Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living

Author(s): José I. Rodríguez

Edition: 2

Copyright: 2019

Pages: 290


Details: Print Product |

Provide your students with powerful tools to communicate effectively in interpersonal relationships.

With innovative content on empathy, mindfulness, the neuroscience of emotions, implicit bias, and more, the Second Edition of Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living is an outstanding companion for communication courses.

Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living helps students learn how to communicate and interact with other people in a variety of interpersonal settings. This text offers students the tools for success in building relationships with other people, developing fluency in empathic communication, and enhancing awareness of the dynamics of relationships in daily living.

Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living gives students a better understanding of how to use the different modes of communication - verbal, nonverbal, and mediated - to become better communicators in relationships.

Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living uses three elements to teach students how to communicate in relationships with others:

  • Printed information describing different aspects of interpersonal communication to encourage active reading, with a conversational tone that students appreciate.
  • Engaging classroom activities that facilitate and demonstrate real-world communication interactions among people, so that students can learn by doing in a structured setting.
  • Photographs of individuals characterizing multicultural, multilingual, and multimodal traditions from around the world to help students relate to the visual content and see themselves, their friends, and their family members represented in the diverse images.

This inclusive learning package actively involves students in practicing their new communication skills in ways that work. In addition to the innovative text and classroom activities, there are presentations in PowerPoint® format, exams, and instructor resources.


SECTION 1 Understanding Interpersonal Communication
Chapter 1 Jumping into the Mix: Let’s Talk about Basics

Communication: A Working Definition
Communication: An Area of Study
Interpersonal and Impersonal Communication: The Differences
Characteristics of Interpersonal Relationships
Interpersonal Communication Principles
Learning About Interpersonal Communication
Helping Us Meet Primary Human Needs
Improving Physical and Emotional Health
Helping Us Understand and Improve Family Dynamics
Improving Romantic Relationships
Improving Relationships at Work
Cultivating Rewarding Friendships
Interpersonal Communication as a Process
Interpersonal Communication Models
Methods for Studying Communication
Arriving at Conclusions: Using Communication Research
Improving Interpersonal Communication
Control: What Can You Expect?
Communication Competence
Communication Competence: A Model
Realistic Expectations About Competence
Chapter Summary

Chapter 2 What’s Up with Other People? A Matter of Perspective
Communicating as Human Beings in Relationships
The Positivist Tradition
Positivist Language and Determinism
The Humanistic Tradition
The Teleological Position
Social Constructions
Creating Social Reality
Knowing in Relational Communication
The Objective Stance
The Subjective Stance
Postmodern Stories in Popular Culture
Multiple Realities in The Matrix
Two Worlds in Stranger Than Fiction
Liminality in The Twilight Saga
The Postmodern Idea of Multiple Realities in Superhero Films
Postmodern Dilemma
The Postmodern Condition: Crisis of Meaning and Creative Potential
Valuing in Relational Communication
The Absence of Value: Objectivity
The Presence of Value: Emancipation
Perception Detection
Communicating About Perspectives
Chapter Summary

Chapter 3 Your Personal Brand: The Self in Action
Defining Self-concept
Defining Self-awareness
The Saintly Side of Self
Interpersonal Interaction: Six Identities to Explore
Developing Self-concept
Identity: Being Versus Seeming
Hybrid Identity: A Variety of Selves
Selfhood and Solidarity in the Moments of Life
Examining the Looking Glass Self
Social Comparison: Assessing Yourself by Contrast
Reference Groups
Upward and Downward Comparisons
Self Awareness
Self-esteem: Your Personal Value
Selective Exposure
Getting a Grip
Cultivating a Culture of Compassion on Campus: A Different Perspective on Mass Violence
The Self: Three Major Components
Attitudes, Values, and Beliefs
Personality and Communication Style
Personality Types
Introverts and Extroverts
Intuitives and Sensors
Thinkers and Feelers
Judgers and Perceivers
Sensory-Processing Sensitivity: The Highly Sensitive Person
Self-concept and Communication
The Popeye Fallacy
The Zoom Theory of Experiential Awareness
The Dilemma of Cancel Culture
Communication Missteps with Cancel Culture
Impression Management: Influencing How People Perceive You
Chapter Summary

