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Communication in Relationships

Amanda Cordova SOC3400- The Family in Transition 29 November 2010 Communication in Relationships Communication plays a big role in how successful a relationship can be. There are plenty of factors that affect the way individuals communicate. The most difficult part about communication in relationships is how the other person corresponds with you.

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It is all about how you may speak verbally and nonverbally to others. Many people believe gender and their roles can make an impact. Females are the sentimental ones who want to express how they feel and focus on intimacy.Males tend to use these as excuses of why they should be in charge or have power. Their idea of being tough and strong is to not show their emotions. There are specific ways of expressing one’s self, but they must learn the basics of communication first. Verbal communication is crucial to communicating in general. One thing a speaker must be aware of is their tone. The tone of someone’s voice can be misinterpreted. Besides tone, word choice can play a role in how positive you may communicate; language is flexible and can be used in different ways.If someone tells another person, “you do nothing, you’re lazy,” the other person may feel upset or useless. In reality, the other person may be busy with work and school and simply forgot or did not have time to do the dishes. Culture can also play a role on verbal communication. A famous saying in one country can be nonsense in another such as “what you said went straight over my head. ” Culture helps create specific dialects for different groups to make communicating more efficient. If used correctly, verbal communication can make or break a relationship.Unquestionably, nonverbal communication has just as big of an impact as verbal. Nonverbal can affect auditory, visual and physical channels. In most instances, people can hear the other person talking, read their facial expressions and may be touching or receiving a touch simultaneously. Nonverbal communication has fewer rules and has more meanings. Verbal communication is structured with grammar, spelling, and pronunciation such as periods and exclamation marks or “there,” “their” and “they’re. ” On the other hand, nonverbal communication shows they can also convey ambiguous meanings.In example, a glance at someone could be defined as flirting, contentment, or a sign of warning. Someone’s facial expressions, eye contact, posture, gestures, vocal tone, and clothing are usually things we focus on when communicating in person. Most importantly, nonverbal communication is being used through technology. Through the recent years, people have been relying on e-mail, phones and text messaging to communicate. Some things can be misinterpreted and cause conflict between relationships. Together, verbal and nonverbal communications express meaning and go hand-in-hand with each other.Generally speaking, males and females have different ways of speaking to others comfortably. What most people realize is that some of the stereotypes about communication between men and women can be true, but also false. Men tend to communicate more “informative, honest, relevant, and use more clear language” (McCornack, 2010). They usually focus on activities, information, logic and negotiation. Men often see a woman’s perspective on emotions as unreasonable. With women, conversations are negotiations for intimacy and avoiding loneliness in which they “try to seek and give confirmations and support, and to reach consensus” (Tannen, 25).They tend to perceive a man’s view as unsympathetic. Both males and females have different ways of communicating intrapersonally and interpersonally. When a man has done something wrong, they blame outside circumstances before they blame themselves. They talk for more periods of time; this supports the reasoning of having power and controlling it. In mixed groups, men make 96% of the interruptions and the result is that women have greater difficulty presenting their ideas fully (McCornack 2010). Women can feel men are arrogant.Men can feel that women are not assertive; that women contribute less. Women focus more steadily on the speaker, whether male or female. The result is that men can perceive women are uncritical thinkers, or even as flirting. Since men make less consistent eye contact, they can be perceived as not listening. Since men have less connections between the 2 sides of the brain, it is sometimes easier for men to process information if they are not directly also trying to process meaning behind eye contact. So sometimes when a man is looking over a woman’s shoulder he is really listening intently.Men will smile and nod to show they agree with the speaker. Women will smile and nod no matter what, including if she disagrees with someone. They will smile and nod when they are sad, when they are confused, and even when they are angry. The result is that men will think women are “on board” when in fact they might not be. Then men, then, are very surprised when the conflict does arise. Women are acculturated to be pleasant and smile–so it is very hard for men to “read” the smile. Women are more apt to say “please” and “thank you. The result is that men sometimes don’t take women seriously. Both men and women have words they use more frequently than the other sex, and some words that few of the other sex use. For example, men use more war and sports-related analogies; women use more imagery and relationship-based analogies. According to Dindia and Allen, both sexes have socially created stereotypes that keep them from communicating effectively (1992:59). In their minds, they have