Social Penetration Theory Essay

1709 Words7 Pages
As we get older our, views, and perspectives on relationships may change. An explanation for this is that we encounter different situations in different relationships. Some relationships may affect us more than others, and can even change the way we think and view things. However, we would have to evaluate our levels of communication with different people. The social penetration theory helps us to categorize the levels of interpersonal communication we have with others. Based on these levels, we are able to categorize the importance and meaning of the relationship. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the effects of social penetration theory and how it applies to our lives. There are two hypotheses that explain the social penetration process.…show more content…
Over a period, more, and more detailed information would be exchanged. The social penetration theory can’t go without the discussion of self-disclosure as it is most important in developing relationships. Self-disclosure is the gradual unfolding of one’s self. It is defined as, “verbally communicating personal information about the self to another person (Forgas 449).” Depending on the stage of the relationship the information can range from thoughts, feelings, goals, fears, dreams, and favorites. Individuals usually maintain protective outer layers that surround a central core that represents the true self. Social Penetration theory suggests that as a relationship becomes increasingly intimate, the self-disclosures become increasingly deep (Tolstedt 85). The first hypothesis which is revealing one 's self can be compared to peeling an onion. Peeling away the layers are similar to revealing more about the self. There are four layers of information that we disclose. The first layer is the surface. In this layer, the information is shallow and usually consist of topics that do not have to be discussed. This type of information is visible information regarding the individual, which can be assessed easily. The second layer is the peripheral layer, where personal information is exchanged. The intermediate layer consists of the exchange of opinions about…show more content…
It is vital to the development and maintenance of close relationships (Ruppel, 668). The advantages of this include a variety of beneficial outcomes in relationships, such as closeness, relational quality, certainty, social validation and catharsis. There are also disadvantages that come along with disclosing oneself. One of the disadvantages is rejection. The fear of rejection causes one not reveal information about themselves that they think the other person may not like. With a mindset such as this, the relationship will not grow because the ‘true ' you are not being
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