Brady D. Wagoner
Clark University, Worcester (MA), USA

E-mail:apollodionysian@aol.com

 

THE DIALOGICALITY OF ESTABLISHING CONTACT WITH ANOTHER:
HOW YOUNG PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITH COMING CLOSE

 

Any new human relationship is inherently ambiguous, and its establishment is a process high in intra-psychological dialogicality. Initiating interaction with an attractive person of the opposite sex is filled with dialogicality. These oppositional forces - approach the other while avoiding rejection by the other - were examined by a task of writing a letter to a person shown on a photograph. Each letter was coded for patterns of dialogicality in the seventeen (out of 30 persons) who expressed an interest in 'establishing a close relationship' with the pictured person. This analysis was used to understand movements from one sentence to the next in two selected cases. Persistent advance was possible only through a negotiation of strategies accomplished in dialogue with conceptions of the self and with conceptions of the other. Some forms of approach were avoided due to the intensity of the person's interpretation of the 'other's' possible answers, and were replaced by strategies within the subject's 'comfort zone'. A methodology that incorporates dialogicality will be outlined that allows to understand processes by which a person decides to approach or avoid contact with another.