Knapp’s Model

August 27, 2008 at 3:48 AM (Personal Reference) ()

Writing about my friends made me recall a conversation I was having with one of them where I was explaining Knapp’s Model, which I practically worship as a Communications major.  It explains the several possible stages of a relationship – romantic, professional, platonic, whatever.  I figured it would be nice to post it somewhere where I can quickly reference it:

——————-5. Bonding——-6. Differentiating
————-4. Integrating—————-7. Circumscribing
———3. Intensifying————————-8. Stagnating
—-2. Experimental———————————–9. Avoiding
-1. Introductory——————————————10. Terminating

1. Introductory.  This stage is incredibly short.  It is literally the introductions that take place between two people (“Hi, nice to meet you,” or “Hi, how are you today?”).  Introductions take place between all people with whom you interact, be it a new class mate, the cashier at the grocery store, a job interviewer, and so on.

2. Experimental.  After the introductory stage, two people decide whether they want to pursue a relationship.  They exchange high-postive, low-intimacy information (the general stuff: where you’re from, common interests . . . classic trend with college orientations: “Hi, what’s your name?  Where are you from?  What’s your major?”) with each other to learn more about each other.  The information shared is pretty non-committal: you likely won’t share deeply personal information within ten minutes of meeting a person.

3. Intensifying.  At this point in a relationship, two people begin to share more involved information with each other.  Trust has been established between the two people, and they begin to share more confidential information with one another.  People become more comfortable with each other, becoming familiar not only with each other’s positive qualities, but their negatives, as well (bad habits or histories, for example).  People provide each other with more context of themselves – previous relationships, future goals, and so on.  Other people begin to associate the two people with one another.

4. Integrating.  Think “best friends.”  The two people go out of their way to be together.  For students, it may be scheduling classes together.  In business, it may be that they are always on the same projects.  In a romantic relationship, the two people may move in together.  If receiving an invitation, the two people will receive one invitation, rather than one addressed to “Joe Smith and Guest.”  With most lasting relationships, this is the highest stage a relationship will reach.

5. Bonding.  Arguably the highest, strongest stage of a relationship, when it is formally recognized.  Think marriage (in a few ways: the bride and groom, the recognition of the best man or maid of honour), blood brothers, business partners co-opening a business.  As a side note, whenever your friend is telling you a story and says, “It was a bonding experience,” it probably wasn’t.  Chances are it was an intensifying or integrating moment.

6. Differentiating.  A tricky one: either stronger than bonding (incredibly rare), or the beginning of the deteriorating stages (fairly typical). At least one member of the relationship begins to break away in order to recreate an individual identity, e.g., taking dance classes without one’s spouse.  This can strengthen a relationship by renewing both parties’ individualities, as long as it as recognised as such.  More often, though, one or both parties tries to avoid being totally consumed by the relationship.  Example: Joe and Jess have been married for five years.  They share EVERYTHING, including a phone number and E-mail address.  Eventually, Jess begins to feel suffocated by the “oneness” of the relationship and starts taking a knitting class . . . by herself.  Joe finds out and rather than getting the hint and embracing the idea, enrolls in the same knitting class with Jess.

7. Circumscribing.  Opposite of integrating (4).  The relationship deteriorates here, with one person completely cutting the other out, and keeping things separate from him/her.  Examples may include moving out of a lover’s apartment, purposely taking different class sections than a fellow pupil, accepting projects without the fellow coworker, no longer inviting one’s mother to the biweekly manicure date.  In the above example, Jess switches to a different knitting class that meets when Joe usually has work and cannot attend.

8. Stagnating.  Opposite of intensifying (3).  Intimacy and/or amount of disclosure within the relationship decreases.  There is no effort to grow the relationship.  An example would be staying in a relationship that’s not going anywhere because it’s “easier,” parents staying together only for the sake of the children, etcetera.  The relationship is in a rut that is going nowhere.

9. Avoiding.  Opposite of experimenting (2).  Fairly explanatory: one goes out of his/her way to not communicate with the other person.  What communication does occur is minimal, and the degree of avoidance which occurs normally begins fairly small, then snowballs.

10. Termination.  Although self-explanatory, not always clear.  Some people just avoid into termination, which makes interpretation tricky, since nothing’s official (however, with romantic relationship’s it’s a bit easier with applications such as Facebook, which can make things VERY clear).

