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Interpersonal Communications

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Interpersonal communication occurs not when you simply interact with someone, but when you treat the other person as a unique human being. From this perspective, interpersonal communication can occur in writing or by email, as well as in a face-to-face setting. Further, total strangers who interact with each other respectfully could be said to be communicating interpersonally even though the topic of conversation might be trite or task related. In short, interpersonal communication is more about the content and character of the exchange than about the mechanics of how it happens or with whom.

In a family or friendship relationship, the primary role of communication can be simply to create and maintain that specific relationship. In a business environment, each interpersonal relationship exists within a complex network of interrelated relationships. Sometimes people use the term "interpersonal communication" in order to differentiate face-to-face interaction from written or electronic messages. In other cases, people discuss "interpersonal communication" as though it referred exclusively to personal relationships with family members, friends or coworkers.

This paper will discuss three of my interpersonal relationships relating to essays in John Stewart's Bridges Not Walls textbook from Ch. 6 pp. 253-261 David W. Johnson's "Being Open With and to Other People"(Stewart 2009) - a relationship I have with an old high school friend I became reconnected with, Ch. 7 pp. 326-333 Deborah Tannen's "Mother Daughter Email and IM Communication (Stewart 2009) - a relationship I have with my Goddaughter and Ch. 8 pp. 365-372 Alvin Cooper & Leda Sportolari's "Romance in Cyberspace: Understanding Online Attraction" (Stewart 2009) - a relationship I had with an ex-boyfriend.

Ch. 6 pp. 253-261 "Being Open With and to Other People" (Davd W. Johnson)

Self-disclosure is revealing to another person how you perceive and are reacting to the present situation and giving any information about yourself and your past that is relevant to an understanding of your perceptions and reactions to the present. You are open with other persons when you disclose yourself to them, sharing your ideas, feelings, and reactions to the present situation, and letting other people know who you are as a person. I can apply self-disclosure to a relationship I have with an old high school friend that I became reacquainted with recently. We had not seen or talked to each other since high school and was reunited through a social site. I found out through conversation that he has always been interested in talking to me beyond friendship but never approached me in that manner.

So, after finding out that he was interested beyond friendship, I had to determine if I was comfortable with self-disclosing any information about myself. Eventually, I did and found out that we had common goals, interests and values. The more open I was to him about my feelings about certain topics the more he began to disclose to me. I only disclosed what I felt was appropriate at the time and as we talked more I took more risks to disclose more personal information. I guess in a way I was self-presenting and self-verifying because I wanted to shape what he thought about me and let him see me as I believe myself to be. The good thing is that he reciprocated the disclosure but in the end, we only remain as friends today due to some things he self-disclosed about himself that I don't approve of which is very unfortunate because I really was interested in him.

Ch. 7 pp. 326-333 "Mother-Daughter E-Mail & IM Communication (Deborah Tannen)

Electronic communication transforms the balance of connection and control. In face-to -face communicating, both parties immediately experience elements of connection and control. A telephone call makes a connection, but it is also an intrusion, and the control is lopsided. On the other had, e-mail balances control more evenly; because one person sends a message but it doesn't intrude on the other person's life until she retrieves it. Instant messaging (IM) is a hybrid; the receiver can disengage, but not without violating the sender's expectations.

I can apply this essay to me and my Goddaughter's relationship. My Goddaughter is very shy and doesn't like talking on the telephone. If you can't send what she wants to say or talk to me about via e-mail or IM, she doesn't want to talk. She mostly uses IM with me because it's easier and she gets a quicker response from



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