Analyzing Pop Culture Relationships

Review the six stages of interpersonal relationships and the types of messages associated with each stage in the textbook and in the learning activities.
Review interpersonal relationship types and the theories of interpersonal communication in the textbook and in the learning activities.
Think of a relationship from a television show or movie that demonstrates the stages of a relationship.
Write a three to five-page paper analyzing that relationship from the contact stage to conclusion.
Your paper should include a discussion of the stages of interpersonal relationships and the types of messages associated with each stage. Include links to clips or refer to specific episodes or time markers in the show(s) or film(s).


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Analyzing Pop Culture Relationships


The six stages of interpersonal relationships

People don’t get to become intimate friends, immediately after a meeting. Rather, their friendship grows gradually, through a series of steps and stages. The first stage entails the contact stage, where persons get to interact and know each other for the first time. In this stage, two people have some kind of perceptual contact, where they see, hear, or even smell the other person. They learn about the gender, age, height, and other personal details of the other individual (Sravanti, 2017).  This is followed by an interactional contact, where in this stage the contact is superficial and relatively impersonal. Basic information is exchanged at this contact stage. According to some researchers, the contact stage is the most significant step, which suggests whether one wants to pursue a relationship or not.

The second stage is the involvement stage, where a sense of mutuality of being connected develops. In this stage, the two persons want to learn about each other. It is at this stage, where the initial judgment, proves reasonable (Sravanti, 2017). The third stage is the intimacy stage. In this stage, the two individuals become close to each other, where they establish a deeper relationship. This results in discovering a close friend, lover, or companion. The intimacy step may include interpersonal commitments, where the two individuals may commit to each other privately. They thereafter get a more social bond, leading to a public social commitment (Sravanti, 2017).  This is followed by the fourth stage which is the deterioration stage.  In this stage, the bond begins to get weaker, where is more intrapersonal dissatisfaction and deterioration of the initial bond. In this stage, there is withdrawal, a decline in self-disclosure, a rise in deception, and more negative messages towards the other party. The fifth stage is the repair stage, where the two individuals try to amend the relationship and make it better.  The two individuals at this stage try to analyze and establish the reasons behind their deteriorating relationship. They try to establish solutions that would make the relationship stronger. More discussions are involved at this stage, where a third party may be involved to help fix the bonds, as a way of saving the relationship. Failure to establish a solution may lead to the sixth and final stage which is the dissolution stage (Sravanti, 2017).  In the dissolution stage, the bonds created are cut where the two individuals fall apart. They move out and live separate lives since their differences are irreconcilable.  At this level, the parties avoid each other and return to single status.

Interpersonal relationship types and the theories of interpersonal communication

The first type of interpersonal relationship is friendship. This relationship involves two individuals entering into a bond by their own will and choice. It does not involve formalities where both individuals enjoy the presence of each other. The second type of relationship is love, which is characterized by trust, intimacy, and respect (DeVito, 2019). The two individuals in this relationship are deeply attached and share a special bond.

The third type of relationship is a platonic relationship, where two individuals have no feelings or sexual desires for each other. The two are just friends, without and do not mix love with friendship.  This type of relationship in some instances tends to lead to romantic relationships with the two partners develop mutual love and falling for each other (DeVito, 2019).  A family relationship is the fourth type, where individuals are either related by blood or by marriage. Finally, there is a professional relationship, where individuals work together for a similar organization. Individuals in a professional relationship are referred to as colleagues.

There are four theories of interpersonal communication, which include Social Penetration Theory, Self-Disclosure, Uncertainty, Reduction Theory, and Relational Dialectics Theory. Social Penetration Theory (SPT), is a theory about the development of relationship closeness, which can progress from superficial to intimate. Self-disclosure theory involves sharing of personal information with the other party for them to understand each other better (DeVito, 2019).  For Uncertainty Reduction Theory (URT), the personal relationship commences with some levels of uncertainty, where people tend to try to reduce this doubt through knowledge and understanding. Finally, for the Relational Dialectics Theory (RDT), relationships reflect conflicts and contradictions, where they are built around the dynamic interplay of opposing tendencies.

A relationship from a television show that demonstrates the stages of a relationship

An example of a TV series that depicts the stages of a relationship is the HBO show, “Insecure”. The show depicts the subtleties and complicities of the modern-day relationship. The relationship between the two main characters are very strong at the beginning. However, as time moves on,   the relationship keeps on deteriorating, where the two main characters try to navigate growing up with uncertainties of how they relate with each other.  Despite getting displayed innovatively and funnily, a viewer can tell the adversities and challenges associated with relationships.




DeVito, J. A. (2019). The interpersonal communication book. Instructor. 1, 18.

Sravanti, L. (2017). Interpersonal relationships: Building blocks of a society. . Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 59(1), 123-123.



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