For this assignment, I decided to interview my best friend Cindy. We met while working together and have been best friends for about 8 years. She is the person I can confide in, trust, and have open honest conversation with. Many people find it hard to believe, but we have not had a fight, that either of us can recall. I believe this is because we have always had a high level of respect for each other and we respect the other’s opinion. We may not always agree on something, but we respect the each other’s choices. I will cover our communication style and how the way we interact with each other strengthens our friendship.
Self-disclosure is an important part of any close relationship. Without sharing our own fears and weaknesses, we can come off as cold and unapproachable. Finding common themes, in strength and in weakness, creates a bond and understanding between two people. Cindy and I have always been very good at self-disclosure. When talking one-on-one, we take time to listen to each other, showing positive reciprocity. The more we got to know each other, the more comfortable we felt divulging information. This is because we came to count on a supportive environment, where our thoughts and feelings are respected.
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Being able to talk through situations and be supportive gives us self-clarification and self-validation. Often this happens when one of us is feeling unsure about something, and the other is able to provide a soundboard and support, where others might try to force their opinion. Our talks do not always have to do with the present. We often talk about things in our life that have shaped who we are. Often these things still weigh on our mind, and can be a source of doubt. By talking about them, we give these things less power over us.
It serves as a catharsis, and allows us to see that we are not the only one who deals with issues from the past. Even though Cindy comes from a close-knit family, she understands and empathizes with me when I talk about problems in my own family. This ability to share our thoughts and doubts makes us closer and enhances our friendship. Even with an open dialogue, we still have boundaries. It seems like we are both mindful in what we say, and how it will affect the other. By gauging an appropriate amount of disclosure, we are able to stay open without crossing a line.
Generally, there isn’t much that I feel I could not share with Cindy, and she feels the same way towards me. Creating an atmosphere that is open and supportive makes it easy to be open and honest. Cindy and I have done a good job in creating an environment that is “low-risk”. Because we have supported each other before in the past, and not been judgmental, there is no fear of rejection, negative impressions, decrease in relational satisfaction, loss of influence, or hurting the other person. This kind of atmosphere also makes it easier to reject alternatives that could harm our friendship.
We do not feel the need for silence, lying, equivocating, hinting, or evasion. When you feel comfortable confiding in someone, these problems don’t really pose an issue. Being able to convey your feelings when you do not disagree with someone makes it possible to work through disagreements. By using Assertiveness Techniques, we can work through a problem without placing blame or shutting down emotionally. The progression of Assertiveness Techniques goes as follows: Behavior- Give an objective description of the offending behavior without interpretation.
Interpretation- Describing the meaning you have attached to that behavior. Feeling- Expressing feelings connected to the behavior and your interpretation of it. Consequence- Explain the result of the situation. Intention- Describe where you stand on the issue and what you request of others, and give a description of how you plan to act in the future. These steps can often diffuse a tense situation. Often, someone might not realize how his or her behavior bothers you until you explain how you interpret it. I have always been bad about remembering to call people on a regular basis and return phone calls promptly.
I knew this bothered Cindy, but I didn’t really understand that it was more than just a simple annoyance. She explained to me that she interpreted me not calling as a indication that I did not care or feel that she was important, and that this made her feel like we were not as close as she thought. She said she would like to talk to me at least once or twice a week, and that would make her more confident in our friendship. When I realized that my behavior was more than annoying, and actually hurtful, it made it easier for me to put a priority on staying in contact.
In contrast, if she had not told me how she felt, my behavior would have likely continued and our friendship would have suffered. In closing, I would like to address something that I believe negatively affects a lot of friendships, specifically between women. There seems to be an atmosphere of cattiness, competition, and backstabbing that is prevalent in female friendships. This kind of behavior is portrayed heavily in the media and seen as normal behavior. Even though we have experienced this in other friendships, Cindy and I have always avoided these pitfalls with each other.
