suggests, to optimize one's plans for attaining goals during social interactions, an individual must first understand the goals fellow interactants are pursuing and the plans they are using to attain them. Given these assessments of interactions between one's goals and plans and those of others, astute communicators might well conclude that the time is not ripe for pursuing their own goals during a particular encounter. Or, such deft communicators might recognize that goals and plans might have to be modified before attempts are made to realize them in action. These possibilities suggest that a complete explanation for communication competence and skill must include message comprehension and interpretative processes on the one hand and message production processes on the other. The ability to display positive expressiveness during social interaction may prove completely ineffective if the goals and plans of others in the interaction are misunderstood.
Only a rough outline of a proto-theory of interpersonal communication could be sketched here. Although much of this outline remains to be fleshed out, this presentation has revealed how such a proto-theory, in combination with meta-analysis findings, might be used to detect significant gaps in our knowledge about interpersonal communication processes. Moreover, providing this proto-theoretic context for rneta-analysis shows how some approaches to examining interpersonal communication phenomena might be potentially more fruitful than others. Of course, the basic postulates of the proto-theory presented here can and should be challenged. Nonetheless, this proto-theory of interpersonal communication addresses directly fundamental questions for which many would like answers; for example, why are some individuals more effective than others in achieving their goals during social interaction? The proto-theoretic purview presented here together with meta-analysis findings could prove to be a powerful combination for answering such critical questions.