This brief review of some aspects of effective communication presents the second of three conversations of my freshman college-life experience.
Conversation 2: One weekend, around 3 am, I heard my phone ring. I was surprised because I did not set my alarm to wake me up at such an odd time. I would have declined the call because it was rather too late. Nevertheless, I received the call, and it was my friend Sam talking in pain on the phone. He told me that he had gotten himself injured in a football game he had played during the day. He sprained his ankle and had it bandaged, but was in severe pain during the night and could not sleep. He asked me to help him report the situation to the Resident Hall Director. Sam and I lived on the same hall so it was not going to be difficult seeing him, but considering the time and my privacy, I could have shunned him. However, I felt concerned about his situation and helped him out.
From the discourse, I “tolerated and adjusted to my distraction.” To tolerate or adjust to one’s distraction is to “handle a situation, especially one that you do not necessarily like with forbearance” (Oxford Reference Dictionary). I had to put myself in Sam’s situation and assist him although I had to forgo my sleep and privacy.
Furthermore, due to the kind of relationship I had with Sam, I could not have ignored him; therefore, I weighed the “costs and benefits” of our friendship (from Social Exchange Theory). I knew he would also assist me if I had the same problem. We hung out and did almost everything together, and to date, we have become the best of friends because of what we always gain from each other.
From the conversation, I could describe my relationship with Sam as “intensifying.” We did not only see ourselves as casual friends but developed sincere care and concern for each other, almost as brothers.
Finally, I also saw my need for association. Sam, of course, had a roommate who could have been his first point of call when he needed that assistance. However, he did not call him, but me. Having a feeling of association meant that Sam knew he would be accepted by me no matter what the problem was.
In traditional Ghanaian society, there were certain ethical behaviours that people would portray toward others simply because it was good or right—from communication to gesture. These acts were done without grudge or complaint. For example, offering one’s seat to an adult stranger, assisting someone to carry a load, holding the door for someone, being polite or kind to strangers. There are so many other examples. Unfortunately, these values are lost in our society. How best can we revive these ethics?
WRITER: Kwame Twumasi-Ankrah | email@example.com