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Interpersonalcommunication entails information exchange between individuals and isan essential and indispensable element of social interaction andsocial activities of people. People are social animals, and eachperson has a unique attitude, idea, behavior, personality, andvalues, (DeVito223). Nevertheless, interpersonal relationships have a crucial part incontrolling people’s emotions and in various cycles ofrelationships including family relationships, love affairs,friendships, peers, student-teacher relationships, workplacerelationships and classmate relationships among others. In thispaper, I will assess my romantic relationship between my boyfriendand i using the communication theories, concepts, and principlesmastered in class.
Myboyfriend and I study in the United States. Brown and I met at afortuitous situation in 2015, which is a social media group called“WeChat” group created by one my classmate. The primary objectiveof the group was to unite foreigners studying and living in the US,to chat, make friends and share experiences. We have been in a loverelationship for a year. He lives in Boston and during holidays whileexploring the beautiful and fantastic Boston city, I always visithim.
Listeningskills have a crucial contribution to our relationship, (Reese-Weber,215)because we spend approximately 60% – 80% of our time listening toeach other. Listening skills and speaking skills are auxiliary toeach other, thus inseparable. Ones listening skills influence hisspeaking skills. Relationaldialectics as a concept in interpersonal communication is crucial. Weboth come from different social backgrounds, but we have sacrificedour differences for effective communication and mutual understanding.Interruptingsomeone’s thoughts may lead to giving of irrelevant answers andreactions leading to conversation difficulties and conflicts. Forinstance, I once asked him to pass him some salt, while he waswatching a movie, he ignored me. I insisted and he gave me a remoteinstead of salt I was harsh on him and gave him a stern look.
Additionally,we practice a lot of empathic listening skills in our relationship.Empathic listening implies emotional resonance, feeling anotherperson’s emotion and giving a sincere response. We recognize theimportant role we play to each other and our families. Since we areall foreigners in the US, we sincerely care about each other’semotions and feelings to achieve that family love and sense ofbelonging. Irrespective of our differences, we open up and listen toeach other.
Onself-defense, we act differently. For instance, if I wrong him, Iwould rather apologize than giving an excuse for my mistake.Nevertheless, he uses direct minimization justification forself-defense. For instance, when he gave me a remote instead of salt,I asked him “did I ask you for a remote or salt?” he replied,“Whether I listened to you or not, at least I passed something overto you, you can pick it by yourself.” He justified his mistakearguing that i was disrupting him while watching a movie, so I shouldnot judge him. Therefore, I regard him as argumentative, and althoughthe debate is not healthy and may lead to a conflict, he will alwayspersuade me to accept his opinion and ideas. I do not like arguments,and I am always irritated by debates, therefore, whenever we argueover something, I would accommodate the behavior by neglecting theissue, which implies escaping the problem rather than discussing itfor an amicable solution. My boyfriend’s sense of humor asnon-confrontation tactics to evade conflict discussion and defuse thetense climate resolves the problem in most cases.
Self-presentationwhich is the attempt to convey one’s information to others iscrucial in interpersonal communication, (Berger 112). Appropriateself-presentation leaves a delightful first impression to youraudience. People may assume different roles as actors in shapingtheir images based on the interest and personality of their partners.We display five self-presentation strategies in our relationship. Forinstance, we demonstrate ingratiation to one another he plays theinitiative role while the passive role. We are all willing to helpeach other in case of any challenge although he has to ask for myhelp if he needs it. We exercise self-promotion by helping each otherpromote our talents. For instance, in the last two months, I decidedto pursue an online accounting course, although I am not talentedwith mathematics, he helped me with my homework because he istalented in mathematics-related disciplines.
