The television show that I will be analyzing in today’s paper is called “Rel”. This particular episode is number six of season one called “ Windy City Politics”. The purpose of this paper is to analyze and explain whether certain interpersonal communication concepts between the two siblings name Rel and Nat were effective or ineffective. After watching the episode numerous times, I was able to conclude that those concepts were effective. This is significant because that means, this episode was realistic and able to reflect realistic communication. As evidence to support this claim, this paper will analyze the interpersonal communication scenarios between Rel and Nate using the following class concepts: Buber’s three levels of communication, paralanguage, hearing vs listening and approaches to conflict.
This paper will also examine how the symbolic interactionism theory is demonstrated by the two siblings during their interpersonal communication interactions. Therefore, the bigger picture will express and show the importance of interpersonal communication coming from a family perspective. The show “Rel” , episode six, season one, is about Nat’s boss acting inappropriately towards him in the work field. Rel, Nat’s brother, throughout the situation tried to help solve the problem in a way where it would benefit Rel more than it did Nat. Rel ends up giving Nat some advice that eventually causes him to lose his job altogether. This plot is significant for the characters relationship that I will be analyzing because the incident allowed Nat and Rel to hash out their differences and life decisions. They talked about how exactly it affected their friendship as siblings and the conversation opened them up express their hidden selves.
The relationship between Rel and Nat is a family one for which they are siblings. Rel is a male nurse and Nat is an ex-convict. I choose to analyze their relationship because of the non fiction theme that it represents. It reminds me personally for myself and brother when it comes to communicating effectively for proper decision making. Rel and Nat communicated on many occasions throughout the twenty two minute episode. Some of that communicating being funny, some selfish, some insensitive, some personal and some regretful. A situation given is when Nat comes into Rel apartment announcing that he had landed a great job working as a lobbyist for the second chance committee program. Rel congratulated his brother with a little bit of second guessing in his tone afterwards because of his brother’s past.
Throughout the episode, many interpersonal communication concepts presented themselves. The ones I choose to focus on were Martin Buber’s three levels of communication, the paralangue surrounding the communication between Rel and Nat, hearing vs listening and lastly, the three basic orientations that affect how Rel and Nat approached conflict among their one on one situations. Buber’s three levels of communication can be defined in my own words as, how deep and personal we get with another human being depending on the relationship with that person. He distinguishes the levels into three, which are the I-It, the I-You and the I-Thou. Each of these levels have their own meaning in which I will define and analyze using scenarios from Rel and Nat’s relationship.
There was a scene presented to the audience where Rel checks on Nat at his job a couple days later to ask him about his lady boss. Nat expresses to Rel that he is feeling uncomfortable because his boss is constantly making advances at him and wants her to stop. Rel ignores Nat’s concerns about the harassments and tells Nat that it is because the boss misses Rel and that is why the energy is being directed towards Nat. Rel then throws his jacket down on Nat desk and proceeds to walk over to where Nat boss is to ask her out. She tells hims no directly and turns to leave. Nat then Rel how it goes and Rel just yells at Nat about how he was rejected and runs out of Nat’s job without even acknowledging Nat’s harassment concern. This scenario is an example of what Buber’s I-It communication level is about, not acknowledging the humanity of others but using that person for your own benefits.
In this next scene, Rel and Nat meet up at the bar for drinks. Nat again is still trying to express his concerns to his brother that the harassment is becoming even more unbearable. Rel orders a drink and then tells Rel that no one will believe him because of the reverse psychology of it. He even told Nat that he has a hard time believing it himself and gets up to go to the bathroom. This scenario should give the visualize of Rel not being fully engaged of Nat’s pain. He finds distractions to avoid what is going on and then gives simple answers although Nat is looking for help. This is an example of what Martin Buber’s I-You level of communication represents. A person is being acknowledged as a person but that person not fully engaging in what that person has going on.
