We, as humans, rely heavily on different forms of communication to get through everyday life. Our success, as both individuals and groups, depends heavily on our ability to effectively communicate with one another, both verbally and non-verbally. Understanding the aspects of these different forms is a staple to enhancing positive communication, thus, furthering our success. That said, communication is a key to creating, building, and enhancing relationships on both personal and professional levels.
When we think of communication, we think of the simple use of language to carry on a conversation; this is better known as verbal communication. These messages can be spoken, written, or even used as sign language. This is the form of communication that portrays the information containing our needs or knowledge in which we are sharing. From the time we are born, we are constantly taking in information from those around us who are verbally communicating with us; even in our infant stages. Though we aren’t able to reciprocate right away with words, we are able to smile, laugh and use other forms of communication to share feelings.
With the ideas of verbal communication considered, we can then associate the characteristics of non-verbal communication. This is the process by which we accentuate or create meaning to our communication with nonverbal behaviors. This includes, but is not limited to, facial expressions, eye behavior, body movements, or speech inflection. These are the simple gestures that allow us to accent or add emphasis to the message being communicated; this can be a subtle, but significant way to enhance communication.
With these ideas considered, nonverbal communication gives us the ability to reiterate, question, or emphasize different points in verbal communication. If we are able to master these forms of communication and implement them together, this will lead to improved productivity as messages become clearer and more concise. If we had one without the other, communication would be rather boring or even ambiguous.
Define listening and explain its five stages. Be thorough in your explanation of each stage.
In the world of communication, listening is the process of taking in messages and creating meaning from them. According to the text, listening goes beyond simply hearing. That said, there are five stages illustrated that are correlated with the process of listening: attending, interpreting, remembering, evaluating, and responding (DeVito, 2014).
The first stage, attending, is better known as receiving. This is the point of communication where the receiver focuses on the message being portrayed by the sender. At this point, the receiver focuses on what is being said, rather than what may be happening around them. The second stage, interpreting, may be better known as understanding. This is the point in which the receiver of the message evaluates the message and attempts to make a meaning of it. It is important in this stage to have a clear perception, and make sure that it aligns well with the sender. The third stage, remembering, is the point in which we, as receivers, recall information that has been shared by the sender. This, in my opinion, is one of the most vital parts of the listening process as we strive to recall the most accurate information from previous messages. The fourth stage, evaluating, is when the receivers judge the message being sent to them. Furthermore, critical analysis allows us to judge the information contained in the message in order for us to make clear conclusions about the material. The fifth and final stage, responding, is the way in which we give feedback. This is when we tie the previous four stages together to formulate a response, ask for clarification, or to let the sender know that we are still following along. In addition, we can also give feedback throughout the previous four stages through non-verbal cues. I tend to find myself doing this in lectures while making eye contact with professors or giving a simple head nod to let them know that I’m am following along and understanding the information that they are providing.
In summary, these five stages are what set those who hear and those who listen apart. When one hears a message, they are essentially letting that message go in one ear and out the other. In contrast, when one listens to a message, they follow an intricate process opening the doors for extremely effective communication.
Conflict, as described by the text, is a situation in which people fail to agree on a topic and experience negative emotions because of it (DeVito, 2014). These are situations that can arise at home, with friends, or even in professional workplaces. That said, we’ve discussed four types of conflicts over the course of the semester: arguments, disagreeable communication, hostile episodes, and pervasive tension.
The first and most common type of conflict is an argument. This is characterized by an explicit conversation with another individual based on a particular disagreement. Arguments can come in many different forms, depending on the severity of the situation. One particular argument that comes to mind is one regarding political topics. This has become increasingly popular with the rise in social media usage and the recent election. People who have opposing political beliefs and opinions sometimes feel the need to begin confrontations for the world to see; this has been commonly known as the “Facebook War.” The second form of conflict is the idea of disagreeable communication. In this sense, people will use contradictory behaviors, shouting, and insulting slurs during a conversation to reach the upper hand. I was once in an abusive relationship where my ex-girlfriend would resort to this type of conflict as she always needed to come out on top and have the last word. She would use personal jabs, foul language, and overall disrespectful slurs to make herself feel as if she had won. The third form of conflict, hostile episodes, are when people feel a sense of resentment toward another individual. This is popular among high school kids and their friends. When young kids go through periods of conflict, it can result in a phase of negative feelings where one may ignore the other. Some like to avoid arguments, thus, resulting in the hostile episodes. The fourth and final form of conflict is pervasive tension; this is characterized by friction that is present. In this case, people aren’t explicitly communicating, however, both parties are angry and have negative feelings toward one another. I feel like this is a common form among married couples. Marriage can be a beautiful, yet difficult thing. When conflicts arise, couples may have negative feelings toward one another, however, there are still children to feed and bills to pay. In this case, the couple will still communicate to carry out their everyday lives, but there may still be some underlying tension.
