Every relationship has a different way of interpreting its story depending on who’s talking about it. I have been able to observe one of my good friend’s relationships with her boyfriend over the past two years and was able to see many of their problems in relation to the communication climate that is created by one or the other.
Most of the observations I noticed was negative. My friend “Joan” was always on defense and demanding of her boyfriend. Relay negative feedback no matter what he did rather badly or good. When I noticed that she was able to make every comment towards him mean even when she “just playing”. She interrupts when he’s talking mostly because she doesn’t want him to talk at all. When her boyfriend asks her questions she uses ambiguous response like she’s irritated by him asking and just wants to avoid answering. I had talked with her privately about it and suggested for her to improve her behavior by being more positive and giving him positive reinforcement and that maybe he will comply more with less aggravation. It was something she was able to do and I see a great improvement. Then I was reading about the communication climate and the different levels of responses. Now I have seen that the open public display of put downs was connected to a deeper problem in their communication. I spend a lot of time with this particular couple and get to see them have many conversations and though she has restraint form the negative words she’s not aware of the communication climate control that is disrupting their relationship. Joan is more of the dominate partner and controller of the relationship and has more influence on how they handle their problems. All the different ways of displaying disconfirming messages explained in the text book is all the ways she communicates with her boyfriend. I am almost shocked that I have seen every example in one couple. Of course in response to Joan’s way of communication her boyfriend has...
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