Interpersonal Communication and Relationships

Introduction

In every social setting people must establish relationships that are meant to bind them together so that they can co-exist peacefully. These relationships are dependent on the interpersonal skills that are possessed by the people involved in the community. On the other hand the relationships are necessary because no man is an island. This is because one may require assistance from somebody else as long as they live within the same social circle. The main focus of this paper is the aspects of interpersonal communications and its impacts on relationships.

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Interpersonal communication is vital at social level because it enables us to obtain information from other people. Alternatively, we can also provide information to other people by having conversations with them. Communication here can be carried out by speaking or using gestures but what matters the most is conveying information. Interpersonal communication should not be undermined because it happens to fulfill a particular purpose.

Purposes of Interpersonal Communication

According to Epstein (2006), interpersonal communication is meant to serve various purposes and thus it is important for the communicating parties to have a defined reason of communicating because if they are not focused they may not achieve their goals. For instance, if you were to make inquiries from a friend, but when you meet him/her you start talking about other things that you had not planned to talk about, you may forget to ask about the information that you so much required from him/her.

The first purpose of communication is to acquire information about the people we are interested in. We usually struggle to learn more about the people we wish to interact with through dialogues that are meant to provide more information about them. Besides that, one can learn about someone by using someone else to make enquiries on their behalf. It would be irrelevant to establish relationships with people that we hardly know. Communication therefore ensures that we know who they really are because we are able to learn what pleases them and vice versa. Failure to learn qualities of the people around us could result in failed relationships because we can offend our subject of interest by doing the things that they do not like.

On the other hand, when we understand their taste we are able to cultivate good relationships because we are ahead of the game. For instance, if you established a relationship with someone without knowing whether they take alcohol and later ask that person to join you for a few drinks at your local bar, that will be the end of your relationship with that person because he/she will start avoiding your company. However, the procedure of extracting information must remain discreet which means that the other person should not find out that we are trying to learn more about him/her.

Wood (2007) recommends that there must be an appropriate approach coupled with limits that must be observed so that the person does not become suspicious. For example, women are very sensitive about their age hence one must be very smart when enquiring about their age. You can ask her when she finished her secondary education and that will give you clues of her exact age. This is appropriate than asking her directly about her age because she will probably lie about it.

The second purpose of interpersonal communication is to enhance our knowledge. When people give their opinion about something we are able to grasp the meaning of their expression that is contained in their tone. This is quite beneficial because it enables us to take caution by analyzing their reaction. Two people can make the same statement but the variance in how they put it across is what constitutes different meaning.

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The third reason of communication is to get an identity of someone. When we interact with people, the knowledge we have about them becomes their identity. Additionally, other people are able to identify us because of what they know about us. It is therefore certain that interpersonal communication helps us to draw lines between individuals. Without individual identity, there would be confusion because some people would be mistaken for others.

Lastly, communication helps us to know what other people need and vice versa. This is very logical because if someone remained silent about his needs or problems no one would know about them and in that case no one would assist him. On the other hand, if we decided to remain quite about our problems no one would know about them and at the end of the day no one would help us. Problems or in other words our needs and wants are part of life and hence we can only share them with the people we can trust, and trust comes in after interacting with them.

Interpersonal Dimension

Communication is important in all areas of life such as work places, learning institutions and families and many other places. This means that without interpersonal communication business people cannot thrive in business because they would not be able to meet their customer needs. Students also would experience difficulty in learning because they would not be able to ask questions to the educators. Families would be ruined due to lack of communication. In brief the world would turn into a living hell because no one would care to listen to the other.

In interpersonal communication the timing should be perfect so that we are able to get the feed back we are interested in. If you tried making enquiries about cars from someone who has recovered from a tragic road accident, that person may call you all sort of names in the world. This suggests that timing should be parallel to the channels used. Channels are also relevant because there are some things that cannot be conveyed through certain channels.

Allen (2002) reckons that for effective interpersonal communication to take place we must be willing to listen to what others have to say. This is because communication is a two way traffic and thus limiting it to one entity will mean that we are not concerned about the opinion others and may be interpreted to mean that we are selfish. Experts recommend people to listen more and speak less during communication. This is necessary because it makes the entities involved in communication to get the message clearly otherwise if all entities were to speak simultaneously the message would be distorted.

When interpersonal communication is in progress its important to pay attention to what is being said because being carried away by activities that are going on around you could discourage the person that is speaking from going on with the talk. On the other hand the person who is speaking should look straight into the eyes of his audience because shying away may imply that he/she is not serious about he/she is saying. Furthermore, maintaining eye contact shows that one is confidence and makes the other party trust them.

Communication can take place through various media such as telephone and the internet among others but whatever medium used the person seeking for information must be enthusiastic about it. For instance, it is possible to tell when someone is happy while we engage that person in conversations over the phone. This means that even if someone is not happy he/she should put on a fake smile for the sake of communication. This is necessary for people who are in business because being angry may turn away potential customers.