It is not in either of our nature, and it is something we do not want to perpetrate. Although this behavior is competitive, ultimately no one wins. It is much more productive to be a good friend and surround yourself with people who want the same. In doing this, Cindy and I have an extremely close friendship and true support from one another. Dyadic Encounter: Developing an Ongoing Relationship Questionnaire The Statements: 1. The first time we met was… When we worked together. 2. The amount of time we have known each other is… Seven years. 3. The kind of relationship we have is… Friendship. 4.
One adjective to describe our relationship would be… Sincere. 5. One way in which we are alike is… We are both very honest. 6. One way in which we are different is… I am more reserved, Cindy is very outgoing. 7. If our relationship was a movie, it would be called… Girls Gone Goofy. 8. A peak experience in our relationship was… Vacationing together. 9. When we meet new people, I… Me: I am more reserved and shy, Cindy is talkative. Cindy: I agree with that. 10. When I am with you in a social situation, I feel… Me: More outgoing and confident. Cindy: Relaxed and like I can be myself. 11. Right now I feel…
Me: I am apprehensive about moving overseas, and that the distance will affect our friendship. Cindy: I am also concerned with that, but we have always stayed close when we weren’t living near eachother. [Listening Check: "Are you saying that…? ] 12. One of your greatest assets is… Me to Cindy: Your compassion for people. Cindy to me:: You are very determined and have overcome a lot of obstacles. 13. I am proud of you when… Me to Cindy: I am always proud of you, especially the work you do. Cindy to me: I am always proud of you too, especially when you work at being more outgoing. 14. Something you have helped me learn about myself is…
Me to Cindy: That I can be more comfortable in social situations if I take the step to put myself out there. Cindy to me: You have shown me that I am strong and that I should listen to my intuition more. 15. One of the feelings with which I have the most trouble is.. Me: Insecurity. Cindy: I also have trouble with insecurity, although I think you are more insecure in social situations, and I have trouble with insecurity in romantic relationships. 16. I assume you know that… Me: That I love you and you are my best friend. Cindy: Same. Also, that I am always here for you. 17. If I could make you over, I would never change…
Me: I can’t think of anything I would want to change. Cindy: I don’t think I would want to change you either, especially not your sense of humor. 18. I am afraid… Me: Of growing apart. Cindy: Me too, but I don’t think we will. 19. I like it when you… Me: When you make me step out of my comfort level, we always end up having fun. Cindy: When you reassure me. You are good at giving me your opinion without trying to push it on me. 20. You annoy me when… Me: I can’t really think of anything. You have to be the only person that I would say that about. Cindy: You can be really bad about not calling for a while, but other than that, nothing. 1. A habit of mine that bothers me most is… Me: You touched on it. I am really bad about keeping in contact with people as much as I should. Cindy: I am always second guessing myself when someone disagrees with me. 22. Your greatest strength is… Me to Cindy: Your compassion to help people. Cindy to me: Your ability to overcome any problem you face. [L[Listening Check: "Are you saying that…? ]3. If I had all the money in the world, I would… Me: Travel, and bring you along as much as possible. Cindy: Travel sounds good. And shoes. 24. When we have an intellectual discussion…
Me: We seem to share a lot of the same views on things. Cindy: We do, and when we don’t we always find common ground. 25. You tend to talk a lot about… Me to Cindy: Relationships and finding the right guy. Cindy to me: You always have funny stories about stuff that has happened in your life. 26. When I don’t want to answer questions, I… Me: I have always felt safe being open with you. Cindy: Same here, and I know if I told you that I didn’t want to talk about something, you would respect that. 27. This experience… Me: Reiterates how I feel about our friendship. It makes me glad to see that we seem to be on the same page.
Cindy: I agree. We usually just have such an understanding that this stuff does not have to be said. 28. The things I like most to do with you are… Me: Go out dancing, or horseback riding. Cindy: Same here, a lot of my other friends are not outdoorsy, and we both like to be outside getting dirty. 29. I tend not to tell you about… Me: Sometimes I refrain from talking about my family stuff, because I know it has to sound crazy. You always seem to know when I am holding something back, though. Cindy: There are times when I don’t want to talk about guy problems with you, because you are in a stable relationship.
