Understanding Relationships

Posted: October 17th, 2013

Understanding Relationships




Understanding Relationships

            1. The five steps of a conversation include opening, provision of feedback, describing of one’s goal, reflection on what had been said and closing. The opening step includes a verbal greeting such as “hi” or even non-verbal greetings like a knuckle bump or a wave of one’s hand. After that, the person can introduce him or herself and make an interesting remark afterwards. In the case of online conversations, during the opening statement one may add an emoticon in the greeting. In the movie, Tom is attracted to Summer but does not have enough courage to approach her. Their first meeting is in an elevator where they hold a short conversation.

Their next meeting is in a karaoke bar where an office party is being held. Tom walks into the bar as his best friend is singing and he sees Summer and smiles, Summer smiles back and waves. They have utilized non-verbal cues to initiate their conversation. The next step is the feed forward step, which entails participating in open-ended discussions that keep the channels of communication open. One can use phrases such as “What’s up! How are you?” In this case, Summer comes up to Tom and offers to buy him a drink, he accepts. They make casual comments about the drinks, the office and the party as they drink the beers. Summer asks Tom to sing karaoke after he complements her on her singing. This conversation follows the second step of initiation of a conversation.

In the next step, goal elaboration, one explains his or her goals and affiliations and the reasons why. This step seeks to provide the people involved in the conversation with a greater understanding of their beliefs and perceptions on several matters. The two characters in this movie start talking about relationships and love. They discover that they have two different ideas on the subject. Summer states that she does not believe in love because it is not real. Tom, on the other hand, believes that love exists. Tom and Summer have discovered a fundamental difference in their ideas on love and relationships.

The fourth step is the reflection on the matters discussed in the conversation. This step seeks to establish common ground on the matters discussed even if there were contradicting opinions involved during the course of the conversation. In the case of Tom and Summer, she says that they should agree to disagree on the matter of love and relationships. The final step involved in a conversation is the closing statement. This is the last phase of the conversation that includes the goodbyes. The goodbyes can include verbal and nonverbal cues like smiles and waves. Tom offers to walk Summer out. Where they say goodbye but are interrupted by Tom’s drunken best friend that tells Summer that Tom has feelings for her. Summer just waves after this leaving Tom on the sidewalk.

2. The relationship stage model explains the ten steps involved in a relationship. It enables people to find out where their relationship stands. The movie 500 days of summer will be used to provide an example of a relationship. The first stage of a relationship is the initiating stage. Here, contact is made first, and one decides to look for signals that show the willingness of the other party. In the case of Tom and Summer, when Tom smiled, she smiled and waved. This showed that she was willing to spent time with him. Experimentation is the second stage. It is when the people begin to find out about each other often through small talk. Tom and Summer experienced this first in the elevator when they talked about their mutual love for the band, the Smiths.

Another event that shows this stage is their second meeting in the karaoke bar, where they talked about their opinions on love and relationships.

The next stage is the intensifying stage where the people become friends, know more about each other and can even predict the others behavior. They begin to lose their individuality and start becoming a ‘we’ instead of an ‘I’. This occurred to Tom and Summer when he was beaten up by a stranger after trying to defend Summer from him. This angered her, and as she was dressing his wounds, she shouts at him and tells him that he had no right to do what he did. Tom leaves and goes to his house hurt and does not call her. After about an hour, she shows up at his apartment and explains the reason behind her behavior. In the process, they open up to each other about their previous relationships. This depicts the intensifying stage.

The integrating stage follows, and it involves the identification of the people as a couple rather than individuals. In the characters’ relationship, it gets to this stage due to the numerous numbers of times that they were seen together. They went out severally and all their friends considered them a couple. The subsequent stage is bonding where formal commitments are made to each other. Their relationship did not encounter this stage since they did not get married or make a formal relationship to each other. The differentiating step follows whereby the people seek to maintain their individuality. This relationship depicts this because Summer tries very much to retain her old habits such as her independence. The seventh step in a relationship is circumscribing. This occurs when the quantity communication decreases between the partners.      Tom and Summer experience this in their relationship as it progresses and neither of them tries to rectify this. When circumscribing continues, it becomes a stagnant relationship. This is when the partners feel no need to communicate to each other. In the case of the couple, their communication reduced a lot. If this situation persists, it develops into the avoidance stage where they become unpleasant to each other and do not like each other’s company. This is proven when Summer starts to cry when they are watching a movie. The final stage is the termination stage whereby the relationship ends because the bond that held the relationship together is severed. Tom and Summer’s relationship ended when Summer suggested that they terminate it and remain platonic friends since it was not progressing. The relationship delineates how the relationship progressed through the ten stages of a relationship.

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