List the six stages of relationship development and what happens in each stage, according to the textbook. Then, apply this to Harry and Sally’s relationship. Give examples of their behavior for each stage. Response The first stage of relationship development is contact. This is your first interaction with the person whether it is in person, a photo, on a webcam, etc. Sally first met Harry when meeting him in Chicago to begin an 18 hour drive to New York. Harry initiates the conversation and asks Sally why she’s going to New York, to which, she says she’s going to journalism school to become a reporter.
He thinks that she’s just an easy going, always cheerful and always optimistic personality. Sally thinks that Harry is a marginalized thinker. The second stage is involvement and according to the textbook means your relationship solidifies slightly by increasing your time together; your “mutual connection” develops. In the movie, Harry and Sally’s “involvement” happens in stages. They first saw each other in the airport after 5 years. On their plane ride, they inquired about each other’s professional and romantic lives.
After this, it skips to them meeting a second time in the bookstore to which they go to dinner and further discuss the last 10 years (Sally’s breakup and Harry’s divorce). This is when they first started to become friends; they sometimes have lunch and talk on the phone. The third stage is intimacy which is when the two becomes an identifiable pair. They share personal info, their groups of friends begin to intertwine, and they become a unit. As best friends, Harry and Sally spend all of their time together. Everyone is aware that they are best friends, although they are unsure how men and women can be just friends.
They spend the holidays together like the Christmas tree scene and how they shared a little peck at the New Year’s Eve party. This all ultimately led to the sexual encounter they shared when Harry came over one night to console Sally after finding out her ex was getting married. The fourth stage is deterioration. It’s just that- the relationship fades away or dissatisfaction with the other. The scene of the awkward silence at the dinner Harry and Sally shared shortly after their time together sums this all up.
Harry also mentions to his friend that he really didn’t know what to do after they had sex. Because this is a love story and not real life, in this situation I feel dissolution comes before repair. In the dissolution stage, the two individuals start to separate themselves and see themselves as halves. They have social and public separation. After arguing at the wedding of their best friends, Harry and Sally completely separate themselves. Harry tries to hold on by constantly calling and leaving voicemails for Sally but she doesn’t budge.
Unlike the previous year, they don’t spend Christmas together which. They almost didn’t spend New Year’s Eve together but this flows right in to the last stage of relationship development, repair. In this stage, the parties slowly begin to rekindle their relationship or intra and inter personal repair. Harry re-evaluates their relationship on his long walk; he reminisces about when they first met in Chicago up until then. He rushes to the party just as Sally is leaving and professes his love for her. The last couch scene is of a married Harry and Sally and it fades to black.