ASL?

ASL? Age…Sex..Location…
Three simple words that introduced me to Kristina G., someone that would be my one of my closest friends for over 7 years, but that I had never met in real life, only chatted with over AOL Instant Messenger.

A look at AIM's home page.

We were both 13 years old and lived about an hour from one another, She lived in Frederick, Maryland and I lived in Great Falls, Virginia. Pictures were our only way of knowing what each other looked like.

At first our conversations were a routine, everyday after summer camps we’d log onto our AIM Accounts and spend hours chatting with each other about anything and everything. Over the years our conversations slowed, and soon changed into emails instead of the instant communication of chat programs.

We called each other best friends, but unlike the more commonplace best friend being someone at school, my friendship was built from openness towards a stranger. But as I came to find out after taking a Communication course at Longwood University, there is much more to this friendship than meets the eye.

In such a technological age, this interaction between strangers online is becoming more and more common, ranging from popular online dating sites and personals ads to meeting someone new because of interactions in chartrooms. In fact MTV has created a television show that documents peoples first time meeting someone they have been communicating with over the internet for years. The show is a spin off of a documentary called “CatFish” which follows Yaniv ‘Nev’ Schulman online relationship with a woman to finally meeting her in real life; only to find out she wasn’t who she said she was. If one is to look up CatFish on urbandictionary.com the top two results best describe what one is when it comes to technology. “

A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.”


A Trailer for MTV’s show CatFish

 

When it comes to sustaining a relationship with someone that one isn’t physically able to be with, some of the simplest things can really mean the most to someone. One Interpersonal Communication theory I’ve learned about from Julia T. Wood’s is called “The listening Process.” There are a few steps to effective listening but one of the most crucial with online interactions would be “remembering.” During my interactions with Kristina, she would tell me personal facts like what her favorite bands were or favorite colors or who her friends were at the time. I would take time to let these facts sink into my brain, only to bring them up again later when we would talk. It could have been a month since we would send an email back and forth, but I’d still include a question that would be about something she had told me prior. By this follow up question from me, it showed her that I was paying attention to what she was saying and reinforced that I genuinely cared about what she told me, which helped keep our friendship strong.

 

Another theory I learned about was “Openness/Closedness.” This theory is about how individuals will either be open and express feelings, emotions, and facts to another person, or be more secretive and keep things to themselves. In a situation where one can’t read someone else physical body language or facial expressions, one has to trust their judgment when they want to be open about something because of fear of how the other might react. This could most likely drive someone to be more closed with personal information but in order for a relationship whether friendship or romantically, there needs to be that certain level of trust and openness to flourish.

The theory of self-disclosure is also one that is used during online interactions. The idea that since people are not meeting face to face will often times make them more likely to share information since they are not as worried about how the other person will react; after all it only takes a couple clicks to close that chat window but a lot more effort to walk away from a conversation.

With the growing number of online dating sites and places for people to converse, strangers from around the world are becoming friends if not more. For me, my friendship with Kristina was an extremely special one to me because it’s the only one I’ve had where I’ve never heard the persons voice, seen them in person, or made physical contact. One day I hope to meet Kristina G., and I hope that on that day she turns out to be who she truly says she is.

Sources:
Wood, J. T. (2011). Interpersonal communication, everyday encounters. (6 ed.). Wadsworth Pub Co.

Trailer for MTV’s “CatFish”

http://www.mtv.com/shows/catfish/series.jhtml

Catfish Movie information

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1584016/

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Technology’s Role in Long-Distance Relationships

As college students, we are more immersed in creating a life for ourselves than we ever have been before.  This is a time for us to be a little bit selfish, and throw ourselves into as many opportunities as we can handle.  I know that’s what I’ve tried to do.  I take my grades seriously and put academics first.  I’m very involved on my campus, participating in multiple organizations and holding leadership roles.  I work part-time at home and at school.  Like every other college student, I’m researching internships to apply to so that I may gain some real-world experience in my field of study.  I’m also studying abroad for a semester this spring.  On top of all everything else that I have going on, I’m also maintaining a long-distance relationship.

Any relationship takes work, but a long-distance relationship takes extra.  It takes time for each long-distance couple to find their own way of adapting communication to maintain their relationship.  As explained by Julia T. Wood in Chapter 11 of Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters, “Routine conversations form and continually reform the basic fabric of our relationships.”  Thankfully, the technologies available to us today help a great deal with any kind of long-distance relationship; be it with friends, family, or a significant other.  In Chapter 11: Committed Romantic Relationships, Wood lists a variety of coping strategies for couples coping with geographic separation, most of which rely on technology.

My boyfriend and I utilize many forms of technology to keep in touch when we’re apart.  Through Facebook, we send each other funny YouTube videos, articles and music videos to songs we enjoy.  Typically, we’ll have a “Skype date” twice a week.  And of course we text and usually talk on the phone later at night when our busy lives have settled down for the day.  Abigail Sullivan Moore discusses technology and long-distance relationships in her New York Times article, “A Long-Distance Affair”:

[C]ollege dating over all … is being tweaked, thanks to today’s ability to communicate easily and variously across the miles. Relationships begun in high school and over summer vacations are continuing. Studying abroad isn’t a deal-breaker. As long as they can Skype, text, send a BlackBerry message, post on Facebook and call at will, distance is no obstacle to love, or to long-distance sexual play.

Through Moore’s article, I found that many other college students have a similar mindset to my own regarding long-distance dating.  A long-distance relationship enables me to be involved in multiple organizations on my campus—a freedom that I most likely wouldn’t have the time for if I were trying to maintain a relationship with someone at my university.  This is an example of the relational dialectic of autonomy/connection.

Relational dialectics are normal tensions in relationships.  As explained by Wood in Chapter 8: Communication Climate – The foundation of Personal Relationships, autonomy/connection is the desire to be independent vs. the desire to be connected.  My boyfriend and I are both very independent people so we like having the space to indulge in our own separate activities.  We do try to see each other every two weeks, which can be hard as we live in separate states.  Anything longer than two weeks gets tough though, as we obviously enjoy being around each other.

USA Today writer Sharon Jayson’s article “More young couples try long-distance relationships” mentions that a recent study by the journal of Communication Research finds that “as many as half of college students are in long-distance relationships, ‘and up to 75% will be at some point.’”  Those statistics may be shocking to some, but not to me.  Two out of my three roommates are also in long-distance relationships, so it’s a common subject in our apartment.

