Someone said elements of establishing a long lasting relationship include not just love, but mutual understanding and in-depth communication. I am a talkative and confident girl, but ironically, I am not a good communicator, espeically when facing love issue. Couple months ago, I started dating with Eric. He is 27 years-old, and I am 20. The generation gap between us does not bother our relationship, but rather, I am inspired by his possession of effective communication skills. Eric is a man who teaches me love, gives me strength and helps me grow up throught daily communicaion.
The time when we were still in friendship reminds me of the Implicit Personality Theory. It states that you form perception on others by your own illogical theory that group certain personalities together. I met Eric in a friend’s birthday party. That night, he dressed up elegently. The glasses on his face and the pale skin gave him a refined look. During the party, he greeted everyone and helped the event running smooth. At the end of the party, he came to me and introduced himself, talked politly and always carried a gentle smile.
To me, he is a kind and friendly big brother, and I infered that he possessed other qualities such as introvert and serious, which was a Halo Effect stated in the theory. However, my perception was inaccurate. I made early conclusion without in-depth observation until our first date. Eric taught me how to ride a biycle. His outlook was totally different form that night. He wore a T-shirt and a short sports pant, together with a pair of slippers. He talked with a humorous tone and made dumb jokes. When talking about the hobbies, he said, “I love sports very much, and also singing karaoke! . To me, he was just like a 17 boy but not a 27 man. My perception of his introvert and serious personalities was totally wrong. And this inspired me that to make accurate perception, you need to aviod mind reading and do observation, otherwise, you may put bais on other and can never achieve effective communication. Some says estimated the other’s mind before the start of the relationship is gratifying. Although we had a good impression on each other, we could not tell the truth. Therefore, we conducted nonverbal messages to imply our feeling.
Nonverbal messages is significant in interpersonal communication. In our case, we used nonverbal messages to express our feeling and define our relationship. For example, Eric applied S-O-F-T-E-N formula in order to win my heart. He gave me warm and sweet “smlie” all the time. Moreover, he would “open” his arms and leaning “forward” when we talk, so as to show interested on me. Besides, we walked side by side, and our shoulders would “touched” each other which indicated we were getting closer. And Eric would conduct “eye” communication also, showing that he had special feeling on me.
In love relationship, nonverbal messages are important than verbal messages. A gentle smile and caring hug can actually transfer lots of messages, that’s why people call lovers as “soul mate”, because lovers communicate with their soul but not words. We finally started our relationship. As I mention at the beginning, Eric is seven years older than me. The generation gap between us makes our relationship complicated sometimes. P-A-C Model can reflects our role. P-A-C Model talks about people usually have three selfs in different situations: Parent-Self, Adult-Self and Child-Self.
At the beginning, I always acted as child-self while Eric acted as parent and adult-self. But now, through mutual understanding and depth communication, I start building up my adult-self. For instance, I got sick couple weeks ago, my child-self led me want to seek care from Eric. He then served as a “resuing parent” and accompanied me to the clinic. He even cooked me porridge. However, my refusal to take medication led Eric became a “critical parent” and said, “How can you not taking the pills? You want me to ignore you, right? ”.
Worse still, I reacted like a “rebellious child” and yelled, “I feel better now! I don’t need those drugs! ”. I critcized Eric’s caring and even thought this “old man” was nagging on me all the time. But as time goes by, his patient and mature personality helps me developing my adult-self. Eric has already built up his career and also gains a certain social experience. When I feel stressful in my study or face challenges, I alwasys seek advices from him. At this stage, he becomes an adult-self and gives lots of effecive suggestions, so that I can overcome difficulties.
Most important, he teaches me how to solve problem step by step and see thing more objective, which helps me building up my adult-self. In addition, his caring on me helps me develop positive self-concept and increase self-esteem,which are how do I see and the value I place on myself. I have self-destrustive beliefs such as to drive to be perfect and strong. In order to increase my self-esteem, Eric will comfort me and say, “No one is perfect, you don’t need to be perfect. It’s nice to be able, but it’s ok to show weakness. He also helps me understand myself more by talking about his feeling about me, “I think you are mature then others who are same age as you, and you have lots of abilities and skills that no one has. ” His images of me helps me develop positive self-concept. Gender difference appears also when I facing stress. Women tend to think men should share about their problems in order to feel better while men usually look for main point first and help women to deal with the problem. These days, I feel extremely stressful because of loads of projects and presentations.
So I see Eric as my “rubbbish bin” that I can throw all my bad feeling into it. But Eric will look to the point first and help me to deal with the problem. He will also use listening skills when I feel hard about my study. For example, he usually uses objective listening skill, puts empathic response aside and let me see the issue in a broader sense, like when I facing troubles in organizing school activity, he would say, “Why don’t you see it as a training process? Actually, you can seek advice from the teacher, I’m sure he will help you to go through it. His patient listening and counseling not only relief me but also make me think diversely when encountering challenges. To conclude, I did worried and doubted about the generation gap between us would arouse problem in our communication. Indeed, Eric’s mature personality and communication skill push me to improve myself also. After dating with him, he gives me positive energy and helps me see things in a diverse way. I stop being a child and grow up a lot. Eric is not just my love, but also a life teacher, a true friend to me.