LETTER OF ADVICE 11
Course Name and Number
Dear Sara and Tim,
Congratulations on your engagement and in the efforts that you aremaking to ensure you have the best relationship. Communication isvery important in any relationship, and more so effectivecommunication. People that are in love are most likely to disregardthe importance of interpersonal communication, arguing that by thetime they get to the point of engagement, they already know a lotabout each other. However, it is important to keep communicating toeach other effectively. It is an honor to share knowledge from theinterpersonal communication course as advice for your relationship.In advising you on how to use interpersonal communicationsuccessfully in your relationship, I will start by informing you onthe barriers to ensuring effective interpersonal relationship. I willdescribe the procedure of developing and maintaining self-concept,inform on the function of emotional intelligence in helpfulinterpersonal relationships, assess suitable level of self-disclosureand strategies to use when dealing with interpersonal conflicts.
Barriers to Effective Interpersonal Interactions
Interpersonal communication is the procedure through whichindividuals exchange information, emotions and meaning via bothverbal and non-verbal cues (Komorita & Parks, 1995). It is notmerely, about what the person communicating is saying, but it is alsoabout what non-verbal cues like gestures, body movement, facialexpressions and tone when delivering the message say. When couplesare communicating, the listener verbally and non-verbally receivesthe message. It is important to be aware of barriers that can impedeeffective interpersonal interactions and work on them to communicatesuccessfully in the relationship. Frequently, barriers are due toindividual attitudes or behaviors.
Background – every individual differs from the other and hasexperiences, which result in exceptional manners of viewing the world(Komorita & Parks, 1995). People learn, comprehend, feel andspeak in manners that are in line with their background.Communication methods, which are accepted in one cultural setting,may seem weird when in a different setting. For instance, somecultures do not use gestures excessively, while others go to theextreme of touching each other when communicating. In somecommunities, it is okay to hug and touch each other’s arm whencommunicating, which would be highly unacceptable in other societies(Komorita & Parks, 1995). Individuals at times have problemscommunicating due to disparities in age, background or experience.Such barriers to interpersonal communication are possible toeradicate through the realization that it is possible to learnimportant lessons from individuals whose experiences differ. As acouple, it is important to understand that coming from differentbackgrounds, you will definitely communicate differently. Hence, youshould take time to understand each other’s background, which willmake it easier for you to improve on interpersonal communication.
Feelings and emotions – emotions are controlling forces, which canimpede on the ability to clearly express ourselves (Komorita &Parks, 1995). Thinking, acting and speaking depend on how one feelsduring the time of communication. For instance, when in a happy mood,an individual will be jovial and express himself or herself well.Contrary, when feeling sad, it is not possible to express oneselfproperly in an affectionate manner. This means that emotions get inthe way of how people communicate. It is advisable to wait until thestrong emotions have subsided prior to communicating, especially onimportant issues. It makes it possible to listen and speak to theother person. Emotions and feelings are easy to identify throughintonation, tone as well as enthusiasm. Some individuals are moreemotional compared to others, and it is necessary to detect theseindicators when communicating.
Word choice – words frequently have more than a single connotation(Komorita & Parks, 1995). At times people select theinappropriate words to communicate what they intend to say. Itbecomes a major barrier to interpersonal communication as wrong wordchoice results in misunderstanding. When communicating, it isnecessary to ensure that the words used are familiar to both parties.It is also important for an individual to seek clarification whenthey feel that the words used are not familiar.
Developing and Maintaining Self-concept
Self-concept refers to the appraisal of personal traits andabilities. It is a perception of oneself, which derives from thethinking one holds and reactions from others. Self-concept issuggested as the fundamental descriptive device in interpersonalinteractions. Philosophers propose that when determining one’sself-concept, people seek clarification on “who am I? why am Ihere? and who are all these others? (Ryan & Deci, 2000)” Thequestioning makes it possible to define ones purpose in life, whichis fundamental in understanding other people, especially when in arelationship.
The development of self-concept happens through communication withother people. Since human beings are naturally social, we develop acomprehension of self as an outcome of the relationships created withothers (Ryan & Deci, 2000). In a romantic relationship, asignificant other is an individual whose opinion is very important.The significant other’s view about you is important in the functionof advancing personal understanding of yourself as well as how otherpeople see you. Personal opinions of the self develop throughobservation of the manner other people react to and communicate tous. For instance, young children depend on the parents’ feedback tounderstand themselves. As the child grows, the opinion of an oldersibling might as well be valued. Later, the teacher influencespersonal views and peers. The significant other’s influence ofself-concept progresses as one grows.
