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Communication and Conflict Resolution bIntroduction bVerbal and Non-Verbal Communication bGender Differences in Communication bDeveloping Communication.

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Presentation on theme: "Communication and Conflict Resolution bIntroduction bVerbal and Non-Verbal Communication bGender Differences in Communication bDeveloping Communication."— Presentation transcript:

1 Communication and Conflict Resolution bIntroduction bVerbal and Non-Verbal Communication bGender Differences in Communication bDeveloping Communication Skills bPower, Conflict, and Intimacy bIntimacy and Conflict bExperiencing and Managing Conflict

2 Introduction Intimacy and communication are inextricably connected. Communication for its own sake involves the pleasure of being in each other’s company, the excitement of conversation, the exchange of touches and smiles, and loving silence.

3 Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication There is no such thing as not communicating. The functions of non-verbal communication include conveying interpersonal attitudes, expressing emotions and handling the ongoing interactions. A relationship exists between verbal and non- verbal messages. Three of the most important forms of nonverbal communication are proximity, eye contact, and touch.

4 ~ Making eye contact with another person, if only for a second Is a signal of interest. ~ Touch is the most basic of all senses: It is extremely important in human development, health and sexuality.

5 Gender Differences in Communication Premarital communication patterns are related to marital satisfaction. 1. How well a couple communicates before marriage can be an important predictor of later marital satisfaction. 2. Self-disclosure, the revelation of deeply personal information about one’s self, prior to marriage is related to relationship satisfaction. 3. A couple’s negative or positive communication pattern has little effect on marital satisfaction the first year of marriage—this quality is known as the honeymoon effect.

6 Gender differences in partner communication are influenced by gender differences in general communication patterns. 1. Wives send clearer messages to their husbands than vice-versa and tend to be more sensitive and responsive to their husband’s messages, both during conversation and conflict. 2. Husbands tend to give more neutral messages or to withdraw. 3. Although communication differences in arguments between husbands and wives are usually small, they nevertheless follow a typical pattern and wives tend to set the emotional tone of the argument.

7 Studies suggest that poor communication skills precede the outset of marital problems.

8 Developing Communication Skills We can learn to communicate but it is not always easy. ~ Traditional sex roles encourage men to be strong and silent, to talk about things instead of feelings. ~ Personal reasons such as inadequacy, vulnerability, or guilt may restrict communication. ~ Fear of conflict due to expressing real feelings and desires may lead to their suppression.

9 Before we can communicate with others we must first know how we feel. ~ Feelings serve as valuable guides for action. Communication which reveals ourselves to others is self-disclosure, an important aspect to intimacy. ~ In the process of revealing ourselves to others, we discover who we ourselves are and self- disclosure is often reciprocal.

10 Trust is the belief in the reliability and integrity of a person. Three conditions must be met for trust to develop. ~ a relationship must exist and have the likelihood of continuing; ~ we must be able to predict how the other person will likely behave; and ~ the other person must have other acceptable options available to him or her. Trust is important in close relationships because it is vital to self- disclosure, and it influences the way in which ambiguous or unexpected messages are interpreted.

11 Giving feedback, the ongoing process in which participants and their messages create a given result and are subsequently modified by the result, is a critical element in communication. We can engage in dialogue and feedback by: ~ focusing on behavior rather than the person, ~ focusing feedback in terms of its value to the recipient, ~ focusing feedback on the amount the recipient can process, and ~ offering feedback at an appropriate time and place.

12 Mutual affirmation, along with self-awareness, self-disclosure, trust and feedback, are essential to communication in close relationships. ~ Mutual affirmation is made up of three elements: mutual acceptance; liking each other; and expressing liking in both words and actions.

13 Power, Conflict and Intimacy The more intimate two people become, the more likely they may be to experience conflict: It is not conflict itself that is dangerous to intimate relationships; it is the manner in which the conflict is handled. Conflict is natural in intimacy and does not necessarily represent a crisis in the relationship. Power conflicts within families over who decides and does what are both complex and explosive.

14 Traditional roles supported the subordination of the wife to the husband, but these roles are changing with women working and egalitarian standards emerging. There are six bases of marital power, according to French and Raven: coercive power, reward power, expert power, legitimate power, referent power, and informational power.

15 Power vs. Intimacy may reflect mutually exclusive traits: For genuine intimacy to exist, there must be equality in the power relationships. Power is the ability to or potential ability to influence another person or group.

16 Intimacy and Conflict Conflicts may be basic or non-basic. ~ Basic conflicts challenge the fundamental assumptions of rules of a relationship, and may offer no room for compromise. ~ Non-basic conflicts are disagreements that do not strike at the " heart” of a relationship and resolution is possible.

17 Conflicts may occur because of a situation or because of the personalities of the partners. ~ Situational conflicts or realistic conflicts occur because of a need to make changes in a relationship. ~ Personality conflicts arise because of personality, such as the needs to vent aggression, dominate or overpower: They are not directed toward making changes, but simply toward releasing pent-up tensions. Conflict in natural intimate relationships. Handling conflicts in a healthy way is the task.

18 Experiencing and Managing Conflict Dealing with anger takes skill and sensitivity and may require negotiation. ~ Differences between people may lead to anger, which transforms differences into fights and creates tension, distrust, division and fear. ~ Most people have learned to handle anger by either venting or suppressing it. ~ Many couples experience a love/anger cycle involving anger at the point a couple become most intimate with each other.

19 ~ Suppressed anger ultimately leads to resentment and low-level hostility. ~ Anger can be recognized as a symptom of something that needs to be changed, leading to negotiation.

20 The way in which a couple deals with conflict resolution both reflects and contributes to their marital happiness. ~ Happily married couples display distinctive communication behaviors including: - summarizing of what the other person says into his or her own words, - paraphrasing to put what the other person ways into one’s own words, - validating the other’s feelings and, - clarifying the communication it there is uncertainty

21 ~ Unhappy couples display the following patterns: - confrontation rather than trying to understand, - confrontation and defensiveness as alternating patterns, - complaining and defensiveness as alternating patterns.

22 Fighting about sex involves issues that are sexual as well as using sex as a scapegoat for underlying issues, which are unresolved. Couples disagree or fight over money for a number of reasons, one of the most important being power. ~ Money issues tend to support male dominance. ~ Financial priorities are a major source of disagreement. ~ Talking about money is often taboo, although our society is obsessed with money.

23 ~ There are three major ways conflict can be resolved through negotiation: - Agreement as a gift occurs when a person agrees without coercion, threats, or resentment: It is a gift of love. ~ Bargaining involves making compromises, seeking the most equitable deal for each partner. ~ Co-existence involves living with the differences without undermining the basic ties. Communication is the basis for good relationships. Communication and intimacy are reciprocal.


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