Notes on How the Model Works

– ALL relationships must go through the introduction and termination stage.  If nothing else, when one person dies, the relationship is over.  You may still care and think about the person, but you cannot communicate with him or her.

You cannot force someone up the model.  Whenever there is a differentiation in views as to what stage the relationship stands, whoever feels that it is lowest and/or furthest to the right, is correct.  For example, if one of you thinks that you’re intensifying the relationship, but the other is avoiding you, you are in the avoiding stage.

– You can go up or down the same side.  It’s not a one-way trip.  You may be in the intensifying stage, then decide that perhaps it’s wiser to keep experimenting for a while.

– You don’t skip stages going up.  That’s a really bad idea: “Hi, I’m John.  Let’s get married.”  It’s sort of a one-way ticket to go right back down.

– You can skip stages going down (e.g.,from differentiating to avoiding).

– You can cut across and down (e.g., from integrating to stagnating).

– You can not cut across and up (e.g., from experimenting to circumscribing).

– Once you have terminated, you cannot go back up.  If the relationship was not terminated due to mortality, you can start over again, though.

– Don’t try to cut back to the left and up (e.g., from stagnating to integrating).

Questions/comments accepted (and will be addressed).


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An Enlightening Visit Home

August 27, 2008 at 3:21 AM (Friends, Musings) ()

“You need a boy to be so incredibly thrilled to have you, and so proud, that he will climb to the top of a mountain or building and scream that he is in love with you.  He needs to scream it so loud that I can hear him, and follow him to the top of that mountain, and push him off . . . because I’m not sharing you.”

This was the type of reality check I needed as I revisted my home town for a couple days before returning to the daily grind.  I was lucky enough to meet up with my three best friends from grade school and high school (separately – our schedules didn’t match up that conveniently), and we all got to catch each other up on everything – school, work, friends, family, significant others, extracurriculars.  As could be expected, relationships was popular topic.  Two of my friends had just gotten out of relationships, and of course I had to get them up to speed regarding what I had (or had not, rather) experienced in the nine months since I’d seen them last.  We all appreciated being able to share every gruesome incident and every delicious detail with one another without fear of it getting back to another party involved.  At the same time it was great to get brutally honest feedback.  A new friend may try to spare your feelings when it comes to talking about your problems.  A friend who knows you better, I’ve found, will not hesitate to ask you, “What’s wrong with you!?”  And why are we so harsh with each other?  Because we really DO give a crap, that’s why.  If we keep trying to spare each other’s feelings, our situations can only continue to spiral into a deeper state of chaos.  I can’t fix a problem if I don’t think I have one.  If my friends simply yes me as I sift through all the favourable options, I’m not going to be as likely to face the negative options.  Luckily, we’ve all known each other long enough, and have been through enough, that we can be comfortable enough to tell it like it is, or may be, without fear of the whiplash of denial.  On the contrary, if my friends are telling me something I don’t want to consider, they are providing me with all the more reason to consider it.

Tomorrow I go back to my glamorous city-living, but it’s good to know that I’ll be bringing some homestyle reality with me.

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[Insert Collective Groans Here]

August 21, 2008 at 11:22 PM (Happenings) ()

I work at a coffee shop that tries to streamline the product-to-customer process by tying customer’s names to their orders.  For example, if six drinks are sitting at the bar, a customer needs only to find his name, rather than try to decipher the shop’s shorthand.  In addition, we apply this process to toasted sandwiches and pastries.

Today was full of tourists.  I’ve no idea what it is about late Thursday mornings, but apparently Italians love their coffee around then.  One family came through, placed its large order of several drinks, some patries and a breakfast sandwich, and went on its merry way.  A few minutes later, the gentleman of the party had yet to retrieve his breakfast sandwich.  I looked at the labeled bag, then decided just to call out the sandwich:

“Ham egg and cheese!”

The gentleman did not turn around.  I tried again and encountered the same nonreaction.  I hestitated and exchanged a look with my coworker, who smirked as she read the name.  “I really don’t want to shout this across the store,” I muttered . . .


From behind me, I heard the snickering of a couple more coworkers as they muttered, “Polo!”

Marco had yet to turn around.  I was getting frustrated.


“Polo!” This time it was from the customers who were still in line.  I had to keep from laughing as Marco finally decided to hear me and collect his sandwich.

I guess you’re never too old for that sort of thing.

