Non-verbal communication is a form of expression of information and sending information to other people without words. It involves the use of visual hints such as body language, facial expression, touching or tone of voice among other actions or reactions like the mode of dressing or posture. Actions in most cases speak louder than words. These nonverbal communications are necessary for personal relationships to express emotions and affections.
Relationships between men and women are different whether personal or professional. A platonic relationship is a non-sexual relationship between people of different genders. I have such a relationship with my close friend, Ken, a young man that I have been with for the most part of my life since childhood. We are just friends and do not have any plans or intentions of developing a romantic relationship. We are open and tell each other everything that happens in our daily life. Our families’ living next door to each other has made this possible. I believe sharing opinions on ideas and helping each other has helped us grow together and much closer. He has helped me grow both intellectually, socially and spiritually through sharing our life experiences and ideas. We get to hang out a lot and have fun as close friends.
Nonverbal communication has helped us grow to understand and develop our relationship. This communication helps relate to each other in conversations, for example, nodding when I agree with an idea or maintaining eye contact to show that I am attentive. Changing facial expression or hand movements substitutes for words where we are in a crowded place and do not want other people to hear what we are expressing. Use of nonverbal communications is faster and easier to relate to when we are happy or excited about something like smiling after a day spent in watching movies or winking. When my friend is sad I may hug him to give him comfort and support or pat him on the back. This makes it easier to get emotional contact. We love and appreciate each other; we express this through nonverbal hints like sitting next to each other and holding hands sometimes.
However, we have differences in some non-verbal communication behaviors. Ken and I differ in some factors. He has short hair while I have long braided hair. Unlike me, he is tall, dark and well built. Our height difference is extreme. Differences in eye behavior are evident between us; when I am afraid of something mostly I shed tears and shift my eyes from him whereas he is always calm and firm when he is afraid and does not show fear. When in a conversation he may start using his phone sometimes or fold his hands which make him seem bored or inattentive yet in most cases he hears everything I say. I am hardly distracted when in a conversation with him. We have different voices; I can do better soft talk or baby talk better than him when making silly jokes in our conversations. I am freer to hug and hold hands with him around other people than he is. I am bad at keeping time showing up for outdoor activities especially when I have to wake up early while Ken is always on time or ready before time so as to pressure me to speed up.
The book on nonverbal communication in close relationships has defined nonverbal cues in different types of relationships. My relationship with my close friend is platonic and our nonverbal language is supported clearly by the book. The book suggests that there are many types of research that conclude that women show affection and emotion better than men do. (Floyd, K. 2006).Through our nonverbal communications, for instance, I cry in some instances when sad or afraid unlike him.
Immediacy is related to the factor of proximity. It allows direct nonverbal communication and closeness. We live close to each other and a platonic relationship was the best for us. We have known each other for a long period of time and we used to play games together from childhood. We grew to be close friends and we did not want to ruin such a friendship.
Nonverbal immediacy acts more effectively than verbal communication. It is supported mostly by proximity and familiarity. Nonverbal immediacy helps develop a new relationship and maintain an ongoing relationship through smiling, holding hands and other nonverbal cues. With such a development a relationship is strengthened and is not challenged by distance in case one travels far. Nonverbal immediacy may create anxiety among the people in the relationship. It is easier to detect lies in such a relationship and anxiety may be as a result of suspicion from the other partner.
In conclusion, nonverbal communication is important in any relationship. This communication is natural and reveals honest reactions to happenings. We have different relationships and should pay keen attention to the nonverbal communication signals for effective communication.
Guerrero, L. K., & Floyd, K. (2006). Nonverbal communication in close relationships. Routledge.