Communicating forgiveness in friendships and dating relationships

Communicating Forgiveness in Friendships and Dating Relationships - Semantic Scholar

nothing else to do. If they meet a new guy or gal to date, they dump their friends . Refuse to answer your efforts at communication (text, email, phone, Facebook ). Get angry with you for Article. Retrospective accounts of transgression and forgiveness situations in ongoing friendships and dating relationships were coded based on Kelley's () three. Keywords: Dating; Forgiveness; Interpersonal Relationships; Marriage; Relational Western Journal of Communication 3 The Forgiveness Process The process of . Merolla focused on friendship and dating partners, and Waldron and Kelley.

The key to connecting to other people is by showing interest in them. Switch off your smart phone, avoid other distractions, and make an effort to truly listen to the other person. These relationships can be fulfilling in their own right, but what if you want to turn a casual acquaintance into a true friend?

Friendship is characterized by intimacy. True friends know things about each other: Start small with something a little bit more personal than normal and see how the other person responds. Do they seem interested? Do they reciprocate by disclosing something about themselves? Do they tell you things about themselves beyond surface small talk? Do they give you their full attention when you see them?

Does the other person seem interested in exchanging contact information or making specific plans to get together?

How to meet new people We tend to make friends with people we cross paths with regularly: The more we see someone, the more likely the chance is of a friendship developing. So look at the places you frequent as you start your search for potential friends. Another big factor in friendship is common interests. We tend to be drawn to people we share things with: Think about activities you enjoy or the causes you care about.

Where can you meet people who share the same interests? Where to start When looking to meet new people, try to open yourself up to new experiences.

Not everything you try will lead to success but you can always learn from the experience and hopefully have some fun. Volunteering can be a great way to help others while also meeting new people.

Volunteering also gives you the opportunity to regularly practice and develop your social skills. Take a class or join a club to meet people with common interests, such as a book group, dinner club, or sports team.

Websites such as Meetup. Dog owners often stop and chat while their dogs sniff or play with each other. Attend art gallery openings, book readings, lectures, music recitals, or other community events where you can meet people with similar interests.

Check with your library or local paper for events near you. Behave like someone new to the area. Cheer on your team. Going to a bar alone can be intimidating, but if you support a sports team, find where other fans go to watch the games. You automatically have a shared interest—your team—so it can be easy to start up a conversation.

Making eye contact and exchanging small talk with strangers is great practice for making connections—and you never know where it may lead! Tips for strengthening acquaintances Invite a neighbor or work colleague out for a drink or to a movie. Lots of other people feel just as uncomfortable about reaching out and making new friends as you do. Be the one to break the ice. Your neighbor or colleague will thank you later.

Connect with your alumni association. Many colleges have alumni associations that meet regularly. You already have the college experience in common; talking about old times can be an easy conversation starter. Some associations also sponsor community service events or workshops where you can meet more people. Track down old friends via social media sites. Many companies offer carpool programs. Here are some common obstacles—and how you can overcome them.

Put it on your calendar. Schedule time for your friends just as you would for errands. Participants were recruited using convenient and network sampling techniques, the only criteria being that participants were married or dating adults who could clearly remember a time when they communicated forgiveness to a romantic partner.

Questionnaires were administered in a variety of undergraduate communication courses, and enrolled students also recruited members of their social networks who met the study criteria.

Participants returned the questionnaires in sealed envelopes to the student recruiter, who then returned them to the principal investigator. Measures Participants first completed a consent form, followed by demographic information, and were then asked if they were married or in a dating relationship.

They were also asked about the duration of this relationship, since another qualifying criteria for participation was being involved with the same romantic partner for at least 6 months. Next, participants were asked: Describe the event that caused the conflict between you and your partner.

What did your partner do or say? What did you forgive them for? The severity of the transgression was measured by three items: In order to measure the five types of forgiving strategies conditional, minimizing, discussion, nonverbal display, and explicit11 items from the Waldron and Kelley scale were used. Mean scores for forgiveness-granting items by relationship type are listed in Table 1. Participants were asked to respond to seven questions e.

