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Communication skills in Interpersonal Relationships. Communication Climates created by comforting messages. Comforting – helping another feel better about themselves, behavior, or situation (pg 158) Comforting improves self-esteem and relationship with the person being comforted.

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Communication skills in Interpersonal Relationships

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communication climates created by comforting messages
Communication Climates created by comforting messages

Comforting – helping another feel better about themselves, behavior, or situation (pg 158)

Comforting improves self-esteem and relationship with the person being comforted.

Skills for Comforting (pg 158)

  • Clarify supportive intentions
  • Buffer face threats with politeness
  • Encourage understanding through other-centered messages
  • Reframe the situation
  • Give advice
communication climates created by confirming messages
Communication Climates created by confirming messages
  • Confirming Messages (communicates worth)
    • Recognition
    • Acknowledgment
    • Endorsement
  • Disconfirming Messages
communication climates
Communication Climates
  • Self-perpetuating Spiral:
    • Reciprocating communication pattern in which each person’s message reinforces the other’s
conflict pg 176
Conflict (pg 176)
  • Interpersonal Conflict

“…exists when the needs or ideas of one person are at odds or in opposition to the needs or ideas of another.”


The Nature of Conflict

Expressed Struggle

Perceived Incompatible Goals

Perceived Scarce Rewards (Time and Money)




Styles of Expressing Conflict


Direct Aggression

Passive Aggression

Indirect Communication


passive behavior pg 173 nonassertive
Passive Behavior(pg 173) (Nonassertive)

- When People Do Not Express Their Preferences or Defend Their Rights

    • Withdraw or Accommodate (pg 177)
      • Studies reveal that dating partners do not express 40% of their grievances
  • Because…
    • They Fear Costs
    • Are Insecure
    • Value Others above Self
aggressive behavior pg 174
Aggressive Behavior (pg 174)
  • Forcing (pg 177) satisfying own needs with no concern for needs of others and no concern for harm done to others or relationship.
  • Forcefully making claims for ourselves
  • Little regard for situation of rights of others
  • Perception of Self as Powerful
  • Devalue Others
  • Lack of Emotional Control
  • Defensiveness

High school teams with aggressive

coaches lose more games????

aggressive behavior
Aggressive Behavior
  • People who receive aggressive messages from partner are likely to feel hurt regardless of relationship (Martin, Anderson, Horvath, 1996 - pg 174)
  • Men who view conversation as contests and partners as opponents are 60% more apt to die earlier
  • Newly married couples whose disagreements were handled aggressively suffered a drop in the effectiveness of their immune systems.
passive aggression crazymaking
Passive Aggression / Crazymaking

Occurs when a communicator expresses hostility in an obscure way

A Communicator sends aggressive messages in subtle, indirect ways, maintaining a front of kindness.

indirect communication
Indirect Communication
  • Conveys a message in a roundabout manner, in order to save face for the recipient.

Self-protection or Saving Face

assertiveness pg 174
Assertiveness (pg 174)
  • Expressing personal preferences and defending rights while respecting others (pg 174)
  • Guidelines for Assertive Behavior
    • Identify what you are thinking or feeling
    • Analyze cause of these feelings
    • Identify what your preferences / rights are
    • Use description and “I” statements (pg 174)
assertiveness and culture
Assertiveness and Culture

“communication problems arise when cultures that value assertiveness come in contact with cultures that value accord and harmony”(Samovar and Porter, 2001).

gender and conflict
Gender and Conflict
  • Even in childhood, men are more likely to be overtly aggressive, demanding, & competitive
  • Females are more cooperative, less directly aggressive
  • Young girls in play are more likely to make proposals for action ….. “let’s….”
  • Young boys are more likely to make demands without offering an explanation
  • When dealing with conflict, females are more likely to be passive aggressive.
  • College student survey: Females describe males as being concerned with power and content / Males describe females as being more concerned with maintaining relationship
  • “Threshold of Assertiveness”
culture and conflict pg 160 and 174
Culture and Conflict (pg 160 and 174)
  • Individualistic cultures (US) feel the goals, rights, needs of each person is important (assertiveness is valued) – pg 174
  • Collectivist cultures (Latin America, Asia, South American) feel the group is more important than individual rights (harmony is valued) – pg 174
  • Individualistic cultures (Low context) like direct and literal demands.
  • Collectivist (High context) like self-restraint to avoid conflict / passiveness - pg 174
  • Northern European & North American (Greece, Italy) see verbal disputes as a game
resolving conflicts through compromising collaboration pg 178
Resolving Conflicts Through Compromising & Collaboration (pg 178)
  • Compromising occurs when partners each give up part of what they want to provide at least some satisfaction for both parties
  • Collaborating is viewing the disagreement as a problem to be solved, discussing issues & feelings, and identifying characteristics of an effective solution.
guidelines for collaboration pg 178
Guidelines for Collaboration (pg 178)
  • Identify problem and own it as your own
  • Describe the behaviors, consequences, and feelings
  • Don’t’ evaluate the other person’s motives
  • Find common ground
  • Mentally rehearse so that you can state your request briefly
methods of conflict resolution
Methods of Conflict resolution
  • Win-Lose
  • Lose-Lose
  • Compromise
  • Win-Win