He’s Just Not That Into You: Interpersonal Communication

It is impossible to get through life without communicating. Better interpersonal communication skills help us success in different aspects of our life. He’s just not that into you is the movie that I will analyze. In this movie, there are nine main characters and they live intertwine with one another either by being a friend, a couple, friend of a friend. In this paper, I will explore how Gigi is using interpersonal communication on the evolution of personal relationship; and how she applies better communication skills in her relationship with others.

Terms that I will apply and analyze in the films are: Perception, stereotype, mind reading, prototype, verbal communication, and the ambiguous of language, the abstract of language, ineffective listening, kinesics, commitment and self-disclosure. He’s Just Not That Into You, a movie was directed by Ken Kwapis and released 2009, which is about a interconnecting story deals with the challenges of reading or misreading human behavior while in relationship. Gigi is always misread the signal from any of the men she dates but she never gives up finding her true love.

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Then she met a bar owner as well as her dating consular—Alex, who is sweet but cynical of love. There is a couple—Neil and Beth who has been together for seven years but she finally breaks up with him because he doesn’t want to be married. Janine and Ben are the married couple until Ben has an affair with Anna. Connor is trying to pursue Anna and he also had a date with Gigi before. Gigi always put herself to an awkward situation because of her unprofessional perception of man.

In Communication Mosaics: An introduction to the field of communication, Julia Wood (2004) tells us that “Perception is the active process of selecting, organizing and interpreting people, object, event, situation, and activities” and that “Perception shapes our understanding of other’s communication and the choices we make in our own communication” (p. 47) She also defines stereotype as “predictive generalization about a person or situation. ” (p. 50) and explain prototype is “knowledge structures that define the clearest or ideal examples of some category. ” (p. 8) At the beginning of the movie, Gigi was a little girl and she was told that boys who like them will demonstrate this by telling them they smell like dog poop. Afterward, Gigi’s perception of men is that “if a guy acts like a total jerk that means he likes you. ” That’s why she continued to stalk a guy who is drummer only used her for rides, and then she was delusional about her relationship with Don who broke up with her every Friday so that he could have his weekend free. Every time Gigi meets a man and then he never call, she still believes that he is into her but he may loses her number or just too busy to contact her.

GIgi apparently stereotypes the men whom she is interested in, which makes her embarrasses herself and also makes others think she is annoying. Mind reading also blocks the way for Gigi to seeking her true love. Gigi also has a problem in communication is mind reading. Julia Wood (2004) defines mind reading is “assuming we understand what another person thinks or feels” (p. 61) In Mind-reading and Metacognition: Narcissism, Not actual Competence, Predicts Self-estimated Ability, Ames Daniel R. and Kammrath Lara K. 2004) claim that: When people fail to read others’ mind, they form incorrect impressions, take ineffective or inappropriate actions, and generally fail to coordinate their behavior worth the attitudes and behavior of those around them. (p. 187) At her date with Connor, she thinks he likes her because of “He ordered more drinks for us” and “He initiated the hug and said it was nice to meeting me. ” In her relationship with Alex, Gigi assumes that Alex has a crush on her. She thinks that Bill is the fictitious character whom Alex just used for having a date with her.

In Alex party, she acts as if she is co-hosting and helps Alex to entertain other guests and stays for cleaning. At the end of party, she even misinterprets that Alex is going to invite her to sleep together. When Gigi minds reading, she acts as if she knows what’s on someone else’s mind, and this gets her into awkward situation. In fact, the prototype of man is not that complicated: if they want you they will find you. “Prototypes are knowledge structures that define the clearest or ideal examples of some category. ” (Wood. 2004. p. 48) is defined by Julia Wood.

She also explains that “Verbal communication, or language, consists of symbols in the form of spoken or written words” (p. 70) and clarifies that “Language is ambiguous, which means it doesn’t have clear-cut, precise meanings. ” (p. 71) In Blaine Goss’s The Effect of Sentence Contest on Associations to Ambiguous, Vague, and Clear Nouns (1972), the studies shows that “when words are ambiguous or vague they affect and inhibit information processing mechanisms. ” (p. 286) and his co-worker Zimbardo found that “ambiguous sentences tended to be distorted by a respondent to be congruent with his attitudes. (p. 287) “If a guy wants to spend time with you, he’ll make it happened. Otherwise, forget it” said by Alex, is the harsh truths about male attitudes toward relationship. Gigi had a date with Connor. At the end of the date Connor said “It was really nice to meeting you” which makes Gigi automatically thinks that everything is going well. She is ever watchful of her phone, waiting for him to call. She even did drive-by the City Supper Club where Connor always hangs out in order to “accidently” meet him. But the true is he has no interest in seeing her again.

The meaning of “It was nice to meeting you” varies according to romantic culture context and individual’s experiences. In romantic culture, if other person initiated the hug and said it was nice to meeting you at the end of the date; it means the date is blowoff. For Gigi, she doesn’t familiar with the romantic culture context which causes her misunderstanding by the ambiguous of languages. The end of friendship with Alex is because of Gigi’s ineffective listening and her use of non-verbal communication.