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Proof of a Break

August 16, 2008 at 5:05 AM (Happenings) ()

I should probably make a couple notes about my vacation, so that when I’m pulling my hair out four months from now, I can look back at this and remind myself that yes, I did catch a break this year.

My family and I went on a cruise to the Bahamas, which was lovely:

On Monday night, I almost went into cardiac arrest from laughing for almost 45 minutes straight.  I can’t remember the name of the comedian, but he was hysterical.  I’ll look him up later.

On Tuesday, I gallivanted about Nassau, following a ginger and lime scrub and a glorious full-body massage.  Not only did I receive some new earrings (14K white gold classy dangles) and meet the aforementioned comedian at Starbucks, but I received some high quality service from the locals.  I fielded a marriage proposal from one chap, and as an official checked my ID as I left the island, he asked if I was a model.  To that I responded, “I’m too short.”

“It don’t matter: you’re beautiful, anyway!”

Well, shucks, I couldn’t help but beam.

On Wednesday, I got about 75% of my Caribbean sun exposure on the cruiseline’s private island.  I also got my one work-out, zipping around on a jetski in the early afternoon.  Later on, I enjoyed a facial, during which I fell asleep.  I suppose I had a busy day.  For dinner, our wait staff surprised me with a serenade of my favourite song, “Happy Birthday.”  Talk about shock.  I sat there staring at my (two!!) desserts dumbfounded – and probably beat-red – for a good two minutes.  In case you were wondering, they were both delicious.

On Thursday, Key West was our port of call.  It’s an interesting place, but I think I’d prefer to visit with friends over family.  Mom and I had scheduled an excursion for 11.00AM, which was canceled due to insufficient interest.  This would have been fine, had they notified us.  Oh well.  I got over it quickly enough, but Mom was seething for a while.  We ended up doing a shopping tour, and managed to find some cool stuff, including Mad Hatter (didn’t buy anything, but picked up a card), and a Coach Factory outlet (we didn’t buy out the place, but we thought about it).  I also found a gallery of some great artwork, much of it marine/nature-influenced.  Again, the name of the artist escapes me, but we picked up a card.  Supposedly there’s a gallery a bit closer to home.  I’ll have to look into that.

On another note, I almost completely forgot about my massage on Tuesday: my jetski experience has left my upper body in agony.  Even schlepping my carry-on backpack through the airport proved a painful challenge.  I’ve been stretching every so often in hopes of loosening things up, but the results have been meager.  Granted, it was totally worth it.  I have always loved doing things involving speed (in a drug-free way, of course) – rollercoasters, skiing, motorcycles, horseback riding, boating, etc. – and I haven’t had a fix recently.  I guess I’ll just consider the soreness a friendly reminder of the fun I had while I was away.

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Three Cheers for Healthier Lifestyles!

August 6, 2008 at 1:42 AM (Goals, Musings) (, )

For the record, I don’t intend for this to turn into a physical wellness blog.  However, I do intend for this blog to be about whatever happens to be on my mind, and my physical wellness has been on my mind recently.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve slowly but surely been improving my eating habits.  At first, I only made a point of eating at least three times a day.  I’m prone to light-headedness, and given my active lifestyle, I need to eat more than once a day if I don’t want to pass out.  The biggest step for me was being sure to eat something immediately after waking up.  For some reason, I’ve always been able to convince myself that I can do without breakfast (despite hearing for eons that it’s the most important meal of the day, and so on and so forth).  Since the end of July, I think I’ve managed to eat something for breakfast at least six days a week.  Granted, it’s no banquet – usually it’s a bagel or a muffin, but it’s something.

The second, almost as difficult step, was cutting down on the junk.  I could snack on chocolates, Cheez-Its, corn ships and so on until there is nothing left.  What’s worse is that I usually crave it late at night, after I’ve been practising for a couple hours, right before I go to bed.  Last week I made a difficult resolution: no more sweets unless it’s a special occasion.  Granted, I’ve been somewhat flexible with my definition of the term “special occasion,” but at least I finally put my foot down, albeit softly.  I haven’t had an unhealthy late-night snack in at least a week and a half, if not longer.

