It also shows that lately there have been signs of disagreements in the relationship on topics like "religion, being involved in church, and also about being sexual" (Braithwaite, 1999). Beneath the questions is the hidden issue of intimacy, whether they would indulge in it since they have started to get involved physically already or abandon it altogether in congruence to their concept of friendship.
Despite their uncertainties, Robert and Anya's main objective is still each other's well-being because they do genuinely love each other and are, "almost soul-mates" (Braithwaite, 1999). That love is outwardly displayed in the form of constant communication about their relationship, that they can be "open and direct with each other" (Braithwaite, 1999). The dominant medium of communication is the late-night conversations over the telephone.
Because of their willingness to talk openly together they seek solutions to their questions. One solution they have come up for their interpersonal issues is their mutual categorical agreement not to date. One convenient advantage is the clarity of the definition of friendship and its conventional boundaries, that they need not anymore court possible miscommunication or mixed signals with their actions towards each other.
This is the best solution at hand because it is commonly agreed by both and leaves no room for ambiguity. The disadvantage, however, is that it currently halts any development towards and intimate relationship. A relationship is a dynamic process and two people who are attracted to each other and share the same values ought to have every room available for going to the next level, if permitted.
Yet both also see the possibility that they "don't have to see friendship and romance as excluding each other" (Braithwaite, 1999), that maybe they can have both. An advantage of this solution is the acceptance and recognition that both concepts, although seemingly contradictory, can further enhance the relationship. In friendship is the ease that Robert and Anya have already established in talking about anything of consequence which can probably lead, as they further mature, to a deeper understanding of each other's unique individuality and very personal needs that romance can fill in.
This case teaches us that interpersonal communication is a practical necessity that requires a lot of work to interact well in society. Interpersonal communication is a work by itself. It s not just a passive tool to be used to go about one's everyday business but is something that grows and can be developed through deliberate effort.
One applicable theory in the case is the theory of Relational Dialectics of Leslie Baxter and Barbara Montgomery which tells about the simultaneous presence of the push and pull of tensions in a close relationship. The closer the relationship is the more conflicts will come threatening to tear the relationship apart (Cooke, "Relational").
It is evidenced by Anya's perception of Robert's lack of consideration of her feelings when he kissed her without her express consent, the early observation incompatibility, the playful accusations of who likes whom more with Robert's vehement rebuttal, Anya's supposed flirtatious nature and her denial of it. Under this theory, these potential conflicts are best