Self-concept also develops from culture. Outside forces like themedia and group associations influence personal perceptions of self(Ryan & Deci, 2000). An illustration is the presentation of whois attractive through the media. Magazines, television andcommercials define how an attractive person looks. The result hasbeen shaping the view of the ideal female as someone slim, while theideal man is depicted as masculine. People that fail to meet themedia’s depiction of the ideal question their self and hencedevelop low self-concept. Religious, ethnic, social, work andpolitical groups play a significant function in developingself-concept. People are either born in the groups, as ethnic groupsor we select what group to join like political groups. Individualsfrom different groups depict their views concerning those of adifferent group. Such views shape self-concept as people express whatthey feel about the group.
A positive self-concept is important when in a relationship becauseit means that an individual is able to communicate positivity in therelationship. Contrary, a negative self-concept can be transferred inthe relationship. Negative attitudes in a relationship can demoralizeboth partners resulting in a stressing relationship. As a couple, youneed to maintain a positive self-concept to ensure effectiveinterpersonal interaction in your relationship. Maintainingself-concept involves practicing positive self-talk (Ryan & Deci,2000). Such talk reassures the individual of their importance andability. It also makes it possible to fight away any critic that mayresult in negative thinking. When one is able to think positivelyabout themselves it becomes possible to think positively aboutothers, hence will be able to communicate effectively. Anotherstrategy involves avoiding comparing your relationship with that ofothers (Ryan & Deci, 2000). You need to understand that, as Saraand Tim your relationship is different from that of others. Insteadof concentrating on other people that are better, concentrate on theexceptional traits that differentiate you from others. Evade judgingyourself based on comparison with other people. A positiveself-concept derives from a valid sense of worth.
The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Effective InterpersonalRelationships
The capability to express as well as regulate our emotions isimperative, but also is the ability to comprehend, construe and reactto other people’s emotions, which describes emotional intelligence.Psychologists define emotional intelligence as the ability torecognize, regulate and assess emotions (Petrovici & Dobrescu,2014). There are researchers that argue people are born withemotional intelligence, while others say it is learned andreinforced. Four factors make an individual emotionally intelligent(Petrovici & Dobrescu, 2014).
One, the ability to perceive emotions – the initial step incomprehending emotions involves having an accurate perception ofthem. In most instances, this might include comprehending nonverbalsigns like body movements or facial expressions. Two, reasoning usingemotions – this entails the use of emotions to enhance thinking aswell as cognitive actions. Emotions assist in prioritizing whatindividuals concentrate on and respond to, people react emotionallyto issues, which bring together our attention. Third, understandingemotions – emotions have meaning. If an individual expresses anger,the observer ought to construe the reason for their anger and itsimplication. For instance, if Tim acts angrily, it may imply that heis dissatisfied with something you may have done wrong. Last,management of emotions – the capability of managing emotionsefficiently is crucial to emotional intelligence. Controllingemotions and reacting suitably to other people’s emotions is acrucial factor in ensuring emotional management.
Emotional intelligence is important in ensuring effectiveinterpersonal interactions because it enhances the ability tocommunicate feelings. Through a better comprehension and managementof emotions, people are in a better position to communicate what theyfeel with the significant other in a constructive manner (Petrovici &Dobrescu, 2014). Emotional intelligence enhances the capability tounderstand and associate with the other party in a relationship.Understanding the emotions, desires and reactions of the person onecares about results in a stronger, as well as satisfyingrelationship. Emotional intelligence results in mental well-beingduring interpersonal relationships. The intelligence has an impact onpersonal attitudes and view of life. It can as well assist in thealleviation of anxiety in turn preventing mood swings. A great levelof emotional intelligence has a direct correlation with a positiveattitude and contented view of life. This makes it possible forpeople in a relationship to appreciate each other, as they arecontent with the person they are dating.
Conflicts are unavoidable when people are in a relationship. Thereare instance when Tim will aggravate you, Sara. At such instances,emotions may crop up causing a major disagreement. Emotionalintelligence helps in conflict resolution during an interpersonalrelationship. When it is possible to detect the emotions of anotherperson and identify with their viewpoint, it becomes simple toresolve disagreements, or avoid the conflict (Petrovici &Dobrescu, 2014). In addition is easing the ability to negotiatebecause of the nature of our capability to recognize the needs aswell as desires of the other person (Petrovici & Dobrescu, 2014).Emotional intelligence enhances the success of interpersonalrelationships. With a high emotional intelligence, it becomespossible to have a strong internal motivator, which improvesself-confidence and ability to concentrate on the relationship. Itmakes it possible to form better networks, deal with challenges thatmay come up in the relationship.
