Interpersonal Communication is instilled in us from birth. It’s the nuzzle of your mother as an infant to the high school friends and eventually our marriages. But the question is, at what level is communication impersonal or interpersonal? Gerald Miller and Mark Steinberg implies that interpersonal communication, also referred to as dyadic communication, is governed by rules or regulations that tell us how and when to communicate with each other. These rules, or stages if you must, help guide us toward dyadic communication. The rules are explained as cultural, sociological, and eventually physiological level rules. Physiological level rules being the most intimate of the three. There are also several elements to interpersonal communication, illustrating self-disclosure, and how we filter or choose those whom we communicate impersonally.
Let’s start with the three elements of communication. We communicate with one another verbally, non-verbally, paraverbally (the tone and/or pitch of our voice) and mostly by using a combination of these elements. Take the feature film Edward Scissorhands for instance. Edward was a creation such as Frankenstein, and his creator died prior to completion, therefore he was not “born” with inapt communication skills but he does know the basic elements. Edward speaks in a soft gentle tone and gazes with soft sad eyes, at his love interest Kim. He does not do this with people he doesn’t feel as comfortable with such as Kim’s boyfriend Jim. Jim is jealous of Edward because he is different and Edward can read Jim’s direct negative tone and body language. Edward may not have been the perfect person for the world he was introduced to, but he knew how to read people well.
According to Steve Duck, attraction is obtained by a process of elimination, also called a Filtering Theory of Communication. By using Duck’s Attraction filtering process we determine who we want to be close to. These filters or queues can be identified as sociological, preinteraction, interaction, and cognitive queues. In the film, Edward encounters many characters that he must sort through to determine who truly has his best interest, unfortunately the story was set in a white collar neighborhood in the 1950’s were conformity was key, so everyone passed through the sociological queue. By using the preinteraction queue Edward was able to look at things such as beauty and non verbal behavior to determine who he wanted to learn more about. As the interaction queue occurred, Edward had narrowed down to Kim; Edward felt comfortable with Kim and knew he was falling for her, he just needed her to do the same. Cognitive queues are the last and most important, as these queues are physiological and the building blocks to long lasting relationships. At this level of Duck’s Attraction Filter, Edward has already determined he was in love with Kim and began to initiate more personal and intimate communication with her also called Self Disclosure. Self Disclosure is a point in a relationship where you are more open, and revealing of information not