Interpersonal Communication

Topics: Communication, Joke, Nonverbal communication Pages: 4 (1492 words) Published: October 1, 2010
My fiancé and I normally communicate clearly to one another. We do not typically have to worry about language being that much of a barrier. On one occasion, however, our use of abstraction led to a misunderstanding that led to an argument that frustrated both of us. I was drinking red wine and was tired one night. Brett (my fiancé) told me that my eyes and teeth matched: they were both red. I became offended and thought it was rude for him to point something such as this out when I had had a long day caring for our daughter. I became quiet, as I usually do when I am angered, and sat watching television. When he asked me what was wrong, I told him that I thought what he said was rude. He said that he was joking and offered me some Visine. I interpreted his explanation of the statement being a joke to be invalid since offering the Visine only validated that my eyes were red. We argued and eventually just went to bed without discussing the issue further. In this situation, my misunderstanding of his joke was based on the fact that my perception of the situation was different than his. I was tired and genuinely thought he was picking on me. When using pragmatic rules to try to decide how to interpret messages in a given context, I can see now that he may have just been joking around and I was too moody to interpret it this way. When using pragmatic rules, cooperation between two communicators is vital. When conversation operates under the same set of pragmatic rules for everyone involved, it is called coordination by communications scholars. Though it was such a simple statement, Brett considered our relationship to be one where he could make such a statement without igniting an argument. We often tease one another for one thing or another, but he did not know that I am especially insecure about the appearance of my teeth. I did not know that they were red and would have brushed them if I did. This misunderstanding stemmed from the fact that at the time, our...
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