Marie Hartwell-Walker’s PsychCentral.com article, “The Challenge of Long-Distance Relationships,” has a fair point:

Frequently, couples in [the long-distance] situation quote “absence makes the heart grow fonder” as a way of reassuring themselves and each other that their love will sustain them over the difficulties of distance and time. But unless both partners are committed to doing the very hard work of being together alone, their relationship will soon fall to another, equally common saying: “Out of sight, out of mind.”

On the subject of adapting communication to maintain long-distance relationships Wood states in Chapter 11: Committed Romantic Relationships, “Because partners [in long-distance relationships] have limited time together, they often think that every moment must be perfect.”  Laura Stafford conducted a study, “Geographic Distance and Communication During Courtship,” exploring “how the features of geographic separation are associated with the nature of dating partners’ talk throughout courtship.”  Her findings are similar to Wood’s statement and suggest that long-distance couples communicate in a way to “accentuate positive affect and minimize differences.”

My boyfriend and I have been dating for a little over six months now and have yet to have any full-blown fights.  However, I do not attribute that to trying to make our time spent together utterly perfect.  I attribute it to productive conflict management.  Instead of ignoring or minimizing problems, we make it a point to nip them in the bud, by using the voice response to conflict.  As stated by Wood in Chapter 9: Managing Conflict in Relationships, “voice response addresses conflict directly and attempts to resolve it.”

Jim and me goofing off

By identifying problems when they come about, it shows that we care enough about our relationship to acknowledge that something is wrong and want to fix the situation.  Wood states in Chapter 9 that couples are unlikely to voice their disagreements unless they think that the relationship can handle it.  Also addressed by Wood in Chapter 9 is the productiveness of creating a win-win orientation to resolve conflict.  By finding a middle ground to agree on, both individuals will find the solution reasonable.  Often, a win-win requires making accommodations so that both individuals are satisfied by the solution.  A win-win resolution that my boyfriend and I practice often is how we spend our time together.  We enjoy a lot of the same things, but we’re not the same person.  He may want to see a movie that wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice but I agree to see because I know he’ll enjoy it.  If he picks the movie, then I’ll probably pick where we go out to dinner that night, and vice versa.

Julie Fricker and Susan Moore conducted a study on adult attachment and love styles called “Relationship Satisfaction: The Role of Love Styles and Attachment Styles.” The study discusses the six love styles of eros, ludus, storge, mania, pragma and agape.  I personally believe my love style is storge.  Fricker and Moore listed the ‘Storge Items’ in their case study as being:

Our love is the best kind because it grew out of a long friendship.
Our friendship merged gradually into love over time.
Our love relationship is the most satisfying because it developed from a good friendship.

Most of my romantic relationships have been based on a storge style of love, which is confortable friendship and compatibility.  My current boyfriend and I were friends before we became romantically involved, and I honestly think that is one of the reasons why our long-distance relationship has been successful.  We know each other from high school but didn’t become good friends until college.  But because we already had that foundation of trusting friendship, it wasn’t a hard transition into becoming a long-distance romantic relationship.  I think a person’s love style probably has a lot to do with what kind of relationship they are able to have.  For example, someone with amania style of love are typically unsure that their significant other really loves them, and so they create tests to see where their significant other’s commitment lies.  Obviously, long-distance relationships aren’t for everyone.  But if you and your significant other are willing to take that step, communication is half the battle.

Jim and me dressed up for a formal.

 

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Fakebook

Ever since Facebook was open to people above the age of 13 in 2006, people have gained the opportunity to easily establish relationships with people they have never even met. The ability to communicate back-and-forth without being face to face creates a level of comfort for each individual to express themselves more openly. However, some people take advantage of the absence of physical interaction by creating false identities to attract other Internet users. The person who creates the false identity will usually make up excuses to not use video chat or send pictures of other people claiming it is them to continue their ploy. These interactions could lead to the individuals having strong feelings for the one another, but someone is creating a false persona in order to “attract” others.

After watching the show Catfish on MTV for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I was amazed with the way people had serious online relationships for years, but have never met. The episode I watched had a man and woman who had a 10 year relationship online and did not meet one time, but exchanged pictures (the man sent pictures of someone else, the woman was honest). According to a study by Juan Marquez, online relationships are dictated by the individuals emotional stability and personality. In our society, online relationships are considered “weird.”  Let’s be honest though; people who grew up with America Online Instant Message probably had one or two “friends” they met in a chat room and stayed in contact with. Although those “friends” probably told you about themselves, how were you ever one-hundred percent sure they were being truthful about who they really were?

There are a variety of communication theories that can be used to help understand the aspect of “why do people create false personalities online?”

According to Julia T. Wood, the third level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,Belonging needs, “We want others’ company, acceptance, and affirmation, and we want to give acceptance and affirmation to others.” This means people want to be accepted as well as give acceptance to others. These people who create “Fakebooks” are trying to establish relationships by depicting a person they feel would be well liked while determining if the person they are communicating with fits their standards. In the case of the 10 year Facebook relationship I discussed earlier, the man sent his “partner” pictures of a model who had no resemblance to him at all.

Facebook allows users to upload a profile picture that can be seen by any other Facebook user. The profile picture puts a high emphasis on physical appearance, a type of nonverbal communication. People who create false profiles most likely suffer from low self esteem and probably do not find themselves attractive in the eyes of others. This mindset contributes to the Fakebookers use of pictures not of themselves and denial to use video chat with their online counterparts. The 10 year online relationship was between an overweight woman and an extremely obese man. Although she liked him because he could always make her laugh, he continued to lie to her about himself because of the way he looked.

When relationships are developed over Facebook, communication is key to thegrowth of the interactions. The fake profiles are usually created by people with introverted personalities. Wood states, “people who describe themselves as shy and tense when interacting with people they don’t know were more likely to join computer matchmaking services.” This means these introverted people have difficulty in physical social interactions. Facebook provides them with a way to be able to communicate with others, but from the safety and comfort of their computer. The man in the online relationship kept to himself and remained secluded. However, Facebook granted him with the comfort of not having to physically interact with the woman. Although he had social skills, he was intimidated by women so being “behind” the computer screen gave him a barrier of comfort.

