Communication theories examine interpersonal relationships as well as social, group relationships. These theories investigate communication, both verbal and nonverbal, and can be used to help develop your own personal and social relationships. They can help enhance your friendships, increase your closeness with your family, support your work relationships and further your romantic involvements. While each communication theory is drastically different, each offers its own advantage to your social interactions and relationship management.
Study communication theories and examine how each can affect your life. Read through your options such as cognitive dissonance theory for its relation to your relationship frustrations or cultivation analysis if you want to improve your mood and general world view. Consider expectancy violations theory when you want to get a better job or standpoint theory if you would like to learn how to see things from other people's points of view.
Concentrate on one or two theories that seem to focus on the main problems in your life and read the theory in greater depth. For instance, if you find yourself in a difficult relationship and need help resolving your conflict, the cognitive dissonance theory, which points to a dissonance between your actions and your beliefs, may help you overcome your relationship frustrations. Read all of the information that you can find about the theory.
Examine your life and the status of your current relations in regard to your chosen theory. Ask yourself how the theory applies, or could apply, to your situation. As an example, after reading about cognitive dissonance, you realize that some of your frustration with your relationship may be attributed to the dissonance between your belief in your mate as ideal and your choice to continue the relationship. If your chosen theory does not seem to fit your situation, continue searching for a new one that better identifies your problem.
Read deeper into your theory and determine how you can use your new information to achieve a different result. Focus on the methods to achieve a positive result, but do not ignore the pitfalls that could lead to a negative result. For instance, cognitive dissonance theory suggests that you should alter either your beliefs or actions so as to bring the two closer together, eliminating the dissonance. You decide to concentrate on the positive features of your mate.
Evaluate your actions in response to your communication theory and determine if you are following through on your course of action. As an example, you address every interaction with your mate with the positive features in your mind, reminding yourself of his positive points. After a time, you should begin to see him in a much more positive light, and then you can reassess whether the dissonance you felt was the cause of your frustration or if you still need to rethink your relationship.
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- "Communication Theories for Everyday Life ", John R. Baldwin; October 2003
- "Colorado University", Cognitive Dissonance Theory; Elisa M. Jean; Spring 1999
Kristyn Hammond has been teaching freshman college composition at the university level since 2010. She has experience teaching developmental writing, freshman composition, and freshman composition and research. She currently resides in Central Texas where she works for a small university in the Texas A&M system of schools.