Analysis An inductive analysis for emergent themes within the open-ended responses RQ1 and RQ2 was conducted using the content analysis software package WordStat Ver. The identification of high-frequency words and phrases then enabled a closer contextual examination of how they were used within dating versus married participant responses. Through a rigorous subjective and qualitative analysis, extracted themes were closely examined in context to determine areas of overlap, intersection, concurrence, and contradiction.

Following this, a cluster extraction indicated commonly occurring phrases for transgressions and forgiveness strategies within each dataset dating versus married respondents. This process identifies sentences that contain exact or extremely similar combinations of words, as indicated by a similarity index score. Identified clusters were subjected to a close and rigorous contextual reading to determine how individual instances overlapped, intersected, and reinforced each other to yield a broader shared 8 P.

I purchased a mirror that he hated. She went ahead and agreed to do expensive work without my agreeing. We fought about the cost and I felt that it was unfair to me. It made me feel very low, he called me a stupid bitch when I tried to confront him about the way he treated someone. I forgave him for speaking to me inappropriately.

He immediately apologized and I forgave him. He then immediately asked for forgiveness. Even though she does not work, she watched our daughter and goes to school. He tried to justify the purchase. As I handed a quarter to him I was rebuked and my hand was slapped. It was humiliating and it made me very angry. An ex-girlfriend continu- ously called him at work.

He tried to resolve the issue without telling me about the calls. I was really hurt when I found out about it because I did not know what to make out of the situation. Spouse just said Happy Birthday but did not include a card much less a gift. They took no effort to make it special. I was in bed sick and he was not there to help—this was a weekend. Even though I agreed with him, his approach hurt my feelings. I thought he could have been a lot more gentle and tactful in expressing his opinion.

He was supposed to tell me when he got home after traveling but he did not and just went to bed. I explained that I just wanted to know he at least got home safely and he apologized and said he did not realize it was so important to me. This left me confused and hurt when she could not talk very much. With our busy schedules we do not have much time with each other.

Friends & Dating – You Are the One I Want

When he has a break he wants to watch sports or hang out with two guys. But he says he just likes to relax or be with friends. My anger subsided once I realized it was just a matter of her caring for me and not a control issue.

He apologized and acknowledged it was a rude, uncalled- for statement, and I forgave him. Antony meaning indicative of all clusters within a given category. Results RQ1 sought to identify the differences between relational transgressions identified by dating versus married participants. Participants revealed that partners often had differing ideas of how much time they should spend together.

Examining contextual factors indicated that these behaviors included hasty or false accusations e. A pattern emerged among female respondents, who claimed that their male partners did not share money equitably with them. Once he sold the car I did not receive any of the money.

It turned out that the large amount on the credit card was from his recent business trip. We have been very busy with work and school. I planned out the evening but when she came home she told me she would be at a meeting at school all evening. This indicates that perceived transgressions were likely to be seen as the result of mutual familiarizing as both partners got to know each other better. Instead, transgressions tend to be quickly identified and acknowledged typically by the offending party and resolved through effective communication see Table 1 for examples of transgressions.

RQ2 focused on differences in the forgiveness-granting strategies used by married versus dating couples. A multivariate analysis of covariance MANCOVA was employed, where minimizing, conditional, nonverbal, explicit, and discussion strategies were entered as dependent variables.

Relationship status dating vs. Dating couples are less likely than married couples to regard a transgression as detrimental to the relationship, which complements patterns identified above for RQ1.

Discussion—I needed time to cool down so we talked about it 5. Explicit forgiveness—I told him I forgive him and I did; I told 4. Conditional—I forgive in words and deeds by saying I am sorry 2. Nonverbal displays—I told him straight up and he kissed and 4.

Minimization—By letting go; Chose to overlook the problem, 2.

communicating forgiveness in friendships and dating relationships

Never brought it up again. Means are based on a 0 no use to 7 extensive use scale. The between-subjects test effects reveal that relationship satisfaction influences the use of minimizing, nonverbal, and conditional forgiveness strategies. There were no statistically significant differences in relationship satisfaction between married and dating couples.

