Interpersonal communication is popularly known as the process of sending and communicating information between persons in which three main elements are involved: the sender or the person who sends the information, the receiver of the information, the information itself and the feedback or the response of the receiver . Effective interpersonal communication has numerous benefits, the most pervasive of which is the enhancement of social, family and romantic relations of the parties involved, including those which are of proximity or possessing some degree of closeness with the sender and/or receiver.
Effective interpersonal communication thus improves processes such as parenting, managing, teaching, counseling and many others. The subject interpersonal communication may be discussed in different concepts. It may be discussed in the concept of social relations (i. e. relationship between the boss and his subordinates, the employee between another employee and in friendly relationships), family relations (i. e. the relationship between a mother and her child) and intimate relations such as boyfriend-girlfriend, husband-wife, and lover-mistress relationships.
In the developmental view, interpersonal communication is perceived as a communication between two people who have known each other for a long time. Thus, it presupposes a certain sense of closeness and familiarity between the sender and the recipient. Hence, basing on this view, the proponent will deal on the concept of interpersonal communication as expressed in intimate relationships particularly romantic love.
This paper analyze the cultural differences of interpersonal communication on romantic love, the barriers of effective interpersonal communication on romantic relationships, and the effective ways of improving interpersonal communication to enhance romantic relationships. Before moving on with the main areas, it is noteworthy to define first romantic love in order to understand the feelings involved in the said process. In the romantic level, it is an ineffable feeling of intense and tender attraction shared in passionate or intimate attraction including intimate sexual relationships.
In the Greek, the term corresponds to concepts of depth, versatility and complexity. The complexity of romantic relationship involves the need in understanding on how each person involved in said relationship react with each other in their interpersonal communications in order to avoid misunderstandings and gaps. Interpersonal Communication Differences on Romantic Love Based on Culture The precept of this topic is the concept that interpersonal communication is based on cultural understanding and construction .
Language may be the most pervasive form of communication however certain cultural etiquettes must be followed in the interpretation and construction of this language. Theorists have distinguished digital, verbal communication, and analogic, nonverbal communication, components within languages (Bennett, 17). The fact that interpersonal communication involves non-verbal cues, problems may be had on the differences of cultural expressions of romantic love. The expression of romantic love may be as varied as the cultures may be.
This is also explained by the theory of cultural diversity which explains that different racial, cultural, religious and ethnic organizations exist. This explains a variety of construction that may be derived from a single action based on the sender’s/receivers cultural background or ethnicity. Researchers in the social field had identified these differences. In one study for example, it has been identified that a person who grew in a Japanese culture may refrain from saying “I love you” but may resort to non-verbal cues in expressing his affection.
This kind of phenomenon may be interpreted as “cold” for a person who grew in America due the absence of the usual form of expression. This situation may be seen in televisions especially Japanese programs which portrait Japanese men as “verbally inexpressive” of their love and affection. The “personal space” concept, according to research findings (often associated with romantic or non-romantic love affairs) is another point which may have varied cultural interpretations.
In Russia for example, the personal space is smaller compared to that of America. Hence in personal conversations, A Russian may speak closely with the person he is talking to which practice offends a person who grew up in an American culture as it violates the comfortable range in conversations between Americans. Close personal space in interpreted in American culture as a form of intimacy associated with romantic relationships, while this space is associated in the Russian culture with casual or friendly relationships.
Another form of mostly misinterpreted gestures are the “hearty handshake” gesture, the warm kissing, and hugging of the Russians as a form of greeting anybody indiscriminately, male or female. These expressions are taboo with the Americans as a form of greeting casual friends since these gestures are only given to persons with whom the Americans enjoy close or intimate relationships such as sweethearts, parents and best friends. These concepts so much apply to my real life experiences with regard to my two Russian friends who talk with each other so closely even if they are not sweethearts.
They often kiss each other when they meet and hug as often. As a result, other students in the university who usually see them misinterpret their gestures as forms of romantic expressions and note them as lovers. The above illustration only shows the complexity of forms of interpersonal communication with respect to romantic love. Other cultures may interpret a certain gesture as a form of romantic expression while others may not perceive it as such. Others may perceive an act as ‘indifferent or cold’ while others may perceive such as normal (in the field of romance).
Some Barriers in Interpersonal Communication on Romantic Relationships There are barriers that exist that hinder an effective interpersonal communication. Among them are the emotions, filtering, overloaded information, defensiveness, jargon and cultural differences. The latter was discussed lengthily in the previous paragraphs. Emotions hinder effective interpersonal communication when they are extreme. More often than not, the message that the sender wants to convey is misinterpreted by the receiver due to very strong emotions such as anger and extreme excitement.
In romantic relationships, most couple misunderstood each other because of the anger on the part of one of them. The root of this anger may be extreme jealousy or insecurity. As a result, based on personal experiences, the problem may not be addressed in communications between lovers where one is in the heat of anger. This is because a party who is in the heat of anger becomes blinded by the true facts surrounding the event which propped up the issue because of the extreme emotions, thus becomes less open-minded and less responsive.
Studies have shown that when lovers in a romantic relationship are not able to accept, or live up to, the responsibility in helping each other avoid anger, or at least control it when it occurs, profound issues can take hold that affects the relationship. Some parties in intimate relationships actually learn to use the other parties’ tendencies toward fear and anger manipulatively. Filtering takes effect when the sender manipulates the information he communicates to the receiver (http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Interpersonal_communication).
This is to make the message appear to be favorable to the receiver. This can lead to frustration when the receiver eventually knew that the message has been filtered which may give rise to a variety of relationship problems such as hatred, disgust or distrust. As shown in most television series, lovers, usually the males flatter their female partners such as being beautifully dressed or sexy (where in fact in the eyes of other people they are not) in going to parties in order to avoid disappointing their partners and getting sexual advantages.
As a result, when their female counterparts discover that they in fact were not beautifully dressed, they become more disappointed which can lead to the souring of the relationship. Overloaded information may result from too much information on the same subject matter. In romantic relationships, this problem may come mostly from the females as they are culturally to be more talkative. Personal experiences dictate that more talks give rise to more misunderstandings.
Hence the saying holds true that it is better to become brief and concise rather than lengthy and indirect. I sometimes have difficulty in expressing my feelings to my partner such as when I get jealous which lead to a confusion on his part on what I really feel. Being straight to the point is thus helpful. Defensiveness as a barrier exists when the receiver attacks the information the sender tells him by giving sarcastic remarks, judging the matter outright and questioning the motives of the sender in order to protect the receiver’s position from disadvantage.
This is especially true in romantic relationships (as seen on TV) where the other party cheats. The cheater usually accuses the honest partner of being distrustful, having another lover, insecure and many others. The guilty party thus imputes negative emotions on the part of the honest party when asked or assessed about his commitment or honesty to the relationship in order to prevent the exposure of his guilt.