Dear Chris and Lonna, First, I would like to say congratulations on getting married and I wish you two the best. Since, you have asked me about my advice on interpersonal communication it will be my pleasure to hopefully shed some light on the subject and help you two to a happy and long marriage. Interpersonal communications are key when it comes to relationships because, they teach use how to communicate with one another and deal with our own thoughts.
To help in your understanding of interpersonal communication I will provide some details on the principles and misconceptions, barriers, effectiveness of words, role of emotional intelligence, role of self-disclosure, and strategies for conflicts in interpersonal communication. Learning and understanding these skills should help to strengthen the bond of your marriage and also help in your daily life. Principles and Misconceptions in Effective Interpersonal Communications According to Kathy Sole (2011), Making Connections: Understanding Interpersonal Communication, there are six basic principles in regards to communication.
Her textbook lists these principles as: communication is symbolic, communication is a shared meaning, communication has a followed process, communication is culturally determined, communication occurs in context, and finally that communication is purposeful. These six principles of communication help to explain the basic meanings of how communication works however, there will always be misconceptions behind these principles. To help make these principles more understandable I will go over each in detail.
First, many linguists widely believe the use of symbols in the human language is what makes our communications so unique. “Symbols are the words, pictures, sounds, marks, or objects we use to represent something else. A symbol can be anything that conveys a meaning, and it can be written, spoken, or nonverbal” (Sole, 2011). Human beings are the only creatures on the planet that can agree over time to make any symbol represent some kind of meaning. Second, “[o]ne of the most obvious benefits of human communication is that it allows people to share thoughts, feelings, experiences, and views of the world” (Sole, 2011).
This means when we communicate are world perspective with others it helps us to create a shared meaning of what we think and we are also able to take in the other person’s perspective. Having a shared meaning within communication allows for us to visualize situations that we may not have been present for. Third, communication is ongoing, never ending process. We use communication every day of our lives as soon as we are born in order to express our wants and needs. Therefore, we must also constantly be working to improve our communication skills and become idle or believe there is no need for improvement.
Fourth, every culture has their own style of communication and the majority of these become secondhand and subconsciously done. For instance, “[i]n [the United States of America], eye contact indicates: degree of attention or interest, influences attitude change or persuasion, regulates interaction, communicates emotion, defines power and status, and has a central role in managing impressions of others. [This being completely different than in] Japan, Africa, Latin America, [and the] Caribbean [where one should] avoid eye contact to show respect” (“Non-Verbal Communication Modes, nd).
Fifth, the context or environment in which communication takes place varies the way it is communicated. The environmental settings in which we communicate will affect how we act and what we say because, obviously one would not behave at work like they are at a party. Therefore, the setting surrounding a communicated message should always be taken into account. Lastly, it is important to remember that communication is used for a purpose. Communication is not just noises and non-verbal expressions used for fun. We communicate with one another to share experiences, feelings, and to help build and maintain relationships.
Following these principles should allow you two to stay away from the misconceptions of interpersonal communication which include the thoughts that: we only communicate for our own good, communication cannot be understood out of context, and that people from different backgrounds will always find it hard to communicate. Identify the Barriers to Effective Interpersonal Interactions There are many different barriers that effect interpersonal communication. To squeeze them into broader categories one could limit them to competence, language, perception, and information. A breakdown in any one area could lead to a miscommunicated message.
Each barrier can be easily avoided with proper preparation. Being competent about the subject under discussion is a must because, it is always important to know as many facts as possible about your topic. Using proper language that everyone can understand is another important preparation not always used. Using jargon, words used specifically by a certain group; usually in the workplace, “in its most positive light, can be seen as professional, efficient shorthand” but, everyone involved must have knowledge of these words (Caudle, Courtney, Guyton, Keller, and Kind, 1999).
Perception should be taken into account whenever possible because, not everyone sees things the same way and it is important to keep that in mind. Finally, by having all the information you need to communicate the message properly and clearly will greatly reduce the outcome of a miscommunication. As an example Sachs (1991) gives an example of a communication breakdown in the periodical Supervisory Management and then gives these steps on how to fix it: “In order to make certain that you cover all aspects of a subject, you must first take the time beforehand to plan what you want to say.
In the case of an unsatisfactory employee, for instance, it’s not enough to know that his work has been slipping. Think about when you first noticed the problem, list examples of the problem on a piece of paper, and be prepared to explain what changes in the quality of performance you are requiring. Mentally go over the employee’s work history for the past few months to see if you can determine when the change occurred. Pinpoint episodes that caused problems in the employee’s performance and prepare yourself to discuss them.
Put yourself in the employee’s position and anticipate how he will react to what you are saying. Then try to prepare a proper response. (Overcoming the Obstacles to Communication)” By avoiding these barriers in interpersonal communication you will be able to strengthen your marriage and grow together. An open line of communication between two partners will always help to keep the relationships going and growing. Recognizing How Words have the Power to Create and Affect Attitudes, Behavior, and Perception Words are very powerful things. Words have the power to make one happy or sad and can also even cause pain.
