Interpersonal communication is an important issue in the social aspect dealing with the different forms of association with other individuals. The said process may involve varying number of individuals but the most important component is the exchange of responses regardless of the nature such as positive and negative. When it comes to the said issue, it is important to consider different factors.
The important factors that are needed to be considered in the study of interpersonal relationships include the ways and methods of expression, the types of interpersonal interaction and even the results. These are included in the issues that are essential in the discussion of interpersonal communication. Interpersonal relationship can vary from a professional relationship in the workplace and the academe to personal relationship such the family, friendship and the relationship between man and woman.
In the movie, When Harry Met Sally, an important area of interpersonal communication was the main focus which is the interaction between the female and the male population. There are significant views presented by the movie regarding the interpersonal communication between a man and a woman. The main objective is to be able to present an analysis of the ideas and concepts that are presented in the film.
I. The basic differences between Harry and Sally (and their friends, if applicable) regarding their nonverbal behavior, nurturance and empathy, friendship, conflict and power.
The characters of the movie represent the varying behaviors of the human beings in terms of the interaction with one another. Interpersonal communication can be assessed through the verbal and the non-verbal stimuli and indications.
In terms of the non-verbal behaviors of the characters in the film, certain groups of personalities are represented. Harry is the representation of the population who are either different due to their personal beliefs or wanted to be different, thus, they tend to adopt behaviors that are out of the conventional. Being anti-social at some degree, Harry believed that he is different which also make him opinionated about different issues. Oftentimes he perceived that his views on different situations are the standards that should be taken. He can also be described a rebel in his beliefs. Sally on the other hand, can be considered as the representation of the people with structures lifestyle and those that follow the conventional norms. Thus, she is relaxed in conveying what she wants in every details and aspects in her life. She can communicate verbally which can be considered to lessen the need for non-verbal communication.
In terms of nurturance and empathy, both of the main characters have the capability to nurture and empathize although they had the difficulties to express these interactions, the years of friendship after the long years of not understanding each other can be considered an important notion in interpersonal communication. Two very different persons had achieved a level of relationship, both friendship and love, that make them understand each other. This relationship of nurturance and empathy can be considered to be essential and vital, since it was able to transcend the personal differences.
The story also depicts the complicated interaction between a man and a woman that can be vaguely defined from friendship to the verge of love. This can be considered as the main issue of the story between Harry and Sally, the success or failure of friendship due to the inevitable attraction between man and woman. The main issue specifically being the incapability of the opposite sexes to be friends since the issue of sex lurks with capability to break the friendship or raise the level of relationship to a higher note of human interaction.
When the differences of the sexes are defined, commonly there is a conflict in terms of power and other aspects. Varying beliefs in the strengths of the male and the female population can be perceived. These differences were presented through the unfolding of the plot of the movie. Although stereotypical knowledge commonly depicts the physical superiority of the male over the female population and emotional prowess and understanding can be attributed to the female population, there can never be a general rule.
II. The different ways that men and women communicate
There are varying ways and methods that men and women communicate. The movie deals with the fact that men and women can never be really friends. This can be considered on the basis that attraction can never be ignored, that it is inevitable. This is the main belief of the main character. In the end, some of the view that he considered true really happened. This is due to the fact that friendship can be considered as an intimate relationship. A view that friendship between a man and a woman can be comparable to an intimate relationship is due to the fact that there is commitment. For that matter interpersonal communication and relationship between the two sexes can inevitably lead to another level.
Friendship can be considered as one of the most intimate relationship next to love. The possibility of being in a man-woman relationship between friends of the opposite sexes can inevitably be considered. This can be attributed to the fact that the film deals on the attraction in between a man and a woman who initially dislike each other but found attraction as they had learned to understand and empathize each other.
There are different ways that a man and a woman can communicate. Due to the fact that interpersonal communication can be classified on the basis of the interaction between same or opposite gender, varying through other factors such as age, culture and the environment wherein they had been raised, determining the classification is a challenge. But a man and a woman can be friends and even a couple. The ways of interpersonal relationship is complicated and complex that it cannot be defined in simple terms.
The interaction of the main characters in the film depicts the different ways communication. During the first part, they are opposing each other. The antagonistic communication is one type interpersonal communication. In this type of interaction, the two sides have different ideas and find it hard to empathize with each other. Another type of interaction can be that wherein both parties find it unnecessary to communicate with each other due to lack of common ideas and similarities. Although such interactions are present, there are also other forms that can be considered as positive.
These types of relationships and communications are of deeper commitment and interaction. This is where friendship and man-woman relationship can be classified. Another relation that can be considered in this group is that of the relationship for family members. The ways of communication can be considered positive.
