In the 20th century the most common way of the youth keeping in touch and communicating was through face-to-face interactions and a distant second option of using the landline telephones. However to most of the youth in the 21st century, the cell phone is irrefutably the – very close – second most common type of communication after face-to-face communication. This form of media is usually used between people who have interacted with each other on a face-to-face level before. Utilization of the cell phone has revolutionized communication in such a way that this day tasks which normally needed interpersonal skills and face-to-face interactions can be comfortably handled by the gadget, sometimes effectively. Although the rate of usage differentiates between the young and the old with the former being the most frequent of users, it is still admittedly influential among both age-groups. For people who are in relationships the cell phone can be a source of conflict in itself depending on the expectations and actions of each of the spouses.
According to a survey carried out by the Pew research center on 2,277 American Adults, an average of 109.5 text messages are sent and received daily between 18 and 24 year olds. This means that every month an average of 3,200 text messages are sent by people of the said age bracket. This shows that the use of text messages has a major impact in communication in these times. The same survey was carried out among the same users and face to face communication was considered the most effective in resolution of conflicts among the youth, they however reported on using text messaging to resolve conflicts on a daily basis.
It is a widely known fact that any kind of a relationship has communication as its heart. Conflict arises from lack of communication and misunderstanding between two people and either way proper communication is the key to resolving conflicts. It should however be known that communication can be impaired unintentionally and without the right infrastructure to solve the misunderstanding, the relationship can be destined for destruction. These relationships include family relations, employment relations and love relations. We will be focusing on the significance of resolving conflicts between couples.
Some couples have rules for the use of cell phones in their relationships, others only have expectations. Either way conflict may easily arise when the rules of communication are not adhered to or when a person’s expectations in the communication trend are disappointed. The million dollar question is how effective is use of the cell phone in resolving conflicts between two people in a relationship?
Different theories will be reviewed transparently to show that using a cell phone for conflict resolution is not an effective way of resolving any relationship misunderstandings.
Conflict resolution is determined by the connection between strategic avoidance of certain topics and the relational satisfaction through production of different messages. Their Communication Monographs study shows that there are different strategies which can be used in order to avoid a topic(s) that might be uncomfortable or likely to cause conflicts. The strategies are harder in some communications methods and relatively easier/more effective in others. For example, if you do not want a confrontation with your spouse and when they bring up a contentious issue via a text message, it is easy to ignore the message and continue with the day as if nothing happened. On the other hand if they confront you in person, it will be more difficult to ignore them and the issue they are bringing up. This is further affected by how comfortable you are in your relationship.
According to the communication quarterly study, the dialectical tension of autonomy and connection perceptions in a romantic relationship and how they are affected by cell phones. Some couples have rules about the role of a cell phone in their relationship and those who do not have rules at least have some expectations. If the rules are broken by one person in the relationship the spouse obviously becomes unhappy and if it grows to be a habit then a conflict arises. If the cell-phone expectations of a person are not met by that of their spouse then a conflict will arise in this case brought about by miscommunication. This is a fresh pair of eyes into the argument, viewing the issue from the communication quarterly perspective shows some truth in that way of reasoning.
Relational satisfaction and commitment by a couple is the determining factor in resolving conflicts between couples. The form of communication used does not matter that much. While this is true to a certain point, it ignores the fact that although the intentions might be good there are some external factors that can impair the communication process. For example convincing your spouse that you are sorry via a cell phone may not communicate the remorse or sincerity of your words like face-to-face interactions would.
The study of attachment styles and negative relational maintenance looks at the similarities of the two aspects in the respective partners. An attachment style is a special emotional relationship which involves the exchange of care, comfort and pleasure between two people. If one of the spouses’ ideas of a relationship connection is contrary to what the other believes in, there is bound to be a conflict in the relationship sooner or later, if this happens and one of the spouses has a negative attitude towards maintaining the relationship then even the best and most technological cell phones will not help that much. Take for instance on person in the relationship is arrogant, if the person makes a mistake he/she would not apologize thanks to their arrogance, this would see the relationship at its dead end.
