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Interpersonal Communication Is an Essential Aspect of Human Life

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“Atomic Blonde”

Without it, most people suffer depression and other problems that are caused by a lack of contact and interaction with other people (Wood). The movie “Atomic Blonde” features lots of secrets that can be classified into any subsection of the “Johari Window,” (Adler and Proctor 3). Adler and proctor argue that any individual holds secrets only they know about and information known by others about them by other people (3). The main protagonist, Lorraine Broughton is sent by her superiors to collect a list of secret agents that was stolen. However, she is given incomplete information, and she is immediately at a disadvantage because of the hidden motives of her stronger rivals. However, because of her superior skills of deciphering non-verbal cues, she saves her life countless times.

Emotional Intelligence. Petrovici and Dobrescu found out that emotional intelligence in humans is responsible for effective communication between human beings (1406). Once she got to the West of Germany, she sought to circumvent the distrust of the highly secretive operatives she was supposed to work with, to establish their real motives. According to Adler and Proctor, people perceive stimuli according to its intensity (4). Lorraine had to select, organize, and interpret the cues around her before she could allow her mind to synthesize them to arrive at useful conclusions. She also had to exhibit high levels of emotional intelligence that according to Gamble et al. will enable one to compartmentalize their emotions to avoid sending the wrong message to dangerous people (222). The suppression of these feelings allows one to appreciate the emotional state of other people and makes interpersonal relations better (Gamble et al. 223). She gets intimate with a French female officer Delphine Lasalle to extract in-depth information about her enemies. Lorraine’s ability to control intrapersonal emotions enable her to elicit the empathy of Delphine who continually helps her evade her rivals.

Non-verbal cues. In Wood’s opinion, we require the support of our friends, family and romantic partners to alleviate our everyday worries and insecurities (10). Interpersonal interaction can either be intentional and inadvertent and depends on how well one knows and classifies the receiver of a message (Gamble et al. 8). When Lorraine lands in Germany, she is received by KGB officials who wanted to kill her. However, her perception and processing of nonverbal cues give her an upper hand against the KGB agents. She reacts quickly to this inadvertent cue to subdue and kill her opponents before they kill her. Additionally, during her interrogation by her superiors about her experience in Berlin, the viewer can imagine the suffering she went through because of how she sighs and leans back against her chair before she begins explaining how her mission went down.

Language and Barriers. Animals can communicate with each other for a variety of reasons. However, humans communicate much more effectively than the rest of the animals because of the use of language (McGlone and Giles 5). Communication using a language is mostly accompanied by signs and gestures that enhance the communication process. For instance, if one notices that one of the parties in the interpersonal discourse speaks with a quivering voice, then they perceive the distress and fear in that person. Lorraine discovers that the man she is supposed to protect and transport across the border thinks his life is in danger because his voice betrays his concerns of insecurity.

On the other hand, while languages act as an avenue to flexible and effective interaction, they present communication barriers if the participants of the exchange do not speak the same language (Braithwaite and Schrodt 12). While trying to get away from her assailants, Lorraine decided to explain to a law enforcement officer in her poor German that the police officer can access his car later, but the communication is not effective because of the language barrier. That necessitated threatening the police officer with a gun to hijack the vehicle. According to Adler and Proctor, misunderstandings are a common feature whenever a barrier exists between two people engaging in a conversation (16). However, the breakdown in communication is not always apparent to either party.

Relationships and Communication. Relationships between people can never be constant over an extended period. Human relations are dynamic due to the varying communication throughout the relationship, despite the level of intimacy and honesty (Adler and Proctor 18). Lorraine’s contact in Berlin, David Percival, initially gives the impression of trustworthiness. However, his selfish agenda, secrets, and lies quickly lead to a disintegration of his partnership with Lorraine. He eventually murders Lorraine’s lover upon discovering that she knows too much about his secret mission.

