Friday, March 13, 2009

Chapter 3-Self In Interpersonal Communication

This chapter looked at the self in interpersonal communication and focused on three basic topics: dimensions of the self (self-concept, self-awareness, and self-esteem), self-disclosure, and communication apprehension. Dimensions of the Self What are self-concept, self-awareness, and self-esteem and how do they influence interpersonal communication?
  • Self-Concept ~Self-concept is the image you have of who you are. ~Sources of self-concept include others' images of you, social comparisons, cultural teachings, and your own interpretations and evaluations.
  • Self-Awareness ~Self-awareness is your knowledge of yourself; the extent to which you know who you are. ~A useful way of looking at self-awareness is with the Johari window, which consists of four parts. The open self: information known to self and others; the blind self: information known only to others; the hidden self: information known only to self; and the unknown self: information known to neither self nor others. ~To increase self-awareness, ask yourself about yourself, listen to others, actively seek information about yourself, see your different selves, and increase your open self.
  • Self-Esteem Self-esteem is the value you place on yourself; your perceived self-worth. To increase self-esteem, try attacking your self-destructive beliefs, seeking affirmation, seeking out nourishing people, and working on projects that will result in success.


What is self-disclosure? What influences self-disclosure? What are its potential rewards and dangers? What guidelines are useful in making decisions to self-disclose and in listening to the disclosures of others?

  • Self-disclosure is revealing information about yourself to others, information that is normally hidden.
  • Self-disclosure is influenced by a variety of factors: who you are, your culture, your gender, your listeners, and your topic.
  • Among the rewards of self-disclosure are self-knowledge, ability to cope, communication effectiveness, meaningfulness of relationships, and physiological health. Among the dangers are personal risks, relational risks, professional risks, and the fact that communication is irreversible; once something is said, you can't take it back.
  • In self-disclosing consider your motivation, the appropriateness of the disclosure to the person and context, the disclosures of others (the dyadic effect), and the possible burdens that the self-disclosure might impose on others and on yourself.
  • In responding to the disclosures of others, listen effectively, support and reinforce the discloser, keep disclosures confidential, and don't use disclosures as weapons.
  • In some situations you'll want to resist self-disclosing by being determined not to be pushed into it, being assertive and direct, or being indirect.

Communication Apprehension

What is communication apprehension? How can you effectively manage your own apprehension? How can you help empower those who are apprehensive?

  • Communication apprehension is a state of fear or anxiety about communication situations. Trait apprehension is a fear of communication generally. State apprehension is a fear of communication that is specific to a situation (for example, an interview or public speaking situation).
  • Theories and management of communication apprehension include cognitive restructuring, systematic desensitization, and skill acquisition. ~Cognitive restructuring focuses on unrealistic beliefs and seeks to substitute more realistic ones. ~Systematic desensitization attempts to train you to respond without apprehension to increasingly more anxiety-provoking situations. ~Skill acquisition focuses on training you to master the skills involved in situations that normally provoke apprehension. To build skills: Prepare and practice, focus on success, familiarize yourself with the situation, and try to relax.

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