CMWKFO – Relational Dialectics Theory

Please answer the questions after reviewing the following:

Take a look at some of these scenes from the television show “Friends:”

“Princess Consuela”

“New House”


“Rachel Feeds Emma”

“Phoebe’s Song”

“Everyone Finds Out”

  1. What are the dialectical struggles you see? In other words, the “humor” is based on dialectical tension. Use the above terms from the theory to explain what is going on in the relationships you see. For example, use the ideas from Social Exchange or Social Penetration Theory to explain why the dialectic of ?getting closer/maintaining autonomy? didn’t “work” for Rachel in “Rachel Feeds Emma.”
  2. Compare the heuristic qualities of Relational Dialectics with those of Social Exchange Theory. Do you think both theories have equal explanatory and predictive strengths?
  3. Give an example from your own life where you feel or felt a dialectic pull between two opposites. For example, you might appreciate your spouse for his or her careful use of money, but also want him or her occasionally to join you in a “splurge” on an exciting trip.

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