Chapter 4 Your Crew, Your Tribe: Group Affiliation and Culture
Exploring Your Worldview
The Nature of Paradigms
Social Identity: Group Affiliation in Context
Salience: What Is Important and Relevant?
Cultural Groups in Everyday Life
The Power of Cultural Values
High and Low Uncertainty Avoidance
High and Low Power Distance
Individualism and Collectivism
Long-term and Short-term Time Inclination
Masculine and Feminine Inclination
The Phases of Culture Shock
Group Affiliation and Interpersonal Communication
The Significance of Ingroups and Outgroups
Effects of Ingroup and Outgroup Knowledge
Awareness of Inequality
Combating Discrimination with Communication
Communicating Social Identity in Everyday Living
The Dynamics of Ingroup and Outgroup Communication
Minimizing Intergroup Biases Effectively
Chapter Summary

SECTION 2 Interpreting Messages and Cultivating Relationship Skills
Chapter 5 Seeing it Like it Isn’t, and Feelin’ Like it Is: Perceiving Messages

Perception: A Basic Definition
The Selecting Stage
Perceiving Passively and Actively
Common Perceptual Biases
Selective Perception
Confirmation Bias
The G.I. Joe Fallacy: Knowing and Doing Are Not the Same Thing
The Organizing Stage
Perceptual Organization
Cognitive Complexity
The Interpreting Stage
Locus of Control
The Remembering Stage
Selective Recall
Perceptual Barriers in Relationships
Barriers Related to Limited Mental Resources
Imposing Consistency
Barriers Related to Upholding Self-image
Fundamental Attribution Error
Self-serving Bias
Enhancing Perceptual Skills
The Selecting Stage: Paying Attention
The Organizing Stage: Cultivating Cognitive Complexity
The Interpreting Stage: Verifying Perceptions
Practicing Mindfulness
Perception in our Electronic World
More ways to Harness Perceptual Knowledge
Chapter Summary

Chapter 6 What You Say and How You Say it: The Power of Spoken Word
The Subjective and Symbolic Nature of Words
Understanding the Triangle of Meaning
The Power of Words
The Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis
The Content and Relational Meaning of Words
Rule-governed Properties of Words
Beginning and Ending Conversations: Some Common Rules
Maintaining Conversations
The Principle of Turn-taking
The Principle of Dialogue
The Principle of Cooperation
Communication Superpowers
Superpower One: Emotional and Physical Health
Superpower Two: Political and Social power
Restoring the Cooperative Principle
The Clarity of Words
Using Vague Language
Using Language Incorrectly
Creating Meaning in Numerous Ways
Using Language Cautiously
Communicating Identity by Using Words
The Use of Jargon
The Use of Slang
The Contextual Features of Words
The Context of History
Understanding Language and Gender
Features of Masculine Speech
Features of Feminine Speech
Understanding Language and Culture
Chapter Summary

Chapter 7 Nonverbal Moves that Matter: The Body and Technology in Context
Defining Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal Communication Characteristics
We Believe Nonverbal Messages
We Cannot Not Communicate
Nonverbal Communication Conveys Emotion and Status
Nonverbal Communication Categories
Body Movement
Affect Displays
Face and Eyes
Distance and Space
Computer-Mediated Communication
Limitations of CMC
Deceptive Communication Online
Using CMC Effectively
Computer-Mediated Soulmates?
Chapter Summary