a predesigned concept of what is the right way to talk to someone of the opposite sex and someone of the same sex.Some key words to remember when conversing with another person are recognition, acknowledgment, and endorsement. Recognition is to declare that the other person exists. Someone may not voice their thoughts because they feel dismissed and overlooked. This can result in ineffective communication; the odds will always benefit one person over the other. Acknowledgement is a direct response, letting the other person know that you heard them. Endorsement is empathizing with the other person; let them know that you understand their view. Never become defensive or competitive with whom you are talking to.These factors can pollute the atmosphere and create a negative communication climate. The best way to improve communication in a relationship is recognizing one’s own style of expressing themselves. When expressing your feelings to someone else, always focus on talking about the other person’s behavior, your observations, sharing ideas and choosing the right time and place. If there is something bothering you, for example, not putting things where they belong, tell the other person that you are upset with their actions, instead of calling them lazy or inconsiderate.There are also four rules to follow for effective and efficient communication. First, you must say your feelings directly. Never assume that the person you are talking to knows how you think. Second, express and voice your feelings to your audience. If something is truly bothering you, take a stand and let someone know you are not happy and vice versa. This could work in some of the smallest situations like trying to decide on what to have for dinner. Thirdly, do not push your boundaries and know your limitations. If there is a problem in a parent and hild relationship, the child should never disrespect their parents. Lastly, do not use any foul language or curse words. If someone feels attacked or disrespected, they are more likely to dismiss the conversation or retaliate against you. There are three different theories that can be applied to communication in relationships. The first one is social exchange theory. Exchange theorists propose that corresponding with others can be controlled by a share of rewards and costs. A reward can be any form of positive exchange that benefits the relationship.Some examples are compromises, compliments and agreements. A cost is a negative exchange for instance critical remarks, complaints and personal attacks. Whenever there are more rewards for both people, they have made a profit in their relationship. When there are more costs than rewards, the result is a loss on both parties. The second theory that applies to relationship communication is gender role theory. Gender is socially and culturally constructed concepts that are attached to a male or a female. Gender roles are expectations that a male or female must fulfill or perform. Knox ;amp; Schacht, 78-82). Both are supposed to dress a certain way, they must participate in specific activities, and have completely opposite interests. In many situations, males and females are divided from young ages, teaching children that there is no other way, but to live by the gender stereotypes that society gives them. Gender role theorists believe there is a social construction on how males and females differ. From early ages, males and females learn specific gender roles and behaviors that are considered appropriate for their gender.Males and females are expected to communicate differently because of their interests, causing a conflict in keeping the two from bonding. The last, and most applicable, is symbolic interaction theory. This theory uses a close-up focus on social interactions in specific situations. People tend to use the looking-glass self to solve situations. According to Knox and Schacht, this looking-glass self concept “involves looking at each other and seeing the reflected image of someone who is loved and cared for and someone with whom a productive resolution is sought” (2010:122).We tend to think about how our parents will feel if we do not go home for the weekend or how making plans with friends over a loved one will affect the outcome. When we communicate in our relationships, most people are consciously wondering how a conversation will be, making an impact on how the discussion will turn out. In the final analysis, communication can be affected by nonverbal and verbal communication and in some cases, gender differences. Verbal communication can share meanings, shape thoughts, manage relationships, and create conversation.Nonverbal communication is how we express our emotions, convey meaning, manage interactions, and help us communicate through our surroundings. Researchers still have not found enough evidence to support whether or not gender plays a role on communication, but social concepts show otherwise. Both males and females have predesigned thoughts of how the other must act, appear and talk. When we communicate, we need to recognize our own weaknesses and those of others. The way our relationships communicate can determine how our life will turn out.References Dindia, K. , ;amp; Allen, M. (1992). Sex differences in self-disclosure: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 106-124. Knox, D. , ;amp; Schacht, C. (2010). Choices in relationships: an introduction to marriage and family (10th ed. ). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. McCornack, S. (2010). Reflect ;amp; relate: an introduction to interpersonal communication (2nd ed. ). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s. Tannen, D. (1990). You just don’t understand: Women and men in conversation. London: Virago.