, people size each other up and try to present themselves favorably.
Whether you run into someone in the hallway at school or in the produce section at the grocery store, you scan the person and consider any previous knowledge you have of them, expectations for the situation, and so on. If you encounter a stranger, you may say, “Hi, my name’s Rich.” If you encounter a person you already know, you’ve already gone through this before, so you may just say, “What’s up? A quick passing calls for a quick hello, while a scheduled meeting may entail a more formal start.
Communication allows us to test and be tested by our potential and current relational partners.
It is also through communication that we respond when someone violates or fails to meet those expectations.
Experimenting continues in established relationships. Small talk, a hallmark of the experimenting stage, is common among young adults catching up with their parents when they return home for a visit or committed couples when they recount their day while preparing dinner.
Small talk can be annoying sometimes, especially if you feel like you have to do it out of politeness.
Then you may branch out and see if there are any common interests that emerge. Louis Cardinals fans could then lead to more conversation about baseball and other hobbies or interests; however, sometimes the experiment may fail.
If your attempts at information exchange with another person during the experimenting stage are met with silence or hesitation, you may interpret their lack of communication as a sign that you shouldn’t pursue future interaction.
More than 2,300 years ago, Aristotle wrote about the importance of friendships to society, and other Greek philosophers wrote about emotions and their effects on relationships.
Although research on relationships has increased dramatically over the past few decades, the fact that these revered ancient philosophers included them in their writings illustrates the important place interpersonal relationships have in human life.
As we have already discussed, relationships are always changing—they are dynamic.
Although this model has been applied most often to romantic relationships, most relationships follow a similar pattern that may be adapted to a particular context.
I have found, for example, that strangers sometimes feel the need to talk to me at the gym (even when I have ear buds in).