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Interpersonal Communication Com 200

Communication in Interpersonal Relationships Benjamin M.Phelps COM 200 Mrs.Joyce Walther October 4, 2010 Communication in Interpersonal Relationships Today many people still lack the ability to communicate effectively with in interpersonal relationships.

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It is through cooperation and collaboration that effective communication occurs. By analyzing and studying the communication process we can improve our ability to communicate effectively between one another. To have a successful interpersonal relationship one must first interact with others, which is called interpersonal communication (Hybels & Weaver, 2007).

Recognizing emotions in other is a very important first step to building a relationship. If you can’t feel what someone else is feeling then you can’t connect with them on a personal level and that can hinder your relationship process. Interpersonal communication is important because of the functions it achieves. Whenever we engage in communication with another person, we seek to gain information about them. We also give off information through a wide variety of verbal and non-verbal cues. Verbal communication has huge effects on many aspects of life, including interpersonal relationships.

Speaking and telling our needs and wants verbally or non-verbally is a necessity for daily life. Verbal communication is organized by language; non-verbal communication is not. Most of us spend about 75 percent of our waking hours communicating our knowledge, thoughts, and ideas to others (Allis, 2002). However, most of us fail to realize that a great deal of our communication is of a non-verbal form as opposed to the oral and written forms. Non-verbal communication includes facial expressions, eye contact, tone of voice, body posture and motions, and positioning within groups.

It may also include the way we wear our clothes or the silence we keep. In person-to-person communications our messages are sent on two levels simultaneously. If the nonverbal cues and the spoken message are incongruous, the flow of communication is hindered. Right or wrong, the receiver of the communication tends to base the intentions of the sender on the non- verbal cues one receives. Before a person makes an attempt to form an interpersonal relationship they must decide what attracts them to that person.

There are many factors that make up attraction to others. Physical attraction, perceived gain, similarities, differences, and proximity are some of them (Hybels, 2007). Most people are first attracted to others because of the way they look. Some people might have distinct characteristics that one might be attracted to such as; blues eyes, short hair, or even a small space between their teeth. If a person is not attracted to your appearance they are not likely to come up and carry on a conversation with you.

For example, if an individual, who dislikes tattoos, is taking a class and has to choose a partner for a project, but there are only two people left and one of them has tattoos he or she will mostly likely choose the individual without tattoos ,even   if the person with tattoos is a very intelligent individual. There are many cases where we are attracted to someone because of the perceived gain associated them for example, one might become friends with an employee at a restaurant in hope of having discounted meal when they eat there.

The similarities and differences are a major factor in determining if the relationship will be right for you. Often we find ourselves attracted to people that share the same beliefs, values, and religion. Most people are also attracted to people who enjoy the same activities as they do. Contrary to the similarities people may also be attracted to the differences. For example, person who doesn’t like making decisions might be attracted to a strong decision maker.

Because these characteristics complement each other, they might help strengthen the relationship (Hybels, 2007). Proximity is a valuable factor also when it comes to evaluating the pros and cons of a relationship. Proximity is the close contact that occurs when people share an experience such as at work, school, or play (Hybels, 2007). If a person does not want to have a long distance romantic relationship and their partner moves away to attend college in another state, then it is most likely that the relationship will not last.

Moving on to the next steps of forming an interpersonal relationship would be our motives for communicating. We are motivated to form relationships for many different reasons such as, pleasure, affection, inclusion, escape, relaxation, control and health (Hybels, 2007). If an individual is motivated by pleasure he or she might just want someone to go to the movies or discuss politics with. Maybe we might be motivated by affection; many people are looking for someone to give them attention; a “pat on the back” or a little kiss every now and then.

Many marriages end in divorce because of the lack of affection from their partner, but if they could have communicated effectively to each other that they needed more affection the relationship might not have ended. No matter what might motivate us, once we have started developing a relationship we have to decide how much of our selves we want to disclose to the relationship and at what point in the relationship. Self- disclosure is a process in which one person tells another person something he or she would not reveal to just anyone (Hybels, 2007).

Self-disclosure is not simply providing information to another person. Instead, scholars define self-disclosure as sharing information with others that they would not normally know or discover (Borchers, 1999). Self-disclosure involves risk and vulnerability on the part of the person sharing the information. Self-disclosure performs many functions. It is also a way of gaining information about another person. We want to be able to predict the thoughts and actions of people we know. Self-disclosure is one way to learn about how another person thinks and feels.

