Week 4 Theory: Social Penetration Theory
Social penetration theory is a theory that states as a relationship grows and builds, two people should become gradually more vulnerable to each other. This allows the two people the openness and ability to grow closer, as their walls are broken down and each other are let in. Their relationship should inherently start shallow and then grow deeper and more intimate. I feel as though I’ve experienced this theory with some of the Pickles, and not at all with others. It’s really interesting, too, because there are really only 6 of us, 7 including me.
I feel like I’ve become closest to two of my coworkers, found a fair amount of comfort with one, and then find a lack of comfort with the other two. This is not to say that my coworkers that I’m not as close with are mean, or bad in any way. They are perfectly fine people, but perhaps we just don’t vibe well together. Some are more closed off than others and also, I think it might just be hard for me to relate as someone who isn’t age wise too much younger than the others, but experience wise feels very different. One interesting factor is that most of my coworkers are from the east coast.
There’s a distinct difference in west coast culture and east coast culture. I feel as if east coasters are more aggressive go-getters, not in any negative way, but the culture seems to progress as people seek out, and sometimes demand what they want. They know what they want, and they go get it. They may be less friendly on the outside, but don’t mean any harm or discomfort. They respect boundaries and might prefer distance, whereas as a Californian, I know I am naturally louder, outgoing, and open to expressing how I feel. I actually think my fellow east coast coworkers don’t have any problem being expressive, but it’s a different kind of expression than mine for some reason.
As a naturally outgoing person, I find it difficult when relationships don’t naturally progress, when the natural social penetration of relationships doesn’t occur. I find it somewhat frustrating, but also don’t stress out about it at the same time. I know that if a relationship is meant to happen, it will. I don’t try to actively seek out people who aren’t open to it. It’s just interesting to have such “success” with this social penetration theory with most people, and then have it also fail in a lot of respects with others. Working only 2-3 days a week with LGP, I find it difficult sometimes to continue the pattern of growth in my relationships, seeing people so infrequently. The natural “how was your weekend” conversation doesn’t always occur, because I come in on Tuesdays and then wish everyone a good rest of the week mid-week. It’s an odd, and unusual situation to try and grow relationships, but I just keep on keeping on.