COM200: Interpersonal Communication
December 12, 2011
Five Keys for Effectively Using Interpersonal Communication within a Relationship Dear Jim and Lisa,
Congratulations on your recent engagement! I am honored that you would ask my advice for your relationship based on the information that I have been learning in my Interpersonal Communication course through Ashford University. Because marriage comes with many challenges, it is so great that you are being proactive in seeking advice for effectively using interpersonal communication within your relationship. Although I am not an expert, I would like to share with you five key elements that I have been learning and attempting to implement in my own relationship. These keys involve understanding and developing strategies for emotional intelligence, effective listening, nonverbal expression, self-disclosure, and managing interpersonal conflicts. I believe these five keys will contribute greatly to the success of your life-long commitment of marriage. Define Emotional Intelligence and its Role in Effective Interpersonal Relationships One of the first keys to successful communication involves understanding emotions and expressing them appropriately through emotional intelligence (EI). Emotional intelligence can be defined as a person’s ability to portray emotional sensitivity and emotional management skills. It has been studied since 1985, when it first appeared as a term in Wayne Leon Payne’s doctoral dissertation. However Daniel Goleman is the writer most commonly associated with the term, because he has done much published research regarding the topic in both articles and books. Emotional intelligence can be described as having three components: (1) the ability to effectively perceive, communicate, and manage negative emotions; (2) the ability to experience, communicate, and sustain positive emotions; and (3) the ability to retain perspective during difficult times and to recover following stressful events” (Sole, 2011 p. 205).
I believe that individuals are born with their own unique potential for understanding and processing emotional sensitivity. As you know, Sarah and I are both very different and have two very different ways of expressing our emotions and responding to each other’s emotional responses. She tends to have a more positive outlook during stressful situations, whereas I usually see the negative possibilities. I tend to handle issues of a more sensitive nature (i.e. hurt feelings, loss, fears, etc.) in stride, whereas these types of emotions can really impact her and affect her day. We know this about each other, and we try to be a balance to each other’s emotions. When I am stressed out, she tries to look for the positive opportunities and encourages me to stay calm. When she is struggling with her emotions, I try to reassure her that I will always be by her side…regardless of the issue. This tends to keep both of us on track during tough times. I encourage you two to do the same. Learn your emotional languages and how to speak to each other on that level. It is a challenging skill that we all must continually seek to improve. In his book “Working with Emotional Intelligence,” Goleman (1998) suggests that EI consists of 25 “skills, abilities and competencies.” Although 25 skills may seem a bit daunting, the point should be to always seek to improve your emotional intelligence skills. Understand that you each are different and respond with a different emotional response. There is no need to critique the other, but rather instead understand. This will help you both to effectively communicate with each other and be in tune with what is important to one another. Develop Strategies for Active, Critical, and Empathic Listening As you begin to understand emotional intelligence and continue to concentrate on improving your...