These corroborate the MANCOVA findings, suggesting that minimizing and non- verbal strategies may complement one another in these relationships. A cluster analysis confirmed this, e. However, an interesting pattern emerged which suggests the tendency to either acknowledge the problem and then set it aside, or mutually decide to ignore an unresolved problem for the sake of the relationship.

This indicates that some relational transgressions may not be forgiven in the traditional sense. Instead, both partners make the mutual decision to suppress the issue after a relational transgression has been acknowledged in order to sustain the marital rela- tionship, which in turn suggests that the problem has neither truly been resolved nor forgiven.

RQ3 focused on how the perceived severity of a transgression relates to the use of forgiveness-granting strategies among both married and dating couples.

Among married participants, the perceived severity of the transgression was positively related to the use of the discussion and conditional forgiving strategies, and negatively related to the use of the minimizing and nonverbal strategies.

Among dating respondents, the perceived severity of a transgression was also positively related to the use of the discussion and conditional strategies and negatively related to the use of the mini- mizing strategy see correlation coefficients in Table 3. None of the correlations between forgiveness-granting strategies and transgression severity were significantly different between married versus dating respondents. However, the significant correlation between perceived severity of transgressions and nonverbal strategies among married couples seems to indicate some differences —this is an avenue for further investigation with a larger sample size.

Antony unresolved issues among married respondents identified under RQ2.

communicating forgiveness in friendships and dating relationships

When past transgressions that have neither been adequately addressed nor forgiven accumulate, it may take one spouse longer to truly forgive a partner who frequently commits the same or related transgressions. There was no significant relationship between the amount of time it took dating partners to forgive a transgression and the length of their relationship.

Discussion Forgiveness is vital for mental and physical health e. Romantic partners must learn to navigate the waters of trial and forgiveness in order to build the foundations of a happy and satisfying relationship. This study has uncovered some important differences between married and dating relationships, one conclusion being that the specific manner in which forgive- ness is communicated depends on the type of relationship and the perceived severity of a relational transgression.

Relationship satisfaction is also related to the types of strategies used to forgive, and the Investment Model of Commitment Processes Rusbult,; Rusbult et al. This explains the tendency to keep track of problematic behaviors within a relatively short time frame, such as noting how many times a dating partner has arrived late or canceled on prior plans. By contrast, married partners have typically spent more time together, and have also potentially encountered and managed many of the issues that dating couples identify.

As the relationship moves past the heady romance of early weeks and months, and as it matures with the emergence of joint financial commitments, children, and other long- term obligations, it is not surprising that the nature of perceived relational transgressions likewise changes to include more mundane and material issues.

communicating forgiveness in friendships and dating relationships

For example, in terms of approaching and resolving a relational trans- gression, we see some very different patterns. They are thus willing to give their relational partner more leeway because the relationship is still young, and there is time for the partner to learn from past errors and correct their ways.

Married couples, particularly those who have been married for many years, cannot fall back on this reasoning. Instead, they rely on communication to address core relational issues through the discussion forgiveness strategies.

Earlier studies using the Investment Model of Commitment Processes e. For example, when a partner violates a relational norm, high commitment predicts accommodation and responding in ways to promote and sustain the relationship.

This pattern explains why married individuals in our study discuss their transgression with a partner more often than do individuals in dating relationships. Instead, discussing the issue is followed by a seemingly mutual decision to suppress or ignore it. Instead, it appears that these couples move directly from 3 sense-making to 6 negotiating the relationship. Pseudo-forgiveness bears some resemblance to conditional forgiveness CF. Kloeber and Waldron conclude that implicit CF serves two important functions.

By not directly forgiving the trans- gression, implicit CF allows the injured partner to exert power over the offender and thereby reclaim a sense of empowerment and esteem following victimization.

Alter- nately, implicit CF facilitates self-preservation enabling the offended party to avoid or avoid worsening a conflict for the sake of the relationship. However, pseudo-forgiveness marks at least two important departures from this conceptualization of implicit CF. First, we found that pseudo-forgiveness only 16 P. Antony occurred among married participants, suggesting its utility within this specific form of romantic commitment as opposed to dating relationships.