The absence of ethics and communication competence can destroy interpersonal relations beyond repair (McGlone and Giles 5). For instance, someone who uses their colleague’s resources without asking for permission is considered to lack the social, ethical standards that are necessary to foster cordial relationships (Lane 7). Communication that meets other people’s standards is regarded as moral and practical. In “Atomic Blonde,” Percival withheld crucial information from Lorraine that led to the loss of a lot of innocent lives.

Improving Communication. Adler and Proctor found out that communication can be enhanced by creating the right set of conditions that allow interpersonal relationships to flourish (26). The effective climates of communication can be created by regularly using positive messages and reducing the use of disconfirming words. A negative comment from one person to another creates room for the respondent to disapprove the sent message (Berger 17). Lorraine proved a difficult interviewee when she was questioned about the extent of her involvement in the demolition of the Berlin Wall and the recovery of the list containing secrets that could heighten the political tensions between East and West Berlin. The inconsiderate questions posed by her M16 boss and the CIA officials elicit curt and cryptic responses.

Listening. Paying enough attention to the sender of a message is one of the most crucial skills in effective communication (Adler and Proctor 30). Most breakdowns in interpersonal interaction and relations result from the inability of both parties to listen to each other. Being a good listener allows the speaker enough time to express themselves better than when the sender of the message feels rushed (Berger 17). Good listeners do not interrupt the speaker while speaking. Instead, they inspire confidence that improves the communication climate (Berger 15). At the onset of the interrogation, Lorraine notices that her boss is not paying attention and aims a slur at the CIA operative, whom she dislikes.

On the other, hand Lorraine plays the tape recorder over and over in her room so that she correctly deciphers coded meanings from her rivals’ conversations. Her superior listening skills give her an upper hand in the race to possess the important list. Additionally, she rarely interrupted her superiors all through their discussion.

It is Impossible not to communicate. Wood suggests that when two or more people meet, communication begins immediately, whether they speak or not (27). Communication is characterized by the use of verbal language use, visual and non-verbal cues. Many vocal people regard silence as signs of anger, sadness, disinterest, or illiteracy, while others view it as a sign of maturity, depending on the circumstances (Wood 27). When Lorraine is asked about the information her friend divulged to her, she takes too long to respond, in the process betraying her refusal to acknowledge her friend’s involvement.

Similarly, since only the CIA operative heard the insult aimed at him, he refused to disclose what word was used when requested to say it. Any viewer who might have missed the slur will assume the word was not pleasant. Wood further claims that human beings communicate even when the intention is not to talk. One can discern disapproval by even slight reactions like rolling of the eyes or pouting (27).

Interpersonal Communication is Dynamic. Gamble et al. reveal that human interaction is in a constant state of change (18). Communication and interpersonal relationships continually improve or deteriorate depending on the communication climate at any given time. Lorraine’s acquaintance with David ended in separation and death in the movie “Atomic Blonde.” This continuous flux occurs because human interpersonal encounters are interconnected and depend on each other (Gamble et al. 18). The dynamism of these relations enables us to reconstruct damaged relations and in other cases destroy the relationships (Wood 30). It is common for cheating spouses to conjure lies to protect their image and preserve their partners’ affection for them.

Communication cannot be repeated. Gamble et al. argue that every act of interpersonal interaction is unique and cannot be repeated (19). A human being may try to relive the beneficial interactions and relationships, but it is difficult because people undergo changes that make the recreation of an act of communication impossible. After David killed Lorraine’s lover, their friendship underwent a metamorphosis that would not allow any prior acts of kindness between them to be repeated.

Interpersonal Communication cannot be reversed. In Wood’s opinion, anything one says to another person can never be taken back (27). Once someone says something that hurts their friend during a furious argument, they can only apologize, explain the sentiment, or justify it, but they can never reverse the sentiment. Once a person gives an opinion about another person, it becomes part of the interaction and relationship. This fact illustrates the value of choosing what to say to different people in various situations (Wood 27).

