Successful Communication within Interpersonal Relationships
I would like to start by congratulating you on your engagement and wish you a happy and fulfilling life as a couple. Interpersonal communication refers to the interaction two or more individuals have between them. All kinds of relationships are developed and sustained through individuals’ interpersonal communication. As a couple, you must be conversant with tools of interpersonal communication that help in the maintenance of relationships as well as conflict resolution. The success of your relationship will be determined by your adherence to the major tools that guide interpersonal relationships. These tools include; emotional intelligence, self concept, assertive behavior and perceptions, personal communication competence and interpersonal interactions. Others include empathic and active listening, principles of interpersonal communication, level of self disclosure, interpersonal conflict management and gender and culture. Each of those tools affects interpersonal communication, which in turn affect your relationship as a couple.
The Principles and Misconceptions in Effective Interpersonal Communications
In all human relationships, there are six basic principles regarding interpersonal communication. Communication is symbolic in nature. Communication is a meaning shared between two or more individuals. Communication takes the form of a process. There is also an argument that communication is determined by culture. The other two principles state that communication takes place in a context or setting and the communication occurs to fulfill a purpose. These six principles are used to explain how communication occurs. However, there are also some basic misconceptions about what and how communication should be undertaken. These principles are a guide that helps us understand interpersonal communications.
Using symbols in communication is one of the distinguishing factors of human language. Symbols could be anything that relays a certain meaning; they can be spoken, written or nonverbal. Symbols may include music, drawings and photographs. In some cases, objects like automobiles, homes, jewelry and clothing are referred to as symbols. Human beings can develop a meaning for any symbol, which provides room for unlimited communication.
Communication is actually a process that goes on throughout an individual’s lifetime. Individuals gain experience and knowledge during their daily communication processes. This experience develops and sharpens their communication skills. Since the process continues through a person’s lifetime, people must always seek to build and maintain the relationships they form.
Since communication is a meaning shared between two or more human beings, it is used to visualize stories and information relayed by other people. This is made possible through the various shared symbols and languages in the world. Human beings’ perceptions have a direct impact on how stories are communicated; therefore, people must recognize the shared meanings for easy and efficient communication.
Individuals must understand communication as a subject driven by context. When, where and how human beings communicate affects how they interact with other people. Factors such as a person’s physical condition, mental capacity and the emotions aroused by a given subject contribute to the manner in which we appreciate a subject that is communicated.
Communication is driven by a purpose. Communication is not only about making sounds; it includes sharing and connecting meanings with other people. The needs of an individual are influenced and realized through their interaction with other people around them.
Culture is also a major principle that determines interpersonal communication. Cultural influence includes how people eat, live and understand their environment and meanings in their culture. People with one culture may find some activities dispassionate or illogical while another group of people fancy the same activities. Therefore, people find ways of idealizing, debating and solving problems based on their culture. Human beings’ rational ability, their will to work out things and their high chances of reaching common ground with other people they disagree with are influenced by their culture.
Dear Tim and Sara, my advice to you is that you adhere to the principles of interpersonal communication. Only then will you be able to keep your relationship healthy and lasting. Remember you are partners aspiring to live together for the rest of your lives. You must understand one another and learn to communicate all the time.
Barriers to effective interaction
Barriers to efficient interpersonal interactions are challenges that hinder effective interpersonal interactions. In some cases, these barriers make communication impossible. Communication barriers can be in the form of language, competence, information and perception. All those four sections of communication barriers should be fulfilled satisfactorily in order to promote concise and clear communication. Individuals must spend some time to plan what to communicate in order to cover all parts of a subject. For instance, if a manager wants to communicate to an employee about poor performance, the manager must be able to explain to the employee the trend of their performance. The manager should pick out the main issues causing the employee’s performance to decline.
Each of the four interpersonal communication barriers can be avoided by using simple tools. Competence is the knowledge an individual has or the extent to which they understand a subject. This barrier can be broken by proper planning on what you want to communicate. Language barriers can be broken by an individual learning a language for effective articulation of information. Individual perception is a difficult barrier to breach. However, individuals should learn to listen to other people’s opinions and relating it to their own perceptions. Information barriers can be solved by compilation of information with clear explanations before presentation. This will prevent any cases of misunderstandings during interpersonal interactions.
There are also other kinds of barriers such as cultural, organizational, channel or attitudinal barriers. Individuals must always identify the communication or interaction barriers they face and find the best way to solve them. No communication barrier is impossible to break, individuals simply need to learn the various ways with which to overcome the challenges they face when interacting with other people. Dear Tim and Sara, my piece of advice to you on barriers of interaction is that you must be patient and understanding during your communication. Identify any possible challenges that could be hindering you from interacting and communicating efficiently as a couple. Each interaction challenge has a different approach to find a solution; therefore, you should be keen when finding solutions to the problems you face.
Emotional intelligence and its role in effective interpersonal relationships
Emotional intelligence is one’s ability to identify, control and accurately communicate their individual emotions as well as identifying and responding to the emotions of the people around them. You as a couple must build a solid emotional understanding between yourselves because it helps strengthen your relationship. The skills you obtain from emotional intelligence help you develop patience and understanding to face factors of stress in life as they affect your partner and you as well as the relationship. Emotional intelligence is important in mastering personal feelings, motivations and needs that are important in understanding how you can effectively communicate to your partner. Your ability to defuse arguments accurately, read your partner’s mind, and repair their wounded feelings form the basic skill set of emotional intelligence. With one’s emotional intelligence, an individual can understand differences between effective and damaging communication. Furthermore, emotional intelligence gives you a chance to change conflicts into opportunities for building your relationship.