Another concept that can apply to the use of Fakebooks is the exit response to conflict. No one enjoys conflict and the introverted, low self esteem users probably have a difficult time handling conflict when it arises. The exit response is physically or psychologically removing oneself from conflict. When using Facebook as a means of communication, it is very simple for a person to respond to conflict in this manner. All they would have to do is go to another webpage or simply block the other person from their profile. By having the power to control interactions with the click of a mouse can make it more enticing for individuals to establish relationships online rather than face to face. This type of response to conflict can lead to lose-lose or win-lose orientations of conflict. A lose-lose is when everyone involved in the conflict loses and a win- lose is when only one person gains and at the expense of the other. Multiple times during the Fakebooker’s online relationship, the woman asked him to video chat and Skype. Every time the man declined and ended the Facebook interaction shortly after. The conflict was the woman wanting to video chat and him not wanting to. He was able to respond to the conflict by exiting the conversations by simply giving an excuse and ending the interaction.

After researching more about why people create fake online profiles I found a lot of interesting conclusions. Most of the people who Fakebook have low self esteem and a terrible self concept. They feel so low about themselves they revert to creating an entirely different personality online. By portraying themselves as someone they believe will attract others gives them social satisfaction. Although these people are essentially lying about who they are, they are not doing it to be conniving or evil. They simply want to be accepted by someone while accepting them at the same time. Everyone wants to have that one person they can talk to no matter what. Unfortunately, some people take it too far by completely lying to someone just so they like them.

The MTV episode of Catfish with the two people who had a 10 year relationship ended with them finally meeting each other. It was exciting to see how each person would react. The woman was heartbroken to know she was lied to for all those years and the man was extremely apologetic. After the initial shock of the 10 years of lie the two of them sat down and discussed what happened. The man described his life since he’s met her and explained why he had done it. Eventually, the woman accepted his apology and gave him a hug. I thought it was interesting to note that even though they claimed to be in love and finally met after 1o years, she did not even give him a kiss on the cheek. I believe that she was too distraught to really give him any sort of closure. He then returned to his home town and the two still remain in touch.

When Facebooking or using any other sort of nonverbal communication be wary of who you meet. They might not necessarily be who they say they are. Remember that keeping any relationship healthy, whether online or not, requires commitment and trust.

 

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Distant Lovers

 

Friends come and go, but we all have the few friends who will always be in your life through thick and thin.  I have a friend who has been very close to me since childhood because our families were close.  We have a brother and sister kind of relationship, she feels comfortable talking to me about all her personal problems and especially when it comes to her love life.  She likes to hear the “male’s” perception on the situation and that is where I come in.  Lately the biggest problem in her relationship is the break-down of communication between her and her boyfriend and when they do talk it is always an argument.  In the article “Arguing Can Be Good for a Relationship…When It’s Done Constructively”, author Stan states that, “arguments are due to a breakdown in communication, one or both parties are having a hard time expressing feelings, or one or both of you is having a hard time understanding. Breakdowns in communication lead to frustration.”  This statement by Stan almost perfectly describes my friend’s problem in her relationship.

 

It is important to understand what is going on in your significant others life, he or she might be feeling pressured to do well in school, at work or even to make sure the other person in the relationship is feeling happy.  In the article, “Too close for comfort” written by Stephanie Coontz she states that “As Americans lose the wider face-to-face ties that build social trust, they become more dependent on romantic relationships for intimacy and deep communication, and more vulnerable to isolation if a relationship breaks down.”  In the case of my friend’s situation her boyfriend has already graduated from college so he has a career so the face to face contact is not always immediately there for them.

 

In Julia T. Wood’s book Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters, committed love is described as being voluntary, it will include sexual and romantic feelings and is considered primary and permanent.  My friend feels as though her boyfriend’s commitment to the relationship is starting to falter very quickly.  Wood talks about three dimensions of romantic commitment, and they include; Passion, Commitment, and Intimacy.  Passion is defined as intensely positive feelings and desires for another person, commitment is defined as the intention to remain in the relationship and lastly intimacy is defined as having feelings of connection, closeness, and tenderness.

 

There has been a lack of intimacy in the relationship; this is due to the distance between them.  As I stated earlier my friend feels as though her boyfriend is starting to lack commitment for the relationship, she has disclosed to me that he feels like they are not close anymore.  Listening to someone’s personal love life like I do with my friend is not easy because since I care about her feelings when we talk I am very mindful.  Wood defines being mindful as paying complete attention to interaction occurring during the moment, without imposing your own thoughts, feelings or judgments on other communicators.  Another key factor in being a mindful person is asking questions and showing positive nonverbal responses.

 

When we talk about her relationship problems I always ask her how does the situation make her feel, or what do you think caused a specific argument to happen, and if there was a big argument was it helpful.  A key factor in why my friend feels comfortable talking to me about all her romantic problems is because she knows that I’m always listening to her and not just hearing her.  People get the two confused all the time, just because you say that you hear someone does not necessarily mean you fully understand what is being said.  Wood says that, hearing is physiological activity of sound waves hitting the ear drums whereas listening is the process of being mindful, hearing and selecting and organizing information, interpreting communication and responding.  As I have stated before I always question her on how she feels whenever she is talking about a situation at hand.

 

In conclusion my role as a good friend all starts with mindful listening and not just hearing what my friend is saying to me.  Mindful listening is also important for romantic relationships.  My friend and her boyfriend can use that approach to better understand how to fix their problems, and that can be done for anyone who is in a romantic relationship.

 

 

 

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Are you real?

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Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but can we be Facebook friends?

With over 1 Billion profiles and 584 million logging in daily, Facebook is a big freaking deal in our world today.

So with all of these people on the site, how do we decide to become friends with each other? According to Pew research, the average number of Facebook friends is 229 with users ages 18-34 averaging 318.5 friends and users ages 35-46 averaging 197.6 friends.

 

Watch the first 27 seconds of this video to see how awkward it can be to “Facebook” in real life

Video

 

There are many articles and blogs on the Internet about Facebook etiquette and so called “rules.” Each one has some comment on when we should consider adding someone as a friend on Facebook. “Don’t add someone as a Facebook friend unless you meet them offline first.”

“But if you wish to add someone for some valid reason, like to get to know this girl you have a crush on, do so with some introduction or through a mutual friend.”

Contrary to the others, Salam says that you can friend strangers, but not without a little “Facebook foreplay,” or sending messages as to not come completely out of the blue with request.

All of these are valid points when it comes to initiating the new friendship and what we should do about it on Facebook. As we meet new people both on and offline, what role does Facebook play in developing these friendships?

