Transactional Model of Communication

TRANSACTIONAL MODEL OF COMMUNICATION Last week, I met a friend whom I didn’t see for a long time.

  Although I was happy to see her and talk to her after a long while, I felt somehow uncomfortable the whole time we were together.I knew from my friend that she’s now in a relationship although she confessed that the guy is someone she has never met yet.  She just met him through a social networking site online.  She said that although they haven’t met, they already have a “mutual understanding” of their relationship.

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My friend’s revelation about her current relationship and my feelings towards her during that time, were at first like puzzles to me.However, my understanding of transactional model of communication has helped me figure out why exactly our meeting seemed uncomfortable to me and why my friend would call a relationship with some unseen guy a “mutual understanding.”First of all, transactional communication suggests that communication doesn’t happen in vacuum.  Also, communication is never linear.

  Instead, the model suggests four factors that make communication an encompassing process.A communication that is transactional happens simultaneously between the sender and the receiver.  This is possible through the presence of feedback which allows both communicators to make some adjustments on the strategy or manner of sending and receiving messages.  For instance, when I met with my friend, I was actually supposed to tell her a lot of stories about me and how my life is here as a foreign student.

  However, I noticed in the course of our conversation that she seemed disinterested to know my life as a student.  I said this because when I started talking about my studies, she immediately changed the topic and asked me other things instead.  This cue gave me a signal to forget about telling her my life as a foreign student here.  Although I planned to relate to her my life as a student here, I just put away the idea because of the feedback that immediately caught me.

Secondly, transactional communication is multidimensional.  This means that the communication taking place affects all aspects of a person.  For instance, my friend said that her “mutual understanding” with a certain guy has made her do things which she never used to do.  For example, she claimed she started to enjoy cooking because the guy is a chef in his country.

  Knowing my friend who doesn’t really like being in the kitchen, it proves that indeed, her constant communication with the guy she was telling me about had influenced her and eventually affected her preference.Third, transactional communication sees the value of time as a factor in any communication situation.  Time is the reason I felt uncomfortable when I met with my friend.  We didn’t talk for over five years and just decided to meet last week.

  Her absence, I guess, made me feel distant from her when we finally see each other.  When we were together back then, we were always doing things that both of us enjoyed while we constantly updated each other of the happenings in our own lives.  However, since we parted ways, we never had a chance to even send e-mail to each other just to keep ourselves posted about each other’s lives. Throughout all the years that we were not together, I guess a lot of things happened in our field of experiences.

  Now, it seems like what I enjoy doing is no longer the same with what she enjoys doing.  This could have caused me to feel “awkward” or uncomfortable.  It was as if I was alienated by the way she talked and the priorities that she has now.  On the other hand, I also thought that it might not be my friend, but I, who really changed.

  It is possible that I was the one who just changed—from belief, likes, dislikes, preferences and priorities in life — which is why I could no longer find anything common between my friend and me.  Whoever between us has changed, one thing is sure though – that time has a big factor in the feeling of discomfort I felt when I met with her.  According to the transactional model of communication, time, as a factor in communication, can be an advantage or a disadvantage.  For instance, couples who no longer spend time together like the way they used to, may find themselves “strangers again” even after years of marriage.

  Also, my friend’s relationship with the seemingly strange guy she just met online, could be strengthened as time goes by if they continue communicating with each other.Lastly, no communication, especially transactional ones, is without any noise.  Noise in communication can be either external or internal.  This noise can strongly alter the result of communication.

  For instance, my friend claimed that she sometimes has difficulty understanding the accent of the guy because he is a native speaker of British English.  My friend is not used to talking to any person with such accent so she said she sometimes hardly understands what he is saying.  This language problem is a semantic noise.  To maximize their communication, my friend needs to get used to listening to people with such accent or he needs to speak a bit slowly until my friend has understood what he says.

  Also, the difference in their culture, since they come from different background, could also have impact on their communication.  Culture difference also comes as a form of noise in their communication.Transactional communication is helpful in understanding communication situations which include the sending and receiving of messages which both happen at the same time.  Between the sending and receiving of messages come time and noise, thereby influencing all aspects of the communicators’ dynamic lives. -30-

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Transactional Model of Communication. (2017, Mar 10). Retrieved from