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COM 200 Interpersonal Communication ANALYSIS OF MISCOMMUNICATION






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An Analysis of Miscommunication: Does this Dress Make my Butt Look Fat?
COM 200 Interpersonal Communication

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Communication Misunderstandings
Miscommunications can be Avoided When we use Skill to Encode and Decode Messages.
When we are aware of miscommunications, we can reduce the amount of
miscommunications in our interactions with other people. The ability to encode or decode
messages requires skills that identifies miscommunications mistakes and results in effective
communication. This paper will examine the results of miscommunications by analyzing the
article, Close Relationships Sometimes Mask Poor Communication (Anonymous, 2011) and use
it as an example of miscommunication. By identifying mistakes in communication, we can learn
to reduce miscommunications in our relationships by being aware of technical, semantic, or
psychological noise, which interferes with effective communication and take steps to avoid
Does this dress make my butt look fat?
Kathy Sole (2011) discusses the importance of understanding communications and the
role miscommunication plays in interpersonal relationships. She attributes the breakdown of
communication in interpersonal relationships to our skills in listening and our skills in the
interpretation of messages. The article, Close Relationships Sometimes Mask Poor
Communication (Anonymous, 2011) supports the importance of the role of communications in
personal relationships. The article addresses the belief that close relationships have less

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Communication Misunderstandings
miscommunication than the stranger-to-stranger conversations have. This misconception
addressed by the study concludes that miscommunication occurs at the same rate as a stranger-
to-stranger rate of communication (Anonymous, 2011). The misconception that spouses have a
social or proximity knowledge of each other to reduce misconceptions of what the other is saying
is erroneous from the reported results.
The joking social euphemism “does this dress make my butt look fat?” is a prime
example of interpersonal miscommunications between couples. This example is one that has
cropped up in my life and the life of most women. The desire to look good for your mate is a part
of interpersonal relationships. The desired answer was, “you look good in everything you wear
or you always look gorgeous”. The answer that was received was, “I don’t like that color on you,
and it makes you look washed out”. This communication resulted in hurt feelings and a blow to
my self-esteem and left me with a feeling of being criticized about my choice of style. What was
being communicated was a desire for an opinion on the dress, but what the communication really
desired was a compliment. The erroneous assumption that the other person knows what you are
communicating in close interpersonal relationships is seen when Savitsky states, "…. You get
rushed and preoccupied, and you stop taking the perspective of the other person” (Anonymous,
2011). The other person does not know what you are saying until you communicate with them.
The choice of words in conversation is crucial. Curtis Ivery (1999) states, “Being
sensitive to words, to their meaning and to the context in which we speak is critically important
to fostering effective communication”. Words are what we use to convey and receive information
or messages, if the wording and the meaning (encoding, decoding) is not clearly communicated

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