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Communicating During Conflict

Interpersonal communication is a significant facet in human relations in whatever field. It does exclude children, teens or adults from its importance. It is a universal subject that everybody needs to attend to. Everybody does communicate in one way another and nobody can say that he or she does not participate in any form of interpersonal communication.

Interpersonal communication covers verbal, written, and non-verbal forms of communication. It is the spoken communication that occurs between two or more people on a face to face level. Interpersonal communication is very intricate. This is because messages in interpersonal communication can easily be misunderstood. Respect is an important aspect when it comes to interpersonal communication. It can either build or destroy a relationship among people that are involved in it. This paper tries delves into the importance of respect, the impact of lack of it and how it can be achieved in interpersonal communications.


Respect has been defined as the deepest human virtue. Daily use of the term is conditional as it is dependent on other people`s attributes and behaviors. Many people fail in effective interpersonal communication as a result of lack of respect to the people they communicate with. Respect in interpersonal communication entails several aspects. It means that people must respect the views of other people even when their views might not correspond with their own. Similarly, it means that all participants must allow one another to participate in the communication as equal entities. One participant should not talk for the other participant. One should not presume what the other participant wants to say or mean. This has been a difficult for area for most people as it has destroyed interpersonal communication.

The social theory to interpersonal communication outlines the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of participants who are involved in interpersonal communication. It includes social perception, social interaction and social influences aspects like trust, power, respect and persuasion. The theory tries to look into the psychology of persons by looking at influences which people have on beliefs and behaviors of other people. It looks at how individuals perform within groups. According to a research, if people are to communicate effectively influences of such factors like respect should be given a priority.

Positive feelings and peoples’ behaviors in interpersonal communications are developed if the know that their participation in the communication process is valued and respected just like that of the others is. However, communication fails when individuals realize that their contribution to the success of the participation is not valued at all. This makes them to be passive members of the process and the communication becomes unidirectional (Wood, 2009).

Communication problems come about as a result of lack of trust, respect and power among other influences in interpersonal communication. Lack of power manifests itself when one participant in interpersonal communication is not given a chance to comment on anything. If one participant owns the whole conversation the other one remain as a helpless contributor to the communication process.

Social exchange theory explains social change and stability as a process in negotiated exchanges among those involved in interpersonal communication. It puts forth that all human relationships are formed by use of a subjective cost benefit analysis and the contrast of options available. A person weighs the benefits of the participating in the interpersonal communication and finds that it is heavier to the cost; he or she plays a part.

A person will opt to stay put and take part in the communication process. However when the situation seems as if the costs outweigh the benefits the individual chooses to get out of the communication process. This theory claims that when an individual weighs and realizes that there is no respect for his or her contribution in the communication process, he or she will opt to get out of the whole process. However if he is respected, he is happy to continue with the communication.

The equity theory to interpersonal communication states that both participants in a communication must be treated as equal in terms of the importance that they hold in that process. One participant should not undermine the partner’s participation as of a lesser importance to his or hers. Thus the participants must respect one another putting in mind that the input that both of them bring to the communication process carries the same significance. A participant should know that without the other participant in communication, the process is bound to fail completely (Miller, 2008).

All the above theories end on one thing. They state that for interpersonal communication to be successful there must be a good communicational relationship that must exist among the participants. The good relationship will only be achieved if the participants trust and respect one another. The participants in the communication process need to practice openness. Mistrust and disrespect come as a result of what people do not know. Openness helps develop confidence and trust which eventually leads to respect. People should be candid about problems and wholly display information on the interpersonal communication.

Participants need to be fair to one another. Before making decisions and judgments, participants have to consider how the others will perceive them in terms of fairness. Participants need to give credit to others especially where it is due. They need to be truthful. Integrity is very critical to development of respect. Participants have to ensure that perception towards them should be of truth and not doubt.  Most people tolerate what they would not want to hear as opposed to realizing that they were lied to concerning a certain issue (Guerrero and Floyd, 2006).

Participants are required to say what and how they feel about certain issues. If people share their feelings, it is more probable that they will reach a consensus on issues that are problematic. People judge others on this basis and develop respect from such issues. Consistency is an aspect that contributes to the success of interpersonal communications. Participants in interpersonal communication have been found to rely on predictability. Disrespect and mistrust originate from not knowing what to expect. People should take time to be sure of their beliefs and let the beliefs guide their decisions.

Uncertainty theorist state that people choose to know more about others that they have more interaction with to reduce anxiety that may be associated with the unknown.  The more people understand others the more they become free to communicate to and with them. People are always curious to know their roles and place in the communication process and environment. They want to predict accurately and develop a sense that they are safe and that they belong to the communication environment.

For an interpersonal communication to be successful, the participants have to maintain confidence between them. Confidence is maintained if there is respect among the participants. People make themselves vulnerable to others in communication when they are sure and confident that the other party will respect them and their personal issues. Therefore confidence must be upheld in interpersonal communication.

Participants in interpersonal communication should develop admiration for others by displaying their negotiating skills and other interpersonal attributes. The social penetration theory states that people communicate information about themselves, whether or not they are aware of it is depending on trust and the knowledge that they can trust others with their information.

The developmental view places importance on history, respect and trust. Over time and with increased frequency, people form bonds and relationships form a base in the communication situation. Many a time conflicts start with a perception of an alarming threat. As a result people experience a decline in intelligence so that they cannot communicate well during the conflict. Effective communication when in conflict encompasses certain issues.

Participants in communication are supposed to put their focus on behavior and not interpretations. Interpretations are bound to be wrong because they are subjective. If people focus on behavior, conflicts can be solved because meaning from it will tend to be more accurate (Collins and O'Rourke, 2008).

When commenting on other people`s behavior people must avoid the use of always and never. The use of these two words infers that there is no possibility of change on behavior especially that which brings conflict. If these two terms are use in conversation, they are more likely to result in more conflict than solve that which is present.


Respect entails giving other people a chance to express what they have in mind and the reasons for their though. By giving other people a chance to talk, it may help one realize that his or her view point is the wrong one and thus allow for corrections.  Participants are supposed to apologize for their ill contributions. Something may have been done unintentionally and resulted in the conflict.  Apology shows that a person is ready for change to enable communication to go on. Interpersonal communications are aided by respect especially when there is conflict.  Participants in communication have to ensure that they respect the other participant for them themselves to be respected.

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