Communication Savoring as Positive Interpersonal Communication

Authored by: Margaret Jane Pitts , Sara Kim , Holman Meyerhoffer , Jian Jiao

The Routledge Handbook of Positive Communication

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138633278
eBook ISBN: 9781315207759
Adobe ISBN:


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Savoring is a process of mindfully attending to a moment to enhance feelings of pleasure associated with that experience. As a positive psychology construct, savoring refers to a person’s capacity to recognize, appreciate, and elevate enjoyable life experiences, especially physiological and sensory experiences (Bryant & Veroff, 2007). Savoring also entails a social dimension wherein individuals enhance their pleasant experiences through interpersonal sharing. Recent research suggests that individuals can also savor communication directly. Pitts (2016) identified seven common interpersonal communication experiences that people savor: aesthetic communication, communication presence, nonverbal communication, recognition and acknowledgment, relational communication and disclosures, rare and novel communication, and implicitly shared communication. As such, savoring is one of many positive communication processes that serve to enhance, facilitate, and generate positive emotions and experiences (Pitts & Socha, 2013). Indeed, people may use communication savoring as one way to broaden and build upon positive communication resources and repertoires necessary for the development of quality of life and relational resilience (see Fredrickson, 2001). This chapter centers on the notion of communication savoring as a deliberate, intentional process of mindfully attending to and deriving pleasure from verbal and nonverbal messages in real, remembered, or imagined interactions (Pitts, 2016). Although savoring is well established in the field of positive psychology, it is a relatively new construct in the field of interpersonal communication. This chapter bridges the positive psychology and positive communication literatures to define savoring, to synthesize the existing body of empirical research on savoring, to provide a direction for future research, and to draw attention toward the potential for savoring to increase quality of life and well-being through its practical application in interpersonal communication contexts.

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