If you are a user of Facebook, and based on the statistics you probably are, you know that there are these “rules” that apply to how we use Facebook. Facebook doesn’t tell you when to add someone to your friend list; we, the users, create these rules based on our social expectations. In his textbook, A First Look at Communication Theory, Griffin describes the theory of Coordinated Management of Meaning (known as CMM) developed by W. Barnett Pearce and Vernon Cronen. This theory, briefly, says that through our social interactions we create the social world while simultaneously that social world is creating us. In other words, we, as users of Facebook, are shaping the rules that guide our actions on the site, but at the same time, as those rules are changing, they change us and our expectations for the site. This may be a little confusing at first, but once you wrap your head around it you can begin to see how it works and how important it is to understanding our behaviors and communication on Facebook. It is important for us to be conscious of our interactions on Facebook and how they relate to our real, offline life because, as CMM says we create the rules and the rules create us. When it comes to our newly forming friendships, how does Facebook and the “rules” surrounding it impact our actions?

So, this blog is about interpersonal communication, so let me bring in some info from Julia Wood’s textbook Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters.

Chapter 10 of the book deals with “The Development of Friendship” on page 260. In this section, the course of development a friendship takes is outlined. Here we are mainly talking about the first stages of new friendships and when it will be accepted to take that step into being Facebook friends. According to Wood, the first step of the friendship process is “Role-Limited Interaction” where we have the initial contact with the other person (for example in a class or at work or on a softball team). In this stage we tend to limit personal information and stick to the standard scripts set by social norms. The second step is “Friendly Relations” where we begin to find commonalities and discover more about the person and their likes and dislikes, but there is still some formality and hesitation toward a full friendship. The third is the “Moving Toward Friendship” stage where we initiate more contact and move the friendship from a social context to an interpersonal context. In this stage we consider the other to be a casual friend; not too close, but not too far away either. There are higher sages in this process, however I think that if you are in those levels, I will assume you are already friends on Facebook and this doesn’t apply to those relationships.

Somewhere in there we must make the decision to add this new-found, real-life friend to our Facebook friend list. When is that appropriate? Some would say immediately in the role-limited stage when others may say not until the moving toward friendship stage has begun. When making this decision, we should take into account other aspects of interpersonal communication to make our decision.

One aspect that will guide our decision will be the level of self-disclosure we wish to have with this new friend. Self-disclosure, part of having a trusting communication climate (described in Wood’s Chapter 8, page 199), is revealing things about your identity that could not be discovered in any other way. As the level of self-disclosure goes up in a relationship, the level of closeness also increases. Facebook is the ultimate area of self-disclosure. We post our relationship status, or thoughts, our likes, our favorite books, movies, web pages, photos of our lives, our past, and so much more. Letting someone into our Facebook page is equivalent to telling someone all about your identity in one nice, neat, well designed package. Research shows that status updates on Facebook are used primarily to display “current emotional state,” meaning a large part of self-disclosure that used to occur privately in interpersonal communication is now a semi-public announcement that many can see at once.

If self-disclosure increases closeness in relationships, Facebook friends can be closer to you than others who are not friends with you on Facebook.

So, back to where in the development process we add someone to our friend list. Based on this information about self-disclosure, I would place the ideal time for adding them in the 3rd stage, “Moving Toward Friendship.” This way the friend has some background information about who you are and your identity before being inundated by all the information about you that is provided on Facebook. Any earlier in the development stages and you may run the risk of disclosing too much in the relationship and thus stopping the process. Also, by this stage, you have developed some level of a relationship offline, an important factor for sustaining relationships. If you friend them too early, you could run the risk of stopping face-to-face communication and only interacting online.

Now that you are in the “Moving Toward Friendship” stage and are friends on Facebook discovering more about each other, there is one word of caution I can give. Based on the concept that language is symbolic and defines our perceptions, we must be careful about how we use the information we get from our new friend’s Facebook profile. Wood, in chapter 4, describes how language can totalize. Totalizing is where one aspect of an individual is used as the only aspect of their life. If a person reveals an aspect about their life on a Facebook status that you do not agree with or like, such as a religious or political belief, it could be easy to use that language to define the entirety of that person. This can cause troubles in a new, developing friendship if there is no basis formed offline where you know the individual as more than that one aspect. We have to understand that a person is much more than they self-disclose on Facebook, and an offline relationship is necessary for a healthy friendship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Image from Creative Commons – Originally posted to Flickr by malias at http://flickr.com/photos/62752875@N00/2836740097)

Wrapping things up, I think it is easy to see how it can be so hard to understand the rules around adding Facebook friends. The rules are constantly changing based on how we define them and each friendship is different and has a different development rate and pattern. When does this random guy in my class move from the “role-limited interaction” to the “friendly relation” stage? How much do I want him to know about me? How much do I want to know about him? Do I want to know what his emotional status is?

What I think is the most important to take away from this look at the role of Facebook in the development of new friendships is that there are no real “rules.” There are guidelines and research and theories that help us to better understand what happens in these situations and what they may mean, but overall, in interpersonal communication, it is all about what is right for that specific relationship. The communication between two people in a friendship is just that, between two people. There is no set-in-stone rulebook that must be followed. What is best is that you and the other person are comfortable with the level of friendship and have your ideal communication climate.

 

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If I Had Only Known

Have you ever had a friend that envelops themselves into their relationship when they are in one? Even when you are hanging out, they are constantly texting and calling their significant other? I have a friend just like that who has been my best friend for over five years now. Having known her for so long, one would think that I would have caught the warning signs earlier, but I just thought she was doing her usual thing. Little did I know, my friend had been involved in an emotionally abusive relationship that was becoming progressively dangerous. In the article “Violence Against Women: Emotional Abuse” from womenshealth, it discusses some of the warning signs of emotional abuse, including ones that I had overlooked until I accidentally saw a text on my best friend’s phone that really worried me. This kind of abuse was almost its own form of “cyber-bullying”.

As my best friends relationship progressed, I witnessed the abuse on numerous occasions. One night, we were getting ready to go and hangout with some friends from work and not soon after, her phone was getting blown up with text messages, and calls. I could even hear some of the calls where he would question her incessantly about the “who, what, where, and why” basically. I watched my best friend go from an outgoing, happy girl that loved life to a sickly, emaciated, miserable person whose self-esteem had deteriorated into nothing. When they finally broke up, I promised her that I would never let something like that happen again. Violence of any type in a relationship is not acceptable, regardless of whatever form someone chooses to do it in. Whether it is abusive text messages, frequent and abusive phone calls, it is never okay. Unfortunately, violence in relationships is more prominent than many people realize. According to a report from “National Institute of Justice” called Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey, approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States. In a nationwide survey, 9.4 percent of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to the survey (CDC, 2012).

