Interpersonal Conflicts in the Movie “Hitch”
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Interpersonal conflict exits when people in “I-You” or “I-Thou” relationships have different views, interests, or goals and feel a need to resolve those differences (Wilmot & Hocker, 2006). Moreover, it is expressed disagreement, struggle, or discord, and it occurs only if disagreements are expressed overtly or covertly. According to what I have learned, conflict is a normal and unavoidable part of relationship; and depending on how people manage disagreements, conflicts can either provide continuing closeness or ruin a relationship. In my opinion, a romantic relationship between Hitch and Sara who are two main characters in the movie named “Hitch” is a good example of how conflicts can lead to a lot of problems in the relationship if people don’t handle them well.
The story began when the main character, Alex Hitch, a secret professional dating consultant who makes living by teaching men how to woo women, met Sara, a journalist, in a pub and then he was attracted to her. They talked about mostly everything while getting to know each other. Sara slowly fell in love with Hitch for his charming character, and their relationship turned into intimate one. Effective communication is always a key role in any relationship, especially intimate one. People should learn how to communicate with each other effectively from the beginning of a relationship in order to avoid any conflict. In the movie, Hitch and Sara did talk a lot with each other; however, Hitch still hid some information about his job as a “date doctor” from Sara. And that led to the conflict between them later. In my opinion, there would be no conflict between them if Hitch had disclosed his job for Sara from the beginning of their relationship.
The conflict started when Sara’s best friend was dumped by a bad guy who just wanted to make fun with women, and by somehow her friend knew that this guy had contacted date doctor in the time he seduced her. Because of her best friend, Sara tried to find who date doctor was, and later on she found out that was Hitch. Then, she blamed Hitch for setting up her friend with that bad guy, and she started a fight with Hitch at his house. At this point, both Hitch and Sara handled the conflict poorly. For Sara, instead of being calm and asking Hitch to clarify her concerns or telling him about her best friend’s story, she just kept her own opinion that Hitch and his job as a date doctor was very worse and shameful. She yelled at Hitch, “I know exactly what you do, how you do it, and I think it’s terrible.” For Hitch, he didn’t really know what the problem was, and instead of asking Sara, he just strongly interrupted her to protect his job and made their fight become more worse. He just said, “What’s wrong with you? You know nothing about me and my job.”
This is an example of unproductive conflict communication as they both disrupted the flow of talk and neither one was allowed to develop thoughts fully; thus, they made their discussion become endless without resolving the conflict. In another plot, when Hitch showed up in a speed dating event where Sara and her best friend participated, they briefly exchanged words. At this time, Hitch knew that the conflict came from the story of Sara’s friend, and he tried to tell Sara the truth that he had refused to help that bad guy from the beginning because he only helped men who were in love with someone seriously. He said, “I know you are mad at me for what I do for living, but there are some aspects of my job required me to do it secretly,” and “I just help them have a fighting chance for their loves.” However, it still didn’t work. Sara kept ignoring what he tried to explain by replying “I hear enough, you are just a scam artist.” What Sara replied is an example of one of disconfirmation in communication, which is to communicate certainty.
The way she talked showed that she was sure what she thought was right, and she was unwilling to consider other point of view. For her, teaching other men to woo women was a fraud, and there was no good reason to defense it. Sara’s certainty was the barrier that prevented her from effective listening. Although the problem in this conflict was just a misunderstanding between Hitch and Sara, and it could have been solved easily, it became harder due to their lack of effective communication. I think they could have sat back and discussed constructively to find where the problem began so that they could solve it. Another problem of the conflict may be due to the lack of trust between them. Because of lack of trust, Hitch didn’t disclose his job to Sara in the beginning. With the same reason, Sara didn’t tell Hitch about the issue of her friend nor listen to his explanation.
At the end of the movie, they did end up communicating together and work thing out because they realized that they still loved each other. The conflict was solved when they both opened themselves more to each other. The happy ending of Hitch and Sara in this movie makes me conclude that we can’t protect our relationships from conflicts if we don’t learn how to trust and communicate effectively with our partners.