The Basics of Interpersonal Communication
Prof. W. Saltmarsh
July 26, 2012
The Basics of Interpersonal Relationships
Dear Sam and Katie,
After considering your request for advice on interpersonal communications I have come to the decision that the information I have learned in my communications class could be beneficial for a young, recently engaged couple. Addressing the most important points could be useful, especially now that you both have decided to take your relationship to the next level. I have learned in this class that having good communication skills benefits everyone and that it is particularly important in building a stronger and more successful marriage. Although we communicate without giving it much thought, not everyone has the proper skills to communicate well so I have selected five areas of interpersonal communication which I will pass on to you in this letter. The skills I consider to be most crucial in achieving a long and happy marriage are, principles and misconceptions, self-concept, gender and cultural differences, nonverbal communication and last but most importantly, listening. There are many communication skills necessary to ensure a successful relationship, and when it comes to effective interpersonal communications there are many aspects of communicating that we need to remember. Communication and the way we communicate is said to be what separates us from our animal cousins. It is defined as “a process by which we share ideas of information with other people” (cited in Sole, p.5). INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION
Whether it is verbal or nonverbal, communication is the most important aspect of building a lasting relationship.
Principles and Misconceptions
To begin with I would like to explain a little about the principles and misconceptions in terms of interpersonal communications. It is necessary to mention that “Communication is not simply the exchange of words and information; it is the means through which we share knowledge, thoughts, ideas, and feelings with other people…the way people connect with other people…and it is these interactions that create the meaning and richness of life” (Cited in Sole, preface). Linguists who have studied the basis of the human language believe that the human language uses symbols such as words, pictures or objects to represent something else. It has been agreed upon that certain communications symbols stand for certain sounds or written combination of letters to equate to a particular object (Sole, 2011). Because the meaning of a word can conger up different images for everyone it is crucial, that when communicating with others, that there is a shared understanding of the meaning of the words to eliminate any misconceptions for either the person speaking or the person listening. Improving your interpersonal verbal communication skills enables one to be better understood and results in fewer miscommunications. Let me stress at this time that it is imperative that you take the time to get feedback when having a conversation in INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION
order to make sure that the other person understands exactly what you are saying. Although it has been thought that good communication skills between loved ones are strong, recent studies show that couples are often times no better at communicating with one another than they are with strangers.
I recently read an article that was published in U.S. News & World Report in January of 2011 on communication, as it pertains to close relationships. The outcome of a study done by professors Kenneth Savitsky and Nicholas Epley offers valid examples of common miscommunications with couples. . As the study co-author Epley points out “Our problem in communicating with friends and spouses is that we have an illusion of insight (Epley, 2011). Many of us tend to assume that those we care...