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The Symbolic Interaction Theory: The Social Penetration Theory

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George Herbert Mead forwarded the Symbolic interaction theory that comprises of three principles; meaning, language, and thought. The theory asserts that people give particular meanings to objects, events, and actions, and hence behave according to these interpretations (Griffin, Ledbetter & Sparks, 2015, p. 54). Individuals use the different interpretations they accord to others to form social bonds. They decide on who to interact with and who not and how to do so. The Symbolic Interaction theory proposes the concept of “the looking glass self” where people mind what others think of them. Individuals create their self-concept and self-identity from interacting with others. Regarding interpersonal relationships, the symbolic interaction theory argues that people decide on whom to…show more content…
113). Its proposers, Altman and Taylor assert that self-disclosure is a part of this theory as individuals get to know each other and open up to one another. People share private and personal information and penetrate into each other lives. Through self-disclosure, a close and profound relationship is attained, and partners expose their vulnerability to each other. Self-disclosure builds trust and commitment in intimate relationships. Personally, I am a very secretive person. I take time to disclose personal information and feelings to other people. Also, I take time to learn someone before I can share any personal data with them. However, I have a small cycle of friends and we have developed very intimate and open relationship. My best friend and I, for example, are very close and have learned the importance of self-disclosure. We do not keep secrets and share every detail in our lives. This has led to a very close, open, and strong relationship that has been able to overcome many storms in the
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