What makes a 'getting acquainted' a recognizable conversational activity, and how are interpersonal relationships established in a first conversation? This book presents a theoretical framework for the study of relationship management in conversation and an empirical study of a corpus of initial interactions. It provides detailed descriptions of the sequential resources unacquainted interlocutors use in order to: (i) generate self-presentation; (ii) introduce topics; (iii) establish common contextual resources.
It is argued that these sequential patterns embody conventionalized procedures for establishing an interpersonal relationship involving some degree of: (i) solidarity (mutual rights and obligations); (ii) familiarity (mutual knowledge of personal background); (iii) mutual affect (emotional commitment)
The sequential analysis is based on a conversation analytic approach, while the interpretive framework consists of pragmatic theories of politeness, conversational style and common ground.