"you" statements

Moralistic judgments where we imply the wrongness or badness of another person and the way they have behaved.


Refers to words that relate to ideas or concepts that exist only in your mind and do not represent a tangible object.

abstraction ladder

A diagram that explains the process of abstraction.


Nonverbal communication that emphasizes a portion of a message or word rather than the message as a whole.

accidental communicatioin

When an individual sends messages to another person without realizing those messages are being sent.

acting with awareness

Purposefully focusing one’s attention on the activity or interaction in which one is engaged.

action model

Communication model that views communication as a one-directional transmission of information from a source or sender to some destination or receiver.

active friendships

Type of stabilized friendship where there is a negotiated sense of mutual accessibility and availability for both parties in the friendship.


“Any experience of feeling or emotion, ranging from suffering to elation, from the simplest to the most complex sensations of feeling, and from the most normal to the most pathological emotional reactions. Often described in terms of positive affect or negative affect, both mood and emotion are considered affective states.”

affect displays

Kinesics that show feelings and emotions.

affectionless psychopathy

The inability to show affection or care about others.

affective orientation

An individual’s recognition of their own emotions and the emotions of others and reliance on these emotions during decision making processes.


A connection or association with others.


Selfless love in which the needs of others are the priority.

agentic friendships

Friendships marked by activity.


A general deficit in emotional vocabulary—the ability to identify emotional feelings, differentiate emotional states from physical sensations, communicate feelings to others, and process emotion in a meaningful way.

ambiguous language

Language that has multiple meanings.


This is helpful in gaining different alternatives and perspectives by offering an interpretation of the speaker’s message.


A person having both feminine and masculine characteristics.

anonymous CMC identity

People in CMC interactions can communicate in a manner where their actual identity is simply not known.

anxious shyness

The fear associated with dealing with others face-to-face.

appreciative listening

The type of listening you engage in for pleasure or enjoyment.

appropriate communication

Communication tactics that most people would consider acceptable communicative behaviors.


A verbal exchange between two or more people who have differing opinions on a given subject or subjects.


Communication trait that predisposes the individual in communication situations to advocate positions on controversial issues, and to attack verbally the positions which other people take on these issues.


The U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, which was the precursor to what is now known as the Internet.


Items we adorn our bodies or which we carry with us.


The degree to which an individual can initiate, maintain, and terminate conversations, according to their interpersonal goals during interpersonal interactions.

asynchronous communication

A mediated form of communication in which the sender and receiver are not concurrently engaged in communication.


The act of focusing on specific objects or stimuli in the world around you


Factor of mindful practice that involves being aware of what’s happening internally and externally moment-to-moment.


Factor of mindful practice that involves being curious, open, and nonjudgmental.


Interest in another person and a desire to get to know them better.

attribution error

The tendency to explain another individual’s behavior in relation to the individual’s internal tendencies rather than an external factor.


A form of social organization where individuals favor absolute obedience to an authority (or authorities) as opposed to individual freedom.


An individual’s independence in their behaviors and thoughts within a marriage relationship.


Conflict management style where an individual attempt to either prevent a conflict from occurring or leaves a conflict when initiated.


The stage of coming apart where you are creating distance from your partner.

Behavioral CQ

The degree to which an individual behaves in a manner that is consistent with what they know about other cultures.


Assumptions and convictions held by an individual, group, or culture about the truth or existence of something.


An attitude that is not objective or balanced, prejudiced, or the use of words that intentionally or unintentionally offend people or express an unfair attitude concerning a person’s race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, disability, or illness.

biased language

Language that shows preference in favor of or against a certain point-of-view, shows prejudice, or is demeaning to others.


The stage of coming together where you make a public announcement that your relationship exists.


Form of aggressive behavior in which a person of greater power attempts to inflict harm or discomfort on individuals and the behavior is repeated over time.

buzz word

Informal word or jargon used among a particular group of people.

career strategizing

The process of creating a plan of action for one’s career path and trajectory.


Deceptive activity perpetrated by Internet predators where they fabricate online identities on social networking sites to lure unsuspecting victims into an emotional/romantic relationship.


The pathways in which messages are conveyed.


The use of time to communicate.


The stage of coming apart where communication decreases. There are more arguments, working late, and there is less intimacy.


Expression that has been so overused that it has lost its original meaning.


Regional, economic, social, religious, ethnic, or other cultural groups that exerts influence in society.

co-present interactions

When people are physically occupying the same space while interacting with one another.

coercive power

The ability to punish an individual who does not comply with one’s influencing attempts.

cognitive complexity

The psychological characteristic that indicates the difficulty or simplicity associated with mental demand.

