Interpersonal Communication and Relationships
Interpersonal communication involves two people that share some information either face-to-face interaction or via other channels. This kind of communication has several principles that characterize it as irreversible and non-optional, for example. Although the process enables effective data sharing between individuals, it faces some communication barriers including noise, message-type restrictions, and interaction contexts. In line, the self-concept includes the self-image and self-esteem, both of which affect couple’s relationships. Couples have to communicate with each other in a positive manner so as to support each other’s self-concept. On the same line, self-disclosure and emotional intelligence are capable of boosting the development of relationships in couples by limiting the probability of the conflict aggravation. However, should conflicts occur, many communication techniques and strategies can be helpful in resolving them. These communication tools include the defusing and stroking technique, as well as empathy and exploration. In line, the soften-the-startup and make-and-receive repair attempts are the strategies. Therefore, individuals involved in relationships should enhance therapeutic interpersonal communication through the adoption of useful strategies and minimization of factors that can hinder the growth and development of relationships in their couple. Finally, the gender and culture influence the couple’s relationships since men and women possess certain variations in the interpersonal communication.
Communication is the only way messages or information can be passed from one person to another. The most valuable form of communication is the interpersonal one, in which two or more parties are involved. They share information either during a face-to-face communication or via some other channels, for example, the telephone. For the effective communication to take place, certain principles of interpersonal communication are to be adhered to while any communication barriers are to be minimized. Furthermore, effective communication plays a significant role in the resolution of conflicts in addition to shaping a person’s self-concept. In spite of being important in the settlement of conflicts and promotion of self-concept, as well as self-disclosure, interpersonal communication affected by the gender and culture faces many barriers and concepts that influence its effectiveness.
Effective Interpersonal Communication: Principles and Barriers
There are various principles of effective interpersonal communication, to which every communicator should adhere in order to enhance the efficiency of any communication act. First, communication is not optional because whether one talks or keeps quiet always means something. In such a manner, someone can communicate both verbally and nonverbally. On the same line, interpersonal communication is completely irreversible. Once one party that is involved in the communication act utters something, that message cannot be withdrawn. If such information is destructive, the only thing one can do is to offer an apology and maybe regret since it is not possible to take back what has been said. Notwithstanding, communication is a complex process. According to Beebe, Beebe, and Redmond, every form of communication is complex, and there are several reasons as to why communication occurs and how it takes place. Various things influence interpersonal communication; they include language, distractions, and the environment, as well as individuals that are involved in the process of communication, all of which complicate the act of the human interaction. Also, communication has a context that explains the reason as to why the act takes place, in general. However, problems related to timing and the location of the act, and misconceptions of involved communicators can negatively impact the process of interpersonal communication.
On the other hand, competent communicators should keep some principles in mind in order to enhance the communication efficiency. The first thing is to take responsibility for the own behavior in the communication. I can advise a couple to be truthful, accurate and precise in communicating with others. Secondly, one must remember that communication involves shared meaning. In such a manner, both the sender and receiver of information are required to develop a mutual understanding and interpretation of common messages. Thirdly, a couple should acknowledge that one’s situational view may be different from the other person’s one. In my opinion, it is important to take the perspective of another individual and consider his or her view. Also, it is of critical importance to respect the other communicating player the way you respect yourself. For providing effective interpersonal communication, I should aim at achieving win-win outcomes in all communication dimensions rather than having one individual win the argument or get control of the conversation. The next principle to adhere to is to not only to listen but also to evaluate another person’s statements before responding. Finally, it is essential to practice competency in communication since these skills are learned and mastered through motivation, knowledge, and practice. All these principles of communication matter a lot since they enhance the effectiveness of the act and leave every person satisfied. Furthermore, they improve quality relationships.
However, effective interpersonal communication faces various barriers. They include noise, message-type restrictions, and interaction contexts. Also, differences in the background and experience of the communicating partners may present another difficulty to this kind of communication. Couples can overcome these issues with some effort. In the case of the physical noise that includes the distraction, which is produced by environmental forces such as a ringing cell phone or noise from the busy traffic, one can choose a venue that is free from any distractions of the kind. For example, selecting an appropriate place with less traffic and switching phones to the silent mode can help overcome the noise barrier. In addition, people can also overcome message type restrictions such as emailing that limits one’s ability to convey nonverbal information. Overcoming this obstacle involves acknowledging limitations of different channels and exercising patience while striving to overcome it. Furthermore, communicators from various cultures and or countries may face serious challenges, but we can increase intergroup communication. Finally, interaction contexts are other barriers to the effective communication. For instance, usually, online profiles have nothing in common with real-world individuals. However, I may try to overcome this barrier through the involvement of a trusted contact in order to help me navigate the challenging contexts.