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Getting Feedback

When communication has commenced the people involved should be very careful in the kind of words they use to give their response. This is because if respondents gave rude remarks the recipient may feel humiliated and thus terminate the progress of communication. There are times when the feedback does not include the information we are interested in but regardless of that one must never give up. Communication should take place on regular basis and interrogations should be gradual. This implies that patience is vital in communication and thus the recipient must never try to put words in the speaker’s mouth even when he/she is sure of what the speaker intends to say.

In interpersonal communication the recipient must not create an impression that he/she knows everything about the subject because this may hinder the person from opening up. In this case the recipient should make it look like he/she is hearing it for the first time even though he/she is very knowledgeable about the topic of their discussion.

At times people choose to with hold information due to one reason or another but then the person seeking for information must not insist because doing so will be met with a lot of resistance. For instance, if a nurse asks the patient if she/he would like to have a HIV test and the patient declines her request she should not insist but should remain content as per that particular moment. Being content creates an impression that the person in question is respected and may make them open up.

One should identify the boundaries that exist between himself and the person he wishes to talk with. Most people remain reserved when it comes to communicating with someone they have just met because they are not sure that they can trust them. It therefore goes without saying that the person who takes the initiative should be the first to open up instead of pressuring the other person to do so. For trust to prevail one should never share with others what their discussion was all about because if the subject gets to know it the integrity of the person who was a potential is ruined (Allen, 2002).

Managing Conflict

Friendship

While seeking to establish friendships one should analyze the person he/she is interested in and should never worry about what other people will say because whether you do good or bad people must talk. During the early stages of friendship one should never look for any material gain. In fact the person who is interested in the other should be the one to make the special offers if there are any. But this is influenced by the social class of the people involved. For instance, the poor expect grants from the wealthy.

Cupach and Spitzberg (2007) argue that when choosing friends most people are very careful because it is had to tell somebody’s character by simply looking at them. In as much communication has already started then friendships should be based on the back ground. This is there are some people who become friends for the purpose of material gain. Moreover, there are enemies who pose as friends and they are in deed difficult to identify.

In relationships the people involved don’t have to share common interests but then if they do there is nothing wrong about it. For a relationship to thrive there must be respect among the entities involved. This means that we must appreciate each other regardless of our strengths and weakness. After all is said and done no one is perfect and thus when mistakes occur the offender should be ready to ask for forgiveness so that the issue can be resolved. This implies that forgiveness is a crucial element in relationships and no relationship can survive without it.

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Regardless of the relationship we are in or the number of entities involved we all possess diverse personalities which are determined by our backgrounds. But we can not allow our diversity to split us but we should instead combine our differences to make a perfect blend. For instance in a given work place the employees hail from different back grounds but this does not influence their performance. Friendship is important in social setting because the friends that we have provide a shoulder to lean on during difficult times because during such times we require someone to talk to and they are there for that that purpose.

When we become friends we are obliged to be our brother’s/sister’s keeper and thus we are the ones who should be watching over them meaning that when good or bad things happen to them we are the first to know. People share their ideas with their friends because they trust them and know that they can help to discover the talent in them. Good friends don’t kill your ideas but instead they help you make it possible by encouraging you to keep on trying. Bad friends on the other hand are good in killing one’s ideas and what makes it worse is that they don’t give you replacements for the ones they have damaged.

During initial stages of friendships the people involved try to hide their real character but this does not last long because soon their real character is unveiled by situations that come unexpected hence they are not prepared to react in a way that will not raise eye brows.

Requirements of a Relationship

Relationship goes through many obstacles but success comes after enduring all the challenges. Loyalty is quite vital in friendship because it guides the entities during the times of confusion. Lack of loyalty can kill a relationship and it includes doing things behind the other person’s back and when the person comes to find out in one way or another the relationship becomes soar because he/she feels fooled by someone who did things against their agreement terms. Loyalty also entails fulfilling the promises made because ignoring them amounts to grudges that call for revenge.

Relationships require people to have clean hearts so that they are able to tolerate each other. This is because the entities are not always on the same level such as income and age hence they must accept each other just the way they are and should never be jealous over what the other person has. Jealousy causes people to establish competition to be even which could even bring more harm because the one who tries to be like the other person may go through many difficulties. For instance, if one borrowed a loan to buy a vehicle just because his/her friends drive posh cars, he/she may risk loosing the assets he/she owns if he/she fails to repay the loan in good time.

Conclusion

In conclusion friendships should come with benefits. This means that one should not establish relationships with people who do not add value to his/her life because doing so is wastage of time. The people involved in a relationship should analyze what they have earned after a certain time frame in order to find out whether the friendship should be extended or terminated. The gain here is not materialistic but what the relationship has instilled in you or what one has become after being in a relationship for a considerable time length. Besides the gains should be positive such as if being responsible or being kind hearted but if the gain is opposite then the relationship should be terminated.

References

Allen, M. (2002).Interpersonal Communication Research: Advances Through Meta-analysis. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Cupach,R.W. & Spitzberg, H.B. (2007).The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Epstein, J. (2006). Friendship. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Wood, T.J. (2007). Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

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