The Fourth Edition of this highly successful textbook provides a unique and comprehensive introduction to the study and understanding of human relationships. This thoroughly revised edition combines the most recent research from social, personality, and developmental psychology, communication studies, family studies, and sociology with greater interdisciplinarity coverage and emphasis on processes of everyday life. Fresh insights from family studies, developmental psychology, occupational, and organizational psychology also combine to bring new perspectives to this thorough survey of the field. Thoroughly updated, with new chapters on Relating Difficulty, "small media" technology and relationships, and practical applications, the new edition is responsive to the student demand for insight into their own lives.

The Management of Relationship Difficulty

The management of relationship difficulty

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, the oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely [scornful arrogance], the pangs o’ despised love, the law's delay, the insolence of office, and the spurns that patient merit o’ the unworthy takes … who would these fardels bear to grunt and sweat under a weary life?

(Shakespeare's HAMLET, Act Three [just before the balcony scene])

Focus points for note taking when reading this chapter:

  • What makes a relationship difficult?
  • Are there difficult people?
  • What routine obligations of relationships do we accept as just part of being in a relationship?
  • What sorts of trouble in a relationship go beyond the pale? What makes them different from the things that we are prepared to just ...
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