A more long-term project has been improving the overall quality of what I’ve been eating.  Due to my current financial situation, and busy schedule, I’ve been eating cheaply, on-the-go and unhealthily.  I know enough baristas in this town to have a free toffee almond bar wherever I go.  With Dunkin Donuts’ current “Bases Loaded” promotion, their flatbread sandwiches and personal pizzas are beyond conveniently cheap.  Unfortunately, I don’t eat nearly as many vegetables as I should, and I’m consuming waaaaaaaaay too many saturated fats.  I’ve been trying to phase those out in favour of Starbucks’s Vivanno, which is essentially a cup of pulverised fruit and some protein.  Tasty, and surprisingly filling.  And if I charm the barista just right, sometimes it’s free.

An even longer-term project within that project has been cutting down on all the espresso.  As complementary as it is to my exhausting schedule, I know that it isn’t something I should be pumping myself with as frequently as I do.  Slowly, ever so slowly, I have been opting for green tea instead of the lattes.  I’m no expert in nutritional values, but I’ve heard “green tea” coupled with “antioxidants” often enough to figure out that it can’t be TOO unhealthy for me.  And it’s actually a better thirst-quencher than espresso, if I do say so myself.

I have NOT set a weight-loss goal for myself.  I don’t even have a scale right now, and I have no clue as to how much I weigh.  A few months ago I had an “ideal” weight that I used to be a few years ago.  Today I recalled that when I was that light, I wasn’t eating well, and I was incredibly stressed.  I was also probably exhausted more often than not.  Yes, my waist is not as tiny as it used to be, and my upper arms have a bit more meat on them, but for the most part, it’s all healthy weight.

That said, I am gradually diversifying my exercise regime.  Not only am I dancing more styles, but I’m beginning to swim again.  The swimming’s coming along slowly – motivating myself to go can be tough, especially when I’m going alone – but surely.  Eventually I’d like to start swimming at least twice a week for 45 minutes at a time.  Hopefully it will improve my stamina, which is definitely lacking right now.  I haven’t started yet, but I’d like to start doing crunches again, too.  I used to be able to do over a thousand at a time.  Now I’m panting after 20.  It’s embarrassing.

So why even bring this up?  I managed to catch up with one of my roomates-to-be tonight for dinner, and as I walked home, I realised that I felt REALLY good.  My muscles were pleasantly achy from the swimming and dancing the previous two days, and I’d been eating almost healthily for a few days, as well (if you ignore the kahlua ice cream I had after my delicious sushi dinner).  I wasn’t tired, and I felt happy knowing that I was taking better care of myself.  Admittedly, my steps have been small, but it’s a work-in-progress, and the rewards can only get better from here.

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Good v. Nice

August 4, 2008 at 2:22 AM (Musings) (, , )

I don’t remember who said it.  Whomever it was, I agree with him or her, and I try to be mindful of it: being nice doesn’t necessarily make one good.

I suddenly recalled that it’s one of the few intelligent things that Goldilocks says in Sondheim’s Into the Woods (“Nice is different than good.”).  Back on topic!

It goes hand-in-hand with “Actions speak louder than words,” a cliché that, as nagging as it may sound, is still true.  A person may say the most flattering things to my face, but if that person turns around and speaks ill of me, then how could I possibly count on that person to support me for any given reason (personal gain, maybe, but that doesn’t so much make a person good)?

A good person, I feel, is one who may not have the kindest of things to say, but rather be truthful with and respectful of others.  I would prefer to keep the company of the blunt person who will will support me unconditionally than that of the hollow yes-man.

Luckily for me, my brother is the former.  Of course we get into snarky tiffs over absolutely nothing, but at the same time, I know I can count on him for anything.  Over the past few days, I’ve been under the weather pretty consistently.  I don’t know if it’s because he has a sixth sibling sense or he just has great timing, but he’s been determined to spend time with me for three out of the last four days.  By no means would I say that my brother and I are great friends, and we certainly don’t have too many common interests, but he’s still been a welcome escape from everything else that’s been bugging me as of late.  He’s not even had to say anything sympathetic.  In fact, he’s probably teased me more than anything else over the past few days, but it has been good-natured.  Everything is so down-to-earth with him; I know he will be the LAST person on this planet to bad-mouth me (or try to flatter me, for that matter).  It was refreshing to spend time with someone who is the paradigm of genuine goodness, even if he isn’t a total ray of sunshine.

Thanks, man.

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“I’ll Show You!” -Me, to Myself

August 1, 2008 at 3:52 AM (Goals, Musings) (, )

Once upon a time, I was a competitive swimmer.