The final and highest level of Buber communication is the I-Thou. In my own words, this level of communication can be defined as cherishing and being fully engaged in a person's individuality. This person proclaims the other to be unique and accepts the totality of them. In the episode, there is an ending scene where Nat ends up losing his job because of a bad decision in efforts to end the sexual harassment. Nat goes to Rel house and expresses how he can not seem to do anything right. He then apologizes to his brother Rel for letting him down. Rel then steps in to say that it is not all his fault and that he played a big part. Rel explains that if he would have listened from the beginning, Nat probably would not be in most situations that he ended up in. They hug it out and promise each other to be better helpful to one another and be there for one another from now on. This ended scene allowed Rel to start seeing Nat full frame as a human rather than a convict who just needed a job. Rel saw that Nat was trying so he respected him for it and valued him for it.
On this episode of “Rel” there are plenty of examples of paralanguage expressed among Rel and Nat interactions. Paralanguage is a type of nonverbal communication, meaning it sends a message without using words. Paralanguage is the tone, pitch and volume surrounding the words that gives the message its meaning interpretation. The best scenario to give in support of this concept is when Nat and Rel are sitting at the bar talking. Nat states that he is feeling powerless. Sounding his message was a soft tone and a low pitch that expressed to us that he was hurting. The sounds could also imply that he was ready to give up and that there was nothing he felt like he could do to get himself out of the situation.
Hearing and listening are the most complicated concepts to accept in the public eye. A lot of people do not know that there is a difference between the two. Hearing is a letting sound hit your eardrum without actually focusing on it. This was expressed in the scenario where Nat was trying to express himself to Rel at his job that he was being harassed but Rel was only focused on getting with Nat lady boss. Rel barely heard Rel because he already came with a goal and checking on Nat was not that. Listening is emphasized as being active (Wood 163). Actually taking in what is being said to you in your mind and heart in order to respond as well as to remember. This concept is expressed when Rel and Nat joined up in Rel apartment. Nat came in extremely mad and Rel became concerned and sat Nat down to hear what was being said. Rel took in Nat pain for the first time and was able to respond without being all into himself.
The final concept I will be using to analyze Rel and Nat is the oreninations of conflict approach. This concept consist of how these different approaches shape our patterns of communicating during conflict. There is the lose-lose which is everyone apart of the conflict losses something as a result of the conflict. An example would be Nat expressing his concerns and Rel thinking that getting Nat’s boss number would change things for him and himself. The boss denies Rel leaving Nat with his problem still unresolved and Rel without a woman. No one wins in this situation.
Next, there is the win-lose approach which is one person gaining and the other does not. In this case episode, there is none of this going on. The overall approach that best defines Nat and Rel outcome is the win-win approach. The win-win approach is when everyone is satisfied with the outcome of the situation. Rel and Nat settling their differences amoungst each other allowed them solve their miscommunication problem and that helped them to accept each other as a person. This resulted in both of them gaining respect, loyalty and understanding for each other.
“Communication with others shapes personal identity”. Throughout the scenes of Rel and Nat conversations, they displayed character development based off the situations they were put in. Symbolic Interactionism Theory explains that the development of self is primarily based off of the small aspect changes that are created and recreated by social interactions (Brown, Sydney: Symbolic Interactionism Theory Video). There are three main aspects given to explanation this theory. This first is acting based off the meaning we give things.
An example of this is, “I think that I am being sexually harassed by my boss, she gripped me inappropriately” Nat stated to his brother. The second is us giving meaning to things based off our social interactions. Rel then says to Nat, “your boss actions will not be considered harassment she is a women. Even I would not believe you if that story was reported to me”. Nat just sits there and took in the words. The final aspect is the thoughts of others being turned into a lesson for one’s self (Communication Studies: WordPress Theme). Nat the next who is presented at work, gives in too his boss tendencies because he thought that it would make his boss stop the harassment. During the stripping of his clothes, he is caught by the top boss who asks what is going on. The female boss acts completely innocent and Nat is fired on the spot.
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