If I’ve learned anything after my first year of college, it’s that relationships are tricky. And not just romantic relationships; relationships in general are something that require work and effort from each person involved. In class this week, we discussed Interpersonal Communication and problems that arise in our everyday relationships due to the misconceptions many of us hold.
In the article 44 Things Girls Read Way Too Deeply Into, the author discusses the common habits many girls have of reading TOO deeply into messages they receive from guys. For example, we all believe that a text sent after 10 pm is a booty call, a text saying “Heyy” means something more than just “Hey,” and abrupt “periods” signal attitude or that something is wrong. I quickly learned my freshman year that “Netflix and chill” means something totally different for guys. This all comes down to the topic of Gender Differences we learned about in class. Men and Women tend to express their feelings differently and see things in various ways as well. This made me realize that as a woman, we tend to perceive things on a personal level which leads us to overthink and overanalyze any and in my case, everything. As mentioned in class, although no behaviour is only true for men or only true for women, men tend to be more direct and say what they mean most of the time. We women on the other hand, tend to be more indirect with our communication; something we can see in the video above.
Another concept we discussed in lecture is the Fundamental Attribution Error. Attribution is defined as reasons or causes that we create in order to explain someone’s behaviour. Two categories of Attribution include Internal, meaning factors having to do with someone personally, and External, which are the outside factors. I started to realize that most of the time, when I am reading into a text or message, I sometimes find myself annoyed, confused or even angered by the other person’s response. Given, I tend to overthink things and am easily offended, but the concept of Fundamental Attribution Error made me realize my tendency to be affected by someone’s text or message may have something to do with the fact that as humans, we gravitate towards overestimating internal attribution and underestimating external attribution. In turn, we tend to do the opposite for ourselves. This made me think about my own relationships. I realized the importance of not taking things personally and of keeping in mind outside factors that might influence another person’s behaviour or attitude .
Of the five misconceptions of communicating in relationships highlighted in class, two I believe that are of great importance in relationships include Simple Meaning and Communicator Independence. Simple Meaning has to do with how we expect people to say what’s on their mind. This is where many of the problems between couples arise and goes back to the indirect/direct differences we have in communicating. The Communicator Independence misconception says that we tend to forget that our behaviour affects our partner. However, we learned important skills for expressing emotions include first, be open. As stated in 10 Bad Habits That Could Turn A Good Relationship Into An Unhealthy One, not talking out a problem is detrimental to a relationship, stating: “if something is wrong, the other person probably can’t read your mind. When a problem comes up, speak up at the right time.” The simple fact is people aren’t mind readers (thank God for that). We need to communicate and share our thoughts and true feelings with our partner. Next, be kind. Seems simple enough, right? However, we must remember to control our emotions: it may be tempting to get angry in response to your partner’s behaviour/attitude, but we must remember to do otherwise. Lastly, be flexible. There is no “one” way to handle things: we must try to understand one another’s point of view in order to have a healthy relationship.