I know you want to have a healthy and satisfying relationship. To achieve this, you require emotional skills. Emotional skills are not inborn, you need to learn and master them. Some people learn their emotional skills through the emotional hardships they underwent at a younger age during their upbringing. On the other hand, some people fail to master these skills because of the traumatic experiences they experienced in their lives.
Therefore, you should seek to gain emotional intelligence because it would be the basis of developing a productive, satisfying and long lasting relationship. Only then will you be able to understand feelings, personal motivation and the needs of your partner and address them effectively. Emotional intelligence makes you a good communicator because you will always be in a position to tell what your partner needs and communicate appropriate things at the right time. It helps you avoid misunderstandings and keep your partner happy.
Strategies for managing interpersonal conflicts
Interpersonal conflicts can occur anywhere because people’s opinions vary, misunderstandings and miscommunications are common. Furthermore, people have different priorities and values; some are resistant to change. As a couple, you must learn to deal with the conflicts that may often arise. There are conflict management strategies that you can use when dealing with interpersonal conflicts.
One such strategy is to deal with the issue directly. Some people try to avoid conflict. However, in a relationship like yours, you cannot keep avoiding issues that cause disharmony. Therefore, you need to address the conflict by engaging your partner over the issue to find an amicable common ground. This may not be the best strategy for a couple because it leads to people feeling guilty or regret. If ignored, conflicts may increase stress, anger, resentment and hostility. Once you address your conflicts as a couple, chances are that you will have a happy and healthy relationship.
Before you address a conflict with another individual, you must think through it. One way of thinking through a problem could be by seeking advice and opinions from close people like family and friends. This would make it easy to clarify your needs and issues. Feedback and advice concerning a situation is important when dealing with conflicts. However, you must be careful when involving third parties in your relationship issues because they could be having a malicious agenda to ruin your relationship. Therefore, think and plan your strategy well. Know what you have to say because this makes you confident and help you avoid veering off your target.
Talking out issues face to face is also a very efficient strategy. Face to face conflict resolution approaches can be very intimidating. However, you are partners, you are friends and lovers. Therefore, nothing should be intimidating. Communicating in person about issues affecting your relationship gives you ample time to explain yourself and your opinion to your partner. The active information exchange between you is efficient and beneficial for both of you. Furthermore, solving conflicts face to face provides you with a chance to use gestures, smiles, handshakes, eye contact and other body languages to relay your information. When conflicts are addressed in person, there are always high chances of finding lasting solutions.
Another strategy t conflict resolution is to apologize to your partner whenever appropriate. You must be aware of your role in the creation of the conflict. If you know you are guilty in some way, you should concede it and apologize for the wrong doing. Even when the conflict is not entirely your fault, try and show some concern by showing your willingness to solve it.
Finding a mediator when necessary is also a good strategy for conflict resolution in a relationship. In some cases, the conflict may be too big for you two to address on your own. This is especially if one of you is hurt by the actions of the other. A neutral third party like a religious leader or psychologist may help you solve your conflict if both of you find it appropriate that way. When a mediator is invited, be firm the objectives you stand for to ensure your partner agrees to solve the conflict in the right manner.
Conflict resolution can also be addressed by choosing your battles wisely. In any relationship, there will be disagreements because of differing ways of doing things and opinions. Each of you must choose the issues you can tolerate and those that you want to address.
Therefore, you must raise issues that carry a lot of importance. Only then will you have credibility in your claims. If you keep raising issues all the time, even those that are not important, you could be labeled a complainer. With that opinion in your partner, even the most legitimate issues will be brushed aside as part of your usual complaints.
You must also seek to improve your communication skills as a strategy towards conflict resolution. This will raise your capability to explain yourself clearly. Stating your problems clearly is a step close to the solution. Other strategies to conflict resolution include minimizing the conflicts you have in your relationship and avoid people who may cause conflicts in your relationship.
The impact of gender and culture on interpersonal communications
Culture is a very crucial part of interpersonal communication and conflict resolution. Your culture determines the kind of perceptions, judgments, attributes and ideas of other people and self. Culture is powerful because it forms part of your unconscious self that influences conflict and the attempt to resolve it. Gender also plays a role in how a person manages their interpersonal interactions. Women and men differ in their approach to communication. Women tend to prefer detailed and tender communication while men generally do not go into detail on their personal issues. My advice to you to you Tim and Sara is that you make an effort to understand each others’ cultural back grounds and learn to relate with one another when communicating. Always try to adopt a style of interpersonal communication and conflict management that suits your partner.
The understanding in your relationship can only be developed and maintained through good interpersonal communication. Each of you must master the tools of interpersonal communication to help you become good communicators as well as patient and understanding individuals. You must know the principles behind the challenges of efficient interpersonal interactions such as; emotional intelligence, strategies to manage conflict, barriers of communication, impact of gender and culture on communication and the principles of communication. Once you adhere to these main tools of communication, you are bound to have a happy life together.
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