The Social Penetration Theory (SPT) or the onion theory propose that, interpersonal communication moves from relatively shallow and more to intimate relationship with friends, parents, staff and boyfriend. The theory was formulated by psychologists Altman and Delmas Taylor (1973) to understand relationship development between individuals. Altman and Taylor tells that relationships ‘Involve different levels of intimacy of exchange’. The Social Penetration Theory based on the data drawn from experiments and not from conclusions based on individuals’ specific experiences.

The Social Penetration Theory (SPT) states that the relationship development occurs primarily through self – disclosure, or intentionally revealing personal information such as personal motives or desires, feelings, thoughts and experiences to another person. This theory is also guided by assumptions that relationship development is systematic and predictable. The relationships development follows particular trajectory, through self – disclosure and moving from superficial layers of exchanges to more intimate ones. Self-disclosure is the one of major way to bring a relationship to a new level of intimacy (Taylor & Altman, 1987).

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Assumptions that drive returns, among others:
• These relationships do not progress from an intimate be intimate.
• In general, the development of systematic and predictable relationship.
• The development of the relationship include de-penetration (withdrawal) and dissolution.
• Opening of the self is the core of the development of relationships.

First, the relationship of communication between the people began in superficial stages and moves on a continuum towards a more intimate stage. Relationship development moves from superficial layers to intimate ones. For instance, on a first date, people tend to present their outer images only, talking about hobbies. As the relational development progresses, wider and more controversial topics such as political views are included in the conversations. However, not all relationships are located at both extremes are not intimate and intimate. Even many of our relationships lies at a point between the two poles.
The second assumption of the Social Penetration Theory related to predictability. In particular, the penetration of social theorists argue that the relationships developed in a systematic and predictable. Some people may have difficulties to accept this claim. Relationship-as-communication process is dynamic and constantly changing, but even a dynamic relationship and follow the standard pattern of development is acceptable. This assumption indicates the predictability of relationship development. Although it is impossible to foresee the exact and precise path of relational development, there is certain trajectory to follow. As Altman and Taylor note, “People seem to possess very sensitive tuning mechanisms which enable them to program carefully their interpersonal relationships.
The third assumption related tax returns with the expectation that developments include de-penetration and relationship dissolution. At first, the second this might sound weird. So far we have discussed the intersection of a relationship. However, the relationship can be messy, or withdraw (de-penetrate), and this setback could lead to dissolution of relationships. If a relationship has de-penetration, it does not mean that the relationship will automatically be lost or expired. Often times, a relationship will experience transgressions, or violations of rules, implementation, and expectations in touch. This transgression may seem can be solved and often it is. In fact, Tara Emmers-Sommer (2003) stated that various transgressions relationships can assist in the failure of a relationship.
Last assumption states that the opening itself is the essence of the development of relationships. Opening myself (self-disclosure) can be generally defined as the process of opening information about yourself to others who have a goal. Typically, the information is in the opening itself is the information significant. According to Altman and Taylor (1973), intimate relationships that are not moving toward an intimate relationship because of the self-disclosure. This process allows people to know each other in a relationship. Opening ourselves to help shape the relationship of the present and future between the two men, and “make yourself open to others who provide intrinsic satisfaction.”
Finally, we must see that the opening of the self can be both strategic and non-strategic. Researchers have used the term, “the phenomenon of foreigners in the train (Strangers-on-the-train)” (or in the plane or bus) to refer to the time when people disclose information on a complete stranger in public areas.