Chapter 8 Fighting, Fleeing and Freezing: Managing Interpersonal Conflict
Conflict Defined
Misconceptions About Conflict
First Misconception: Conflict Is Preventable
Second Misconception: Misunderstandings Cause Conflict
Third Misconception: Conflict Always Has a Solution
Fourth Misconception: Signs of Conflict Signal Relationship Disaster
Pseudo, Simple, and Ego Conflict
Recognizing the Different Stages of Conflict
Constructive and Destructive Conflict
Conflict Styles
Looking at Conflict and Emotions
The Neurophysiology of Emotions
The Impact of Emotions
The Dark Side
Coping With Emotions and Conflict Effectively
Taking a “Cooling Off” Period
Assessing Your Expectations and Needs
Deciding on a Neutral Time and Place for Discussion
Staying Positive
Explaining the Source of Conflict
The Conflict Whisperer
Chapter Summary

SECTION 3 Developing, Managing and Dissolving Relationships
Chapter 9 Getting this Party Started: Initiating and Developing Relationships

Relational Stages
The Process of Interpersonal Attraction
Physical Attraction
Communication Accommodation Theory
Relational Escalation: The Five Stages
The Initiating Stage
Uncertainty Reduction Theory
The Experimenting Stage
Social Penetration Theory
Challenges in Relationship Initiation
The Intensifying Stage
The Love Styles
The Integrating Stage
Relational Dialectics Theory: Background and Features
The Bonding Stage
For Real?
Integrating and Romancing
The Assumptions of the Relational Models
Assuming Responsibility for Loving: The Ethics of Romancing
The Long Haul
Chapter Summary

Chapter 10 Downhill Drama: Deteriorating and Dissolving Relationships
Relational Misbehaviors
Communicating in a Hurtful Manner
Deceptive Communication
Deception by Omission
Deception by Commission
Relational De-Escalation and Termination
Should I Stay or Should I Go? Social Exchange Theory
Limitations of Social Exchange Theory
“Costs” That Lead to Breakup
Relational Investments
De-Escalating and Terminating Relationships
A Unilateral Breakup Strategy: Truc Tells Reiko, “I Think We Should Move On …”
Knapp’s Model
Duck’s Relational Dissolution
Intrapsychic Phase
Dyadic Phase
Social Phase
Grave-dressing Phase
A Perceptual Bias Perspective
Attachment: A Key Variable in Our Relational Patterns
Attachment Theory
Attachment Styles and Expectations
The Bright Sides of Anger and Sarcasm
Alternative Relationships
Chapter Summary

Chapter 11 How Can I Support You? Communicating Ethically in Relationships
Defining Ethics
Are We Relating or Objectifying?
Two Major Attitudes: I–It and I–You
Objectivity: A Catalyst for Cruelty
Buber’s Event of Relation
The Fundamental Ethical Relationship: The Self in Question
Moral Responsibility and Dignity: The Ethical Self
How Objectification Weakens Ethical Communication
The Phenomenology of Empathy
Empathy in Action: Performing Ethically
Empathy and Comforting Communication: A Social Scientific Perspective
Altruistic and Egoistic Models
The Agency of Empathy in Popular Culture
Rape on Native Reservations: Survival and Self-Determination
Comforting Communication: What to Say When Someone Is Suffering
The Empathic Brain: Mirror Neurons and Relating to Others Effectively
The Absence of Empathy: A Model of Mental Madness
Ethical Threshold in Compliance-Seeking Situations
How Rude!
Dealing with Incivility
Chapter Summary

Chapter 12 Cultivating Cool Vibes:  Sentiment, Listening and Responding
Communication Sentiment
Creating Negative Sentiment
The Four Horsemen
The Power of Negative Sentiment Override
Creating Positive Sentiment
The Five-to-One Ratio: Creating Positive Interactions
Cultivating Positive Communication Sentiment: Listening
Effective Listening: Some Common Difficulties
Active Listening Versus Pseudolistening
Why is Listening so Important? Why is Stonewalling so Toxic?
The Phases of Listening: A Process to Consider
The Investment Perspective
Listening Boot Camp
The Big Payoff
Cultivating Positive Communication Sentiment: Responding
Challenges to Effective Responding
Responding in Extremes
Disconfirming Responses
Positive Responding Styles
Confirming Responses
Reflective Versus Directive Responses
“I” Language
Chapter Summary