The Cycle of Abuse

Obviously my friend had her own reasons for staying in the relationship, but I just could not seem understand why or how she did.  After she ended the relationship and finally opened up to me about everything that had gone on, I was finally able understand what kept her in such an unhealthy relationship. She had experienced what Julia Wood discusses in the book, Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters, as “The Cycle of Abuse” (Wood 293).

The Cycle of Abuse involves four different phases: Honeymoon, Tension, Explosion, and Remorse. Without some type of intervention, the cycle will continue as followed, “Tension mounts in the abuser; the abuser explodes, becoming violent; the abuser then is remorseful and loving; the vicitim feels loved and believes the relationship will improve; and then tension mounts, and the cycle begins again” (Wood, 2011). Below is a chart that I made showing the cycle.


The issues and abuse that my friend dealt with matched that exact pattern. One second they would be fine and out of nowhere she would be getting phone call after phone call that consisted of him yelling at her while she defended herself. Then eventually he would apologize, tell her he loved her and that he was never going to do it again. 

Relational Dialects

In Chapter 8, Wood describes three relational dialects or opposing forces in relationships including: autonomy/connection, novelty/predictability, and openness/closedness. One dialect that seemed to be very prominent in my friend’s relationship was openness/closedness, which involves tension between wanting to be open and still maintaining a certain amount of privacy. When my friend would receive a text from someone when she was with her boyfriend, he would immediately ask who it was which is something that she would never think of doing. If she did not respond quick enough, he would start accusing her of cheating and calling her awful names, which apparently was a regular occurrence. There was a double standard when it came to how open he expected her to be. He was allowed to interrogate her, but if she questioned him, he turned it into something that it wasn’t.

Response To Conflict

In chapter 9, we are introduced to the four responses to conflict: exit response, neglect response, loyalty response, and voice response. The exit response involves physically or psychologically withdrawing from conflict (Wood, 2011). The neglect response is when someone denies or minimizes problems that could lead to overt conflict (Wood, 2011). The loyalty response involves staying committed to a relationship despite differences (Wood, 2011). The last response, the voice response, is the most constructive response that addresses conflict directly and attempts to resolve it (Wood, 2011). In a brochure made by the University of Michigan Health System titled “Emotional Abuse Hurts: Physical Harm is Not the Only Form of Abuse,” it gives examples of emotional abuse that include: ignoring your feelings, saying mean things to you, not letting you make decisions, etc. In my friend’s case, she would talk about how difficult it was for them to ever resolve anything because he would ignore how she felt and either hang up on her or go as far as leaving entirely. His response to conflict was usually the exit response the majority of the time, which caused many issues to build up and come out later.

Development

There are three different categories that are discussed in chapter 11: growth, navigation, and deterioration. The most relevant to my best friend of the three is deterioration, which according to Steve Duck happens through a five-stage sequence: intrapsychic processes, dyadic processes, social support, grave-dressing processes, and resurrection processes (Perlman, Daniel & Duck, Steve). While going through the social support stage, I was the friend that sent her songs to listen to that would help her feel better. She had a few favorites: “We Are Never Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift, “Miss Me” by Andy Grammer, and “I Look So Good Without You” by Jessie James. At this point, from what my friend has told me she has experienced all five stages and is currently going through the resurrection process and has moved on. She removed and blocked her ex from every social networking site so that she would not have to deal with seeing him.

Conclusion
At one point, my best friend told me that she got to the point where she was having panic attacks if she left her phone anywhere because if she missed a call from him she knew what the consequences would be. Her cell phone became his “weapon of choice”. It never occurred to me how many different aspects and concepts there are in regards to relationships. I hope that this blog post opens people’s eyes to the severity of abuse that could have been overlooked. In the future, I will literally ask my best friend how her relationship is going and make sure that what she dealt with never happens again.

Works Cited

CDC. (2012, July 2). Centers for disease control and prevention. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teen_dating_violence.html

Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Retrieved from website: http://www.nij.gov/pubs-sum/183781.htm

http://www.womenshealth.gov/violence-against-women/types-of-violence/emotional-abuse.cfm

Wood, J. T. (2011). Interpersonal communication, everyday encounters. (6 ed.). Wadsworth Pub Co.

http://www.med.umich.edu/abusehurts/abuse_emotional.pdf

Perlman, Daniel & Duck, Steve (1987). Intimate relationships : development, dynamics, and deterioration. Sage Publications, Newbury Park, Calif

 

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The Text Effect

According to an article from Midland Daily News, the text message has just turned 20 years old, and is currently the number one form of communication for young people. Judging by how often I send and receive texts from friends, I definitely believe it. Texting helps me stay connected to people during all hours of the day. I have found myself using texts as a quick way to get a response to a question or arrange a lunch date. I have also had long conversations, revealed personal disclosures, created new friendships, and strengthened old ones all through the possibility of text message.

 

Older generations don’t quite seem to understand the appeal of texting. My parent’s are always getting on my back about being on my phone so much. Because face-to-face communication has become less prevalent through increased use of text messaging, interpersonal relationships are developing in new and different ways. Text messaging has definitely had it’s pro’s and con’s in effective communication, and the purpose of this blog is to explore it’s different effects on interpersonal relationships.

One of the first things that comes to mind when comparing text messaging to face-to-face interaction is that the nonverbal communication is extremely limited. This is a problem because of the profound impact nonverbals have on the meaning of our words. “Scholars estimate that nonverbal behaviors account for 65% to 93% of the total meaning of communication” (Wood, 201o, p. 122). When we communicate through text message, things like facial expressions (kinesics), sense of touch (haptics), and paralanguage can’t be used.

However, there are several types of nonverbals that prevail. Silence can be used by refusing to respond to one’s text. Chronemics (the use of time) can be used by noticing the amount of time it takes someone to respond to a text. If it’s a long time, one might assume the other person thinks the sender isn’t worthy of their time. However this could create a misunderstanding, as sometimes messages aren’t read on time or are accidentally forgotten.

