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Short Paper-

Dr. Jess Alberts: Interpersonal communication

Summer O’Hara

Arizona State University


Interpersonal communication. What is interpersonal communication? When I first read

this I assumed it was communication done with strangers or acquaintances; people we don’t have

a relationship with, but I guess I was wrong. It is actually the complete opposite. It is a personal

type of communication we share with friends, significant others, or family members. This type

of communication is a way to reveal personal things about ourselves; “The warts and all.” to the

people we feel close enough with to share. This is a way for us to build bonds with others. (Dr.

Jess Alberts)

Dr. Jess Alberts video covers a research study she did and her ideas on interpersonal

communications. She states that “The person you are talking to you view as unique and

irreplaceable.”(Dr. Jess Alberts) This is one way to determine if the conversations you are

having is interpersonal or impersonal. One question you could ask yourself is: What does this

person mean to me? Or even: Where can you see this relationship going or growing to become


Dr. Alberts conducted a study with 10 different married couples where she recorded them

every evening for a week and would call and ask them questions. She took all the

correspondence between the couples and coded it into groups. By doing this she was able to

better analyze what was being said and how it was being taken. This study showed her and her

team around twelve different things about interpersonal communication amongst these partners,

but she only talked about 4 in the video. The four findings she mentioned in the video are

happiness levels, times to communicate, types of communication used and one-sided


As many would expect the out of the 10 couples some had conflict within their marriage.

There were eight who had very little conflict in their relationships were happily married while

the other two had conflict were not happy. This was something they had expected to hear. This is

often the case because how can someone be happy if they are often arguing or bickering with

their partner.

Another thing the study showed was that surprisingly a lot of important conversations

occur while watching television together. You may ask; why would people talk while watching

television; wouldn’t this ruin it? Well when you are watching something on the television and a

memory is triggered by from something in the show or movie you are likely to share this

memory with the other person or people in the room. By doing this it makes it easier for some of

us to talk about something that is either sensitive or not the easiest thing to share with another

person. This is because you are lacking eye contact and fully engaging in conversation with the

other person.

A lot of times we will have a conversation with our partner that can feel one-sided; like

you are talking to a wall or fence post. Turns out this is very common among conversations

between couples and happens more often than you’d think. A lot of times in a relationship there

is one person does most or all of the talking while to other one isn’t fully engaged and will either

respond with one-word answers, a nod or even nothing at all. Sometimes this helps to balance

out a relationship because we aren’t the same; no one wants to be with someone who is identical

to them all the time. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing or them being ruse it is just a way many of

us process information. Sometimes it takes us a second to fully understand what someone else


Another thing Dr. Alberts noticed was that couples often do something called “bidding

for attention” which means one person will mention something that isn’t really relevant to what

is going on or being talked about at the moment just to get attention on them. By doing this it can

either add to a current conversation, create a new conversation or just draw attention to the

person pointing this out. This is done by simply mentioning the weather outside or something

split on the floor; this will draw the other person in to possibly converse more and puts attention

on you.

These types of relationships are usually diverse, intimate and intensifying. Intensifying

refers to a stage of romantic relational development in which both people seek to increase

intimacy and connectedness. People are more likely to be open with one another in an

interpersonal relationship such as ‘being straightforward about why a relationship is ending.’

(Human Communication) Initiating in this behavior of interpersonal communication is beneficial

for all our relationships because we learn from all types of communication we have be it big or


In my opinion without interpersonal communication we would all be so similar which

would make for very uneventful lives. Imagine if no one shared things with one another or spoke

openly and honestly? It would be like living in a world full of zombies since we would all be the

same and act as strangers. I feel that no one could ever truly be happy, have someone to lean on

or confide in if it wasn’t for having personal open conversations with others. Plus, it can’t be

healthy to keep everything bottled up inside and to yourself. It would be a very lonely world for

us all.

Interpersonal communication is something we all do on a regular basis even if we don’t

think we do. We are always bonding with the people closest to us even when we don’t mean to

or realize we are. We all need someone to share out feelings, thoughts and ideas with and this is

all done through interpersonal communication with our peers. We should never be intimidated or

feel uneasy about growing relationships and learning more about ourselves and those we care

about or love.

Human Communication in Society With Pearson Etext. Pearson College Div, 2015.

Dr. Jess Alberts: Interpersonal communication, ASU.