Ethics and Interpersonal Communication. While interacting with other human beings, one has to choose about what is right or wrong to do or say (Woods 27). The irreversible nature of interpersonal interactions necessitates the choice of contact a person has with another because of the ethical consequences.

The movie “Atomic Blonde” illustrates the flawed nature of contemporary communication when human beings are under duress and the dire consequences that follow as a result when the communication climate is not ideal. Woods suggests that interpersonal acts cannot be repeated in their entirety, but the implications might cause irreparable damage (27). For instance, David Percival, the antagonist of the movie continually lies to the people who trust him for help. He prioritizes his selfish agenda and kills most of his friends who know about his secrets. Instead, as Berger advises, he should have been more honest Lorraine and her lover to preserve the nature of their relationship.

Additionally, David should have adopted the communication adjustment theory advocated for by Giles (13). His goals would be achievable if he chose to be ethical in his relationships with the other people in the film. The CIA operative and the M16 boss would have prevented the bloodshed if they had sent Lorraine with enough information that would help her know and avoid her enemies.

For her part, Delphine would have protected her lover, Lorraine from the several attempts on her life if she had opened up about David and his secrets earlier. She had a lot of crucial information that should have prevented several murders including her own. However, she might have been acting naturally by first withholding the information from Lorraine until she felt she could trust her with the intelligence. The failure to divulge the life-saving information, coupled with her inferior perception and spatial awareness, allowed the antagonist to sneak up on her and murder her.

There was not much that Lorraine could do to prevent the killings of her friends by the KGB and David, because she had insufficient information herself. Only her superior skills of perception and interpretation made her survive the countless attempts by KGB operatives on her life. However, she should have handled the interview with her superiors better because every word one utters cannot be taken back. The consequences of acting instinctively could have cost her job as well as her life. Moreover, she indulged in a sexual escapade that distracted her from her mission when she was in Berlin, contrary to the directives of her superiors.

The movie “Atomic Blonde,” is a film that illustrates the merits of effective communication and the irreversible consequences of a bad communication climate. Interpersonal relationships are continually fluctuating due to the inconsistent nature of people and perceptions (Gamble et al. 28). However, the effects of miscommunication can be mitigated by the improvement of communication skills. Active listening, good perception skills and applying ethics in the process of interaction can sustain good relationships because one cannot fail to communicate. Some characteristics of interpersonal communication include the irreversibility of acts of communication, dynamism, and the inability of people to repeat interpersonal contact. While language is an essential tool for communication among human beings, it can be a barrier if used ineffectively, as when Lorraine tried to speak to a German police officer even though her vocabulary was insufficient to convey any meaningful image. Interpersonal contact is essential for human life and health and should be treated as a basic need.


Works Cited

  1. Adler, Ronald, and Russell F. Proctor II. Looking out, looking in. Nelson Education, 2015.
  2. Berger, Jonah. ‘Word of mouth and interpersonal communication: A review and directions for future research.’ Journal of Consumer Psychology 24.4 (2014): 586-607.
  3. Braithwaite, Dawn O., and Paul Schrodt, eds. Engaging theories in interpersonal communication: Multiple perspectives. Sage Publications, 2014.
  4. Gamble, Teri Kwal, and Michael W. Gamble. Interpersonal communication: Building connections together. Sage Publications, 2013.
  5. Giles, Howard, ed. Communication accommodation theory: Negotiating personal relationships and social identities across contexts. Cambridge University Press, 2016.
  6. Lane, Shelley D. Interpersonal communication: Competence and contexts. Routledge, 2016.
  7. McGlone, Matthew S., and Howard Giles. ‘Language and interpersonal communication.’ The SAGE handbook of interpersonal communication 4 (2011): 201-238.
  8. Petrovici, Amalia, and Tatiana Dobrescu. ‘The role of emotional intelligence in building interpersonal communication skills.’ Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 116 (2014): 1405-1410.
  9. Wood, Julia T. Interpersonal communication: Everyday encounters. Nelson Education, 2015.
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