The nature of communication
Communication is a part of all our daily lives from having a conversation with friends, ordering food from a restaurant, or even praying. However not all communication is verbal, it can be written such as a text or email or it can be the way we express ourselves with our body language. The way we communicate can be affected by multiple factors such as whom we are speaking to, the location we are in, and how we are communicating such as by written communication or face to face communication. Face to face communication is the best method to avoid confusion and misunderstandings. This is because without face to face communication you are losing the nonverbal cues in a conversation such as body language, posture, eye contact, and the use of different facials. Types of communication such as emails, texts, and phone calls are very beneficial for those who do not live in a close proximity but still want to be able to conversations.
Bright side and dark side responses
Although communication has been around for centuries some questions about ethical communicators still come to play. Children have always learned from a young age lying is a thing you should never do. However, what do you do if someone asks if you like their shirt when you actually do not? Do you lie about it and say you like it to spare their feelings or do the ethical thing and tell the truth? Communication and ethics can sometimes clash with each other and leave many people confused on what to do. Scholars Spitzberg and Cupach came up with the different terms, “bright side response”, “easy dark side response”, “hard dark side response”, and “evil dark side response”. Each of the different terms represent the appropriate, ethical responses or the inappropriate, unethical responses. The “bright side response” is both ethical and appropriate while the “evil dark side” response is neither. The “easy dark side” response unethical but appropriate such as lying to spare a friend's feelings. The last one, “hard dark side” response which is ethical but could hurt the friend's feelings.
Self-perception and communication
Communication does not always have to include other people but can be intrapersonal. Intrapersonal communication is the thoughts that pop up in your mind daily or talking to yourself. Although intrapersonal communication only involves you, it can affect how we present ourselves and our ability to communicate with our peers. This is because individuals who think more positive have a tendency to a positive outlook on life and individuals who think more negatively generally have a negative outlook on life. This can influence who you spend the most time with and who you choose as friends. Self-perceptions are not enduring and can be changed with lifestyle improvements such as self-monitoring, engaging in uplifting conversations, therapy, and look at the positive in challenging situations.
Inaccurate and distorted perceptions of others
As humans we tend to distort reality and turn it into more of an illusion. This could be caused by selective perception, negative filtering, or forced consistency. When participating in these constructs it causes different prejudices, such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, and ableism. All of these prejudices are damaging and can lead to bullying, lack of job opportunities, and an overall feeling of degradation. Overcoming prejudices can be difficult to do especially if you grew up with it ingrained in your mind, however it is possible. To overcome a distorted perception of others you need to start by questioning how accurate the perceptions are while getting more information. After getting more information try getting to know and understand those who you have distorted perception with. This will not only benefit them but your life as well.
Culture and communication
Every person in the world has a cultural identity. Our culture is based on several factors, such as values, language, and customs. Since each culture has their own different traditions, visiting other countries will usually have the people visiting experience culture shock. Cultural shock appears when different social interactions take place and our normal routine gets messed up. Communication varies widely when it comes to culture, for example a thumbs up sign in America meets good or good job however in Vietnam putting a thumbs up sign is equivalent to giving someone the middle finger in America. It is very important to learn about communication in different cultures so you can avoid any misunderstandings or communication barriers.
Developing intercultural communication competence
When it comes to understanding a culture and their communication, it is best to find out all of the information you can before entering the new culture. Figuring out what similarities and what differences you share, avoiding stereotypes, and being open minded will be helpful when adapting to other cultures. Complying to a different culture's communication skills will take some time but by watching their society work, express their values, and participate in rituals it will increase cultural competence. It is not only necessary but important to respect their culture and appreciate the differences that come along with it. With over seven billion people on earth, diversity is all around and learning about other cultures will not only promote global awareness but also eliminate negative stereotypes.