Verbal and non-verbal communications are also considered as the important ways of communication in the interpersonal level. These two types can be considered as essential to be able to establish relationship and interaction in the society. The verbal communication can be considered as a way of explicit interaction and expression to be able to convey the message to the other party. Men and women can be considered to have different strengths and methods of communication. Thus, its can be a challenge to determine the real message that is needed to be communicated. This can be considered as one of the hindrance in interpersonal communication. Another is the personal differences which can be considered as a challenge in communication and understanding.
Another way of communication between the male and the female is through the non verbal indications. According the cliché, actions speaks louder than voice the non-verbal communication can be more effective in expression of deep feelings. Men can be considered to be better in communication through the non-verbal ways, but this cannot be considered as a general rule. Although non-verbal communication is an important method to be able to achieve interpersonal communication and interaction, misunderstanding can be a common scenario.
It is important then to consider that the integration of the verbal and the non-verbal ways of communication should be applied to be able to achieve the understanding that is the primary role of the interpersonal communication.
III. What about role expectations, and how does this concept apply to the characters on a social and cultural level?
On the basis of communication then, there are different expectations between the sexes with regards to the roles that they can undertake in the communication process. Based on the stereotypical standards of the society, the women can express their emotions better through the verbal communication. This can be considered due to the diplomacy and understanding exhibited by the mother in her interaction with the family and other members of the community. Due to the said perception, even in the roles taken by the female in the different aspects of the society, may it be political, religious, etc. the skill to communicate verbally and understand is one of the main focus in considering a woman for the role. On the other hand, due to the perception that the man is the strength of the society, as depicted in the role of the father to support the family, the male members of the population is considered to have the capability to better communicate through the non-verbal ways of communication.
IV. What roles perception and stereotypes play in the communication between the characters?
In the movie, the differences in the sexes and their perceptions were conveyed. Also some of the stereotypical behaviors of a male and a female were portrayed. The guy being a womanizer is also another stereotype in the story. On the other hand the woman is more family oriented which is the typical characteristic of the females.
There are also important behaviors in the world with the differences between the male and the female that the film presented. One is regarding the state of relationships. The movie presented different scenarios wherein a long term and strong relationship can be achieved in different ways, most important of which is to be able to transcend the differences of the male and the female.
Another important concept presented is the importance to being with a person for a long period of time to be able to gain a level of harmonious relationship. In the film, the interpersonal relationship of Harry and Sally developed from two people despising each other to being friends. Once they got to know each other better, they were able to understand and empathize. Friendship then was established, a comfortable and mutually beneficial one, for they can exclusively support each other. Due to the fact that they do everything together the friendship developed into a more intimate relationship.
V. Do you think that men and women can stay friends without the `sex part` getting in the way? And why?
There is a complex interaction of the different interpersonal communication factors that decide the relationship between individuals. In the case of friendship between male and female individuals, attraction can be considered inevitable. This can also be magnified by the fact that they can consider the other person as the only one that they can comfortable confiding their problems and every details of their life. For that matter, friendship becomes very important.
Due to the perspective of friendship, there are those who approve and whose that disapprove developing friendship to another level, thus, they consider that man and woman cannot stay are friends. A more important view though is related to the attraction between the male and female. The attraction between the two sexes can be considered as the main reason that can hinder friendship. It is based on the perspective of the person.
In relation to the fact that ‘sex part’ can be considered as a hindrance in friendship it can be considered true since as presented, the attraction between man and woman is inevitable. But there are other factors that should be considered. These factors also involve different forms of interpersonal relationship.
VI. Does friendship strengthen the relationship of a man and a woman once they become a couple?
Interpersonal relationship can be considered as a complicated process in the human interaction. But friendship according to those who experienced it, can attest to the fact that once the man-woman relationship is achieved, friendship strengthens the bond. The movie depicts the fact that sexual interaction can interfere but in the case of the couples who had been together through the adult years, friendship and deep understanding can be considered as the main framework of the relationship.
In the study that was conducted regarding interpersonal relationship and the scenarios presented in the film “When Harry Met Sally,” the fact that relationships with other people is a complex process. The most complicated of these relationships is that between a man and a woman. Due to their differences, they tend to be curious and attracted to each other. But they will soon learn that the opposite sex whom they found really different is in fact a complimentary half. A deeper relationship can then be developed towards friendship and even lifetime partnership.
The query on the possibility of friendships between the sexes without considering attraction can be considered less important to the fact that through different levels of interpersonal communication between men and women, a deep understanding can be acquired.
Conville, Richard and L. Edna Rogers, eds. The Meaning of "Relationship" in Interpersonal Communication. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998.
 Richard Conville and L. Edna Rogers, eds. The Meaning of "Relationship" in Interpersonal Communication. (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998).
 Richard Conville and L. Edna Rogers, eds. The Meaning of "Relationship" in Interpersonal Communication. (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998).