Cognitive CQ

The degree to which an individual has cultural knowledge.

cognitive dispositions

General patterns of mental processes that impact how people respond and react to the world around them.

collective self-esteem

The aspect of an individual’s self-worth or self-image that stems from their interaction with others and evaluation of their various social groups.


Characteristics of a culture that values cooperation and harmony and considers the needs of the group to be more important than the needs of the individual.

collegial peers

Type of coworker with whom we have moderate levels of trust, self-disclosure, and openness.


Informal expression used in casual conversation that is often specific to certain dialects or geographic regions of a country.

commemorative friendships

Type of stabilized friendship that reflects a specific space and time in our lives, but current interaction is minimal and primarily reflects a time when the two friends were highly involved in each other’s lives.

communal friendships

Friendships marked by intimacy, personal/emotional expressiveness, amount of self-disclosure, quality of self-disclosure, confiding, and emotional supportiveness.


The process by which we share ideas or information with other people.

communication apprehension

The fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated communication with another person or persons.

communication competence

Communication that is both socially appropriate and personally effective.

communication dispositions

General patterns of communicative behavior.

communication motives

Reasons why we communicate with others.

communication needs

Shows us how communication fulfills our needs.

comparison level

Minimum standard of what is acceptable.

comparison level of alternatives

Comparison of what is happening in the relationship and what could be gained in another relationship.


The sympathetic consciousness for someone who is suffering or unfortunate


Able to exist together harmoniously.


Nonverbal communication that reinforces verbal communication.


When one person can fulfill the other person’s needs.


When an individual accepts an influencer’s influence and alters their thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors.

comprehension listening

Listening for facts, information, or ideas that may be of use to you.


Family communication pattern where freedom of expression is encouraged, and communication is frequent and family life is pleasurable.


An interactive process occurring when conscious beings (individuals or groups) have opposing or incompatible actions, beliefs, goals, ideas, motives, needs, objectives, obligations, resources, and/or values.

confrontational behaviors

Specific behaviors associated with confrontation or direct behaviors, involves name-calling, cruel teasing, ridicule, and verbal rejection directed at the target.


What a word suggests or implies; connotations give words their emotional impact.

connotative definitions

The emotions or associations a person makes when exposed to a symbol.

contact frequency

This is how often you communicate with another person.

content level

Information that is communicated through the denotative and literal meanings of words.

contextual dialectics

Friendship dialectics that stem out of the cultural order where the friendship exists.


Nonverbal communication conveying the opposite meaning of verbal communication.


Adapting your communication style to the speaker to be similar.


Interpersonal interactions through which you share facts and information as well as your ideas, thoughts, and feelings with other people.

cost escalations

A form of relational disengagement involving tactics designed to make the cost of maintaining the relationship higher than getting out of the relationship.

critical listening

To analyze what the person is saying based on known facts and evidence.

cross-group friendship

Friendship that exists between two individuals who belong to two or more different cultural groups (e.g., ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, nationality, etc.).

cultural intelligence

The degree to which an individual can communicate competently in varying cultural situations.


A group of people who, through a process of learning, can share perceptions of the world, which influence their beliefs, values, norms, and rules, which eventually affect behavior.

culture as normative

The basic idea that one’s culture provides the rules, regulations, and norms that govern a culture and how people act with other members of that society.


Intentional harm inflicted through the medium of electronics that is repeated over time.


The dictionary definition or descriptive meaning of a word.

denotative definitions

Definitions for words commonly found in dictionaries.


A form of relational disengagement where an individual stops all the interaction that is not task-focused or simply avoids the person.


A psychological disorder characterized by varying degrees of disappointment, guilt, hopelessness, loneliness, sadness, self-doubt, all of which negatively impact a person’s general mental and physical wellbeing.


Being detailed focused on what is occurring while putting it into words.

deviant workplace behavior

The voluntary behavior of organizational members that violates significant organizational norms and practices or threatens the wellbeing of the organization and its members.

dialectical tension

How individuals deal with struggles in their relationship.


The stage of coming apart where both people are trying to figure out their own identities.

directive support

The factor of Hersey and Blanchard’s situational-leadership model that involves a leader overseeing the day-to-day tasks that a follower accomplishes.


The least secretive of the strategies and involves asking the relational partner about his/her feelings toward the relationship and commitment to the relationship. Alternatively, an individual might disclose their feelings about the relationship with the hope that the relationship partner will reciprocate.


