The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication

By William R. Cupach; Brian H. Spitzberg | Go to book overview

events that should be strictly prevented, hidden, or quickly fixed. But like other problematic areas of social interaction, the dark elements of predicaments tend to obscure some of the functional aspects of their occurrence.

Predicaments permit people to cope constructively with the imperfect fit between expectations and social performance that is often inevitable in social interaction. They play an important role in socializing actors regarding the inappropriateness of certain behaviors. The aversive nature of emotions associated with predicaments teaches us the existence of social norms, as well as the importance of maintaining our own dignity and showing respect to others. Predicaments therefore offer a social mechanism for regulating interpersonal behavior in a civil manner.

As well as facilitating interpersonal control, predicaments can foster affiliation between people. Getting caught in a predicament shows one's fallible side, which may ultimately facilitate attraction. Successfully repairing a predicament demonstrates one's interpersonal competence. An important byproduct of this competence is that individuals cooperate to help each other save face and thereby confirm their identities. Indeed, predicaments are not infrequently engineered by partners as a mechanism to foster solidarity in their relationship ( Sharkey, 1993). In short, predicaments are endemic to social interaction. When they are managed competently, they allow people to save face, coordinate mutually shared meanings, and regulate interpersonal behavior.


REFERENCES

Argyle M., Furnham A., & Graham J. A. ( 1981). Social situutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Aronson E., Willerman B., & Floyd J. ( 1966). "The effect of a pratfall on increasing interpersonal attractiveness". Psychonomic Science, 4, 227-228.

Bies R. J., & Shapiro D. L. ( 1987). "Interactional fairness judgments: The influence of causal accounts". Social Justice Research, 1, 199-218.

Bies R. J., Shapiro D. L., & Cummings L. L. ( 1988). "Causal accounts and managing organizational conflict". Communication Research, 15, 381-399.

Blumstein P. W., Carssow K. G., Hall J., Hawkins B., Hoffman R., Ishern. E., Maurer C. P., Speris D., Taylor J., & Zimmerman D. L. ( 1974). "The honoring of accounts". American Sociological Review, 39, 551-566.

Brown P., & Levinson S. ( 1987). Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Buss A. H. ( 1980). Self-consciousness and social anxiety. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.

Buttny R. ( 1985). "Accounts as a reconstruction of an event's context". Communication Monographs, 52, 57-77.

Buttny R. ( 1987). "Sequence and practical reasoning in accounts episodes". Communication Quarterly, 35, 67-83.

Castelfranchi C., & Poggi I. ( 1990). "Blushing as discourse: Was Darwin wrong?" In W. R. Crozier (Ed.), shyness and embarrassment: Perspectives from social psychology (pp. 230-251). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • References ix
  • PART I - Shades of Darkness in Interpersonal Relations 1
  • Chapter 1 - Stratagems, Spoils, and a Serpent's Tooth: On the Delights and Dilemmas of Personal Relationships 3
  • Acknowledgments 20
  • References 20
  • Chapter 2 - The Dark Side of (in) Competence 25
  • References 41
  • PART II - The Maze of Messages 51
  • Chapter 3 - Messages that Hurt 53
  • Acknowledgments 78
  • References 78
  • Chapter 4 - Patterns of Interational Paradoxes 83
  • References 100
  • Chapter 5 - Equivocations as an Interactional Event 105
  • References 122
  • PART III - The Face Beneath the Masks 125
  • Chapter 6 - Conversational Dilemmas 127
  • References 157
  • Chapter 7 - Social Predicaments 159
  • References 176
  • Chapter 8 - Deception 181
  • Acknowledgments 211
  • References 211
  • PART IV - Relational Webs 215
  • Chapter 9 - Relational Transgressions 217
  • References 238
  • Chapter 10 - Privacy Binds in Family Interactions: The Case of Parental Privacy Invasion 241
  • References 256
  • Chapter 11 - The Dark Side of "Normal" Family Interaction 259
  • References 276
  • Chapter 12 - Physical and Psychological Abuse 281
  • References 306
  • PART V - Fetching Good out of Evil 313
  • Chapter 13 - Dark Side Dénouement 315
  • References 319
  • AUTHOR INDEX 321
  • SUBJECT INDEX 335
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