The Communication Process
The communication process is used in every kind of relationship. It could be in a friendship, an acquaintance, a significant other, a family, and many more. I found out these processes can be harder than you think three years ago. My father got remarried and I was forced to become up close and personal with complete strangers, my step family. The communication process language in my step family describes the concepts and ideas of the transactional communication model and the social penetration theory.
The transactional communication model is used daily in my household. Although, the messages are not always successfully sent nor received along the channels due to major amounts of noise. It is hard to have a shared meaning when you have five strong, new opinions in a family. For instance, my stepsister might be trying to tell me her side of a story but my stepbrother will interrupt the message with external and semantic noise. Therefore, enabling me to decode correctly and send appropriate feedback to reach a shared meaning. This happens a lot in my step family. We have “family meetings” that are supposed to help us listen to one another and drown unnecessary noises. These meetings are not as triumphant as they could be because we all have difficulty with self-disclosure. I personally find myself withholding, masking, not displaying, and not describing my feelings with my step family. We are all just getting to know each other so, I think, we are still in the sharing of biographical data and personal ideas. I know in particular, with my stepsister, that I can not achieve the level of sharing my feelings any time soon. I believe that we both messed up and went against the “guidelines for appropriate self-disclosure” because we opened up too much, too fast without having full trust or knowing that it would be reciprocated. On the other hand I have a wonderful relationship with my father. He and I express our thoughts and feelings openly about everything. It wasn’t always so open though. Like most men, my dad had trouble disclosing his feelings. Fortunately, he and I overcame that obstacle together, because I wasn’t good at it either. It took a lot of time and effort to get our relationship to where it is today but it was worth it.
The communication process is not yet perfected in my step family but then again is it perfected with any relationship? Who’s to say if it is or isn’t, as long as it works for the individual. I hope one day that everyone in my step family will be able to reach the point where we can disclose ourselves to each other. Until then, we will go on with our cycle of sending, receiving, encoding, decoding, and just trying...