Basic interpersonal communication theories

Communication is the interchange of information between two or more people. It is successful when both the sender and the receiver are able to make sense of the message. There are many theories regarding interpersonal communications. Different theories apply, based on different perspectives.

Social penetration theory

            This theory describes how two people interact and behave when their relationship with each other is being developed. Their behavior can vary depending on what kind of relationship is being developed. There are generally four stages in the development of this sort of interpersonal relationship. The first stage or the orientation stage is where two people are cautious in what they say to each other after which there is the exploratory effective stage where two people start becoming comfortable with each other. Then comes the effective stage where personal information is shared and criticisms are accepted. The last stage is the stable stage where two people know each other well and are able to predict the others’ behavior.

Uncertainty Reduction theory

This theory states that people have a built in need for reducing the uncertaint of the other by gaining more information about them in order to predict their behavior. There are three strategies by which people may attempt to gain that information. The first one is the passive strategy where one person may observe the other in situations such as an office or when playing a game such as football. The second strategy is the active strategy where one attempts to gain information about someone by asking others. The last one is the interactive strategy where one communicates directly with the other person.