A difference of opinion between two or more people or groups of people.


Spoken or written discussion of a subject.

dismissing attachment

Attachment style posed by Kim Bartholomew and Leonard Horowitz describing individuals who see themselves as worthy of love, but generally believe that others will be deceptive and reject them in interpersonal relationships.

distributive conflict

A win-lose approach, whereby conflicting parties see their job as to win and make sure the other person or group loses.


Adapting your communication style to the speaker to be drastically different.


The inclination to believe one’s point-of-view as undeniably true based on insufficient premises and without consideration of evidence and the opinions of others.

dominant culture

The established language, religion, behavior, values, rituals, and social customs of a society.

dormant friendships

Type of stabilized friendship that “share either a valued history or a sufficient amount of sustained contact to anticipate or remain eligible for a resumption of the friendship at any time.”

Dunning-Kruger effect

The tendency of some people to inflate their expertise when they really have nothing to back up that perception.


The length of time of your relationship.


Speech problems that keep your speech from being as smooth and flowing as it could be.

ease of opportunity

When romantic workplace relationships happen because work fosters an environment where people are close to one another.

effective communication

Communication that helps an individual achieve a desired personal outcome.


Kinesics that are clear and unambiguous and have a verbal equivalent in a given culture.


A series of characters and/or letters designed to help readers interpret a writer’s intended feelings and/or tone.

emotional awareness

An individual’s ability to clearly express, in words, what they are feeling and why.

emotional blackmail

Trying to influence someone’s behavior or persuade them to do something by making them feel guilty or exploiting their emotions.

emotional intelligence

An individual’s appraisal and expression of their emotions and the emotions of others in a manner that enhances thought, living, and communicative interactions.

emotional loneliness

Form of loneliness that occurs when an individual feels that he or she does not have an emotional connection with others.

emotional vampires

A colloquial term used to describe individuals with whom we interact that use more of our emotional resources when interacting with people, which often causes an increase in our levels of stress.


The physical reactions to stimuli in the outside environment.

empathic listening

Attempting to put yourself in another person’s shoes or to provide a supportive listening environment.


This is used to show that you identify with the speaker’s information.


The ability to recognize and mutually experience another person’s attitudes, emotions, experiences, and thoughts.

endurance test

Form of secret testing in which the partner is tested by engaging in actions that the partner might perceive to be a cost in the relationship.


The context or situation in which communication occurs.


Romantic love involving serial monogamous relationships.


The judgmental attachment to whether something is good, right, or just.


The degree to which an individual views the world from their own culture’s perspective while evaluating different cultures according to their own culture’s preconceptions often accompanied by feelings of dislike, mistrust, or hate for cultures deemed inferior.


Replacing blunt words with more polite words.

evaluative listening

Listening for a speaker’s main points and determining the strengths and weaknesses to formulate a rebuttal or present important points that may not have been covered.


Any time an individual attempts to shift the blame for an individual’s behavior from reasons more central to the individual to sources outside of their control in the attempt to make themselves look better and more in control.


The stage of coming together “Small talk” occurs at this stage and you are searching for commonalities.

expert power

The ability of an individual to influence another because of their level of perceived knowledge or skill.


Roles that are relationship-oriented.

expressive communication

Messages that are sent either verbally or nonverbally related to an individual’s emotions and feelings.

external locus of control

The belief that an individual’s behavior and circumstances exist because of forces outside the individual’s control.


An individual’s likelihood to be talkative, dynamic, and outgoing.

eye gaze

The act of fixing your eyes on someone.


The standing or position a person has in the eyes of others.


Two or more people tied by marriage, blood, adoption, or choice; living together or apart by choice or circumstance; having interaction within family roles; creating and maintaining a common culture; being characterized by economic cooperation; deciding to have or not to have children, either own or adopted; having boundaries; and claiming mutual affection.

fearful attachment

Attachment style posed by Kim Bartholomew and Leonard Horowitz describing individuals who see themselves as unworthy of love and generally believe that others will react negatively through either deception or rejection.


Information shared back to the source of communication that keeps the communication moving crward and thus making communication a process.


The responses to thoughts and interpretations given to emotions based on experiences, memory, expectations, and personality.


Cultures focused on having a good working relationship with one’s manager and coworkers, cooperating with people at work, and security (both job and familial).


The act or condition under which an individual helps or supports a leader in the accomplishment of organizational goals.

formal language

Specific writing and spoken style that adheres to strict conventions of grammar that uses complex sentences, full words, and third-person pronouns.