Miscommunicating words, intentionally or not, can lead to misunderstandings, arguments, and even possibly the end of a relationship. By being aware that words can affect other’s attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions it will allow you to communicate to the best your ability with each other. All words having meanings and that meaning is not always the same for everyone. By choosing to use certain words in certain ways, we can find ourselves affecting another person’s attitude, behavior, and even their perception of us. An example of this would be the use of the word gay.
According to Clive Upton “[o]ne reason for this increase in use could be because “gay” has partly lost its sexual connotations among young people…While still pejorative, for the majority of youngsters it has replaced words such as “lame” (Winterman,2008)” The term gay is now used more as slang than it is to refer to a homosexual person but, different people find different terms to be offensive so it is always important to know what is acceptable to say around one another. Sole (2011) describes this by stating, “[n]egative connotations often act as triggers to derail your interpersonal communication.
We all have trigger words that create an immediate emotional reaction when we hear them” (sec. 4. 1). By understanding how we interact with one another, and how our words and actions, affect those around us as well as ourselves, we stand a better chance of finding ways to communicate more effectively. Define Emotional Intelligence and Its Role in Effective Interpersonal Relationships According to Sole (2011) emotional intelligence is defined as “[t]he capacity to understand, communicate, and manage emotions and feelings and to understand and respond to the feelings of others” (Making Connections: Understanding Interpersonal Communication).
Having emotional intelligence plays an integral role in effective interpersonal communication. If you are not able to use or acquire the skills mentioned above then it becomes hard to understand how each other really feels. Being able to understand one another and manage emotions helps to build lasting marriages and will improve your daily life together. People are complicated. Everyone manages their emotions differently and are affected by outside sources daily.
If you are unable to pick up on subtle changes in your wife’s emotional state then she may feel like you do care. However, this really is just another breakdown in interpersonal communication you may not even realize there is anything wrong but, it can lead to built up frustration and cause problems in the marriage down the road. Therefore, understanding the point of emotional intelligence and how to use it correctly will help you two to have a healthy and happy marriage. Evaluating Appropriate Levels of Self-Disclosure in Relationships
Self-disclosure is when someone reveals certain information about themselves that they do not tell just anyone. Obviously, for a newlywed couple self-disclosure would be an important item. When getting married it is important to feel like you know the person and the best way to do this is to sit down and let each other know who you really are. Self-disclosure is appropriate when dealing with intimate relationships and shows and huge leap of faith and trust on the other persons part.
In order to maintain a healthy and happy relationship one should also never use anything that was disclosed to them against the other person. Resorting to that kind of tactic can lead to resentment and will only damage your marriage because, your partner will then lose their trust in you. Describe Strategies for Managing Interpersonal Conflicts Conflicts and arguments are a necessary part of any marriage and relationship. Individuals will not and do not always agree on a subject and more than likely will always try to get their point across.
This is why, oddly enough, conflicts are an effective part of interpersonal communication. We must be able to discuss how we feel about certain things and what it is that we want and if necessary constructively argue our viewpoint against the other’s point of view. The real key is to keep the argument civil and not get into a shouting match. According to Coyle (1994) “[p]eople typically choose between the extremes of avoiding conflicts altogether or forcing the outcome they want upon the other, if they have the power to do so.
It seems clear that if our options range only between avoiding and forcing, conflict will be something for us to dread, fear, and resent. If we avoid confronting conflict-producing behavior of others, the conflict continues (it might even grow worse), and we feel guilty at having missed an opportunity to respond constructively. If we force the resolution that we want, we might damage the future of our relationship with others, and we might feel guilty at having had to use our power in this way.
We need an alternative method for more successful resolution of conflict. Having determined our priorities and needs, we can concentrate on learning the communications skills and negotiation strategies proven most long-term effective in resolving conflict successfully. Often referred to as assertiveness skills, the most successful communications involve three-part messages which help us confront a person with constructively presented information about the conflict” (Quality Interpersonal Communication – Resolving Conflicts Successfully).
Coyle shows if you two can listen, understand, and communicate effectively with each other then you should be able to get through any conflicts that may arise. As newlyweds you must remember starting out is the hardest and life can only be as enjoyable as you make it. If at any time there is a breakdown in your interpersonal communication then it should be examined and discussed as soon as possible. Delaying any conflict leads to pent up emotions and will cause more breakdowns in your communication efforts.
Both of you must remember to follow the basic communication principles and try to avoid the misconceptions, try to not put up any barriers when talking with each other, remember words have power, use emotional intelligence as much as possible, to provide each other with self-disclosure, and to sit down and discuss any conflicts rationally with each other. Doing these things for each other should help to maintain a lasting, loving marriage. Good luck to both of you.
Nd. Non-Verbal Communication Modes. Retrieved from http://www2. andrews. edu/~tidwell/bsad560/NonVerbal. html Caudle, P. , Courtney, K. , Guyton, H. , Keller, M. , and Kind, C. 1999. Jargon. Retrieved from http://www. uncp. edu/home/canada/work/allam/1914-/language/jargon. htm Coyle, M. 1994. Quality Interpersonal Communication – Resolving Conflicts Successfully. Manage. Vol. 45 Issue 3 Retrieved from http://search. proquest. com/pqcentral/docview/274243085/fulltext/13A39FBE6E890F3B33/5? accountid=32521 Sachs, R. 1991. Overcoming the Obstacles to