Nonverbal Communication In My Family

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For Thanksgiving, my family came to my house. My family was excited to meet the new boyfriend of my cousin, Kelley. This would be our first time meeting him (other than stalking him on Facebook). I picked Thanksgiving because it is an event that is filled with nonverbal communication. Whenever my family gets together, I usually expect really loud laughter coming from someone at any given time. Furthermore, the whole room is just really loud in general. We usually talk in loud volumes, speak with our hands, make eye contact, hug, and lean forward when we are talking to each other. All of these nonverbal communication norms say that everyone in our family gets along and loves each other very much. But, bring a newbie into our group and I thought things would change. I was wrong.

When Kelley and Michael (her boyfriend) first arrived, there was a loud greeting from my mom. She was complementing, or “[expressing] nonverbal behaviors [that] match the thoughts and emotions [of] the communicator,” with her warm smile on her face (Adler and Proctor 217). She used paralanguage to illustrate her excitement. Paralanguage refers to “a message spoken [in a way that] can give the same word or words many meanings” (Adler and Proctor 230). In this context, she raised her voice in order to show that she was excited to see Kelley and Michael. Upon her greeting, she raised her hands in order to signal that she was going in for a hug. This gesture set precedent for the rest of the
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