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Close Encounters

Close Encounters
Communication in Relationships

Sixth Edition

January 2020 | 664 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Close Encounters: Communication in Relationships helps students learn about their own relationships with romantic partners, friends, and family members by focusing on issues that are central to describing and understanding close relationships. Best-selling authors Laura K. Guerrero, Peter A. Andersen, and Walid A. Afifi present research-based insights and content illustrated with engaging scenarios to show how state-of-the-art research and theory can be applied to specific issues within relationships. The updated Sixth Edition includes fresh content reflecting current research and trends in relationships, balanced with coverage of classic research, and continues to empower readers to be more critical consumers of information about relationships.

Chapter 1 • Conceptualizing Relational Communication: Definitions and Principles
The Field of Personal Relationships: A Brief History


Principles of Interpersonal Communication

Principles of Relational Communication

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 2 • Communicating Identity: The Social Self
The Development of Personal Identity

Principles of Identity Management

Communicating Identity to Others

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 3 • Drawing People Together: Forces of Social Attraction

A Framework for Understanding Attraction

Personal Qualities

Other People’s Qualities

Qualities of the Pair

Qualities of the Physical or Social Environment

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 4 • Making Sense of Our World: Managing Uncertainty and Expectancy Violations
What Is Uncertainty?

Uncertainty Reduction Theory

Secret Tests

Predicted Outcome Value Theory

The Theory of Motivated Information Management

Relational Turbulence Theory

Expectancy Violations

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 5 • Changing Relationships: Stages, Turning Points, and Dialectics
Communication Skills

Relationship Stages

Turning Points

Relational Dialectics

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 6 • Revealing and Hiding Ourselves: Self-Disclosure and Privacy


Topic Avoidance and Secret Keeping

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 7 • Communicating Closeness: Affection, Immediacy, and Social Support
Closeness in Relationships

Affectionate Communication

Immediacy Behavior

Cognitive Valence Theory

Supportive Communication

Sex Differences in the Experience and Expression of Closeness

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 8 • Making a Love Connection: Styles of Love and Attachment
What Is Love?

Love Styles

Attachment Theory

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 9 • Communicating Sexually: The Closest Physical Encounter
Sexual Attitudes

Casual Sex

Sex in Relationships

Communication About Sex

Safe Sex

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 10 • Staying Close: Maintaining Relationships
Defining Relational Maintenance

Behaviors Used to Maintain Relationships

Maintenance Behavior in Romantic Relationships

Maintenance Behavior in Same-Sex Friendships

Maintenance Behavior in Cross-Sex Friendships

Maintenance Challenges in Other Relationships

Equity Theory

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 11 • Coping With Conflict: When Relational Partners Disagree
Conflict in Relationships

Conflict Styles

Patterns of Conflict Interaction

Attributions During Conflict

Communication Skill Deficits

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 12 • Influencing Each Other: Dominance and Power Plays in Relationships
Defining Power and Related Terms

Power Principles

Interpersonal Influence Goals

Verbal Power Ploys

Nonverbal Positions of Power

Traditional Versus Egalitarian Marriages

Culture, Equality, and Power

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 13 • Hurting the Ones We Love: Relational Transgressions
Hurt Feelings in Relationships




Unrequited Love

Obsessive Relational Intrusion

Relational Violence

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 14 • Healing the Hurt: Relationship Repair and Reconciliation
The Investment Model of Relationship-Maintaining Behavior

The Model of Accommodation

Remedial Strategies


Relational Reconciliation

On-Again Off-Again Relationships

Relational Redefinition: Can We Still Be Friends?

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 15 • Ending Relationships: Disengagement and Termination
Why Relationships End

Communication as a Cause of Breakups

The Disengagement Process

The Many Ways to Leave Your Partner

The Bad and the Good of Relationship Endings

Summary and Application

Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Author Index
Subject Index
About the Authors


Instructor Resource Site

The password-protected instructor site includes:

  • Test banks
  • Editable chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides
  • Sample Course Syllabi
  • Lecture Notes
  • Discussion Questions
  • All tables and figures from the textbook 
For additional information, custom options, or to request a personalized walkthrough of these resources, please contact your sales representative.
Student Study Site


The open-access Student Study Site makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime. It offers flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, as well as learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.

Close Encounters is a great text for undergraduate students. The authors manage to balance breadth and depth; the book presents a variety of interpersonal topics and each topic is explored thoroughly, with relevant, up-to-date research.”

Christine K. Anzur
East Tennessee State University

Close Encounters is a text that makes heavy theories easy to grasp yet pushes our students to greater lengths of critical examination of their interpersonal relationships.”

Anasheh Gharabighi
Moorpark College

“This book is an excellent resource for any learner interested in knowing more about the research, theories, and ideas studied by interpersonal communication scholars. Not only can students develop a solid foundation about the field from this text, but they can frequently refer back as they deepen their understanding.”

Carrie D. Kennedy-Lightsey
Stephen F. Austin State University

“This text engages relationship research and theorizing to illuminate the complex experiences embedded in close relationships.”

Colleen Warner Colaner
University of Missouri

Close Encounters is a solid, well-written, and well-organized textbook for interpersonal communication.”

Zuoming Wang
University of North Texas
Key features
  • New and updated content: Reflecting current research and trends in relationships, content includes research on the college hookup culture, re-vamped discussion of breakups that includes strategies commonly used today such as ghosting, and a new discussion about diversity.
  • Infographics: These boxes present information visually in graphs so students can see trends, sex differences, or rankings of categories in a memorable way.
  • Discussion Board Questions: These questions found at the end of each chapter facilitate online or classroom discussions.


  • Current, interdisciplinary research: Research reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the study of personal relationships and draws from across the social science disciplines while maintaining a focus on communication. 
  • High-interest topics: Intriguing subjects, such as long-distance relationships, cross-sex friendships, friends with benefits, flirting, sexual interaction, cohabitation, breakups, and the “dark side” of relational communication are explored in depth.
  • Put Yourself to the Test boxes: These exercises found throughout the book assess various aspects of students’ own relationships and communication styles.
  • Highlights boxes: These boxes highlight some of the main ideas in the text by summarizing or expanding upon key issues in relationship research. 
  • Tech Talk boxes: These boxes take an in-depth look at specific research issues related to technology and social media in relationships such as cell phones, social networking sites, and online dating sites.

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781544349251

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