, such as height, weight, physical beauty
3. Interaction cues, such as mutual interest in the topics of conversation, duration of
eye contact, interaction distance, etc.
4. Cognitive cues, such as impressions formed of the other"s attitudes, values, or
B. Physical attractiveness is one specific factor, although beauty tends to be mediated by what
is often called the matching hypothesis. While we may be attracted to others we perceive to
be beautiful, we are not as likely to pursue a relationship with someone whom we perceive as
more physically attractive than we are. C. Perceived similarities in attitudes, interests, and personality also influence attractiveness.
Research suggests this is particularly true for individuals with similar levels of cognitive and
communicative abilities because it leads to enjoyable interactions.
D. Reciprocated expressions of liking tend to cement feelings of attractiveness, as long as the
expressions are believable.
E. Persons with matching or complementary levels of need for inclusion, affection, or control
also tend to find themselves attracted to each other.
F. Favorable exchanges of relational currencies (e.g., doing favors, the gift of time or
emotional support) also make a relationship more attractive.
IV. Research suggests that friendships evolve over time and typically progress through six stages
A. Role-limited interaction
B. Friendly relations
C. Moves toward friendship
D. Nascent friendship, characterized by a wider range of activities as well as "negative norms"
(behaviors that would indicate a return to earlier stages)
E. Stabilized friendship
F. Waning friendship
V. Romantic relationships also progress through stages of development, maintenance, and decline
A. Stages of development
1. Initiating (e.g., engaging in small talk)
2. Experimenting (e.g., flirting, asking for a date, affinity-seeking strategies)
3. Intensifying (e.g., indirect suggestions, endurance, separation, or triangle tests)
4. Integrating (e.g., use of relational symbols, such as statements about their
relationship, references to shared events, nicknames, inside jokes, special gifts,
places, or artifacts""our song")
5. bonding (e.g, "covenant talk""discussing hopes and dreams for each other)
B. Maintenance issues
1. Balancing self-identity with relational identity
2. The expressive-protective dialectic (e.g., what to reveal or conceal)
3. The autonomy-togetherness dialectic (e.g., how to balance time together and time
4. The novelty-predictability dialectic (e.g., balancing the significance of ritual vs. the
boredom of getting into a rut)
5.The gender role dialectic (e.g., managing the tension between traditional gender
roles and new ways of being masculine and feminine)
6. Strategies for working out dialectic tensions, such as cyclic alternation, topical
segmentation, moderation, reframing C. Stages of decline
1. Differentiating (e.g., re-establishing some independence from the relationship)
2. Circumscribing (e.g., shorter conversations, limited to "safe" topics)
3. Stagnating (e.g., avoidance of interaction, gossiping t