As a date consular of Gigi, Alex continues to assist her to recognize the verbal or non-verbal signal from her dates. Once Gigi and Alex become closer, Gigi commits another listening error by selectively listening to Alex’s messages, misinterpreting them for romantic interest. She also uses non-verbal communication to express her feeling to Alex. According to Wood (2004), “Our eyes can shoot daggers of danger, issue challenges, express skepticism, or radiate love. ” (p. 100) eye contact refers to kinesics which is defined by Wood as “body position and body motion, including those of the face. ” (p. 00) Beside, she concludes that one of the ineffective listening is selective listening, which is: …involves focusing only on particular parts of communication” and “one form of selective listening is focusing only in communication that interests us or corresponds to our opinion and feelings. (p. 125) Gigi starts to rewind every “love signs”. She emphasizes the first called he said “Good to hear from you. ” And then the second time she called he was with a woman, but he took the call and they talked for a while. Then Alex invited her to his party in his place which makes Gigi to be sure that he is into her.

In the party, she seems herself is more than just a guest and keeps making eye contact with him. When Alex asks her if she can help him and refill the snack, she automatically defines herself as a co-hosting. At the end of the party, Gigi stays for cleaning up. When Alex said “I really gotta go to bed” Gigi assumes that he is inviting her to sleep with him. Gigi enlarges the positive message sent by Alex and screens out messages content that is irrelevant to her needs. Their friendship therefore, goes to the end. However, Gigi can only reach the top level in her friendship with Janine.

Gigi can maintain her friendship with Janine successfully because she is always be committed to building trust and talking openly about their feelings and needs to her best friend. Wood (2004) concludes that “Commitment is the decision to remain with a relationship. ” (p. 203) and “Unlike passion, commitment is a decision to stay together despite trouble, disappointments, sporadic restlessness, and lulls in emotional depth” (p. 204) She also indicates that “Slef-disclosure is not only focus foster personal growth but also tends to increase closeness. ” (p. 90) Self-disclosure is defined as “the revelation of personal information about ourselves that others are unlikely to learn on their own” (Wood. 2004. p. 188). In the movie He’s Just Not That into You, Gigi and Janine are working together and sharing everything to each other. Gigi even trusts Janine enough to be setup on a blind date. Janine goes with Gigi to a bar for a speed date. Because she knows Gigi can not read signals from the guy and comfortable enough to say, “please do not stalk him. ” Only true friend can give each other harsh advice which is good for them and the other person won’t take offense.

Janine shares that her husband had an affair and admits that they never have sex. These are very personal but Janine trusts Gigi enough to disclose that. In Carrie C. Hutchinson’s Interpersonal Communication Navigating Relationships in a Changing World,(2013) he illustrates Knapp’s Staircase Model of relational Escalation and De-escalation. He indicates that “Relational escalation is the process of moving through these stages toward interpersonal intimacy” (p. 198) and there are five stages in escalation: initiating, experimenting, intensifying, integrating and bonding.

Hutchinson gives each stage definition. Initiating stage is “verbal introduction” (p. 199) and experimenting is “real conversation. ” (p. 200) Intensifying stage is “the mutual understanding that the relationship is important and significant to both members. ” (Hutchinson. 2013. p. 230) and integrating stage is “the relationship becomes increasingly important to both people. ” (Hutchinson. 2013. p. 206) In contract, there are five stages for down away from intimacy which is defined as de-escalation: differentiating, circumscribing, stagnating, avoiding and terminating. For terminating stage, Hutchinson xplains “There is an overt decision to eliminate further interaction as a couple. ” (p. 239) Throughout He’s Just Not That Into you, Gigi goes through different stages of escalation and de-escalation with Alex. At first, Gigi and Alex become friends because of Connor whom Gigi was going to meet but he’s never show up. That is the initiating stage. Afterward, Gigi asks Alex a lot about relationship advice which Alex is really good at, which they reach to experimenting stage. When Alex invites Gigi to his party, she misread those as an invitation to proceed to a romantic intimate level so she immediately jumps to intensify stage.

But Alex denies any feelings and their friendship goes to terminating stage of de-escalation. Alex later realizes that Gigi is his true love so he shows up at her door and confesses to her. At the end, their relationship back to integrating stage. There is no way that new friends communicate in the same way as two life-long friend, nor is that people on first date would communicate are the same as the married couple do. The developmental model of relationships, which is the process of escalation and de-escalation relationship, help us to clear where we are in the progressing of our relationship.

Before Gigi meets Alex, she misinterprets the signal from the men she dated. After she meets Alex and listens to the brutally honest dating advice from him, she understands that “If the guy doesn’t call you, he doesn’t wanna call you” and she is getting be aware of levels of abstraction while dating. According to Wood (2004), Abstract language is not always inadvisable. The goal is to use a level of abstraction that suits particular communication objective and situations. Abstraction words are appropriate when speakers and listeners have similar knowledge about what is being discussed. p. 87) In one since where she met the guy in a bar. He said he is going to call. But after exchanging the business cards, he said he’s looking forward for Gigi’s call which makes Gigi confuse. So she confronts him and says lets leave it as you will call me. The other scene is that Gigi was making out with the guy in his place. He mentioned that he’s going out of town and he would be out of touch. Then Gigi consults Alex and figure out that he is not interested to her. Gigi eliminates the abstraction of language successfully which helps her to seek the true love.

The movie He’s Juts Not That into You describes the story of nine characters finding their true love and trying to build and maintain their relationship with others. Throughout the movie, Gigi learns and applies better communication skills through her dating adventures. In conclusion, this movie shoes that, keeping away from selecting listening and stereotyping; being aware of the abstraction of language as well as avoiding mind reading while communicating, which are able to assist us to build and sustain our relationship with others.

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