Solutions to help improve nonverbals through text is the use of emoticons, which allow the sender to send a smiley face or other expressions along with their text. This helps set a tone for the message, which according to writing professor John Gallagher, makes all the difference between a “good texter” and a “bad texter.” He stated in his article The Emotion for Opening the Text Message that good texters “accounted not only for the message itself ” but for “the emotional response of the receiver” (Gallagher 39).

Text message can have a profound impact in the area of friendship. In the Development of Friendship, texting can help things to move along much quicker. Once friendly relations are established, people may exchange phone numbers. In the moving toward friendship stage, one might use a text message to initiate interest in friendship and arrange a get-together. During the Nascent stage of friendship, private rules for interacting are developed. Factors such as when, where, and how frequently they will see each other are worked out, and these rules also apply to how they might use texting to communicate.

Eventually, as friendships grow stronger and a high level of trust is established, Stabilized friendship occurs. In this stage, rules or specific plans are less important as friends just assume they’ll see each other. In my stabilized friendships, I use texting frequently. We make plans, catch up on gossip, report big news, ask for advice, and even send each other funny jokes and pictures. At this point, many disclosures have been made and can continue both in person and by text. Text messaging also helps to maintain connectedness during long periods of time apart or in a long-distance friendship.

From my experiences using texting as frequent communication tool in my friendships, I have noticed considerable differences in texting patterns in women and men. My girlfriends and I text more frequently and include more details and personal disclosures. With male friends or boyfriends, texting usually only occurs when making plans to get together or briefly catching up. This relates to the idea of emotional closeness in friendships, and it is achieved differently in men and women. Women place more emphasis on closeness through dialogue, and “see talking and listening as the main activities that create and maintain closeness” (Wood, 2010, p. 254). Men, on the other hand, “are less likely to be emotionally disclosive and are more likely to negotiate activities” to build a sense of closeness (p. 255).

Text messaging is unique because it allows people to engage with others while focusing on more than one thing. The article Text Messaging and Connectedness Within Close Interpersonal relationships, by Jonathan Pettigrew (2009), consists of a study that aimed to understand the ways text messaging impacts interpersonal relationships. Results yielded that “Respondents used texting both to assert autonomy and to maintain connectedness with relational partners.” This relates to the theory of Relational Dialectics, “which are opposing forces, or tensions, that are normal in relationships” (Wood, 2010, p. 200). The autonomy/connection dialectic refers to the need or desire to be independent and also the desire to be close or connected to others (p. 201).

Texting can be used to maintain a sense of closeness to your partner by allowing you to stay engaged even when you aren’t together. At the same time, because it allows for physical separation, one is able to assert autonomy. Although texting can help achieve a balance in autonomy/connectedness, it can also cause dialectical tension. Tension occurs when needs clash with each other in interpersonal relationships, as one person may desire more closeness and the other more autonomy. Texting also doesn’t require an immediate response; One has the freedom to choose to respond right away, wait a while, or not respond at all. Tension could arise if one person sends a text and doesn’t receive a response. They may feel that the other person is ignoring them and get upset.

Text messaging also seems to be starting to blur the lines of traditional communication rules, “which are shared understandings of what communication means and what kinds of communication are appropriate in particular settings.” Some forms of communication that used to be reserved for face-to-face interactions or over the phone are now being done through the media. An article in USA Today, by Jefferson Graham, featured poll results that found that 65% of people consider it acceptable to ask someone out on a first date by text message, and 24% think it is acceptable to break up with someone by text (Graham, 2011).

According to Arnold Brown, in his article Relationships, Community, and Identity in the New Virtual Society, a reason for this could be that “cyberspace creates a temporal and spatial separation from which it becomes seemingly easier to accomplish unpleasant interpersonal tasks” (2011). While this may be true, it doesn’t seem quite right to me to break up with someone through text message.

Text messaging is just one of the many ways people use technology to communicate with one another. Technology has greatly shifted the way people are now able to communicate. It has had many positive benefits, such as allowing people to stay more connected and maintain long distance friendships relationships. It is a powerful communicative tool that has the potential to help in forming new relationships and strengthening those you already have, expanding the potential of interpersonal communication.

Although text messaging is a great way to keep up with friends and loved ones, one must not forget the importance of having a relationship outside of texting. It’s still important to physically spend time together or speak over the phone. I text my friends a lot, but I also call them to talk and make plans to spend time together. Communication by texting is fun and convenient, but should not be the basis for an entire relationship.

 

 

Sources:

Brown, A. (2011). Relationships, Community, and Identity in the New Virtual Society. Futurist, 45(2), 29-34.

Gallagher, J. (2011). THE EMOTION FOR OPENING THE TEXT MESSAGE. Transformations: The Journal Of Inclusive Scholarship & Pedagogy, 22(2), 36-43.

Graham, Jefferson. (DEcember 16, 2011). Texting and relationships: The new normal.

Retrieved from: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/talkingyourtech/story/2011-12-16/texting-and-relationships/52006050/1

Midland Daily News. (December 5, 2012)Our view: The text message turns 20 years old. Retrieved from http://www.ourmidland.com/opinion/editorials/article_182f89dc-6dc1-59ba-a748-e02dbe74076c.html

Pettigrew, J. (2009). Text Messaging and Connectedness Within Close Interpersonal Relationships. Marriage & Family Review, 45(6-8), 697 716. doi:10.1080/01494920903224269

Wood, J. T. (2010). Interpersonal communication: everyday encounters (6th ed.)

Images (in order of appearance):

[Image by flickr user Skokie Public Library / CC Licensed]

[Image by flickr user woohoo_megoo / CC Licensed]

 

 

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Social Networking: The New Normal

With the advancement of new technology comes the adaptation of human communication. Just as the telephone replaced the telegraph, social networking sites and texting have become the norm for communication amongst friends and family. Social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter have also had a significant impact on the way romantic relationships are formed and maintained.

Image from: http://earringaddict.blogspot.com/2010/11/breakfast-at-tiffanys.html

Social networking sites are “web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system”. Generally speaking, we normally know the people we are “friends” with on these sites and we maintain our relationships with them through the use of social networking. However, many of these sites allow us to make connections with individuals we have never met in person before.

Social networking sites also allow us to display our romantic relationship status, be it is single, engaged, married, or my personal favorite “it’s complicated”.

