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Dear Couple,

First I would like to commend you both for your commitment. I am so delighted that you are seeking my advice on the basis of all that I have learned in my interpersonal communication course. Good and effective communication is usually the foundation in which a relationship is built upon. Communication between couples determines whether the relationship will last or not. Communication is an essential interpersonal skill which no single person is perfect. However, it is possible for everyone to learn valuable ways of communicating effectively, which is the critical to the development of long lasting relationship. Strong relationships are built on communication. In order to build that strong relationship both parties must take the other person's emotions and perception of your words into account because understanding the other person is key to communicating effectively with them, relationships are built on good communication, and perception always trumps meaning. I am pleased to share the skills that I have learned in my interpersonal communication course, I would also like to share with you with captivating illustrations which with pertaining to interpersonal communication. It is my hope that you both will find by counsel informative and useful in your relationship.

Barriers to Effective Interpersonal Interactions

Barriers to effective interpersonal interaction can cause a lot of unwanted confusions, delays and troubles in a relationship. Therefore, it is exceedingly beneficial for a couple to identify and understand means of overwhelming these obstacles in order to promote a healthy communication in a relationship.

Emotional Barrier

Emotional barriers are one of the hindrances to effective interpersonal interaction in a relationship. Emotional barriers are usually motivated by fear. Lessons and experiences underwent by an individual as a result of negative childhood socialization causes a lot of fear, anxiety, mistrust and nervousness. The fear usually influences partners’ interpersonal interaction in a relationship. It becomes difficult to trust someone with your feelings, ideas and thoughts due to the fear of being ridicule, judged or being perceived ostracized. This is a perfect example of a learned emotional barrier that hinders interpersonal communication in a relationship. Emotional barriers to interpersonal communication also emanates for a varying degree of social anxiety in which an individual in a relationship is subjected to. This anxiety can restrain a partner in relationship from engaging in an effective interpersonal relationship. In severe situations, emotional barrier from social anxiety may cause a partner to withdraw from a relationship. Withdrawal form a relationship is usually a manifestation of avoidance of closeness and a partner normally ends up focusing on solitary activities.

As a couple, you need to learn to cooperate with each other and to no longer fears being ridiculed, disapproved or even ostracized when communicating  with each other, this will enhance your interpersonal communication. In order to minimize such instances in a relationship, you will needs to create an open and friendly environment where both partners can have the liberty to speak freely with fear of being ridiculed or ostracized (Scheidel, 2007). This is essential in relationship because when a partner feels insecure, he/ she may not interact effectively due to psychological and emotional fear. For instance, a partner may get emotional after reading a text message. This may make the partner respond to the message inappropriately hence straining the interpersonal interaction between the couple.

Lack of Empathy

Lack of empathy is a common interpersonal relationship barrier, and most relationship suffers due to lack of empathy among the couple. Empathy simply refers to the willingness and the ability to place self in someone else position and to view things form their perspective. This barrier manifests itself in a relationship when a partner hears the word from the other partner, but fails to understand the message being conveyed. This normally happens due to lack of empathy in a relationship. The fear of being seen as weak or good enough to our partner makes it difficult to listens our partners concerns: hence, we end up feeling ashamed and blamed. As a result, the shame feeds aggression, anger, loneliness and depression. On the other hand, empathy permits the partner be connected at the heart level.

Therefore, it is essential to exercise empathy in relationship instead of building defensive walls and Armour that will make us a prisoner of our own shame. It also evident that lack of empathy in a relationship feeds secrecy, judgment and silence. Consequently, partner’s shame will hinder the formation of a close interaction with each other in a relationship. It is essential to view your partner’s approach instead of attacking each other. As a couple, you will need to share your feelings and thoughts, and to nurture attitude of inquisitiveness. This will significantly help the partner be more open and understanding. Empathy allows couples to understand their partners’ perspective and to connect with each other: hence, it allows a couple to become a team. The barriers of effective interpersonal interaction can be either insulting or constructive. However, in your relationship, do not always be defensive because this will close the line of communication in your relationship. When misunderstanding arises breakdown of communication is normally inevitable. Therefore, it is crucial to nurture trust with each other, to be bold and respectful when communicating and often try to overcome past communication breakdown. Communication is extremely critical, and how well you interact will influence the future of your relationship.

