Ambiguous Nonverbal Communication

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Published: 08th December 2009
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Understanding nonverbal communication begins in the earliest stages of childhood. Early in life, a child learns to identify, such feelings as; happiness, sadness, rage, excitement and other moods in adults and other children alike, as well as in pets. Responses like, doors slamming, loud voices, smiles, frowns, crying; are all some of the nonverbal communication that as a child, one grows up with and learns from. With high-strung emotions caused by puberty, teenagers become masters of nonverbal communications. And finally as adults we tend to find hidden meanings in most nonverbal communications as well as in verbal communication creating an arguing society. Example: Betty says, "That's not what I said!!!" Bob says, "Well that's what you meant!"
Ambiguous nonverbal communication has become the main subject matter for many situation comedy's or "sit-com's". As I recall, I Love Lucy, Three's Company, and the more recent sitcoms, Married with Children, and Seinfield are all sitcoms based on ambiguous nonverbal and verbal communication. (The actors would get different meanings than the audience would, so the audience would get two different sides throughout the entire episode.)


Ambiguous nonverbal communication can be anything from body positioning (kinesics or body orientation) to gestures (movements of the hands and arms), or eye contact, or smiles taken by different people differently. You see nonverbal communications all the time in daily life by people you do and don't know. For instance, one can be questioned for standing or sitting too close to someone else. Also, sitting at a stop sign, you may see someone twirling his or her hair. It may mean nervousness, thought, habit, or perhaps they just have something in their hair. I, personally, have been accused of flirting with a waitress just by simply smiling at her. This wouldn't be the first time that a smile or gesture has been misinterpreted; or the last time. I am as guilty of this as anyone, it's hard to believe, but people say I am that way


In doing research, I have noted that the less you know someone the harder it is to accurately read his or her "gestures" if you will, but on the other hand, sometimes knowing a person, and being familiar with his or her behavior, better equips you to understand most of their verbal and nonverbal interactions. Also let me add, you must strongly study people that are skilled to deceive such as politicians, salesmen and actors or actresses.


In the recent weeks I have been paying closer attention and have noticed many things that I wouldn't have noticed a couple of weeks ago, pertaining to chapter six. The dictionary definition of ambiguous is: (adj. open to various interpretations; having a double meaning.) By reading between the lines I can safely say that all nonverbal communications can be ambiguous. Interpretation by male or female, old or young, good mood or bad mood, could all possibly warrant uncertain responses and faulty analysis.


In conclusion, gestures (illustrators, emblems, adaptors,) and other types of nonverbal communications are a basic part of our complicated society. Animals, on one hand, can communicate what they want or the mood they're in just by something they do, because this nonverbal communication is less complex, on the other hand, in our society, intelligence, along with gestures, body orientation, posture, and verbal communication, inhibits our understanding of communications.

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