Human Communications

April 28, 2004

Human Communications


There are relational dialectics in every relationship you have with someone. There is always going to be opposing and continuing tensions in any relationship. Some relationships show stronger tensions than others. One relationship I can look back on is one with my old girlfriend. I can see where I ensured enough, and not enough dialectics in my relationship.

People want to feel connected and independent at the same time. This is called autonomy and connection. People need to cherish time with someone to share experiences and feel connected. At the same time, you need your privacy. My ex-girlfriend and I connected in many ways. We used the time we had together and made the best of it, to get to know each other better. At the same time, we tried to keep our space a little to try not to smother the other person. Each of us needs to be our own individuality and privacy. There were times when she did not want to talk to me on the phone because we would get sick of talking to each other. There was also a time where we would see each other every day. This got on both our nerves because we didn’t give each other enough distance and got sick of seeing one another. If we had tried to give ourselves more distance, maybe I would still be in the relationship. We created too much intimacy and not enough individuality.

People in relationships always have certain routines, whether they varied from time to time, or always stayed the same. There is novelty and predictability in a relationship. Predictability is doing the same things over and over with a familiar routine. You can easily predict your going to be doing. People can develop preferred interaction rituals. In my old relationship there was a lot of predictability. My girlfriend would always ask what we wanted to do. I would always respond with, “I don’t care, what do you want to do?” We would probably then just end up hanging out at her house and watching a movie. I think that this routine got to boring for our relationship. We didn’t add enough variety in our customary routines. There was not enough novelty between the two of us and too much emphasis on predictability.

A third dialectic in a relationship is openness and closedness. There is a tension between openness and the desire for privacy. A close relationship may require a lot of openness and honesty. There cannot be too much openness because this would come to revealing things you necessarily would not want revealed. We need to share our inner selves with our partners but it can only go so far before you don’t want to talk about certain things. I was pretty open with my old girlfriend. I shared things I would not normally share with anyone else, however I didn’t share things that made me uncomfortable to talk about. There was still that level of closedness there that prevented us from sharing too much information. If there was too much closedness, that may cause a communication breakdown between two people and could harm a relationship.

Different types of relationships may require different amounts of dialectics and human needs. A romantic relationship may require more openness than a friendship or friends may require more predictability than a close relationship. Fulfilling human needs in a relationship can be a hard thing to do. It almost seems like a balancing act in some situations. Too much or to little could seriously hurt a relationship, and in my case I think it has.