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Humor and Relational Maintenance

  • By: Amy M. Bippus
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Humor is an importance part of close partners' interactions with each other and the maintenance of intimacy. Relational maintenance refers to those behaviors that sustain or repair an existing relationship. People engage in a range of communicative behaviors because they want to maintain a satisfactory degree of closeness or intimacy in their relationships with others. Greeting each other affectionately, giving gifts, doing small favors, spending time together with friends and family, and doing errands and house chores together are all examples of ways that people reinforce or repair their bonds with each other. Behaviors that partners may use strategically at the onset of the relationship (such as expressing affection) may become part of a couple's standard routine over the course of that relationship. In general, ...

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