Once one person engages in self-disclosure, it is implied that the other person will also disclose personal information.

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Mutual disclosure deepens trust in the relationships and helps both people understand each other more. You also feel better about yourself and your relationship when the other person accepts what you tell them. While self disclosure can strengthen a relationship it can also damage it. A relationship can be damaged if the person you are pouring your soul out to do not like what they are hearing or if self-disclosure comes too early in a relationship it can be damaged.

Thus, while self-disclosure is useful, it can also be damaging to a relationship. There are five different stages that we progress through while developing and strengthening our relationships, these are the “coming together” stages. No matter what type of relationship it is; romantic, platonic, or same gender relationship each kind still goes through each stages. The first stage is the initiating stage. The initiating stage is characterized by nervousness, caution, a bit of hesitation, and risk of being rejected (Hybels, 2007).

Although one might proceed with caution, this stage can be very joyful experience and the outcomes can be great. Most people leave this stage with a new friend. The next stage is the experimenting stage. In this stage people make an effort to seek out common interest and experiences (Hybels, 2007). One might express a love for children and hopes of being a parent one day. This would be an important topic to discuss for a romantic relationship; each person needs to be aware of what the future might hold for them if they continue with the relationship.

When experimenting with each other by discussing important topics and seeing the reactions of other, one can make a valid decision based on their knowledge of the other person to continue the relationship to the next stage. The intensifying stage is the third stage that we go through. Self-disclosure becomes more common in the intensifying stage. The relationship becomes less formal and statements are made about the level of commitment each has to the relationship. In this stage individuals might have nick names for one another or “inside jokes”.

A statement about attending a vacation next summer in France is an example of the commitment one might have for the relationship. But while self-disclosure becomes more common and makes the relationship stronger it can also make the participants vulnerable to each other. The integrating stage is the fourth stage. This is the point where personalities are beginning to merge; people are expecting to see them together (Hybels, 2007). The individuals become a pair. They begin to do things together and, importantly, others come to see them as a pair.

A shared relational identity also starts to form in this stage. By the end of this stage individuals should know how to communicate and responds with ease and understanding of the other person’s feelings. The final stage of coming together is the bonding stage. At this point, the participants make some sort of commitment that announces their relationship to those around them (Hybels, 2007). Two girls friends might say they are now “best friends” to announce their comment to their relationship or a couple might announce they are getting married or buying a house together.

This stage involves a lot of commitment and dedication to the relationship and to each other. In all of the stages discussed we all have decision to make. We can either progress forward to the next stage, stay in the same stage we are in, move back a stage or exit the relationship all together. No matter what we as individuals choose to do we need to know how to communicate effectively to that next stage and we need to know how to handle conflict or resolve conflict in our relationships.

We can do this by conflict resolution, which is negotiating to find a solution to the conflict (Hybels, 2007). Depending on how a conflict is resolved it can produce a positive or negative result. For example if two sisters are fight over a dress to wear on the weekend, they have two choices: one wear the dress and the other one does not, which leaves one sister unhappy (negative outcome) or neither of them wear it, so both are satisfied and neither of them are jealous of the other (positive outcome).

It also helps to take a positive approach to conflict resolution, where discussion is considerate and non-confrontational, and the heart of the matter is on issues rather than on individuals. If this is done, then, as long as people listen carefully and explore facts, issues and possible solutions properly, conflict can often be resolved effectively. In short, interpersonal communication is just like any other works of life, it must be practiced and utilized regularly in order to be successful. We must continually analyze and study it in order to improve our ability to communicate effectively in relationships.  That will lead to better relationships which lead to a better life, both personally and professionally.

References Allis, R. (2002). Non-verbal Communication. Zeromillion. com. Retrieved September 25, 2010, from http://www. zeromillion. com/business/management/non-verbal- communication. html Borchers, T. (1999). Interpersonal Communication. Allyn & Bacon. Retrieved September 22, 2010, from http://www. abacon. com/commstudies/interpersonal/interpersonal. html Hybels, S. , & Weaver, R. (2007). Communicating Effectively. New York: McGraw-Hill

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