The Power of Word in Creation and Influence of Attitudes, Behavior and Perception

Words are immensely powerful and have a capability to create and influence attitudes, behavior and perceptions. Words can have an incredible ability to inform, hurt, persuade and ease pain depending on the context of use. For instance, in the Second World War, the Allies power sent a message to Japanese ordering them to surrender. However, they responded with the word mokusatsu, which meant either to ignore or to withhold comment. In reality, Japanese meant that they wished to discuss and then decide. However, the allies’ power translated mokusatsu as meaning to ignore the order to surrender. This prompted the allies to respond aggressively by dropping an atomic bomb. In your relationship, it would be essential to re-evaluate your words toward your spouse to guarantee that they do not evoke a negative attitude and perception. In your relationship, it is recommendable to use words like “thoughtful” and “Understand” because they usually help in diffusing an argument. In addition, it lowers the stress because the couple remains in a cognitive brain state where they can communicate in a respectful manner with each other (Knapp, 2004). Words such as “I wonder” are also essential to adopt when communicating since they help the couple to ponder the issue instead of blaming each other.

According to Hirschberg, denotative meaning of a word is the one that everyone can easily understand. Hirschberg also claims that denotative words have strong emotional content. While each word has a denotative meaning, it is the connotative meaning that affects people emotions. Emotions cannot be argued away, therefore; the perception of a meaning is more powerful than the actual meaning. In your relationship, you need to be careful with the words you use when addressing each other regardless of whether it out of passion or anger. Words have the ability to make someone feel appreciated or disrespected. In addition, word you use to your partner can cause self-esteem issues and distrust. Use of harsh words will create a negative attitude, unpleasant behavior and wrong perception in your relationship.

Understand How, Non-Verbal Expression, Emotions, and Perceptions Affect Interpersonal Relationships

Perception is a means in which a person becomes aware of events, objects or issues in the external world. Perception in an interpersonal relationship occurs in five stages. It has the capacity to build or destroy a relationship. Having an in-depth understanding of what influences your perception will be the first step in understanding how perception will affect your relationship. Your inherent persona theory will enable you to determine that certain individualities go with certain other characteristics.   Perceptual attention may make you perceive what you imagine to be happening instead of what is happening. In such a case, you will always be having trouble trying to convince or make your partner understand the real situation. For example, a husband may have a perception that his wife has been cheating on him with another man. The husband may justify his perception with his wife failure to have sex with him. Such a perception will make the husband angry with his wife, but in the real sense, it could be that the wife is getting home from the office extremely tired.

Improving your perception towards your partner will lead to a perfect relationship. To do this, you need to perceive things critically. You should avoid judging your partner with no evidence. You should also avoid early judgments and mind reading. To have the correct perception of your partner in a relationship, try to check your perception. To achieve this, always describe what you feel or think so that your partner can confirm you wrong or right with reasons. Having negative emotions undermine your interpersonal relationship. Emotions such depression, anger and jealousy will negatively affect your relationship. On the other hand, positive emotions can also affect your behavior in a relationship. Allowing you to be used by your partner in your marriage because of the love you have for each other will damage your relationship. Your partner will end up being careless and offend you more often. When your partner stirs a negative emotion, it becomes intense, and it will be amplified in your mind (Bradac, 2005). During this time, you become irrational towards your partner. In the process, you withdraw participation from responsibilities and your relationship will eventually break.