Influence of Communication on One’s Self-Concept, Self-Image, and Self-Esteem
Self-concept is a broad term that includes both self-image and self-esteem. Self-concept refers to how an individual perceives own self. On the other hand, self-image is one of the descriptive terms; it refers to the set of characteristics that one belief to possess. Furthermore, self-esteem is an evaluative term. It refers to the traits or characteristics that a person strives to possess. The three terms intertwine and, thus, influence a person.
These three terms substantially affect interpersonal relationships. Self-concept is a social phenomenon that is influenced by existing relationships. Communication scholars have found that an individual’s self-concept is not only sustained but also formed and changed by interactions with other people. The characteristics one believes to possess, including both strengths and weaknesses, affect the self-concept. On the other hand, a person’s self-image includes all the roles one perceives have and the words one uses for the self-description and how one believes other perceive him or her. One’s self-image involves how other people see that individual. It affects a couple’s relationship because each member of the couple may see the partner differently and produce different comments. For instance, an individual can have a personal perception of being either generous or selfish depending on what the partner says. In this case, a person uses others’ comments in order to check and modify self-perception. The relationship may change depending on the communication of the couple and the influence that the communicated messages have on the couple.
Moreover, self-esteem goes beyond self-image; it means the significance or value that a person gives to perceived traits of the self-image. For instance, one member of my couple can assert having low levels of interpersonal communication depending on the information from a partner. In turn, these interpersonal skills of communication that are believed to be poor can impact self-esteem that finally affects my couple’s relationship. According to Lane, one can believe in being both kind and sensitive (self-image) and assert that this kindness and sensitivity are important and valuable traits to be possessed (self-esteem). Couples with low self-esteem will have poor relationships while those with improved self-esteem are likely to have intact relationships. Therefore, every couple should understand these concepts and how they affect the overall self-concept of each partner. When communicating with each other, people should be positive and pass messages that will improve one’s self-concept. It is so because spoken words are the tool that shapes self-concept.
Self-Disclosure and Emotional Intelligence in Relationships
Self-disclosure and emotional intelligence play an essential role in various relationships of people. Bengtson defines emotional intelligence as one’s ability to both perceive and identify self and other people’s emotions and to manage self-affective states so as to enhance the quality and health of current relationships. High levels of emotional intelligence are therapeutic to the existing relationships because they contribute to the better disagreement management. Such a thing further results in the higher relationship satisfaction and fewer conflicts because those involved in the relationship are likely to accommodate each other instead of retaliating. On the other hand, self-disclosure is the process of revealing individual or personal information to a partner. Self-disclosure is essential in ensuring closeness of individuals that are involved in a relationship since it is a fundamental component of communication. Therefore, the two concepts are useful in the communication and existence of relationships among individuals.
Self-disclosure plays an enormous role in my couple’s relationship. Communication is a critical component in developing and sustaining intimate relationships. Nevertheless, self-disclosure is the main component that helps maintain healthy relationships. Self-disclosure allows my couple to establish prosperous relationships. Bengtson reiterates that if couples and individuals have the desire to have growing and thriving relationships, they should make self-disclosure a common part of their communication. It is so because the more open and free to a partner one is, the more their relationships grow. The increase in the release of this kind of information enables those in the intimate relationship understand their partner’s ideas and reactions. Subsequently, these knowledge allows individuals reveal their self-esteem. On the other hand, limiting self-disclosure results in the communication breakdown and prevents the growth and development of healthy relationships. When people fail to be open to each other, relationships may fail to prosper because of the communication breakdown. Therefore, self-disclosure plays a key role in my couple’s relationship by enhancing its growth and development.
Couple’s relationships can be improved when they become emotionally intelligent. I advise couples to do several things so as to improve their relationships. First, each member of the couple should have a high level of self-awareness and a willingness to reveal information in the communication. Secondly, a couple should adopt a behavior of listening to the emotional content of the issues or whatever is being said and subsequently be moved by it. Also, people should have an ability to express self-emotions in communication with partners. Finally, it is a willingness to demonstrate the emotional influence of the communication on the couple’s relationship. Such a thing causes a huge effect because it motivates a partner who knows that whatever is said triggers some emotions from the recipient in the communication. All these elements are vital in the growth and development of a healthy relationship.