A study carried out by Guerrero, Farinelli, McEwan in the year 2009 has similarities with the study carried on attachment styles. They agree that attachment styles definitely matter in resolving conflicts in a couple; however they also point to relational satisfaction in the individuals as another determining factor. According to this study, emotional communication is what will work during conflict resolution. If one spouse needs a certain act from their better half and are comfortable enough to communicate it, then there will be minimum conflicts in the relationship and if any occur it will be easily solved. This is true considering both individuals will overcome any kind of communication impairment.
The consistency of the cell phone use in a relationship is a factor that can determine the conflict trends in a relationship. The relationship uncertainty was on the minimum in relationships where the cell phone’s use was consistent. Higher cell phone use between couples is found to increase the level of love and commitment. While this may be true where the relationship is still young, in a more mature one a lot of unnecessary use of the gadget might even work on the contrary and be deemed a nuisance.
The Communication Quarterly study also agrees with the communication reports. Its findings are that higher cell phone usage cultivated higher levels of relational satisfaction. It suggests that good use of the phone and well established phone rules are the key to having a successful relationship. This is somehow self contradictory since a higher use of cell phones in a relationship does not necessarily represent good use of the cell phone in the relations. Necessary use of the cell phone in this case would better the conflict resolution process.
The Communication Research Reports study proposes that there should be an inverse relationship between the perceived method of the way a conflict is resolved and the way a couple prefers it to be managed. This is mostly an experimentive kind of resolving relational conflicts which may work or not. Although the newly found method of solving the problem may work its probability is still low. Also no matter what the method used is, there will still be difficulty in communicating emotions like remorse via the medium.
Communication studies is a report of a study carried out by the use of questionnaires to find out the perceived relational quality and intimacy. It was found that many couples use rituals to solve the conflicts faced in their relationship. However an insignificantly small number of relationships involved cell phones in this routines and even then, the gadgets did not have a big role in the rituals Pearson. This shows that many people had faith in solving any conflicting issues on a more personal level than can be provided by a cell phone. The study also shows that these ritualistic methods work in resolving the conflicts.
Another study, Journal of Family Communication, looked at the relational maintenance behaviors and marital satisfaction. This study was carried over a long period of time and showed that at one point the kind of satisfaction in the relationship directly affected the willingness of relational maintenance between the individuals in the couple. A more satisfied spouse was seen to be more likely to work towards maintaining the relationship than the person who is not totally satisfied in the relationship. No matter the rate and skill of cell phone use in such a relationship, the conflict resolution will be a difficult process if not impossible.
Conflicts between two people in any kind of a relationship is inevitable more so in a romantic relationship. It is thus important to find ways and strategies of containing the situation while still maintaining the health of the relationship. This however is faced with a lot of challenges which require a lot of effort and work to straighten.
The cell phone is debatably the second most popular means of communication in the twenty first century. The use of a cell phone in communication has in time proved to be effective and efficient. Its use in solving of conflicts has however been questioned on how effective it can possibly be. An evaluation of different studies carried on the subject and other close topics has been reviewed above and assisted in arriving at the conclusion that the use of cell phones in relationships is not an effective method of resolving relationship conflicts.
The above conclusion was reached at because of the shortcomings faced with using cell phones as a primary means of resolving the conflicts. The shortcomings include; strategic avoidance of certain topics proposed by a spouse can be easily avoided if brought up via a cell phone, dialectical tension of the autonomy which can be misunderstood by the other partner thus causing more conflict, relational comfort and commitment in a relationship which can be damaged by unprecedented use of the cell phone by one spouse and lack of proper communication of necessary emotions involved in the conflict resolving process among other shortcomings.
Also surveys carried out on youth aged between 18 and 30 have shown that face-to-face interactions are the most preferred to cell phone use when confronting any kind of conflicts they are facing. Although cell phone use is still rising, substituting interactions that need a face-to-face presence like conflict resolution has not yet been made possible.