COM200: Interpersonal Communication (ABM1312E)
Instructor: Kara Brunson
April 22, 2013
Do You Understand Me
Dear Sara and Tim,
Let me start by first congratulating you on your engagement. Not many couples start out looking for advice on communication skills. Most wait until there is a conflict of some sort. My name is Teresa McDowell and I am a student at Ashford University. I have just completed a course in Interpersonal Communication and am going to discuss the importance of communication in your relationship per your request for advice on this topic.
Today I would like to talk to you about the importance of communicating with your partner and how it could affect the lively hood of your relationship. Every relationship will have its ups and downs, but if you are good communicators, your relationship could stand the test of time. While not all relationships will fail due to lack of communication, they can be difficult to maintain. Good communication between couples can bring them closer together and be beneficial to a lasting healthy relationship for the both of you.
Sigman (1991) pointed out, relationships are continuous despite discontinuous periods of physical and interactional co-presence. But, once two people stop communicating (and do not anticipate future interaction) their relationship is over. The quality of a relationship is primarily
determined by the quality of communication in the relationship. Communication is central to relationship maintenance. (Maintaining Relationships Through Communication By: Daniel J.
Canary and Marianne Dainton Published in the Taylor and Francis e-Library 2008).
Understanding how perceptions, emotions, and nonverbal expression affect interpersonal relationships can be difficult. Theorists have argued that facial expressions of emotion serve the interpersonal function of allowing one animal to predict another’s behavior. (Journal of
Nonverbal Behavior FALL 1996, Volume 20, Issue 3[->0], pp 165-182). Our nonverbal expressions can be misinterpreted by others even by those we are close to. We must be willing to learn what our nonverbal self is portraying to those around us in order to become better communicators.
Sara, maybe you could describe to Tim how some of his nonverbal actions make you feel. Tim, you do the same with Sara. Then talk with each other about how you really felt and see if your nonverbal communication was perceived correctly by one another. This is a good way to learn how your partner communicates nonverbally and make sure you are both on the same page.
People come to learn and use certain nonverbal behaviors in specific settings, or associate a particular behavior (e.g., smiling) with a particular meaning (e.g., happiness). Many nonverbal communications are perceived as they are learned, however for some people, nonverbal communication can be used to deceive or create a false sense of understanding. We must come to know ourselves, and our partners nonverbal communication skills, and how it is perceived by each other to avoid misconception.
Emotional nonverbal communication between partners in a relationship can be defined as simply states of the individual. Common emotions are anger, depression, anxiety and joy. Each individual can express emotion differently. If you are aware of your partners emotional communication, you can help each other or celebrate through this time, and understand where the other is coming from through the use of empathy for one’s state of emotion during that time.
If we can identify some of the barriers to effective interpersonal interactions then we will be able to understand one another more clearly as well. These barriers include physical, emotional, cultural and language barriers. To get past these barriers in communication, we must first find our faults and fears within our circle of friends, family…