 

Direct Effects on Relationships

Social networking has had a direct effect on the way we develop our relationships, be they friendships or romantic relationships. This is especially evident in the development of I-You and I-Thou relationships. Julia T. Wood describes I-You Communication as relationships that are personal, but where we do not engage with others as unique individuals (Wood, 2010). Generally, I-You relationships occur in the workplace, on sports teams, and among classmates. They are somewhat personal but do not disclose a lot of information (Wood, 2010). I-You relationships are easily maintained on social networking sites through “friending” another classmate etc.

I-Thou relationships are a little harder to maintain on social networking sites since they are much more personal. Wood describes I-Thou relationships as “the highest form of human dialogue, because each person affirms the other as cherished and unique” (Wood, 2010). I-Thou relationships are rare, and are only seen when we are completely genuine with another (Wood, 2010). These relationships can rarely be maintained solely through the use of social networking sites because they require a deeper understanding of another, not just knowing their most recent status update or their favorite bands. To maintain these kinds of relationships, both parties will need to spend time together and communicate frequently though text messages, instant messaging, and telephone or Skype conversations if they cannot have a face-to-face conversation.

Long Distance Relationships

Social media sites are very helpful in maintaining long distance relationships. Distance can be leading factor in why many relationships crumble. Unequal effort on the part of one partner can lead to resentment from the other (Wood, 2010). Additionally, reunions can lead to more conflict because partners have established their own independent routines (Wood, 2010). Instant messaging on Facebook and video conferencing on Skype enable partners to communicate quickly and effectively when they are not in the same place at the same time. But merely chatting with your partner is not enough to maintain a relationship. Many couples have found that getting creative with their use of social networking can aid in maintaining their relationships. For example, sending videos, pictures, and setting up Skype “dates” can be effective in showing affection (Wood, 2010).

 

The Catfish Effect

While social media allows individuals to post and share pictures and other information about themselves such as hobbies and taste in music, movies, and books, it also opens the door for deceit. It is just as easy to post false information about yourself as it is to post the truth. It is important to remember that not everything on the Internet is true, so before jumping into an online relationship, remember to ask questions. However, there are numerous cases of people starting online relationships and then becoming sorely disappointed when they meet in person and find out that what they saw online is far from reality. One famous case is chronicled in the documentary film Catfish, which follows a young man by the name of Nev Schulman and his online relationship with a young woman by the name of Megan Faccio. As their romance blossoms on the computer screen, it becomes apparent that both want more and Nev travels to Megan’s hometown to meet her. Only when he reaches his destination, Nev is surprised to find that Megan is actually named Angela and she is actually 40 years old – far from the 19-year-old Nev thought he was talking to.

When we lie to those we are in a relationship with in this manner, we violate their trust, which is a key component to the foundation of any relationship. Trust is “believing in another’s reliability” (Wood, 2010). Once we trust another in a relationship, we begin to feel psychologically safe within the relationship. When trust is broken, the consequences can be devastating (Wood, 2010).

Click here to view the embedded video.

Jealously and Social Media

If you’ve managed to maintain a truthful online relationship, long distance relationship, or romantic relationship in general, you still have one more hurdle to jump: jealousy. Jealousy can quickly deteriorate a romantic relationship and social networking sites like Facebook are not helping. The Huffington Post reporter Katherine Bindley writes that triggers for jealously through social networking can be “under sharing” (aka rarely to never referencing the relationship on Facebook), tagged photos with an ex or a friend request from them, and even a flirty comment from another friend on the site. While Facebook isn’t exactly the problem behind relationship jealousy, it is a catalyst for it. Bindley found that the so-called “Golden Rule” of Facebooking while in a committed relationship is to not be doing things you wouldn’t want your partner to see, much like in life outside of social networking.

 

A Few Reminders About Social Networking

Social networks can be great places to meet new people, share more with people you already know, and even show off your creativity. However, you should always tread with caution when using them. Here are a few reminders:

 

Everything is permanent. Even if you delete the angry status you made earlier, the racy photo, or the vulgar Tweet, remember that everything is recorded and can be dredged back up in everything from a background check to divorce proceedings.

 

Meet in public. For those looking to take their online relationship to the next level by meeting in person, be sure to do it in public. You never know if the person you started an online courtship with is who they say they are. By meeting in public, you can help ensure your safety by being surrounded by others and a way out if you feel uncomfortable and want to leave.

 

Be honest. Social networking can be fun as long as you remain honest about who you are online. In reality, you are no different online than you are in real life.

 

Social networking has no doubt changed the communication landscape, with nearly 1 billion people and counting online, our interactions can reach across the globe. It is important to know the effect social networking can have on our relationships because soon social networking may define our relationships rater than face-to-face conversation. Society must learn to use social networking effectively and responsibly without forgetting how to interact in person. By following some of the tips and guidelines discussed above I think this can be accomplished.

 

 

References

Wood, J. T. (2010). Interpersonal communication: everyday encounters (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub..

 

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You Wanna Skype?

In today’s world everyone is always on the go. There is always somewhere to be. This can take a toll on people’s personal life though. Thankfully, with the advancements in technology, we are still capable of keeping in contact with the ones we love, even on the road. Skype is one of the, many, advancements that have been created for such occasions. Skype lets people video chat, talk, and instant message each other over the computer or phone. Distance no longer matters when using Skype. You still get to talk to your loved ones “face-to-face”. Skype uses a technology called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and it can save you a ton of money on long distance calls (Steves). “Once you’re signed up, you can talk online via your computer to a buddy with a computer running the same program…All of this is free” (Steves).

In relationships (friendship or romantic) there is a mutual median of keeping in contact with one another. It is expected to “invest time, effort, though and feeling in our relationships” (Wood 253). The development and sustainability of a relationship all develops from communication. As Julia Wood discuss in Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters, “communication is the centerpiece of friendship” (Wood 254). This “closeness through dialogue” is key to friendships (or any relationship for that matter). This communication will develop key components of relationships, like trust, and will maintain that component too.

Once a relationship is developed, a level of being comfortable with each other needs to be established. Both sides of the relationship must be able to be comfortable with relational dialectics. These are “opposing forces, or tensions, that are normal in relationships” (Wood 200). These are autonomy/connection, novelty/predictability, and openness/closedness. Each are very important to relationships and have to be accepted. Long distance relationships have to have this acceptance because long distance relationships are difficult to with hold. In romantic relationships the “lack of routine contact leads to the second problem faced by long-distance couples: unrealistic expectations for time together” (Wood 294). There is a mentality that everything must be perfect between them because of the little time they get to have with each other. If one person does not give the dedication to the relationship as much as the other then there is going to be conflict in the relationship.

