Communication Concepts in 50 First Dates

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Throughout the first half of Communication 101: Introduction to Human Communication we have been introduced to and discussed a lot of new concepts, ideas, and terms. All of this new material has been pertinent to how humans interact with one another, while also informing us of the why and how behind these interactions as well. The amount of new information we have learned would be impossible to cover and apply to one piece of pop culture, but a lot of what we have learned is relatable to the movie 50 First Dates. This 2004 movie featuring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore features numerous examples of normative relationships and key concepts that we have learned about in class. In this paper I will not only introduce communication terms but I will also put them in context and apply them to the movie. 50 First Dates is a movie that is centered around the relationship between two people, Henry (Sandler) and Lucy (Barrymore). Their relationship is however a breeding ground of communication concepts and terms, and the application of these terms makes the movie as good as it is. One of the most applicable concepts to the movie comes from the seven axioms of communication. Although all seven axioms are present in 50 First Dates, I chose Communication is Functional as the most present in the film. Communication is functional because there is always a purpose or interactional goal behind it, and this is true of all communication ranging from small talk to deep conversations. Moving on from the axioms, the seven steps of a establishing a new relationship were also very applicable to the movie and I thought that many of the steps were very easily detected and evident. Assessing Availability, or in other terms figuring out if someone we want to approach is available, or not with anyone else. Also assessing availability includes the detection of avoidance or approach cues (ex’s: avoiding eye contact, smiling, etc.). Another step present in establishing new relationships is evaluating Extraordinary Qualifiers, which are attributes or characteristics of a person that everyone wants but few people possess. The most common extraordinary qualifiers are beauty and wealth. Continuing on with these steps, we come to Finding an Opener and Integrative Topic, which are communication skills that are done on a routine basis without second thought or realization. Finding an opener is just getting the nerve to introduce yourself to someone, and it can range from a casual “Hey how are you?” to “Did you watch the Oscars last night?” Integrative topics on the other hand are just topics that both people enjoy talking about which creates common ground and allows for the conversation to flow smoothly. Examples of integrative topics can be a shared love of food, sports, or movies. Lastly, the last step of creating a new relationship I found to be relatable to 50 First Dates was Establishing a Second Encounter. This term is exactly what it sounds like and it is when after an initial conversation or interaction goes well, two people agree to meet up or talk again, whether it be in person or through social media. The axioms of communication and steps of establishing a new relationship are crucial to the plot of 50 First Dates, but they only just scratch the surface of all of the communication concepts and terms within the film. Delving into the next flurry of communication terminology pertinent to the movie 50 First Dates, I will start with Self Presentation. Self presentation is intentional communication that is designed to show of elements or characteristics of self for strategic purposes. This can also be described as presenting yourself in a manner that makes yourself look good, or plays on information or knowledge of the person that you are interacting with. Another concept ingrained in the movie is Interaction Appearance Theory. This theory states that people change their attributions of others, especially physical attractiveness the more they...
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