The psychological characteristics that determine if a person is feminine or masculine.


A pictorial representation of a family across generations that can be used to track generations of family interactions, medical issues, psychological issues, relationship patterns, and any other variable a researcher or clinician may be interested in studying.


Expectations about how the relationship will function.


Three or more people interacting together to achieve a common goal.


The study of touch as a form of communication.


A passive activity where an individual perceives sound by detecting vibrations through an ear.


To use words or phrases that weaken the certainty of a statement.

heuristic function

The use of language to explore and investigate the world, solve problems, and learn from your discoveries and experiences.

high-context cultures

Cultures that interpret meaning by relying more on nonverbal context or behavior than on verbal symbols in communication.


CMC interactions that exceed those possible of traditional FtF interactions.


The version of yourself that you would like to be, which is created through our life experiences, cultural demands, and expectations of others.


When an individual accepts influence because they want to have a satisfying relationship with the influencer or influencing group.

ideology of traditionalism

Marriages that are marked by a more historically traditional, conservative perspective of marriage.


Expression or figure of speech whose meaning cannot be understood by looking at the individual words and interpreting them literally.


Kinesics that emphasize or explain a word.

imaginative function

The use of language to play with ideas that do not exist in the real-world.


physical and psychological closeness

importance to identity

The degree to which group membership is important to an individual.

impression formation

How we present ourselves to others through our online persona.

impression management

"The attempt to generate as favorable an impression of ourselves as possible, particularly through both verbal and nonverbal techniques of self-presentation."


Marital definition where couples have a high level of interdependence, an unconventional ideology, and high levels of conflict engagement.

indigenous peoples

Populations that originated in a particular place rather than moved there.

indirect suggestions

Joking or hinting about more serious stages of a relationships such as marriage or having children.


Characteristics of a culture that values being self-reliant and self-motivated, believes in personal freedom and privacy, and celebrates personal achievement.


Aspect of Murray Bowen’s family system theory that emphasizes that there is a universal, biological life force that propels organisms toward separateness, uniqueness, and distinctiveness.


Cultural orientation marked by immediate gratification for individual desires.


Changes in vocal pitch.


When an individual or group of people alters another person’s thinking, feelings, and/or behaviors through accidental, expressive, or rhetorical communication.

informal language

Specific writing and spoken style that is more colloquial or common in tone; contains simple, direct sentences; uses contractions and abbreviations; and allows for a more personal approach that includes emotional displays.

information peers

Type of coworker who we rely on for information about job tasks and the organization itself.

informational power

A social agent’s ability to bring about a change in thought, feeling, and/or behavior through information.


The stage of coming together where a person is interested in making contact and it is brief.


Roles that are focused on being task-oriented.

instrumental function

The use of language as a means for meeting your needs, manipulating and controlling your environment, and expressing your feelings.


This is the stage of coming together where you take on an identity as a social unit or give up characteristics of your old self.

integrative conflict

A win-win approach to conflict, whereby both parties attempt to come to a settled agreement that is mutually beneficial.


The stage of coming together where two people truly become a couple.


The volume of your speech; how loudly or softly you express yourself.


Factor of mindful practice that involves being aware of why you are doing something.

interaction model

Communication model that views the sender and the receiver as responsible for the effectiveness of the communication.

interaction variability

The ability to talk about various topics.

interactional dialectics

Friendship dialectics that help us understand how communicative behavior happens within friendships

interactional function

The use of language to help you form and maintain relationships.


When individuals involved in a relationship characterize it as continuous and important.


A relationship in which people need each other or depend on each other in some way, and the actions of one person affect the other.

internal locus of control

The belief that an individual can control their behavior and life circumstances.


When an individual adopts influence and alters their thinking, feeling, and/or behaviors because doing so is intrinsically rewarding.

internet characteristics

Internet characteristic that influence Internet relationships such as speed, reach, interactivity, and anonymity.

internet infidelity

Sexual energy of any sort—thoughts, feelings, and behaviors—outside of a committed sexual relationship in such a way that it damages the relationship, and pretending that this drain in energy will affect neither one’s partner nor the relationship as long as it remains undiscovered.

interpersonal communication

The exchange of messages between two people.


Interpretation is the act of assigning meaning to a stimulus and then determining the worth of the object (evaluation).


Close and deeply personal contact with another person.

intimate partner violence

Includes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression.


Something that exists or occurs within an individual’s self or mind.

intrapersonal communication

Communication phenomena that exist within or occurs because of an individual’s self or mind.


