Knapp's Relational Development Applied to Interpersonal Relationships

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Table of Contents

  • Initiation
  • Experimentation
  • Intensifying
  • Integration
  • Termination

According to our textbook, DK communication (pg. 180), a relationship is the state of connectedness, with a heightened emotional involvement and commitment, that we have with another person. I’ll be analyzing my relationship with my high school friend, Lizzy. We met freshman year of high school and became best friends.

Mark Knapp stated that interpersonal relations develop through different stages—so I will use Knapp’s relational development model to analyze my relationship with my friend. Our relationship first went through the “coming together” phase of Knapp’s model – which is the first phase of the Knapp model and determines whether the relationship is going to be long-term or not. From this phase, we went through the Initiation, experimentation, intensifying, and Integration stages. From the “coming apart” phase, I think we just went through the termination stage—after high school we attended different colleges and just drifted apart. Let’s start with the “coming together” phase.

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 During the initiation stage my friend Lizzy and I made our first impressions towards each other. When I first met her I tried to display my best self, I was never very good at making friends since I am very shy—so I was trying my best to make a good impression. She also made a good first impression of herself. She was super nice and sweet. I was observing Lizzy, so I can learn more about her – I’m sure she was doing the same. When I first meet someone, I tend to observe them, so I can try and figure out the person and learn more about them.


During the experimental stage, Lizzy and I were engaging in a lot of small talk. In this stage, we began to engage ourselves in self-disclosure— like that we can learn more information about each other. We used small talk for communication quite often during this stage. The small talk was used to help us find a common area of interest. At this stage our friendship began to grow.


The intensifying stage is like a much deeper version of the experimentation stage. In the experimental stage, Lizzy and I were using a lot of small talk as communication – to find out more about the common interests we shared. However, in this stage the self- disclosure we engaged in deepened. We became more comfortable when talking about personal topics. In this stage, we were communicating with each other a lot more, whether it was face-to-face or just by texting.


In the integration stage, Lizzy and I, began hanging out a lot more with each other, whether, it was in school (picking out same classes), at our homes, movies, or at the mall. At this stage, we were communicating even more than in the intensifying stage. Our trust towards each other had definitely grown by this stage. We became best friends.


When Lizzy and I graduated high school, we separated ways and just sort of drifted away. We kept in touch but it just wasn’t the same, we weren’t communicating as much. She was going to college in NYC, I was going to college in Long island—after that we never saw each as much. However, we did try to make plans and hang, but life happened and we were always busy.  

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