Nonverbal Firsts: When Nonverbal Cues Are the Impetus of Relational and Personal Change in Romantic Relationships
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Nonverbal cues occur in all of our interactions, but they are particularly important in our close relationships (Noller, 2006). People show affection, distrust, love, disappointment, and myriad other messages through nonverbal modes of communicating with their loved ones (see, for e.g., Guerrero, 1997; Floyd, 2006). They also reflect how people define their relationship with one another (i.e., as romantic, as unequal, as formal) (Burgoon & Hale, 1984). People may, for example, enact their relationship as an intimate one by gazing at one another in a loving way or holding hands in public (Andersen et al., 2006). Or they may show that a relationship is uncertain, with intimate behaviors used tentatively. In such cases, the nonverbal cues are functioning as reflections of what the relationship means to, or how it is defined by, the people in those relationships.
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