An individual’s likelihood to be quiet, shy, and more reserved


The specialized or technical language particular to a specific profession, occupation, or group that is either meaningless or difficult for outsiders to understand.

Johari Window

A model that illustrates self-disclosure and the process by which you interact with other people.


The study of visible means of communicating using body language such as eye behavior, facial expression, body posture and movement, and hand gestures.


A system of human communication using a particular form of spoken or written words or other symbols.

language adaptation

The ability to alter one’s linguistic choices in a communicatively competent manner

language awareness

a person’s ability to be mindful and sensitive to all functions and forms of language.

launching stage

Period in a family life cycle when late adolescents leave the parental home and venture out into the world as young singles themselves.

leader-member exchange

Theory of leadership that explores how leaders enter into two-way relationships with followers through a series of exchange agreements enabling followers to grow or be held back.

legitimate power

Influence that occurs because a person (P) believes that the social agent (A) has a valid right (generally based on cultural or hierarchical standing) to influence P, and P has an obligation to accept A’s attempt to influence P’s thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors.

linguistic determinism

The perspective that language influences thoughts.

linguistic relativity

The view that language contains special characteristics.


A complex psychological process that can be defined as the process of physically hearing, interpreting that sound, and understanding the significance of it.

locus of control

An individual’s perceived control over their behavior and life circumstances.


An individual’s emotional distress that results from a feeling of solitude or isolation from social relationships.

long-term orientation

Cultural orientation where individuals focus on the future and not the present or past.


Love is a multidimensional concept that can include several different orientations toward the loved person such as romantic love (attraction based on physical beauty or handsomeness), best friend love, passionate love, unrequited love (love that is not returned), and companionate love (affectionate love and tenderness between people).

love style

Love style is considered an attitude that influences an individual’s perception of love.

low-context cultures

Cultures that interpret meaning by placing a great deal of emphasis on the words someone uses.


Love in which games are played. Lying and deceit are acceptable.


Personality trait posed by Richard Christie where cunningness and deceit are exalted as a means of attaining and maintaining power to accomplish specific, self-centered goals.


Obsessive love that requires constant reassurance.


Cultures focused on items like earnings, recognition, advancement, and challenge.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Theory of motivation proposed by Abraham Maslow comprising a five-tier, hierarchical pyramid of needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization.

Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis

Hypothesis posed by John Bowlby that predicts that infants who are denied maternal attachment will experience problematic outcomes later in life.

mediated communication

The use of some form of technology to facilitate information between two or more people.

membership esteem

The degree to which an individual sees themself as a “good” member of a group.

message/bulletin boards

Online discussion sites where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.

metacognitive CQ

The degree to which an individual is consciously aware of their intercultural interactions in a manner that helps them have more effective interpersonal experiences with people from differing cultures.


The meaning beyond the words themselves.


Cultural patterns of behavior influenced by cultural beliefs, values, norms, and rules based on a specific locality or within an organization.

mindful awareness

To be consciously aware of your physical presence, cognitive processes, and emotional state while engaged in an activity.

mindful communication

The process of interacting with others while engaging in mindful awareness and practice

mindful practice

The conscious development of skills such as greater ability to direct and sustain our attention, less reactivity, greater discernment and compassion, and enhanced capacity to disidentify from one’s concept of self.


A simplified representation of a system (often graphic) that highlights the important components and connections of concepts, which are used to help people understand an aspect of the real-world.

motivational CQ

The degree to which an individual desires to engage in intercultural interactions and can easily adapt to differing cultural environments.


A psychological condition (or personality disorder) in which a person has a preoccupation with one’s self.


The set of professional and social rules and norms that are considered acceptable and polite when interacting with another person(s) through mediated technologies.


Anything that can interfere with the message being sent or received.

nonconfrontational behaviors

Behaviors include spreading rumors, gossiping, and social manipulation.

nonjudging of inner experience

Being consciously aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and attitudes without judging them.

nonreactivity to inner experience

Taking a step back and evaluating things from a more logical, dispassionate perspective.

nonverbal vocalization

A type of paralanguage that consists of sounds, noises, and behaviors that are often accompanied by body language.


Informal guidelines about what is acceptable or proper social behavior within a specific culture.


Being aware of what is going on inside yourself and in the external environment.


Communication involving eye behavior such as eye contact, gaze, and avoidance.


The use of scent to communicate.


Organizing is making sense of the stimuli or assigning meaning to it.