Appropriate Levels of Self-disclosure in Relationships
Any form of communication discloses something about thecommunicator. Self-disclosure is purposeful revealing of personalinformation to another individual (Sprecher & Hendrick, 2004).Communication does not have to be deep to reveal meaningfulinformation. Small talks may also communicate a lot about anindividual. Small talk is a major initiator for relationships, whichprogress to more close relationships that make it possible toself-disclose on issues that are more personal. Many relationshipsthat progress to engagement begin with small talks where peopledisclose their age, residence and likes (Sprecher & Hendrick,2004). As the two individuals begin to learn more about each otherthen they are able to disclose information that is more personal likeprevious relationships.
There are numerous decisions involved in the procedure ofself-disclosure. This is because there are diverse kinds ofinformation to disclose, and people need to determine if there is aneed to progress with disclosure through contemplating about thesituation and the possible perils (Sprecher & Hendrick, 2004).Making the decision on when to disclose something when in arelationship might not appear as relevant as deciding if to discloseor not. When people are in a relationship, they are encouraged not tohold secrets that could result in problems in the relationship inprospect. It is important to disclose personal information, whichones partner is entitled to know. A relationship should not havesecrets. Secrets can greatly reduce the level of trust in arelationship, and trust is very important. Without trust, it isimpossible to have confidence in what the other person says.
In your case, you are engaged, which means you would like topossibly get married in future. At this point, you should alreadyknow a lot about each other. There should be no surprise informationor any secrets that surface later. When you get everything, clearabout each other when dating, then it becomes possible to have asuccessful and open marriage. Self-disclosure is very important inensuring that a couple understands each other and learns more abouteach other.
Strategies for Managing Interpersonal Conflicts
Conflict between persons in a relationship is normal and cannot beavoided. However, the ability to manage the conflict determines ifthe relationship will be successful or not (Donohue& Kolt, 1992).Human relationships are intricate and dynamic. As living being, weall crave the need to communicate with others. In most instances,interactions are mutual and result in minimal conflict. Yet, thereare moments when the interaction becomes tense and people disagree.When left alone, conflict can escalate and damage the relationship.Conflict amid persons as well as in groups frequently happens sinceindividuals have differing opinion, have dissimilar values andobjectives (Donohue & Kolt,1992). Disagreementis not at all times a bad thing, because it can result in bettercomprehension and reaction to issues. It may as well result increative problem solving, conversely, suppressing a conflict resultsin lack of trust and more discord in a relationship.
Effective conflict management involves focusing on the mostimportant outcome, which is resolving the disagreement (Singh,2008). In most instances, everyone wants their view of theconflict to be accepted, which makes it possible to find a commonground to the conflict. For instance, if you want Sara to spend timewith you, there are different approaches you can use to get more timefrom her. You can plan a romantic dinner and affectionately expressyour desire to spend more time together. However, failure to employsuch a logical strategy results in more conflict. Like choosing toblame, Sara for not creating time to spend with you may push heraway, resulting in more time apart. Conflicts will be inevitable inthe relationship, but you must analyze what you do to find a solutionto the problem. Another approach is through taking the LEAD. Thisinvolves listening to the other person’s issues, exploring thefeeling that emerge, affirm the argument of the partner and decide ona reasonable action to take.
Communication is a very important aspect in any successfulrelationship, most important is interpersonal interactions. As peoplecommunicate, they use verbal and nonverbal cues to convey theirmessage. It is necessary to ensure that emotions and culturalbarriers are properly understood and that they do not impedeeffective interpersonal communication. People must have a positiveself-concept to be able to communicate the same in the relationship.Emotional intelligence ensures that emotions are properly controlledwhen communicating with others such that they do not impede effectiveinteractions. Couples need to disclose personal information abouteach other, which enhances the process of learning about each other.
Donohue, W. A., & Kolt, R.(1992). Managinginterpersonal conflict.Newbury Park: Sage Publications.
Komorita, S. S., & Parks, C. D. (1995). Interpersonal relations:Mixed-motive interaction. Annual Review of Psychology, 46,183.
Petrovici, A & Dobrescu, T. (2014). The role of emotionalintelligence in building interpersonal communication skills. Socialand Behavioral Sciences, 116(21), 1405-1410.
Ryan, R., & Deci, E. (2000). Self-determination theory and thefacilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, andwell-being. AmericanPsychologist, 55, 68-78.
Singh, B. D. (2008). Managingconflict and negotiation.New Delhi: Excel Books.
Sprecher, S. & Hendrick, S. S. (2004). Self-disclosure inintimate relationships: Associations with individual andrelationship characteristics over time. Journal of Social andClinical Psychology, 23, 857-877.