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Interpersonal Communication Essay

When Harry Met Sally

After viewing this film I knew there were multiple different aspects within the dialog. The interaction between these two over many years made it possible for them to go from complete strangers to falling in love. It didn’t happen overnight and there many different actions that lead them to realize that they were destined for each other.

One of the most interesting aspects I found deals with the social penetration model. When they first meet to take the road trip they only knew each other through mutual friends so needless to say it was a little awkward at first but throughout the story they begin to come closer and closer together. Even though it took a while for Sally to open up she eventually showed a more open and emotional side to Harry which led them to sleep together for the first time. Before that happened most of the conversations were just small talk and Harry asking Sally about her sex life. I thought Harry to be physically attracted to her from the begging but as he states, “Girls and guys can’t be friends.”

His theory has to do with physical attraction and the fact that all men will want to be sexually active or at least have it in the back of their mind if they are close acquaintances with an attractive female. From the beginning Sally’s self-monitoring was very high and she didn’t really tell Harry anything to personal. She was defensive and had a very straight forward personality. As the story progresses she becomes more open when talking to Harry as though she begins to feel more comfortable and they work deeper into the social penetration model.

Another interesting aspect I found was the perception of each other and how it changed throughout the story. Both Harry and Sally had a very unique and independent self-concept. Harrys perceived self was a very confident and outgoing individual. His appeal came with his extroverted personality and power when speaking. Sally was a bite shy and classier at the beginning but began to loosen up as the story progressed. One major aspect that differentiated them from each other was the amount of self-disclosure. Harry was far more open with is speech and even the topics which he brought up. The main topic he decided to bring up on multiple occasions was sex. Harry had no problem opening up to Sally with this subject and even stated that she had not had good sex. Harry’s self-concept stayed fairly constant throughout the movie until he realized that Sally was not just a one night stand. Them the level of intimacy came into play and drastically changed their relationship.

The dialects in this story have many different aspects as they build their relationship. In the beginning Sally was mostly closed with Harry being just the opposite. Another instance that caught my attention was how Sally ordered all of her food and beverages. She is a very high maintenance and this scared Harry at the start but ended up being a more intriguing aspect of hers as time went on. With all of their communication being asynchronous, there were many things that Harry said without putting the necessary thought into it. This would also build conflict later on in the story.

Their friendship had many different swings throughout the movie; going from strangers to lovers, but I believe there is more to it than just building that deep of a connection. The development model in chapter 9 is a great way to diagnose this relationship. In the coming together stage the first time they spent on the road trip told them a lot about each other. When they sit down in the car realizing how much time they had together the first thing that Harry says to her is, “Tell me a story about your life.” I found this to be interesting because I perceived his nonverbal communication to show that he wasn’t that interested, and then I realized that his sense of sarcasm would play a larger role in the personal communication between her and the other characters in the story.

It was obvious at the second encounter that Harry had grown attracted to Sally even though she was with her fiancé at the time. It was a fairly short encounter but I believe this was the start of the competition with Harry to receive her attention. The relational maintenance stage did not start till they rekindled their friendship and began to spend time with each other. The bonding of the two came with frequent contact and excessive time spent together. Another aspect that brought them close together was when their previous significant other parted ways. This gave them both a chance to be more open with each other and deepen their relationship.

One of the more awkward circumstances was after the slept together. Harry had told Sally that he never sticks around to cuddle or be more intimate after sex because it doesn’t mean as much to him so after they sleep together you notice that Harry is very uncomfortable and starts making excuses to leave. This was a one of the face threating acts that played a huge role on the conflict. They both immediately come to the conclusion that it was a mistake and look for support from their friends. At this point their perception of each other is changing but the dialog doesn’t hint at it to strongly. This is when they relationship takes a turn for the worse.

Sally becomes more defensive and the distance becomes greater between the both of them. Sally is hurt by the way he acted with her because she thought that was something more to their relationship but Harry saw things differently at the time. At dinner when they decided to talk about it there was a dysfunctional conflict that leads to the collapse of their friendship. Sally started avoiding Harry to try and save what emotional structure she had left after her ex got married.

In the end Harry found himself all alone on New Years and realized that the distance between himself and Sally could not last. This is when his aggressiveness comes into play and he sprints to the party to make amends with Sally and confess his emotions. He lets his guard down for once and realizes that his self-monitoring in the past was a mistake and he needed to tell her how he really felt. Finally they came to a win-win scenario when he states his love for her and they become happily married.

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