Excluded or removed from a group by others in that group.


Voice characteristics and nonverbal vocalizations that communicate feelings, intentions, and meanings.


To restate what another person said using different words.


The process of acquiring, interpreting, and organizing information that comes in through your five senses.

personal function

The use of language to help you form your identity or sense of self.

personal responsibility

An individual’s willingness to be accountable for how they feel, think, and behave.


The combination of traits or qualities such as behavior, emotional stability, and mental attributes that make a person unique.

physical attraction

The degree to which one person finds another person aesthetically pleasing.

physical bullying

Involves hitting, kicking, pulling hair, strapping a female’s bra strap or giving a “wedgie.”


The placement of your voice on the musical scale; the basis on which singing voices are classified as soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, or bass voices.


A close relationship that is not physical.

postmodern friendship

Friendship where the “participants co-construct the individual and dyadic realities within specific friendships. This co-construction involves negotiating and affirming (or not) identities and intersubjectively creating relational and personal realities through communication.”


The degree that a social agent (A) has the ability to get another person(s) (P) to alter their thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors.

power distance

The degree to which those people and organizations with less power within a culture accept and expect that power is unequally distributed within their culture.


Love involving logic and reason.

preoccupied attachment

Attachment style posed by Kim Bartholomew and Leonard Horowitz describing individuals who do not perceive themselves as worthy of love, but do generally see people as trustworthy and available for interpersonal relationships.

presenting the relationship to outsiders

Form of secret testing in which the partner publicly declares their relationship status to gauge a partner’s response.

private collective esteem

The degree to which an individual positively evaluates their group.

procedural disagreements

Disagreements concerned with procedure, how a decision should be reached or how a policy should be implemented.


An occupation that involves mastery of complex knowledge and skills through prolonged training, education, or practical experience.


The aims and behaviors that demonstrate an individual’s level of competence expected by a professional within a given profession.


The use of space to communicate.

pseudonymity CMC identity

Identity that someone takes on that is beyond themself in the creation of CMC messages.

public collective self-esteem

The degree to which nonmembers of a group evaluate a group and its members either positively or negatively.

public communication

Form of communication where an individual or group of individuals sends a specific message to an audience.


Bias against others on the basis of their race or ethnicity.

racist language

Language that demeans or insults people based on their race or ethnicity.

real-life CMC identity

When our CMC identity and our FtF identities are congruent.

reasons for relational aggression

Women’s explanations for relational aggression: (a) girls will be girls; (b) venting; (c) blaming the victim; (d) minimizing their role; and (e) regret


The receiver decodes the message in an environment that includes noise.

referent power

A social agent’s (A) ability to influence another person (P) because P wants to be associated with A.


Nonverbal communication which controls the flow of conversation.


Kinesics that help coordinate the flow of conversation.

regulatory function

The use of language to control behavior.

rejection sensitivity

The degree to which an individual expects to be rejected, readily perceives rejection when occurring, and experiences an intensely negative reaction to that rejection.

relational aggression

Behaviors that harm others. Harm is created through damaging social relationship or feelings of acceptance.

relational bullying

The manipulation of social relationships to inflict hurt upon another individual.

relational dispositions

General patterns of mental processes that impact how people view and organize themselves in relationships.

relational maintenance

Degree of difficulty individuals experience in interpersonal relationships due to misunderstandings, incompatibility of goals, and the time and effort necessary to cope with disagreements.


A connection, association, or attachment that people have with each other.

relationship dialectic

Tensions in a relationship where individuals need to deal with integration vs. separation, expression vs. privacy, and stability vs. change.

relationship level

The type of relationship between people as evidenced through their communication.

relationship maintenance

Strategies to help your relationship be successful and satisfying.

relative language

Language that gains understanding by comparison.


Nonverbal communication that repeats verbal communication, but could stand alone.

representational function

The use of language to represent objects and ideas and to express your thoughts.


The degree to which an individual considers other’s feelings, listens to what others have to say, and recognizes the needs of others during interpersonal interactions.


Cultural orientation marked by the belief that gratification should not be instantaneous and should be regulated by cultural rules and norms.

reward power

The ability to offer an individual rewards for complying with one’s influencing attempts.

rhetorical communication

Purposefully creating and sending messages to another person in the hopes of altering another person’s thinking, feelings, and/or behaviors.


Variation in the flow of your voice created by differences in the pitch, intensity, tempo, and length of word syllables.