Our research sample makes a clearer distinction between these two intimate relationship categories. More importantly, however, pseudo-forgiveness is intrinsically different from con- ditional forgiveness because no actual forgiveness is communicated between partners. No actual forgiveness occurs between partners, and this is why we conclude that it may ultimately bode ill for the relationship.

As a frequent and recurring communication pattern in intimate relationships, pseudo-forgiveness can result in the accumulation of unresolved grievances that eventually strain the love and respect between romantic partners.

What circumstances prompt couples to resort to this practice? Rather than engage this issue, which has the potential to significantly damage the marital relationship, it is thus easier to ignore it to sustain the relationship.

A second pattern suggests that pseudo- forgiveness tends to be more common among male participants, as in the case of these two responses: Destroyed my office and threw things at my employees. Rather than invest resources into exploring the transgression, its impact on both partners and the relationship, and achieving relational harmony through a mutually satisfactory forgiveness strategy, these couples appear to prefer a quick-fix approach that addresses neither the trans- gression nor its contributing factors.

This ineffective strategy thus bypasses forgiveness and sets the stage for recurring transgressions, relational strife, and dissatisfaction. Perhaps its greatest similarity to implicit CF lies in the self-preservation motive to protect and sustain the relationship, and this may explain why it appears among married rather than dating couples.

As forma- lized civil unions, the end of a marriage usually entails more complex emotional as well as material repercussions e. Per the Investment Model, highly committed individuals are willing to ignore core problems in order to preserve the relationship.

According to the Model, three variables affect feelings of commitment: When there are few potential alternatives, the propensity to sustain the existing unhappy relationship may increase. This strategy is especially useful to address negative partner evaluations of personal worth, value, or quality, all of which can cause stress in intimate relation- ships. Effective discussions enable a couple to assess the boundaries of their relation- ship and also cultivate mutual respect.

As relational transgressions increased in perceived severity, both married and dating individuals relied on discussions and conditional forgiveness. For milder transgressions, married couples tended to use the minimizing and nonverbal strategies RQ3. When transgressions are severe, partners are more cautious. When transgressions are considered relatively mild, partners forgive through indirect strategies minimizing, nonverbal strategy.

The perceived severity of a transgression varies depending on what exactly a couple considers to be important, and how forgiveness is subsequently commu- nicated between romantic partners possibly reflects these relational norms.

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Forgiving nonverbally is also positively related to relationship satisfaction among mar- ried couples RQ2. Wal- dron and Kelley also found that expressing forgiveness nonverbally is positively related to strengthening relational outcomes after forgiveness has been granted. Among dating individuals there was no relationship between the forgiveness strategy used and relationship satisfaction, which again reflects low investment in the relationship.

Conclusion This study advances understanding of differences in how married and dating couples approach and communicate forgiveness. Findings reveal the sources of relational transgressions between dating versus married partners, and also that dating couples tend to use the minimization strategy more when transgressions occur.

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A new, and potentially damaging, forgiveness strategy used by married couples is also presented. Pseudo-forgiveness involves acknowledging a transgression but then suppressing it for the sake of the relationship. This pattern may be explained by the Investment Model, which predicts that highly committed individuals are willing to ignore core problems 18 P.

Antony in order to preserve the relationship. Married individuals are more likely to discuss their forgiveness, while dating individuals use indirect strategies to forgive.

Based on these results, intimate relationship workshops and counseling contexts can integrate content to enable romantic partners to anticipate, identify, and effec- tively address relational conflicts.

Communicating Forgiveness in Friendships and Dating Relationships

Knowing how to communicate about perceived transgressions and their severity in a productive manner can be vital to ensure that intimate relationships are satisfying to both partners. Additionally, it may also be useful for those who want to take their relationship to the next step i. For instance, dating couples could benefit from the creation of discussion and educational platforms to discuss financial issues and decisions faced by married couples, to help them better anticipate future monetary conflicts.

Forums could also tackle other common issues, such as time management to help intimate relationships thrive, and outline effective conflict resolution strategies.