Communication Strategies and Techniques in Resolving Interpersonal Conflicts
Conflicts in interpersonal communication are common, but there are several communication techniques that one can employ for their resolution. The first one is the defusing technique. In a conflict, one person can be angry; as a result, he or she may be armed with several arguments to support and pass own blames. According to Bellafiore, the goal of the mediating individual is to address this anger by agreeing with the person’s arguments. The technique involves the acknowledgment of other people’s opinions in a conflict instead of refuting them. Once they are acknowledged, it is easier to handle the dispute since the general tension is lowered. Secondly, the empathy technique is very useful in solving interpersonal conflicts in a non-partisan way. It presupposes creating circumstances, under which the one handling the conflict resolution process puts own self in the shoes of another person. The method is effective because it helps conflicting individuals know that someone is listening and understanding their points of view.
Furthermore, the exploration and stroking techniques are using in the conflict resolution, as well. Bellafiore asserts that this technique involves asking careful and probing questions about another person’s feelings and thoughts. The effectiveness of exploration is reached when an individual talks about what is in his or her mind. The stroking technique involves finding positive issues to speak about another individual even if being angry. This technique is useful since it demonstrates the respectful attitude of both partners. The use of “I” statements is significant in all these techniques. This mode enables an individual to take personal thoughts rather than attributing motives to another person.
In real life, there are numerous potential conflicts. An almost occurring relationship conflict is one of the possible conflicts that take place in the interpersonal communication. A relationship conflict happens in the presence of interpersonal incompatibilities. For instance, my couple may have views that oppose my ones; consequently, such a situation can result in an actual conflict if it is not handled well. Two strategies can help address the potential confrontation. They are the soften-the–startup and make–and–receive repair attempts. According to the first case, one employs the soft startup technique through conversing positively and expressing appreciation before focusing on the actual problem for handling. In the second case, a person learns how to make and receive repair attempts. In such a manner, repair attempts refer to the efforts that aim at preventing harmful interactions from aggravating further and trying to calm the already chaotic situation. This strategy is important because it helps prevent worsening the situation before resolving the problem.
Influence of Culture and Gender on Interpersonal Communications
Gender and culture are closely related issues that influence interpersonal communication and relationships. Gender refers to the feelings, attitudes, and behaviors that a culture associates with the biological sex of an individual. On the other hand, culture consists of beliefs, artifacts, and ways of behaving for a given group of people. The two concepts are related since culture shapes gender. Expectations about behaviors and attributes are appropriate for both men and women, as well as their respective relationships. Since culture influences how men and women communicate, the two terms are considered to shape the interpersonal communication.
Gender marks differences in interpersonal communication and relationships. These differences between men and women in terms of their styles of communication are based on the idea that the two partners view the purpose of communication differently. While men use language and communication for exerting dominance and achieving tangible outcomes, women employ them with the view to building relationships and enhancing social connections. This example demonstrates that males and females vary considerably in what they want to achieve from relationships, something that guides their communication styles. Furthermore, men and women differ when communicating with the aim to achieve better relations with other people in the society. When talking, men value independence while women pay attention to social interactions with others. Consequently, men strive to gain dominance in their relationships while females strive to establish and sustain a status. Merchant explains that other than biological differences between the two genders, culture defines people’s behavior according to their gender. Therefore, the way women act towards building relationships through communication is shaped by culture; the same is true for men.
Gender and culture influence my couple’s relationship. The two people involved in communication strive to achieve their personal goals and at the same time sustain the relationship. Culture expects men and women to form a union, in which a man dominates, and a woman becomes subordinate to him. My couple then communicates in a manner to complement each other. Such a thing has seen our relationship prosper because the goals of every partner are clear, and no one threatens the achievement of the partner’s goals because of personal variations. In advice, my couple should be in a position to understand each other and observe cultural influences on their communication. An understanding of what a partner wants from communication and the overall relationship can see us grow and develop.
Interpersonal communication faces various barriers despite having several principles that can enhance its effectiveness. Nevertheless, it is important to guide the conflict resolution and promote self-concept through self-disclosure despite the gender and cultural influences. Interpersonal communication involves two people that share information via various channels. Some of the communication principles include its irreversible and non-optional nature. Although it is effective in most cases, certain barriers, for example, noise and cultural disparities, can have an enormous negative impact. Nevertheless, the precise handling of the same difficulties can improve its effectiveness. Furthermore, the self-concept is influenced by the communication that, in its turn, affects relationships in couples. It is important in shaping one’s self-image and self-esteem. On the other hand, the promotion of self-disclosure and emotional intelligence contributes to the growth and development of relationships. Even though conflicts may arise, attempts to resolve them can work a great deal. Finally, gender and culture influence the way men and women communicate with each other.