The potential information carrying capacity of data.

right-wing authoritarians

Individuals who believe in submitting themselves to established, legitimate authorities; strict adherence to social and cultural norms; and the need to punish those who do not submit to authorities or who violate social and cultural norms.

romantic relationships

Romantic relationships involve a bond of affection with a specific partner that researchers believe involves several psychological features: a desire for emotional closeness and union with the partner, caregiving, emotional dependency on the relationship and the partner, a separation anxiety when the other person is not there, and a willingness to sacrifice for the other love.

romantic workplace relationship

When two employees have acknowledged their mutual attraction to one another and have physically acted upon their romantic feelings in the form of a dating or otherwise intimate association.


Explicit guidelines (generally written down) that govern acceptable or proper social behavior within a specific culture.

Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

A theory that suggests that language impacts perceptions. Language is ascertained by the perceived reality of a culture.

secret tests

Indirect strategies individuals use to assess the state of their relationship.

secure attachment

Attachment style posed by Kim Bartholomew and Leonard Horowitz describing individuals who believe that they are loveable and expect that others will generally behave in accepting and responsive ways within interpersonal interactions.


Being touched by the suffering of others, opening one’s awareness to others’ pain and not avoiding or disconnecting from it, so that feelings of kindness toward others and the desire to alleviate their suffering emerge.


Being touched by and open to one’s own suffering, not avoiding or disconnecting from it, generating the desire to alleviate one’s suffering and to heal oneself with kindness. Self-compassion also involves offering nonjudgmental understanding to one’s pain, inadequacies and failures, so that one’s experience is seen as part of the larger human experience.


An individual’s relatively stable mental picture of him or herself.

self-conscious shyness

Feeling conspicuous or socially exposed when dealing with others face-to-face.


The process of sharing information with another person.


An individual’s subjective evaluation of their abilities and limitations.


The view an individual has of themself.


The theory that individuals differ in the degree to which they can control their behaviors in accordance with the appropriate social rules and norms involved in interpersonal interaction.


The degree to which you see yourself as a good person who deserves to be valued and respected.


Marital definition where couples have low interdependence, conventional ideology, and low levels of conflict engagement.

separation test

Creating physical distance to test the strength of the relationship.


The biological characteristics that determine a person as male or female.


Bias of others based on their biological sex.

sexist language

Language that excludes individuals on the basis of gender or shows a bias toward or against people due to their gender.


The process of revealing and disclosing information about yourself with another.

short messaging service (SMS)

Communication technology allowing for the exchange of short alphanumeric messages between digital and mobile devices found in phones, the Web, or in mobile communication systems (commonly referred to as “text messaging”).

short-term orientation

Cultural orientation where individuals focus on the past or present and not in the future.


Discomfort when an individual is interacting with another person(s) in a social situation.

sibling hostility

Characteristic of sibiling relationships where sibling behaviors as causing trouble, getting into fights, teasing/name-calling, taking things without permission, etc.

sibling warmth

Characteristic of sibiling relationships where sibling behaviors such as sharing secrets, helping each other, teaching each other, showing physical affection, sharing possessions, etc.

silent listening

This occurs when you say nothing and is appropriate for certain situations.


When romantic workplace relationships occur because people find coworkers have similar personalities, interests, backgrounds, desires, needs, goals, etc.…


The nonstandard language of a particular culture or subculture.

social attraction

The degree to which an individual sees another person as entertaining, intriguing, and fun to be around.

social loneliness

Form of loneliness that occurs from a lack of a satisfying social network.

social penetration theory

Theory originally created by Altman and Taylor to explain how individuals gradually become more intimate as individuals self-disclose more and those self-disclosures become more intimate (deep).

social presence

The degree to which we, as individuals, perceive another as a real person and any interaction between the two of us as a relationship.

social support

The perception and actuality that an individual receives assistance, care, and help from those people within their life.

social-personal dispositions

General patterns of mental processes that impact how people socially relate to others or view themselves.


Family communication pattern where similarity is valued over individuality and self-expression, and harmony is preferred over expression of opinion.

sociocommunicative orientation

The degree to which an individual communicates using responsive or assertive communication techniques.


The person initiating communication and encoding the message and selecting the channel.

special peer

Type of coworker relationship marked by high levels of trust and self-disclosure; like a “best friend” in the workplace.


The manipulation of language to achieve the most positive interpretation of words, to gain political advantage, or to deceive others.


The stage of coming apart where you are behaving in old familiar ways without much feeling. In other words, there is lost enthusiasm for old familiar things.

state-of-the-relationship talk

A form of relational disengagement where an individual explains to a coworker that a workplace friendship is ending.

static evaluation

Language shows that people and things change.