Self-disclosureis revealing personal information to someone. Disclosure reciprocityas a self-disclosure element is increasingly crucial, (Wood 132). Wedisclose personal information concerning our intimacy level andsecrets to each other for a better relationship and understanding.According to the social penetration theory, the cost and rewards mustbalance. We try to balance the cost and rewards in our relationshipby either seeking less or great intimacy. For instance, at theinitial stages of our relationship, he revealed more about hisfamily, peers, his personal life, strengths, and weaknesses while Ialways played an active listener role without telling him anythingabout myself. Maybe I chose that stand to protect myself as I gainedsome trust in him. Consequently, one day during our day out, he toldme that he would not talk but listen to me. I could tell from hisnonverbal communication of his affectionate facial expression, thestrong urge of wanting to know more about me was mutual. I realizedthe importance of disclosure reciprocity in maintaining anddeveloping a stable relationship. I decided to speak out myintentions and perspective about him and the relationship because hewould feel that his lots of sentiments are paid by little returns andresponse. From that day, we would engage in an active andparticipative communication. Our active communication skills havetransformed our relationship to a romantic one, were are two bestfriends able to share every aspect of our lives, understand eachother better and manage any conflicts resulting for any communicationbarrier.
Sincewe stay in different cities, we sometimes miss each other and tosatisfy the urge to maintain our connection we call and chat in“WeChat” social media. We are now in the integration stage of therelationship. Last month, during the holiday, My Boyfriend called mefrom home, sounding depressed. After sobbing for a moment, hedisclosed that he had a quarrel with his big brother. I listenedquietly he revealed to me that his step brother was a Chinese andaccording to their traditions, they are introverts in that theyrarely discuss their emotions. Additionally, he revealed to me thathis brother was not a biological brother, which affected theirconnection and communication. She expressed his luck in having me astrusted friend whom he could share his secrets, feelings, andproblems.
Wewere very close more like a social unit. We attend social gatheringstogether. We communicate nonverbally like using kinesics if we donot want involve other people in our communication. We use facialexpressions like distinctive postural movements, lips twisting, andstaring and through this we could read each other mind. In mostinstances, we find ourselves conveying the same message at the sametime.
Althoughwe chat and call each other over the phone, I believe one on onecommunication is the most effective way because we can convey strongemotions. Further, a tone of voice, some gestures, and facialexpressions are hard to communicate through chatting or phone call.For instance, we sometimes quarrel a lot because of the wrongimpression conveyed by messages. In face to face communication, onecan to read facial expressions and detect jokes thus minimalconflicts.
Ourrelationship is now transforming into a love story, which means wenow trust and love each other. We are good listeners and userelationship maintenance strategies to build a healthy stablerelationship. Strategies such as openness, social networks, assuranceand task sharing help us stay together, (Reese-Weber215).Concerning assurance and openness, he likes discussing the nature ofour love story every time and expressing his hopes of our eternalrelationship. He always reassures me that irrespective of ourdifferences, we cannot afford to give up, because we are a family andfamilies do not break up. We constantly share tasks, for instance, heI manage an online shopping store and he helps in accounting andcalculating prices and profits.
Inconclusion, therefore, we share many similarities and differenceswith Brown, and this has helped keep our relationship. Empathy,motivation, and active listening skills have given us confidence inapproaching successful interaction. I have a better conversationalinvolvement better than Brown as I would actively listen to him andemphasize on conversation, but he focuses more on his thoughts. He iscommunicatively active than I am, for he can attain his goals withoutjeopardizing secondary goals. Disclosure is crucial in mutual trustdevelopment and understanding. I have learned that verbal andnonverbal communication is equally significant in building a healthyrelationship.
Berger,Charles R. InterpersonalCommunication.Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2014. Internet resource.
DeVito,Joseph A. TheInterpersonal Communication Book.Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, 2009. Print.
Reese-Weber,Marla. "Intimacy, Communication, and Aggressive Behaviors:Variations by Phases of Romantic RelationshipDevelopment." PersonalRelationships.22.2 (2015): 204-215. Print.
Wood,Julia T. InterpersonalCommunication: Everyday Encounters.Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2013. Print.