The sharing of information is very important. Relating back to openness/closedness, there is a “tension between wanting open communication and needing a degree of privacy” (Wood 202). This occurring in long distance relationships could be seen as a possible trust issue. A person may see that the other is hiding something and will become upset. There is an assumption that in relationships, especially long distance, that everything is open and shared with each other. That’s not always going to be the case. In a relationship if it is accepted that not everything is going to be known and that these dialectics exist then the relationship will be able to continue on smoothly.

When using Skype a person not only gets to see the person they are able to hear them. In relationships, listening to the other person is a key factor in developing or keeping the relationship strong. There can be problems that arise when we listen to each other though. “Many barriers to effective listening arise…because the participants have incompatible expectations for the interaction, with each bringing a different agenda to the communicative act…To understand each other’s messages, participants first have to understand the agendas and intentions of those with whom they’re communicating” (Webb).

Listening

To actively listen, a person must complete all the steps to the listening process. These are mindfulness: “being fully present in the moment”, physically receiving messages, selecting and organizing material, interpreting communication, responding: “communicating attentions and interest”, and remembering: “the process of retaining what you have heard” (Wood 147-150). If a person takes the time and does each step carefully and fully then they will be able to sustain a relationship with another person. This is because they show the interest in wanting to hold the relationship when they mindfully listen. When using programs, like Skype, it’s easier for a person to see the other person mindfully listening. If a people just talked on the phone with one another there is a higher chance that someone could be pseudolistening. This is simple “pretending to listen” (Wood 156). Skype makes it easier for a person to see if another isn’t listening and can call attention to it. People not listening or not having the willingness to develop the relationships could cause horrible conflicts.

Conflict

There is a factor in relationships that people sometimes will misinterpret. This would be conflict. Conflict “is a normal, inevitable part of most interpersonal relationships” (Wood 225). People are going to bump heads every once in a while. It’s when these conflicts start to become heavy and drastic that they are dangerous to the relationship and those that are in it. When conflict arises people tend to act on anger. This is where they go wrong. Acting on anger can be one of the most dangerous things to do to a relationship. “It’s vital to be calm while you’re talking about the conflict, but realistically someone is bound to become upset, frustrated or irritated. If you find yourself getting emotional, take a break to calm down” (Tartakovsky).

A conflict needs to be handled overtly. An “overt conflict is out in the open and explicit” (Wood 226). These are handled straight-forward and people tend to talk it out in the end. When the conflicts become covert problems can arise. “Covert conflicts exist when people express their feelings about disagreements indirectly” (Wood 226). This is when people do things, in the flame of their anger, to hurt the other. People will act very aggressive towards the other person in a relationship and possibly play “games”. These are “highly patterned interactions in which the real conflicts are hidden or denied and a counterfeit excuse is created for arguing or criticizing” (Wood 226).

If covert conflict can be avoided in a relationship then the relationship will grow strong. Talking about a conflict that has arisen is very important. That’s one of the things about Skype that’s amazing. When you get into an argument through Skype you can still see how the other person if affected. There is no emotion loss, like in texting, or a misinterpretation of tone, like on the phone. You can see the other person’s face and see how they react to what is said or how they feel. Skype can truly help those in conflicts when there is a distance in between them.

Rise of Online Dating

It used to be that meeting a person only happened in person. With the rise in technology that’s no longer the case. People can meet each other online now. They can chat on IMs or even through Skype. Skype can help a lot when it comes to online relationships. You are capable of seeing the other person and know that they are actually people. It’s a sad but true fact that people will fake identities online. Take the new television show Catfish for example. Its whole purpose is to take an online relationship and have them meet in real life. There are many occasions when one of the people in the relationship is not who they say they are. The use of Skype can be helpful in avoiding that. You can see the actual person, see how they act and see how they respond to things. It’s like actually being with the person but in reality there are miles in between. The internet has become an addiction and meeting people online has become more and more popular. People will spend hours on the internet looking for someone to create a relationship with. In one study “participants reported spending roughly 19 hours per week online and engaging in some sort of online dating activity” (Deveau).

Technology has become a huge part of today’s culture. It affects everything from personal relationships to the success in business. Along with it though is the proper communication. One must be able to communicate properly and fully to get what they are trying to do across. The use of technology is a very helpful tool with that process. Skype has tremendously helped with communication. Distances no longer matter. As long as both sides have access to the internet and a Skype capable device communication can happen. In an interview with Niklas Zennstrom, co-founder of Skype, he states that “we’ve created some software and that makes it very easy for people to connect and talk to each other, exchange files and whatever they want to do” (Internet).

Before tools, like Skype, came a long communication from such long distances were hard. If a person is always on the go it’s going to take time away from them to write letters or find a phone to call the others. With Skype, a person can take the time they want with the other person and talk for however long they actually want. They can see each other, see the backgrounds of where they are and know that the other person is ok. “The reliability of the service exceeds that of your regular telephone…the quality of the audio you hear is phenomenal…It’s particularly unbelievable when you call internationally and feel as though you’re standing next to the other person” (Holtz). Skype has made maintaining relationships fun and easy. It’s truly a step into the future of communication.

 

Citations:

“Internet the Future of Phone Calls.” CNN. N.p., 29 Nov. 2004. Web. 06 Dec. 2012.

Holtz, Shel. “Cutting the Cost of Calls with Skype.” Strategic Communication Management 10.1 (2005): 3-. ABI/INFORM Global. Web. 6 Dec. 2012.

Steves, Rick. “Staying Connected Abroad Gets Smarter, Cheaper.” CNN. N.p., 23 Feb. 2010. Web. 06 Dec. 2012

Tartakovsky, M. (2011). How Conflict Can Improve Your Relationship.Psych Central. Retrieved on December 6, 2012, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2011/how-conflict-can-improve-your-relationship/

Vicki L. Deveau, et al. “Internet Initiated Relationships: Associations Between Age And Involvement In Online Dating.”Journal Of Computer-Mediated Communication 14.3 (2009): 658-681. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 6 Dec. 2012.

Webb, Michael. “Mindful Listening.” Mindful Listening. N.p., Sept. 2008. Web. 06 Dec. 2012

Wood, Julia T. Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub., 1999. Print

 

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