A set of beliefs about the personal attributes of a social group.


Love that develops slowly out of friendship.

substantive disagreement

A disagreement that people have about a specific topic or issue.


Nonverbal communication that has a direct verbal translation.


The ability to provide assistance, aid, or comfort to another.

supportive leadership behavior

The factor of Hersey and Blanchard’s situational-leadership model that occurs when a leader is focused on providing relational support for their followers


A mark, object, or sign that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention

symmetrical relationship

A relationship between people who see themselves as equals.


A mediated form of communication in which the sender and receiver are concurrently engaged in communication.


Sets of elements standing in interrelation.

task attraction

The degree to which an individual is attracted to another person because they possess specific knowledge and/or skills that help that individual accomplish specific goals.


The genetic predisposition that causes an individual to behave, react, and think in a specific manner.


The rate of your speech; how slowly or quickly you talk.

temporal regularity

The degree to which a couple sticks to a consistent schedule in their day-to-day lives.


This is a summary of where the relationship has gone wrong and a desire to quit. It usually depends on: problems (sudden/gradual); negotiations to end (short/long); the outcome (end/continue in another form).

the hookup

When romantic workplace relationships occur because individuals want to engage in casual sex without any romantic entanglements.


When a couple negotiates their cultural background with the cultural background of their partner essentially creating a third-culture or hybrid culture between the two.

third-party testing

Involving a third party such as friend or family to gain insight into the relationship.


(pronounced “TAM-ber”) The overall quality and tone, which is often called the “color” of your voice; the primary vocal quality that makes your voice either pleasant or disturbing to listen to.


When romantic workplace relationships occur because people put in a great deal of time at work, so they are around and interact with potential romantic partners a great deal of the average workday.


Aspect of Murray Bowen’s family system theory that emphasizes the complementary, universal, biological life force that propels organisms toward relationship, attachment, and connectedness.

tolerance for disagreement

The degree to which an individual can openly discuss differing opinions without feeling personally attacked or confronted.


Marital definition where couples are highly interdependent, conventional ideology, and high levels of conflict engagement

transactional model

Communication model that demonstrate that individuals are often acting as both the sender and receiver simultaneously.

triangle test

Manipulating a third party to gain information about the nature of the relationship.

types of workplace bullying

Workplace bullying involves isolation and exclusion, intimidation and threats, verbal threats, damaging professional identity, limiting career opportunities, obstructing work or making work-life difficult, and denial of due process and natural justice.

uncertainty avoidance

The extent to which cultures as a whole are fearful of ambiguous and unknown situations.

uncertainty reduction theory

The tendency of human beings to eliminate unknown elements of individuals whom they have just met. Individuals wish to predict what another person thinks and how another person behaves. Strategies for reducing uncertainty include passive, active, and interactive.


A person who does not possess either masculine or feminine characteristics.

undifferentiated space

The degree to which spouses do not see her/his/their ownership of personal belongings as much as they do ownership as a couple.

uses and gratifications theory

Theoretical explaination for why people use the types of mass media they do.


Important and lasting principles or standards held by a culture about desirable and appropriate courses of action or outcomes.

verbal aggression

The tendency to attack the self-concept of individuals instead of, or in addition to, their positions on topics of communication.

verbal bullying

Includes threats, degrading comments, teasing, name-calling, putdown or sarcastic comments

verbal surrogates

The sounds humans make as they attempt to fill dead air while they are thinking of what to say next (e.g., uhh, umm).


The degree to which an individual can utilize both responsiveness and assertiveness that is appropriate and effective during various communication contexts and interpersonal interactions.


All the words understood by a person or group of people.


Vocal utterances, other than words, that serve as a form of communication.

willingness to communicate

An individual’s tendency to initiate communicative interactions with other people.

workplace bullying behaviors

Workplace bullying involves isolation and exclusion, intimidation and threats, verbal threats, damaging professional identity, limiting career opportunities, obstructing work or making work-life difficult, and denial of due process and natural justice.

workplace socialization

The process by which new organizational members learn the rules (e.g., explicit policies, explicit procedures, etc.), norms (e.g., when you go on break, how to act at work, who to eat with, who not to eat with), and culture (e.g., innovation, risk-taking, team orientation, competitiveness) of an organization.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Interpersonal Communication Copyright © by Jason S. Wrench; Narissra M. Punyanunt-Carter; and Katherine S. Thweatt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book