4 Responding using the interpersonal circle
In the activities provided so far in this course, you have focused on diagnosing behaviour. However, the reason why the model is so useful is because it allows you to think through and plan for how you can respond within an interaction, using its principles to encourage rapport. In this section you will start to build on your knowledge of diagnosing behaviours to start thinking about appropriate adaptive responses.
From Video 3 in Section 3, you learned about the principles of interactions from the interpersonal circle. You learned that dominance invites submission, and vice versa, whereas on the hostility–cooperation axis both hostility and cooperation invite the same behaviour in response. In this section, you will develop your knowledge of this area slightly further.
Activity 5 Reconsidering the neighbour’s interaction
Bearing in mind the male neighbour’s behaviour – and taking into account the principles of the interpersonal circle – where would you anticipate someone responding to the man in the video might be plotted on the adaptive and maladaptive wheels of the circle?
The male neighbour was cooperative and dominant. Therefore it is likely that someone would be hostile towards him and dominant.
The male neighbour was cooperative and dominant. Therefore it is likely that someone would be cooperative back to him and submissive.
The male neighbour was hostile. Therefore it is likely that someone would be cooperative back to him.
The male neighbour was cooperative and submissive. Therefore it is likely that someone would become hostile and submissive when talking to him.
The correct answer is b.
The male neighbour was both adaptively and maladaptively cooperative (i.e. both social, warm and friendly and on occasion over-familiar and obsequious). According to the principles of the circle, this type of communication is likely to lead to the respondent being cooperative in response. Because the male neighbour dominates the conversation so much this is likely to lead to the respondent being submissive. The risk for the person responding to the male neighbour is that they display behaviour that is the maladaptive version of cooperative submissive behaviour, i.e. behaviour that is uncertain, hesitant and apologetic.
In the next section you will find out why avoiding maladaptive behaviour is so important.