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The Phases Of Interpersonal Communication And Their Impact On Self-Disclosure

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The diversity of society was increasing the difficulties for the communicators because their conversation will be guided by the culture. Nevertheless, some of the people can have the good relationship and enjoying during the conversation with different cultural people. This is because they understand and practicing revealing themselves during the conversation. Through revealing ourselves, they can know more about each other. Revealing ourselves is a process of revealing the personal information rather than the general information about us to others.

Interpersonal communication is an ongoing and continuous process. Even though we are kept silent when the others talk with us but we still communicate through our non-verbal behavior. We cannot stop to communicate due to different ethnicities, cultural contexts, gender identities and spiritual commitments. The principle of interpersonal communication is interpersonal communication can develop and sustains relationship. Communication is the main technique for people to construct and transform their relationships. Hence, learning the culture of others through revealed information during the conversations is essential and important when born in diverse society.

According to the Social Penetration Theory, self-disclosure is the core of relationship development. The relational communication between people begins at superficial level and moves along the three continuums to more intimate level. The first continuum is I-It relationship. we may not recognize the humanity of the other people and confirm their existence. For example, the homeless person reveal himself and asking for money, we ignored them and treat them as “its” not as unique individual.

The situation was happened because we had higher uncertainty about the person. In order to feel more safety and comfortable and treated them as “its”. An embarrassing situation also happened when higher uncertainty between the communicators. Uncertainty was making a person felt uncomfortable and cause stagnated at I-It relationship. By having a several conversations with that person are helping us to reduce our uncertainty towards the person.

There had three developmental stages in a relationship in order to reduce the uncertainty. According to Berger and Calabrese (1975), majority of the people begin interaction in an entry phase which defined as the beginning stage of an interaction between strangers. The conversation is guided by implicit and explicit rules and norms because still had higher uncertainty about that person so both spoke carefully and general topic discussed in their conversation.

After had several times conversation and they started to reveal themselves and entered the second stage which know as personal phase. It categorized at second level of communication which is I-You communication. The interactants are communicate more spontaneously and reveal more personal information or opinion towards others.

However, their conversation still under guidance of rule and culture even though we affirm their existence and recognized them as individuals with those roles. This is because we use communication to satisfy our belonging needs. Nobody can stay without communicate with others. We only can avoid communicating with others but sometimes we still need to communicate especially in workplace. If we continue rejected or quickly exit the conversation with colleagues will let them feel annoying and they will not talk actively with us again. Hence, we need to communicate for ours belonging needs with colleagues due to acceptance and affirmation from the them.

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By revealing themselves in the conversation, we can understand that person personality and plan our future relationship whether continue be friend or the person are not suitable be our friends. The third developmental stage in a relationship in order to reduce the uncertainty was referring to our decision whether continue or leave. If the person decision was continued, he will continue to reveal himself when having conversation with that person. Nonintimate relationship progress to intimate relationship because of self-disclosure. As the time past, they may reveal deeply about themselves to others.

Self-disclosure can be strategic or nonstrategic. Strategic self -disclosure is we plan out what we want to say with others. However, we plan what we want to reveal but sometimes the planning cannot run smoothly because we cannot predict exactly the topic for the conversation. We have several conversations with several people within a day so we usually used nonstrategic self-disclosure when talking with others. Besides that, researchers have used the phrase “stranger on the train” to refer we spontaneously reveal ourselve to complete strangers in public place (Richard &Lynn, 2018).

The researcher was used the structure of onion when discuss the self-disclosure (Altman & Taylor, 1973). The outer layer of onion is the public image of a person which can observe by naked eye. The private information was restored or keep in the inner layer of the onion. When we self-disclosed, we will start reveal our surface information which consider as the outer layer of onion and the private information will reveal with someone totally intimacy with us.

In addition, the researchers also found that when someone continuous reveal himself will lead the others are likely to reciprocate similar level of sensitive information (Acquisti, John & Loewenstein, 2012). The meaning of reciprocity is the return of openness from one person to another. Hence, we able had the conversation in comfortable condition when we be the first person to reveal ourselves.

Furthermore, self-disclosure can view along two dimension which are breadth and depth. The meaning of breadth was referring to the numbers of topic discussed in a relationship. We can discuss broadly topic in a conversation with many people but the private topic will only reveal with someone who very close to us. Depth in self-disclosed topic was refer to the degree of intimacy guides topic discussions. The higher degree of intimacy and the more opportunity for a person to feel vulnerable. Self-disclosure in conversation can improve the relationship. However, people disclose too much during entry phase will caused the relationship end up because not everyone are prepared to accept your intimately.

Good practicing the interpersonal communication guideline can help us successfully reveal ourselves in a conversation. The first skill is developing a range of skill. We need to identify the situation and the topic of conversation before we speak. For example, the person revealed his problem to us so we need speak some things that help him like express our opinion which help him solving the problem. Second is adapt communication appropriately. We need to know the purposes of a conversation. For example, we want the others knows about us so we reveal ourselves. Next, engage in dual perspective in conversation. We able to build the relationship if the practicing the dual perspective when we communicate with each other. By understanding how someone thinking and feeling are helping us to better understanding his problem or difficulties when he revealed his problem to us. The fourth guideline is monitoring our communication. We must remind ourselves not to get offensive when discussing a series topic. Lastly, we need commit to ethical communication. We need investing our time and energy in communicating with different group of people.

In conclusion, interpersonal communication is irreversible so please rethink the using of word or volume of speaking whether it suitable or not when self-disclosure. Appropriate revealing can build up the relationship within the communicators.

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The Phases Of Interpersonal Communication And Their Impact On Self-Disclosure. (2021, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from
“The Phases Of Interpersonal Communication And Their Impact On Self-Disclosure.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2021,
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