COM 286

Interpersonal Communication*
COM 286

Basic Description: Communication with others is an activity we all do with a fair amount of expertise. However, there are many times when communication creates feelings of dissatisfaction, confusion, misunderstanding, hurt, or other unexpected outcomes. Improving the way we manage such situations often requires that we develop a sixth sense, an “uncommon” sense that allows us to see communication in new ways. That is the aim of the course: to better understand interpersonal communication situations, and thus to improve the ways we manage them. We examine basic concepts, theories, and research findings relevant to initiating, developing, maintaining, and terminating relationships (be they friendships, romantic, family, or professional relationships) with an eye for the role of communication in the process.

Some Topics We Cover: On relationship initiations, we discuss topics such as impression formations, the degree of appropriate self-disclosure, and gender differences. In the stage of relationship development and maintenance, we cover topics including strategies people use to keep a relationship going, conflict management, and hurtful messages. In relationship terminations, we discuss topics such as reasons why abused women choose to stay in a relationship, strategies people use to cope with changes in family (divorce, breakups, etc.). In addition, we also talk about theories or concepts that help us understand the communication processes in close relationships.

Some of Our Assignments: In this class, you have a chance to write some fun papers and earn a big portion of your grade.  For example, keep a diary of your communication activities with either your romantic partner or your best friend for two weeks. Or analyze personal ads to see what men and women want in a dating partner.

*Meets Component Area V of the University core curriculum.

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