How can you turn your “because” insights into productive actions?

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Textbook: Looking Out Looking In Ronald B. Adler & Russell F. Proctor II Cengage (available online)
Activity 1:
Playing Dear Abby (Chapter 9, Communication & Relational Dynamics).
Many advice columns tackle interpersonal issues. Go to one of the “Dear Abby” websites by columnist
Abigail Van Buren. Once on her website, pull up several of the columns. Look for examples for each of
the following:
1. Why we form relationships: Does the questioner talk about appearance, similarity, complementarity,
reciprocal attraction, competence, disclosure, proximity or rewards? Give an example of each one you
find.
2. Find a column that addresses dialectical tensions? For example, connection versus autonomy: For
example, an adult with a parent who treats that adult like a child? Predictability versus novelty: For
example, a romantic relationship where one partner wants to try something that makes the other partner
uncomfortable? Openness versus privacy: For example, a person asking the advice columnist if or how he
or she should tell someone something. Relate the dialectical tension to the behavior and discuss.
3. Find a column that addresses male and female intimacy styles. After reading pages 279-280 in the
textbook you should be able to locate a column about expressing caring such as sharing thoughts and
feelings, shared activities, doing favors, and so on.
4. Write a 2+ pg. (double-spaced) report addressing each of the above
Activity 2:
Having the Will to Change (Chapter 3, Identity & Presenting the Self)
This option demonstrates how an obsolete self-concept becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that may keep
the student from growing. It also helps students understand the many ways they can change and develop
their communication habits.
1. First, generate a list of “I can’t” statements. For example, “I can’t pass math,” “I can’t keep my
apartment clean.” I can’t find time to spend with my children/friend/spouse/partner.” Analyze the
statements by replacing the “I can’t” portion with “I won’t because ______” or “I haven’t yet because
_____.” Include these in your typed report.
2. In a 2+ page report relating to chapter 3 of the text, include discussion on the following:
A. What did you discover about the differences between being unable and unwilling to do
something?
B. What are some of the negative consequences that result from believing you ‘can’t” do
something?
C. How do “can’t” and “won’t” affect our abilities to accomplish goals?
D. How can you turn your “because” insights into productive actions?
E. What did you learn about yourself from doing this activity?

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