communication and then complete the interactive activity and the quiz at the end of this unit.
One reason we engage in interpersonal communication is so thatwe can gain knowledge about another individual. SocialPenetration Theory says that we attempt to gain informationabout others so that we can interact with them more effectively.We can better predict how they will think, feel, and act if weknow who they are. We gain this information passively, byobserving them; actively, by having others engage them; or interactively, by engaging them ourselves. Self-disclosureis
often used to get information from another person.
Building a Context of Understanding
We also engage in interpersonal communication to help us better understand what someone says in a given context. Thewords we say can mean very different things depending on howthey are said or in what context.
refer to thesurface level meaning of a message.
refer to how a message is said. The two are sentsimultaneously, but each affects the meaning assigned to thecommunication. Interpersonal communication helps usunderstand each other better.
Another reason we engage in interpersonal communication is toestablish an identity. The
we play in our relationships helpus establish identity. So too does the
, the public self-imagewe present to others. Both roles and face are constructed basedon how we interact with others.
Finally, we engage in interpersonal communication because weneed to express and receive interpersonal needs. WilliamSchutz
has identified three such needs: inclusion, control, andaffection.
Inclusion is the need to establish identity with others.
Control is the need to exercise leadership and proveone's abilities. Groups provide outlets for this need.Some individuals do not want to be a leader. For them,groups provide the necessary control over aspects of their lives.
Affection is the need to develop relationships with people. Groups are an excellent way to make friends andestablish relationships.
Functions of Interpersonal Communication
Interpersonal communication is important because of the functions its achieves.Whenever we engage in communication with another person, we seek to gaininformation about them. We also give off information through a wide variety of verbaland nonverbal cues. Read more about the various functions of interpersonal