{February 23, 2008}   Interpersonal

Interpersonal communication is communication that involves two people. Its is usually direct and informal. Interpersonal communication is important in forming 

interpersonal relationships. In some cultures, interpersonal relationships are established by different forms of interpersonal communication. For example, in Japan, status

and superiority plays an important role in interpersonal communication. Respect is given to the person who is of a higher status or superior in terms of the relationship

between a boss and a subordinate. The person who is from a lower status bows and initiates greeting in interpersonal communication. Society emphasises manners and

respect while communicating. Japanese do not engage in physical contact publicly. It is uncommon to see normal handshakes as  a form of greeting.  Although  arranged

marriages are common, dating is becoming quite common for working adults. Schools discourage dating but teenagers often engage in group dating.

In America, interpersonal relationships take up a whole new meaning. Non-verbal communication such as haptics are commonly used to define one’s relationship with the

other person. Americans are also more vocal and do not hesitate to speak their minds regardless of status, gender and superiority. Dating is common however, interpersonal

relationships within the family varies. According to a survey done by the Parental Authority Questionnaire (PAQ) and the Assessment of Interpersonal Relations (AIR)  , they

found that interpersonal relationships within a family was dependent on the parenting styles of each family. Parenting styles were mainly split into 3 styles, authoritarian,

permissive and authoritative. Those who had authoritative parents had a closer relationship with

their parents compared to those who had authoritarian and permissive parents.

Culture also influenced the groups of people whom children established an interpersonal relationship with. During the filltering stage, when we filter out people whom we do 

not want to have a relationship with, our decisions are affected by our upbringing, culture and personal constructs. We have a  criteria based on which we choose whom to

establish different levels of relationships with. Our most intimate relationship often is established with someone of close proxemics. Being visible and spending quality time

together so that we can have face-face communication, is an important criteria for interpersonal relationships. An  example of how culture influences our choice is a study to

show that African -American children were more attached to their parents as compared to their friends and teachers. The White-American children had a better

interpersonal relationship with their peers and teachers but not as much with their parents. This maybe due to the lack of time spent with their parents and the family 

upbringing. Families have a way of life and set of beliefs they impart to their family members. If family closeness is not an emphasis, children do not bond with their family 

and they donot share thoughts with one another.

There are four specific perspectives from which to study interpersonal communication:

Relational (Qualitative)
Communication in which the roles of sender and receiver are shared 
by two people simultaneously in order to create meaning.

Situational (Contextual)
Communication that occurs between two people in a specific context.

Dyadic interactions, including impersonal communication.

Functional (Strategic)
Communication for the purpose of achieving interpersonal goals.

In my next post, I will be analysing the interpersonal communication and interpersonal relationships shared by the characters in the disney movie-The Lady and The Tramp.


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