One of the really nifty things about my high school was that every student was required to participate in three team sports during the school year.  As you may have guessed, my winter sport was swimming.  For as long as I could remember, I’d always loved being in the water at summer camp, and despite being a runt, the lifeguards were always impressed with how well I could swim.  When one guard finally wrote “Should look into joining a swim team” on my evaluation right before I started high school, my winter activity looked like a no-brainer.

A competitive swim team was a lot tougher than I’d imagined, like most activities I attempt.  I was used to flailing about as quickly as I could in order to get from one end of the pool to the other, laughing at the kid I’d just whomped in the race, and floating about, care-free for the remainder of the hour.  It didn’t occur to me that I’d have to swim drills, learn how to pace myself, and sweat for two hours a day, four days a week.

Long, mostly boring, story short, I adapted and improved tremendously throughout high school, taking about 17 seconds off my time in the 50-Freestyle since my freshman year and graduating as MVP.  Although I learned to appreciate that practise improved technique which improved time, I was almost completely oblivious to how great a work-out it was.  To put it eloquently, when I graduated from high school, I was jacked.  It did not occur to me that I would have to maintain an incredibly active and healthy lifestyle in order to stay in shape, especially since my metabolism wouldn’t stay in high gear forever.

Now I dance for about 10 hours every week, but practise isn’t nearly as rigorous as swimming was.  In addition to that, I’m probably about as voracious as I was when I was swimming competitively.  Granted, I’m still in very presentable shape, but relative to where I was in high school, I have gotten “out of” shape.  As my Latin dresses get smaller and smaller,  I have less and less with which to hide.

About two weeks ago, I decided I would take advantage of my fitness & recreation centre membership and start swimming in the mornings before work.  On Monday morning I woke up at 6.30, looked at my phone, muttered an obscenity and went back to sleep.  On Tuesday morning I woke up at 6.30, got out of bed, checked my E-mail, walked to the kitchen and poured myself a glass of milk, then went back to bed.  On Wednesday morning I woke up at 6.30, and thought about packing my bag.  I then remembered that I needed a swim cap in order to use the pool.  I muttered an obscenity again, knowing that I had several swim caps back at my parents’ house three hours away.  I rolled over and went back to sleep.  When I woke up two hours later, I felt defeated.  Once again, I had decided to make a healthy lifestyle change, and had failed misreably.  Even when I swam on a team, I skipped the 7.00AM practises.  The cynic in me mocked my feeble attempts to regain my chiseled abs.  I recalled that my roomate had a swim cap sitting on her dresser.  Half-heartedly, I told myself that I’d ask her if I could borrow it in the mornings to swim.

Later that day, I casually asked my roomate if she’d mind lending me the cap, because I wanted to start swimming in the mornings.  Her face lit up as she asked, “Seriously?”

“Sure.  If I want to get serious about my dancing I’d better be in appropriate shape for it -”

“Oh my God: I wanted to start swimming in the mornings, too, and I have two swim caps!  Wanna go together?”

And just like that, I had a date for Friday morning with my roomate, the pool, and her bright pink silicone swim cap.

At 6.00 on Friday morning, my alarm started chirping at me.  I repressed the urge to mutter another obscenity, and reset the alarm for 6.30, swearing to myself that I’d drag my good-for-nothing posterior out of bed then.  After all, I couldn’t leave my dates hanging.  At 6.25, my roomate knocked on my door and peeked inside at the sorry excuse for a human being curled up in the fetal position on my bed.

“Still wanna do this?”

“Do you?”

“We should . . .”

She was right.  I’d spent a week failing at trying.  I got out of bed and started packing my bag.  By 6.50 we were on our way to the pool, and by 7.00 I was in fight-or-flight mode as I looked through the glass at the Olympic-sized swimming pool.  At 7.15, I dipped my big toe into the pool, like that would help me at all when I dove in, head-first to swim my first 100-free in years.  By 7.30, I was in ecstacy.  My lung capacity had gone to Hell in a handbasket, as had my stamina, and my eyes burned like they’d never burned before because I didn’t have goggles, but I was swimming again.  I was doing every stroke I knew, even the ones I’d hated in high school, and loving it.  I loved the feeling of cutting through the water, feeling my muscles burn in all the right places.  What was even sweeter was that I had actually made good on my plan.  It took me a week, but I did it.  And I would do it again.  Once I got my mom to mail me my goggles.

I received a package this week from home.  I’ll give you one guess as to what was inside.  I’ll also give you one guess as to what I’ll be up to tomorrow morning.

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