Interpersonal communication is a form of communication that takes place between two or more people who are close to one another unlike other forms of communication it does not involve a lot of people. There are various aspects of interpersonal communication that can be discussed but for purposes of this paper it has been narrowed to look at the principles and misconceptions in effective interpersonal communications, the barriers to effective interpersonal interactions, how perceptions, emotions, and nonverbal expression affect interpersonal relationships, the impact of gender and culture on interpersonal communications and the strategies for managing interpersonal conflicts.
The first principle states that interpersonal communication is irreversible, it indicates that once a communication has occurred between two or more people, it can never be taken back, the effects are felt by the receiver based on the interpretation, it can either be verbal or non-verbal, whether intentional or unintentional provided there is a recipient. The effects can never be reversed and one can only try to alter the meaning based on how it has been perceived by the receiver so as to minimize the extent of the damage so caused. In a relationship parties are supposed to more careful of the content or their mode of communication so as to avoid conflicts bearing in mind that once a message has been delivered it can never be taken back and the effects can destroy a healthy relationship.
The second principle states that Interpersonal communication is inescapable, human beings cannot escape from communication and communication does not only take place through the use of words. Messages are passed on to those around us even when we are silent, the very attempt not to communicate is communication in itself, people are able to pick messages from ones facial expressions, tone variations, gestures, behavior and body languages. These channels of communication can destroy a relationship in the sense that not every individual assigns the same meanings to certain expressions, gestures and other forms of communication, they might mean the opposite hence altering the very meaning that was intended by the sender. Cultural differences play a bigger role when it comes to the various modes of communication whereby one message passed to different people with different cultural backgrounds will have a completely distorted meaning to various receivers based on their cultural interpretation. For a good relationship, couples need to understand the intercultural communication and strive to strike a balance and avoid certain behaviors that can be judged wrongly by their partners resulting into domestic conflicts or unhealthy relationships.
The third principle states that Interpersonal communication is contextual, it is contextual in the sense that it does not happen in isolation and it is guided by several factors that will make it vary. Taking into consideration different contexts, communication takes place differently subject to the environmental impacts where it is taking place, in a noisy background one tends to shout different from a quite background. The way one relates to the other also plays a role in interpersonal communication in that a conversation that takes place in a social setting will differ from a conversation between spouses, which explains the relational context. Situation also can change the way people communicate in that in certain situational contexts, formal communications are more preferred than informal communication. People in a relationship should be able to base their communications taking into consideration the context in which their conversation is taking place.
Certain messages are supposed to be communicated in privacy and are regarded as highly secret and should be treated as such by the partners so as not to offend the other. The fourth principle states that Interpersonal communication is complicated. People get different meanings from different words which complicate communication as a whole, no mode of communication is simple and certain use of words can bring misconceptions that end up altering the very meaning of the intended message to the recipient (Thomson Learning, 2007).
Effective Interpersonal communication is of essence in a healthy relationship, there are however barriers that affect the flow of interactions such as the physical barriers, which include the geographical distance between the sender and the receiver which can further be complicated by lack of communication devices to bridge the gap which bars effective interactions in a relationship.
Emotional barriers also have an impact on Interpersonal interactions in the sense that emotions which bring fear and mistrust from ones personal experiences can interfere with a relationship where a partner can judge the other based on their own personal experiences and have a formed general opinion about others which cannot be easy to change.
Another barrier is the cultural and language barriers which explain the fact that people have different cultural practices and customs. It becomes a barrier when one communicates with fear or lack of a proper language so as not to offend the other preventing an effective communication. Social issues can also be a barrier in effective interpersonal communication in the sense that people with high degree of social anxiety may seem to withdraw from relationships or from groups making it difficult to effectively communicate. Partners therefore have to understand each other in order to overcome these barriers.
Apart from the barriers there are other factors such as perceptions, emotions, and nonverbal expressions that affect interpersonal relationships. Communication is a process and it needs a sender and a receiver and therefore a feedback is expected. The senders have to be careful with the emotions and other non-verbal expressions that they use when interacting with others. Different categories of people judge emotions differently depending on age and experiences, children and adults have different perceptions regarding certain behaviors and emotional expressions which can shift the meaning of the message being passed across. One has to know the category of his or her recipients and how they judge certain body languages and other forms of nonverbal modes of communication so as not to offend the receivers or be judged negatively. The accuracy on the choice of these modes of communication is important if the message is to be perceived correctly otherwise the meaning will be distorted (Laurel J. Dunn, 2009).
Gender and culture is also of significant impact on interpersonal communication. Different cultures have different roles that are assigned to different people based on their gender in the society. Use of certain words or other forms of expressions may be limited or tied to a certain gender or may be a taboo which can limit the way one expresses his or herself.
Cultural practices and customs vary from one another and the way one community or society address the other based on gender differences is important. It impacts interpersonal communication in the sense that one has to observe these cultural differences and make the right choice in the use of both verbal and the nonverbal expressions which can alter the meaning of the message intended reducing the accuracy. People in a relationship should understand and give much attention to gender and cultural differences in order to interact freely without conflicts.
In a relationship there can never be lack of interpersonal conflicts as much as people try to reduce the frequency or avoid them completely. Whenever they occur there are strategies that can be used to manage or control the conflicts. Parties can choose to avoid and pay no attention to the conflict between them and decide not work towards resolving it completely. Others opt for the use of force by either involving the formal authority or by use of once power to satisfy their concerns in the conflict against the other party.
Another strategy is by being accommodative and allowing the other party to satisfy their concerns while you neglect your own concerns to help reduce the conflict especially when the other party seems not ready for a healthy dialogue…