With these ideas considered, people have different “fighting styles” so-to-speak. Some people like to avoid conflict altogether, while others like to get every last word in before the conflict is over. Whatever the case may be, it is a direct root of your goals and motives given the situation. The fact of the matter is that in life, you will come across many different types of people with opinions that differ from your own. It is how you handle and overcome these situations that set you apart from the others.
Explain the three basic types of couples that the book discusses. Be sure to give a thorough explanation of each.
Over the course of the semester, one of the most interesting topics that we’ve discussed is the idea of couple types. In my opinion, it was quite eye-opening to be able to study this content and relate it to my own personal life and past relationships. That said, the three basic types of couples that we’ve looked at in the text are traditional, independent, and separate (DeVito, 2014).
The first type of couple that we’ve studied is the traditional couple. This is made up of two individuals that share similar beliefs and ideas about life. Instead of two separate individuals, they come together as one unit. They value the ability to have freedom and keep the ideas of traditional gender roles, resulting in very little conflict because of this. The second type of couple that we’ve taken a look at this semester is the independent couple. This type differs tremendously from the traditional couple because even though the relationship is important to them, it doesn’t trump their individual identity. The third and final couple that we’ve studied is the separate couple. In my eyes, this is the most distant type of relationship as it serves as more of the convenience feature, rather than an image of true love or intimacy. I feel as if these individuals are comfortable with where they are at and maybe even a little bit unhappy. In contrast to the traditional couple, this couple sees themselves as an individual, as opposed as a team or joint unit in a relationship.
In my eyes, I truly believe that I strive for the traditional couple in my personal relationships. That said, I have dated individuals who have been on the other side of the fence and would rather remain independent or separate. Needless to say, these relationships were short lived and rather unenjoyable. With these ideas considered, it is important to communicate with your partner as to what your goals are for the relationship, as well as your attachment style. If one individual desires attention and affection while the other is content with space, this could be a clear-cut recipe for disaster.
Describe the four types of attachment styles. Be thorough in your descriptions.
One’s attachment style, according to the text, is an orientation toward relationships that replicate how people see themselves, relative to others (DeVito, 2014). This idea is based on our relationship with our parents which reflects how we select partners, how relationships with those partners develop, and even how those relationships end. That said, we have discussed four different styles of attachment over the course of the semester: secure, dismissing, preoccupied, and fearful.
The first of the four attachment styles that we’ve discussed is secure. This means that an individual is confident and comfortable with being close to people. In this case, trust is not an issue and they are satisfied with their relationship. This, in turn, creates a strong connection with their partner. The second style that we’ve discussed is dismissing; quite the opposite of the previous style. With this, people find it hard to place in trust in another human, thus, deeming them to be unreliable. They keep their distance from other people and try to avoid relationships or getting close to another individual in order to remain independent and safeguard themselves from being hurt. The third style that we’ve studied is the preoccupied style. This is characterized by a desire to be close to another person, however, they question whether or not the other individual values them. This, in turn, pushes their partner away despite their desire for closeness. The fourth and final attachment style that we’ve looked at over the course of the semester is the fearful style. These people are characterized by extreme cases of anxiety as being close to another person makes them fearful and uncomfortable. There are extreme trust issues as they doubt both themselves and their partners alike.
Overall, studying these attachment styles has revealed a great deal of information and insight about myself and past relationships that I’ve been in. By becoming aware of one’s own attachment style, it is possible to challenge yourself and your partner to change. With that, couples have the ability to work on the flaws within their relationships to grow and develop with new styles of attachment to obtain a relationship that serves both parties well.
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