May 23, 2017
The definition of a dialectical tension is when a “conflict arises when two opposing or incompatible forces that make successful communication challenging” (pg 262). Communication scholars have identified several of them already. There are three dialectical perspectives as described in Looking Out Looking In by Alder and Proctor. The three are “Connection versus Autonomy, Openness versus Privacy, and Predictability versus Novelty” (pg 262-264).
One example of a dialectical tension in my life would be the predictability-novelty dialect. The challenge that me and my partner were having was keeping the relationship fresh and interesting because we fell into a routine where we would do the same thing repeatedly every time we hung out. This eventually led to me and my partner getting in arguments about how we never go out and do different activities anymore. Back then a typical night out we would go out for dinner and a movie or just study and go to the gym. After I noticed this was effecting my partner and me I began to try to solve our dialectical tension by taking spontaneous trips to different places we have never gone to before like visiting L.A., going to visit Six Flags, and even doing more outdoors like going on hikes and having picnics at my neighborhood park. The article managing dialectical tensions by ManagingUpSmart.com asserts, “the predictability-novelty dialect represents the behavior patterns between stability and the desire for spontaneity. Frequently we lapse into a sense security and a behavior routine that is comfortable and easy for us which becomes boring” (pg 1). If people don’t manage this dialectical tension they could end up ruining the relationship because when you’re in a relationship it is important to go out of each other’s comfort zones and adventure new places, travel, hang out with other couples in order to keep the relationship fun and exciting.
Discussion 4: Dialectical Tension
Dialectical tension is described by Adler and Proctor (2014) as “conflicts that arise when two opposing or incompatible forces exist simultaneously,”. These conflicts fall into three different categories, connection versus autonomy, openness versus privacy and predictability versus novelty. I have personally experienced the predictability versus novelty type of dialectical tension. This type of relational dynamic describes that predictability can be damaging to a relationship; however, stability is still essential. If there is no stability and the relationship is full of nothing but surprises, it begins to feel like you hardly know the person. In my case, that is exactly what happened. For years I was in a relationship with someone who I came to realize I barely knew. In the beginning of our relationship, they acted in a way they thought would make me like them. It worked, but once we got comfortable enough for them to actually open up to me, I was shocked to find out who they truly were. It was heartbreaking to have to slowly discover that I didn’t like the person that I had spent years feeling like I knew better than anyone else. Once my days were filled with surprise after surprise, I realized that there was nothing more I wanted than stability. I now have that relationship and two years into it, we still manage to keep things unpredictable while maintaining the stability of it. As stated there is a good and bad side of unpredictability and Mike Tucker (2013) explains that there is a good side and bad side of predictability as well. The good side is feeling that you can rely on the person to follow through for you and that your expectations of them are on par with who they are so that you are not let down. The bad side results in losing the spark in your relationship due to running mindlessly through the motions of your day-to-day lives.