Nonverbal expression in a relationship is an essential aspect that can help you maintain a healthy relationship. This is facial interaction or association you have with your partner.  Having the correct non-verbal expression towards your partner will help you connect, express your feelings in many challenging situations. Ensure that your facial expression, posture, body movements, eye contact and touch is genuine and positive.  Finally, Non-verbal expression can either help deliver your message or conflict with it. Perception and emotion are based off of the words stated as well as the other elements of communication. In order to communicate effectively you must consider your partner and adjust appropriately. Always use terminologies and body language that is appropriate.

Evaluate Suitable Levels of Self-Disclosure in Interactions

Self-disclosure is both the unconscious and conscious act of revealing to your partner about yourself. Self-disclosure is an essential part in getting close to your partner. Unless you are prepared to share who you are with your partner, you may certainly fail to be intimate. In order for you to open yourself entirely to your partner, you must respect and honor your partner’s’ secrets. Having some fear of punishment or rejection is what prevents many couples from being open to their partners. You need to develop a habit of being open to your partner. This is because in most instances, your partner will one day find out who you are. It may be worse because your partner will have learnt about you from a third party. This will negatively affect the trust your partner has for you.

Self-disclosure can be classified into five levels. Each level highlights the information you should disclose to your partner.  The firth level is known as the Ice Breaker communication. This is the kind of disclosure where you establish yourself verbally (Chelune, 2003). You essentially say something that lets your partner realize that you are around. In this level, you simply say words such as how are you doing? How is it going?

The fourth level of self-disclosure is known as Biographical and Facts information. In this level, you reveal to your couple non-threatening information about yourself. The third level is called personal ideas and attitudes. This is where you interact with your partner more freely. You describe your ideas and attitudes. The second level is the personal feeling. In this level, you tell your partner your personal feeling. The first level of self-disclosure is known as peak communication. This is the ultimate level disclosure. In this level of disclosure, you can share any information with your partner. As a couple, you can practice all levels of disclosure depending on the situation.

Self-disclosure will help you learn about yourselves. It will also help you accept whom you are. In most interpersonal relationships, distance between couple occurs when they stop sharing. With time, such couples start perceiving their partner as a roommate or a stranger. While self-disclosure is necessary in relationship, over-disclosure can have an adverse effect. Before disclosing anything to your partner, always ask yourself what motives are behind such a disclosure. Some disclosure may produce shame or guilt and your relationship may become compromised. To have an effective disclosure, you should try to speak for yourself. Offer your feelings, thoughts and opinions. Self-disclosure is like other skills that one becomes perfect after practicing. Therefore, the more you practice sharing; the sharing will also become easier. Additionally, as the relationship builds you will disclose more and more information.

Comprehend the Influence of Gender and Culture on Interpersonal Communications

Culture is an essential part that is present in any relationship. This is because couple may come from different cultures which have different methods of conflict resolution in a relationship. Mostly women and men deal with stressful issues and communicate differently however; not all men or women will fall into the gender stereotype. Men cope by retreating while women cope by talking about things understanding your partner and their needs as well as their coping style will help you be a better communicator. Culture, norms, understandings and expectations of interactions are mainly transmitted by culture (Chua, 2001). A culture that transmits negative norms toward interpersonal relationship will have a negative impact on your relationship. Culture perceptions have the potential to affect not only the external behavior of your partner but also the internal behavior. Understanding the cultural background of your partner will help you in maintain a healthy relationship.

Conclusion

By implementing strategies for effective communication, you will see positive results in your relationship. These strategies include: understanding your partner, communicating effectively with your spouse, and communicating in a way that builds trust in your relationship. Maintaining a healthy relationship is the role of you both. You should not sit down and assume that you’re marital or relationship problems will disappear mysteriously. Understanding that a marriage relationship is a life long journey will help you work out any interpersonal relationship problems that you may have. Having a good interpersonal requires that both of you remain interested in your relationship and working out any complication that develops. Each dawn will present a different problem to your relationship; therefore being aware of barriers to effective interpersonal relationship will always be of immense help.

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