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Sure, I know how to talk to people!

3.2 Diagnosing maladaptive and adaptive behaviour

In the next activity you will move on to consider a different example, of a different type of behaviour.

Activity 4 Plotting someone’s position on the interpersonal circle

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Watch the following video and pay attention to the behaviour of the male neighbour in this neighbourhood interaction. After you’ve watched the video, you will be asked to diagnose his behaviour on both the adaptive and maladaptive wheels.

Download this video clip.Video player: pwc_2_w3_video5.mp4
Skip transcript: Video 5 A neighbourhood interaction

Transcript: Video 5 A neighbourhood interaction

WOMAN:
Hiya!
MAN:
Oh, hello.
WOMAN:
Sorry to bother you, but--
MAN:
Not at all.
WOMAN:
Do you know, Mrs. Smith has not been feeling very well and she's in hospital and--
MAN:
Oh, no.
WOMAN:
Yeah, I know. But I'm just wondering, do you know if her cat's been fed? Because I've got access to a key if someone needs me to do that for her.
MAN:
Do you know what? I'm so sorry to hear about that Mrs. Smith. And she's been fantastic to us, Mrs. Smith. You know what?
We were on holiday-- when was it-- Fuerteventura, a couple-- well, no, it must be five years ago now. And we got stuck there! We couldn't get-- all the [INAUDIBLE] on some sort of strike or something like that.
And I would give her a ring and say, could you look after our allotment? Because we had all sorts of things coming up and things that needed doing. And do you know what? She went down there and she looks after the place for-- what?
It must have been three weeks. And I couldn't thank her enough. I mean, she's been absolutely fantastic. I mean, what a neighbour Mrs. Smith is.
WOMAN:
Yeah.
MAN:
I'll tell you what. She has been one of the best neighbours on the entire street. This is a very good street, mind you. There's some lovely people down here.
I've seen you around. You look like a lovely person. But you'll get to know it, the longer you're here, that everybody around there in this community, they look after each other.
WOMAN:
Yeah.
MAN:
And I can't speak highly enough of Mrs. Smith. She's been absolutely fantastic. Now, from one day to the next, I know that I can always trust Mrs. Smith.
And you, you know that you can trust anybody on this particular street and you can go in there for a cup of tea. And you won't be bothered. People like to talk--
[INTERPOSING VOICES]
--around here. Course they like to talk. But that's a good thing, isn't it? Because it kind of gives you a sense of community.
WOMAN:
Yeah.
MAN:
So you're very welcome here. And I'll tell you what--
WOMAN:
Thank you.
MAN:
--Mrs. Smith not being well is one of the worst things I've heard for quite a long time. Because I've got a lot of time for that woman. And my wife's one of her best friends as well. I mean, she doesn't see her that often, but she sees her often enough, you know what I mean?
We always say hello on the street. And she'll always say, come in for a coffee. [INAUDIBLE] for a coffee. And I will. And I will go for a coffee because I can do some help for her.
End transcript: Video 5 A neighbourhood interaction
Video 5 A neighbourhood interaction
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Having watched the video, and concentrating on adaptive patterns of behaviour, do you think the male neighbour displayed any adaptive behaviours? If so, where would you plot him as being on the adaptive wheel?

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Discussion

The male neighbour is very very talkative indeed and it is relatively easy to identify that his behaviour is cooperative. He is social, warm and friendly (e.g. ‘you are very welcome here’). On occasion he is also supportive to the female neighbour (e.g. ‘I am so sorry to hear that’). As such it is easy to see that his behaviour is mainly cooperative behaviour but he is also clearly dominating the conversation. For that reason the behaviour could be plotted somewhere between the ‘Supportive, conversational and non-judgemental’ and the ‘social, warm and friendly’ octants. Because his behaviour is quite intense we would make the mark on the plot towards the outside of the circle.

Now, do you think he displayed any maladaptive behaviours? If so, where would you plot him as being on the maladaptive wheel?

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Discussion

While the male neighbour’s behaviour is mainly adaptive, it does veer into maladaptivity in one octant – at times he is a little over-familiar and perhaps a little obsequious (e.g. ‘you look like a lovely person’) and as such we would plot him as being within the ‘overfamiliar, obsequious and desperate’ octant – but the behaviour is not too intense on the maladaptive wheel.

As you have experienced when plotting the behaviour of the male neighbour sometimes even highly cooperative people can be quite hard to deal with! In the next section you will start to consider how you may be able to work with these sorts of behaviours as you move on to consider the potential responses to such positions on the interpersonal circle.

PWC_2

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