Social Penetration Theory: Irvin Altman and Dalmas Taylor
The theory of social penetration is at the basis of every formation of a new relationship.This theory is an interaction between persons who slowly learn about each other atfirst formally and then informally.Social penetration is defined as revealing ones self to others, this process is cautious and slow and some are more cautious then others.
In order to find out more about a person you must slowly gain their trust and equally reveal information about yourself.Altman and Taylor refer to this theory as an onion with many layers.Slowly we begin to peel away and understand more and more about the person as the chose to reveal them.However as a person reveals these layers we become more vulnerable to that person we tell them to.These layers are only accessible once the person reveals them self, any other way could destroy the possibility of a relationship.
An interesting point is that once the layers are revealed and you learn more about a person it is acceptable to talk about something already revealed.This is how people establish a relationship when they can establish a form of trust and understanding about one another.Which therefore allows each other to communicate on a personal level.
I personally experienced this theory at the beginning of this semester, at the time I was not aware of the theory but now have relatable experiences to the theory.I had experienced and in some ways still am social penetration with my roommate.We were going to be living in the same room together for a year so appropriate interaction had to take place.We started off simple with family members, who people were in pictures we were putting up, and favorite bands and artists.Slowly we began to form a friendly relationship.
We progressed with significant memories of home, family status, and jobs we had over the summer.Then we began to learn about sensitive terri…