Date of Award

5-1-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communication Studies

Committee Chair

John C. Meyer

Committee Chair Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 2

Richard L. Conville

Committee Member 2 Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 3

Charles H. Tardy

Committee Member 3 Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 4

Lawrence A. Hosman

Committee Member 4 Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 5

Steven J. Venette

Committee Member 5 Department

Communication Studies

Abstract

This study reveals findings from qualitative research investigating the relational experience of friends reconnecting after a long period of disconnect. Borrowed from the lexicon of social networking terminology, this particular process is conceptualized here as a process of refriending: when two individuals whose interactive behavior and shared lived experiences that once characterized their friendship have reestablished contact and are interacting after an extended period of communication dormancy. A content analysis of 15 participant interviews about their refriending experiences resulted in a typology of 12 thematic categories related to identity, disclosure, motivation, and communication competence. Aspects of relational continuity as well as the dialectical/dialogic implications of refriending are also explored.

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