Responsiveness in romantic partners’ interactions

TitleResponsiveness in romantic partners’ interactions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsArican-Dinc B, Gable SL
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
KeywordsCapitalization, Intimacy, Perceived responsiveness, Self-disclosure, Social support

Close relationships, such as romantic partner dyads, involve numerous social exchanges in myriad contexts. During these exchanges, when one of the interaction partners discloses information, the other partner typically communicates a response. The discloser then evaluates the extent to which that response conveys that the responder understood their thoughts, goals, and needs, validated their position, and cared for their well-being. The degree to which the discloser believes that the partner showed this understanding, validation, and caring to the disclosure is known as perceived responsiveness. Perceived responsiveness has long been viewed as a fundamental construct in the development and maintenance of intimacy in romantic relationships. Perceived responsiveness is a common currency that lies at the heart of interactions across multiple contexts, such as social support, gratitude, and capitalization interactions. Being a responsive interaction partner starts with understanding what the other is conveying and how they are viewing the information. Thus, a critical step in the ability to convey responsiveness to a partner is listening. While listening is the first step and indicator of the listening motivation of a responder, a responder must also have the ability and motivation to convey their understanding, validation, and caring to the discloser.

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