Our relationships are an important part of who we are, and shape the quality of life we live. Our communication skills can influence the quality of our relationships we have with others. Each relationship involves two people that can have two diverse ways of communicating. Our nonverbal communication is just as important as our verbal communication. It can differentiate on how those we are talking to respond to what we are saying verbally. When I am jokingly arguing with my husband, we are smiling and laughing. Smiling indicates that although I am participating in an argument I am aware that it is not serious and that I find it amusing. If I were not smiling, my head slouched, and tears in my eyes, indicating emotional hurt, I would believe I was in a serious argument. Effective communicating can decide whether our relationships succeed. A person who is outspoken, and vocally is a loud person can come across as offensive if this individuals body language is abrupt and physical. Making this person intimidating and unapproachable. On the other hand, if a person is shy, they may cross their arms in front of their chest, hold their head down and not make eye contact which can also tell others that they are unapproachable. Our body language is a persons first impression of us, which can influence our future relationships just as well as our current relationships with others. I am typically a quiet and reserved person, which can make communicating and making new friends a challenge. On my first day at Northern College I was nervous, I didn’t communicate with others and sat at a table in the Cafeteria by myself. Because of my social anxiety I kept busy on my cell phone, texting my husband and browsing Facebook. As I sat in my place at the table two girls asked if they could sit with me, which I agreed, but because I was shy and I kept my face down I didn’t allow conversation. Looking back, my nonverbal communication stated that I didn’t want to talk, and came across as unapproachable. If I would have kept a relaxed posture, put my phone away and indicated that I was interested in a conversation, I possibly could have made a friend.
I don’t believe we are consciously aware of our nonverbal communication. The flip of our hair when infatuated, the roll of our eyes when annoyed, the fidget of our hands when inpatient are all nonverbal actions that have come habitual to us throughout our lives. “Nonverbal signaling and reading of signals is automatic and performed outside our conscious awareness and control, through our nonverbal cues we unwittingly communicate a great deal of information about ourselves and our state of mind” (Psychology Today, 2017). When I am nervous I tap my heel, I noticed this involuntary action the day of my wedding. When I am annoyed I clench my teeth, which in most cases happens when my children aren’t behaving as I think the should. Those who know me tell me how my facial expressions are easily read in relation to what I am feeling. I do roll my eyes a lot when I am feeling annoyed and it is a habit I am not fond of in my children. As I pay more attention of my body language, and the way I communicate, I am more aware of my personality and how what I say and do reflects who I am as a person.
“Open and clear communication can be learnt. Some people find it hard to talk and may need time and encouragement to express their views. These people may be good listeners, or they may be people whose actions speak louder than their words” (Betterhealth.vic.gov.au,2017). I believe we are creatures of change, we can learn and adapt to our surroundings. Therefore, we can learn how to communicate better which may result in more rewarding and successful relationships. I am not a loud person, I talk when needed but enjoy the comfort of silence. This sometimes keeps me sheltered and out of social interactions. I have lost friends and important relationships because of my desire to be by myself and out of the spotlight. As I get older and the realization of how important personal interaction is, I force myself into uncomfortable situations to overcome my fear of people. Change does not come overnight but I believe with time I will be able to attend social gatherings without feeling so intimidated. Verbally, I am not outspoken, and I do not often speak my opinion without being asked. I push myself to speak more to people I don’t know to encourage myself to be more socially involved.
Our communication skills have changed over the last couple decades. When I was a child we played outside with our friends, talked face to face, and played with toys. As a mother of two, and the demands of technology I find it hard to relate to their childhood. Communication has developed into texting, messaging, and virtual realities making face to face communication harder to learn. In my opinion, our children aren’t learning how to nonverbally communicate with others, therefore, will have difficulty when they are adults going into the workplace. Although I do not completely agree with technology being used as our main source of communication, I am also not opposed to using it completely. It has increased our abilities to meet new people, interact on a regular basis with family out of town and even gave us the ability to communicate with people we have never met. Personally, I met my husband threw social media, and it made it possible for me to meet someone who I wouldn’t have the chance of meeting otherwise. Social media, like so many other things, is a controversial topic, where everyone has their own opinion. Our communication skills must adapt to now include our technology.
Communication is essential in our survival. It’s the one thing we are continuously learning throughout or lives. From babies to elderly we strive to let people know how we feel, what we need and how we can help others. It is also what ensures our survival. It’s an outwardly expression of who we are as a person, and will allow others to decide whether we are compatible or a threat. Our relationships, our education and our lives revolve around the people we surround ourselves with. We need people in our lives who can understand us, and make us feel loved. Without proper communication, we will not survive.