What stands out to me the most is that I communicate more casually, more informally with family members and friends, people who are close to me, whereas I tend to take on a more formal communication approach with people I do not know as well. When I think about communication involving people of varying race, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, and varying abilities, I truly do not think I communicate any differently based on these factors. One of my best friends is black, I am white, and when I met him in college, I remember him asking me if I assumed certain stereotypes about him. For example, did I assume he was a good basketball player or did he have good rhythm? I remember really thinking about this question and still coming back to it years later. I really don’t think I do. I have other issues I need to work on and deal with, but I think largely, I am genuine with everyone I meet and communicate in a very similar fashion, no matter the differences. I try to be sensitive and not make assumptions.
This is a question I will continue to ponder and ask myself as I communicate with various other people. I think one communication strategy to focus on here is self-reflection. I believe this is essential to our own personal growth and understanding as individuals. Secondly, I believe listening is crucial to understanding those around us who are different and who may have completely different perceptions of things. Lastly, I believe developing motivation to be a key strategy we learned this week (Beebe, Beebe, & Redmond, 2011). This pertains to cultivating a state of readiness and eagerness to learn about others (Beebe, Beebe, & Redmond, 2011).
Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Redmond, M. V. (2011). Interpersonal communication: Relating to others (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.