José I. Rodríguez

Depth of Experience
Dr. José I. Rodríguez began teaching at the university level when Madonna was actively promoting her Material Self as The Material Girl. At that time, as a junior at Long Beach State, Dr. Rodríguez was recruited to teach a popular facilitation course, focusing on interpersonal communication. Today, he is celebrating his third decade of teaching communication and a variety of other courses and workshops at colleges, universities, and organizations throughout the country.

Making a Difference
One of his heart-felt goals in life is to make the world a more empathic place through the practice of mindful communication. He is immensely grateful to his over 10,000 students, in the last decade alone, who have shown him what works and doesn’t work in an ever-evolving approach for helping people become effective communicators.

Focusing on Communication
A proud communication strategist and data scientist, with an eclectic background in rhetoric and performance studies, he holds several advanced degrees, all with a communication focus, from Long Beach State (an MA in Communication Studies) and Michigan State University (a Ph.D. in Communication). His diverse research is published in top-tier journals such as: Text & Performance Quarterly, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Western Journal of Black Studies, Communication Research, and Communication Education. Blending big data with thick, rich data, he developed the first psychometric measures to assess the effectiveness of sexual assault interventions that use proactive performance, which features the highest level of audience participation and collaborative engagement.

Advancing Research and Community Engagement
Dr. Rodríguez has received awards for the quality of his work from the National Communication Association (NCA), International Communication Association (ICA), and Association of Teacher Educators (ATE). His expertise has been featured on TEDxCSULB, ABC7 Eyewitness News, and KMEX 34 Univision in Los Angeles. He has also found the time to serve as a trainer and consultant for public and private organizations across the nation, partnering with brands to create messages that help people relate to each other in ways that work. As a volunteer in his local community, he facilitated role performance training activities in a 16-week program, serving the needs of homeless, female survivors of sexual trauma—some of whom were combat veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

Going Global, Multicultural, and Multilingual
In his role as Coordinator of Multicultural Innovations for the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity program (BUILD), Dr. Rodríguez created interactive workshops to cultivate a culture of inclusive excellence through conversations that make a difference in daily discussions. As a native speaker of Spanish who has lived in the Caribbean, Europe, and North America, he is updating the 2nd Edition of his latest text, Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living, to reflect the embodied and authentic experiences of multicultural and multilingual traditions throughout the world.

Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living is not a textbook alone, but also an active conversation with readers, asking them to respond in a personal way.  Thus, the book epitomizes interpersonal communication, rather than simply talking about interpersonal communication. The chapter on ethical communication is particularly important in our modern climate of self-gratification. Dr. Rodríguez helps readers understand how to consider others and why this practice makes personal relationships more fulfilling.

Laura Witz, University of Maryland University College


Dr. Rodríguez makes interpersonal communication come alive with a unique blend of engaging theories, compelling concepts, and current research. Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living is also written in an accessible style, making this an ideal textbook for students and instructors.

Jeff Samano, Fullerton College 


In this text, Dr. Rodríguez shows that his heart and soul are in teaching. He has never lost sight of the most important job we have as academics: to help students realize their own potential. Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living hits the mark in more ways than one!​

Nagesh Rao, University of Ohio


Professor Rodríguez’s Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living is a valuable book that introduces students to the fundamental as well as advanced concepts of interpersonal communication.  It also provides helpful information to foster ethical and mindful communication in ways that are critical for successful relationships in today’s society.​

Fariba Sadeghi-Tabrizi, El Camino College


Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living provides students with a user-friendly guide to improve their relationship skills using the most up-to-date concepts, principles, and social scientific theories. The examples are clear, down-to-earth, and relevant to students’ personal and professional lives, which make the book a pleasure to read. This book also addresses modern issues along with the positive impact of being mindful, empathic, and ethical in our everyday communication with others. Students will be grateful for Dr. Rodríguez’s writing style because it is conversational, passionate, understandable, and inclusive. Faculty will also appreciate the engaging skill-building activities and the resources that come along with the book.

