The Stayover

According to one study, in press for publication in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and reported in the New York Times, the stayover refers to a type of part-time cohabitation. From an analysis of 22 college students in stayover relationships, a few interesting characteristics emerge:

Stayovers develop informally.

Stayovers are convenient rather than committed relationships (as with cohabitation).

Stayovers do not share financial responsibilities (as do cohabitating couples).

Stayovers do not keep their personal belongings in the other’s home.

Stayovers are more like guests than roommates.

Stayovers may be a new phenomenon or may have been around for years but never studied.

This is another type of relationship that we don't regularly discuss in our interpersonal textbooks but is obviously one that our students do. The long-term implications of stayovers are not clear and perhaps future research will look into these.


The Economics of Attractiveness

A recent article in Time, under “Economy,” details the economic advantage of attractiveness, a topic we don't address in our interpersonal textbooks when we talk about attraction theory, interviewing, workplace success, and similar topics. Reality is tough to write into textbooks. The article, based on research reported in Daniel Hamermesh’s Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful, reports that the difference in life-time earnings between the typical attractive worker and the below-average worker is $230,000. On a five-point scale, men who score 4 or 5 (indicating above average in attractiveness) earn 17% more than men who score 1 and 2. For women the difference in 12%. One conclusion is that good looks are more important for men than for women, at least financially. Even more dramatic is the conclusion that discrimination against the unattractive costs the economy $20 billion per year.

Communication Strategies: Talk between people with and without speech or language problems

Talk between people with and without speech or language problems can be uncertain and often awkward. Here are some suggestions (drawn from a variety of sources: www.nsastutter.org/material/indep.php?matid=189, www.aphasia.org/, http://spot.pcc.edu/~rjacobs/career/communication_tips.htm, and www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/fact/comucate.htm) for making this talk more comfortable. A comment on a previous and similar post noted that a smile and eye contact are also important and we might add them to all the suggestions.


Onymous and Anonymous Messages

Speech communication and interpersonal communication textbooks identify lots of characteristics of verbal messages. For example, in The Interpersonal Communication Book, I identify the packaged nature of verbal messages, message meanings are in people, meanings are denotative and connotative, messages vary in abstraction, messages vary in politeness, messages can criticize and praise, and messages vary in assertiveness, and messages can confirm and disconfirm. The idea here is to explain the nature of the message system and at the same time to include some communication skills. In going through the Canadian Edition of Messages, co-authors Rena Shimoni and Dawne Clark include a short section on anonymous messages in the workplace. It got me to thinking that this is another essential characteristic of messages that needs to be covered, especially in this age of social networking.  Hence, this (still very preliminary) explanation of onymity and anonymity. Any thoughts would be appreciated.


Saying the Right Thing

Here's an interesting article--10 Things Your Girlfriend Needs to Hear You Say. The 10 things are equally important, it seems to me, for the boyfriend to hear--whether same or opposite sex. The suggestions are good ones and echo the kinds of things we talk about in our textbooks--supportiveness, immediacy, complimenting, being polite, and so on.


Breaking Up Via Facebook

Here's an interesting article on teenagers' romantic breakups and poses some interesting questions. For example, is it o.k. to breakup via a posting on your former-partner's wall? Is this preferable to breaking up face-to-face? Is it o.k. to breakup by simply changing your status to "single"? If you do break up, what is the proper etiquette for dealing with your former partner's friends, siblings, or parents? Do you de-friend them? Do you de-friend your partner or simply not communicate? Even without reading the article, a fair number of people have already dealt with this issue and probably have strong feelings about what is and what is not proper, appropriate, adult, considerate, etc.
It's an interesting world and getting interestinger every day!


Communication Strategies: Foot-in-the-Door and Door-in-the-Face

[A user of Essential Elements of Public Speaking thought that these concepts should be discussed in the text; I had omitted them because of space limitations. So, I post these very useful concepts here.]

When you have the opportunity to persuade your audience on several occasions (rather than simply delivering one speech), two strategies will prove helpful: the foot-in-the-door and door-in-the-face techniques (Goldstein, N. J., Martin, S. J., & Cialdini, R. B. (2008). Yes! 50 scientificaly proven ways to be persuasive. NY: Free Press.)


Communication Strategies: Talk between people with and without visual impairments

Talk between people with and people without visual impairments can be made a lot more comfortable by following a few simple suggestions (drawn from a variety of sources: www.cincyblind.org, www.abwa.asn.au/, www.mass.gov, www.ndmig.com, and www.batchelor. edu.au/disability/communication). A few general comments first: People vary greatly in their visual abilities; some are totally blind, some are partially sighted, and some have unimpaired vision. Ninety percent of people who are “legally blind” have some vision. All people, however, have the same need for communication and information. Here are some tips for making communication better between those who have visual impairments and those without such difficulties.