There is a theory called the social penetration theory which states that as relationships develops, interpersonal communication moves from relatively shallow to a deeper and more intimate one. Information exchange would be from the most public ones to the most personal. It’s analogy is depicted on an onion bulb. When the relationship is rather shallow, only the outer layer of the bulb was being touched ( biographical info was presented). But as the relationship delves deeper, the onion was little by little peeled until it reaches on the insides (personal info like dreams and fears were presented).
To test this theory, we made an activity on which we would approach total strangers and kindly ask them for their personal information, from the basic ones to the more sensitive ones. We headed on the most crowded place we could think of on a Tuesday morning, SM City. In terms of finding the right subjects, it was quite a challenge since we wanted to ask strangers who are a bit matured like those in their mid-20 and 30s so that it would be easy for us to ask such sensitive questions. Overall, it was a challenging yet exciting activity.
We approached them in a friendly manner and with a smile. When we told them of the activity, most of them was caught off-guard. To get their approval, we told them that we are students from this university and the information that they’ve given would be strictly confidential. In the later, all of them agreed. At first, it was easy for them to relay their biographical info like name, age and the like. As the interview progresses, most of them felt uneasy especially when we asked them about their fantasies and fears in life. Some tried to dismiss the questions, but some were brave enough to answer. There was this group of seafarers who answered us without hesitation up to the point that they talked about their trips all over the world and gave us advise in our studies.
For us, it was a fun activity since we got the opportunity to further enhance our communication skills by approaching complete strangers. We set aside all of our worries and insecurities and stay heads up for the challenge. We knew that some respondents might be uncomfortable through their facial expressions and gestures, so we tried to be polite and considerate as much as possible. There was a time when one of us was hesitant to ask because a certain sensitive question was a taboo from her religion. But she just thought that such information would help her understand this person’s perspective and the sensitive topic as well.
As what stated in the introduction, information is such a sacred matter. Information reveals a person’s strengths and vulnerabilities. Through this activity, we learned how communication shape relationships. Revealing such information holds the person being revealed accountable. Revelation of such information requires trust and respect. When best friends share personal secrets for example reveals that their bond is intense. We must remember we are accountable of the information that we got. We must learn to respect, to treat these information dearly, to never take for granted because it is the very reason why relationships exists.
Jessah Jen Garbino
Mark Angelo Estil