Leslie Ramos Salazar, West Texas A&M University


Dr. Rodríguez has done it! Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living uses the best combination of relevant communication theories, examples, research, and more! Learning interpersonal communication hasn't been this engaging in a while. I find myself accessing all of the information in this textbook with ease, and my students are able to do so as well. The chapters and sections are very well-organized, and the content is easy to follow. Additionally, the language used by Dr. Rodríguez is appropriate, and I can tell he values diverse experiences and uses inclusive language when discussing those experiences. I highly recommend this text for any and all interpersonal communication courses.​

Riahna Bjorsen, Chaffey College


Dr.  José I. Rodríguez has given us a gift with Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living. Rejecting the monotonous writing style of so many other textbooks, Dr. Rodríguez shows us that reading about relationships need not be mind-numbing: it can, in fact, be conversational—dare I say enjoyable? But this experience is not a superficial pleasure; rather, the delight in reading this book comes from understanding why and how social interactions matter. By drawing our attention to a range of significant topics—such as how federal sexual assault policies have failed Indigenous women—Dr. Rodríguez teaches us that relational communication is not some lifeless subject needed for passing a test, but a fundamental and critical topic if we are to create a more ethical and just society.

Robert Mejia, North Dakota State University


Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living by Dr. José I. Rodríguez is an engaging textbook for introductory and advanced students alike. The book contains a wide array of real-world examples, making the book engaging and relatable. As a result, students are encouraged to reflect upon and think critically about their own interpersonal relationships. While some textbooks talk abstractly and theoretically about this subject, Dr. Rodríguez has made it simultaneously rigorous and practical. The textbook reinforces the necessity of improving our interpersonal communication skills. A must for any interpersonal communication course!

Julia G. Raz, Los Angeles Community College District


Dr. Rodriguez's textbook, Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living, offers a depth of insight on academic conversations and theory. The book is comprehensive and accessible to various audiences. Packed with relevant and relatable examples of the dynamics of interpersonal communication, his book is an essential teaching tool and a window into complex theory, serving as an invaluable incentive for meaningful class discussions. 

Andrew Avitt, Peace Corps, Southwest University, China


Dr. Rodríguez’s Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living textbook is a great resource for both the professor and the student!  This book covers relevant and pertinent interpersonal communication topics that are useful, especially in today’s society.  His “Using What You Are Learning” sections at the end of each chapter have been extremely helpful for students to practice each communication theme that is discussed.  Students genuinely appreciate these activities as well as the content covering self-awareness and personal communication styles.  This book is engaging and user-friendly, in part, because it does not intimidate students and does a fantastic job covering important interpersonal communication skills needed in our modern world!                           
Cynthia Ross, Musicians Institute, College of Contemporary Music


Dr. Rodríguez's book is definitely one of the most comprehensive introductory texts for teaching and learning about interpersonal communication! The standout feature of Interpersonal Communication for Contemporary Living is the way Dr. Rodríguez guides the reader to think of interpersonal communication as more than just something two people do: it is an area of study that can help us understand our ways of thinking and being in the world together. With a plethora of real-life examples that resonate with students and instructors alike, this textbook is a must-read! I highly recommend it!

Manuel D. Pulido, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


The book was a pleasure to read because it did a great job at explaining important concepts, giving examples, and then summarizing the main points at the end of the chapter. This approach really helped me go over my notes to study more effectively, and make sure I took away key terms.

A. T. (Student)

Related ISBN's: 9781524993214, 9781792400476




ISBN 9781524993214

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