Communications paper

Submitted By zbanov
Words: 1751
Pages: 8

“Ever had one of these before?” asks Gary as he forced a hotdog over a line of about eight grown men trying to watch a baseball game. His desperate, unwarranted reach for Brooke implies his need to be close to the woman he does not even know. Gary’s use of proximity to display his level of interest is constantly emphasized throughout the film. This form of nonverbal communication is called proxemics. It spurns from the idea that how people stand in terms of personal space implies their level of comfort and intentions in terms of personal communication. From the couple’s first conversation to their final parting, Gary’s concern for Brooke can be determined easily from how far apart the couple stood during their interactions and non-interactions.
According to Steven McCornack (2013), two people’s proximity can be divided into specific zones (p. 225). He claims that zero to eighteen inches apart is known the intimate space (p. 255). As Brooke attempts to leave the stadium with the man who originally took her to the ballgame, Gary struggles to push closer to her intimate space. This area is typically known as the “defining nonverbal features of close relationships” (McCornack, 2013, p. 59). By trying to invade Brooke’s intimate zone, Gary demonstrates his intentions to join, almost forcefully, her group of close people in her life. McCornack (2013) explains that eighteen inches to four feet apart implies personal space. While less intimate than intimate space, this space is still grounds for complete social dedication to those within it (p. 225). After Gary’s mistake puts a flaw in Brooke’s family dinner plans, Brooke attempts to enter Gary’s personal space to confront him. Gary avoids letting her in by lying horizontally on the couch, barely making the effort to lock eyes. By blatantly avoiding Brooke’s attempts to enter his personal space, Gary shows a lack of passion towards mending the relationship. This display of carelessness is one of the many early tumbles leading the degradation of their relationship. Between four and twelve feet apart is classified as social space. This area is where a majority of the break-up within the film takes place. As Brooke and Gary drift apart they stop connecting a couple and instead converse as two separate individuals in a shared social space. There is no longer any shards of intimacy within this area. The final area is any distance greater than twelve feet apart known as public space. In the film, Brooke makes one last attempt to salvage the pieces of a broken relationship by inviting Gary to a concert. He does not show up and Brooke is left alone at the concert. This is the ultimate end of their chances to rekindle their relationship. By leaving Brooke alone, Gary makes the conscious decision to leave her. The scene is a perfect metaphor for the amount of effort put forward in healing the relationship. While Brooke showed up ready to fix what was flawed, Gary did not care enough to be there.
Gary’s use of proxemics as a tool for nonverbal communication continues throughout the film as Brooke and Gary’s relationship breaks down. As they battle with each other in front of their realtor, Gary and Brooke struggle to force each other out of their personal space through a battle to claim ownership of their apartment. This concept was coined by McCornack (2013) as territorialism. This is human tendency to claim certain areas as one’s own to maintain one’s personal space. (p. 225). Territorialism is better displayed in Gary and Brooke’s makeshift living conditions during their tumultuous ending. Gary claims the living room, his oasis from Brooke even during their healthy relationship, while Brooke claims the bedroom. While Gary could have shown humility, apologized, and dropped his need for his own area, he selfishly claims the living room. His need to control his own personal displace demonstrates a selfish, uncommitted attitude towards his deteriorating relationship with