I always feel better when we do talk about it. 30. Something I have always wondered about it… Me: I wonder what it would be like to grow up in a family like yours, with so many siblings around, and such loving parents. Cindy: I always wonder about where you get some of your crazy ideas, and then how you manage to make things look so easy. 31. An area in which I would like to feel more equal to you is… Me: I wish I had a more supportive family like you do. Also, the accomplishments you achieve at work and the way you help people. I would like to be more like you in that way.
Cindy: Even though you can be very shy, you are also very adventurous. Also, you have a great marriage, and I would like to find that. 32. I feel rebellious when… Me: When we go out and find shenanigans to get into. Cindy: We do always manage to find rebellious ways to entertain ourselves. 33. [Try[Try to make your partner laugh without using words. ] I need you most when… Me to Cindy: When I have had a bad day and need some encouragement, and when I have had a good day and need someone to celebrate with. Cindy to me: I need you when I am feeling insecure and pressured by others.
Also, with the going out for fun, we always have a good time, and you never bring drama. 35. I get discouraged or frustrated when… Me: When I encounter something really difficult, especially when I am dealing with health problems. Cindy: I get discouraged when my sisters tell me I am not doing something right and try and force their ideas on me. 36. I think you are unfair when… Me to Cindy: I don’t think you have even been unfair with me, or anyone else for that matter. Cindy to me: You have never been unfair with me either. If anything, you try and see things from other people’s perspective too much, and don’t protect your own feelings. Listening Check: “Are you saying that…? ] 37. The things that hold us together are… Me: We just bonded from the moment we met, we have so much in common, and we genuinely care about each other. Cindy: We do. It seems like we are always on the same wavelength. 38. The habit you have that bothers me most is… Me: You always change your mind about what you want to wear a few times when we are getting ready to go out, but it doesn’t really bother me. Cindy: Just that sometimes you forget to call me back, but I know you don’t do it on purpose. 39. When we fight… Me: Have we ever really fought?
Cindy: I don’t think so. 40. Right now I am feeling… Me: A little weird, this is something different for us. Cindy: It feels a little “self-helpy”, so yeah, definitely something new for us. 41. An important issue between us right now is… Me: Just the issue of making sure we stay in contact when I move, and keep our friendship strong. Cindy: That would be it; we don’t really have any issues. 42. One thing I have always wanted to talk more about is… Me: I have always wanted to know more about what it is like being a twin, and the dynamic between you too, but I know that can be a difficult subject.
Cindy: I would like to know more about what you were like when you were growing up. 43. I wish you would let me know when… Me to Cindy: When I am being too aloof and you need more from me. Cindy to me: I wish you would let me know when you are really struggling with your health problems, and not keep it in so much. 44. A pattern I see in our relationship is… Me: Even though we both move around a lot, we take advantage of the time we can spend together when we can. Cindy: We always seem to rebuild the strength in our friendship when we feel like we are getting too distant. Listening Check: “Are you saying that…? ] 45. The part of myself that I like most is… Me: My ability to change plans and go with the flow. Cindy: My drive to accomplish my goals. 46. The part of myself that I like least is… Me: My insecurity and tendency to “detach” from people for a while. Cindy: My insecurity when it comes to relationships. 47. One of the times that bothered me most in our relationship was… Me: When you first moved away for college. I was scared we would grow apart and you would change. Cindy: There was a relationship you were in before you were married.
I didn’t like the guy, but didn’t want to push you. 48. What I like most about our relationship is… Me: The fact that we are a positive influence on each other. Cindy: The complete lack of drama that usually comes with female friendships. 49. In the future, I would like our relationship to become more… Me: Close. I really hope we end up living close to each other so we can spend more time together. Cindy: I agree. I hope we both eventually settle close to each other, or at least work out a system to see each other regularly. 50. One of the things I value most in life is… Me: Loyalty. Cindy: Honesty.