SOC3400- The Family in Transition
29 November 2010
Communication in Relationships
Communication plays a big role in how successful a relationship can be. There are plenty of factors that affect the way individuals communicate. The most difficult part about communication in relationships is how the other person corresponds with you. It is all about how you may speak verbally and nonverbally to others. Many people believe gender and their roles can make an impact. Females are the sentimental ones who want to express how they feel and focus on intimacy. Males tend to use these as excuses of why they should be in charge or have power. Their idea of being tough and strong is to not show their emotions. There are specific ways of expressing one’s self, but they must learn the basics of communication first. Verbal communication is crucial to communicating in general. One thing a speaker must be aware of is their tone. The tone of someone’s voice can be misinterpreted. Besides tone, word choice can play a role in how positive you may communicate; language is flexible and can be used in different ways. If someone tells another person, “you do nothing, you’re lazy,” the other person may feel upset or useless. In reality, the other person may be busy with work and school and simply forgot or did not have time to do the dishes. Culture can also play a role on verbal communication. A famous saying in one country can be nonsense in another such as “what you said went straight over my head.” Culture helps create specific dialects for different groups to make communicating more efficient. If used correctly, verbal communication can make or break a relationship. Unquestionably, nonverbal communication has just as big of an impact as verbal. Nonverbal can affect auditory, visual and physical channels. In most instances, people can hear the other person talking, read their facial expressions and may be touching or receiving a touch simultaneously. Nonverbal communication has fewer rules and has more meanings. Verbal communication is structured with grammar, spelling, and pronunciation such as periods and exclamation marks or “there,” “their” and “they’re.” On the other hand, nonverbal communication shows they can also convey ambiguous meanings. In example, a glance at someone could be defined as flirting, contentment, or a sign of warning. Someone’s facial expressions, eye contact, posture, gestures, vocal tone, and clothing are usually things we focus on when communicating in person. Most importantly, nonverbal communication is being used through technology. Through the recent years, people have been relying on e-mail, phones and text messaging to communicate. Some things can be misinterpreted and cause conflict between relationships. Together, verbal and nonverbal communications express meaning and go hand-in-hand with each other. Generally speaking, males and females have different ways of speaking to others comfortably. What most people realize is that some of the stereotypes about communication between men and women can be true, but also false. Men tend to communicate more “informative, honest, relevant, and use more clear language” (McCornack, 2010). They usually focus on activities, information, logic and negotiation. Men often see a woman’s perspective on emotions as unreasonable. With women, conversations are negotiations for intimacy and avoiding loneliness in which they “try to seek and give confirmations and support, and to reach consensus” (Tannen, 25). They tend to perceive a man’s view as unsympathetic. Both males and females have different ways of communicating intrapersonally and interpersonally. When a man has done something wrong, they blame outside circumstances before they blame themselves. They talk for more periods of time; this supports the reasoning of having power and controlling it. In mixed groups, men make 96% of the interruptions and the result is that women have greater difficulty presenting...
References: Dindia, K., & Allen, M. (1992). Sex differences in self-disclosure: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 106-124.
Knox, D., & Schacht, C. (2010). Choices in relationships: an introduction to marriage and family (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
McCornack, S. (2010). Reflect & relate: an introduction to interpersonal communication (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin 's.
Tannen, D. (1990). You just don’t understand: Women and men in conversation. London: Virago.
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