When Harry Met Sally Background of Characters and Episode Harry and Sally’s relationship has developed into a stabilized friendship. They arrive at Jess and Marie’s new apartment with a plant. Jess and Marie are unpacking, and they’re having a disagreement about a wagon wheel that’s been made into a table with a round plate glass on top. Harry and Sally have just run into Harry’s ex-wife. He seems upset but denies it when Sally asks him if he’s okay. Jess asks Harry for his opinion, and Harry says it’s nice and walks over and stares blankly out the door. Marie asks Sally for her opinion, and Sally just makes a face and shakes her head no.
Jess and Marie continue arguing, and Harry turns around and walks toward them and explains that his marriage started out fine and then begins to raise his voice. Sally tells him that he’s upset and they shouldn’t talk about that right now. He disagrees because he feels that by telling them about it they’ll benefit from his experience. Harry continues raising his voice, explaining how his marriage ended up. He walks out the door, slamming it behind him. Sally explains to that they just bumped into Helen and follows Harry out the door. Harry is pacing in front of the apartment, and Sally walks down the steps.
He admits that he shouldn’t have done that. Sally explains how he should handle his emotions. They ended up in a heated argument after Harry tells Sally that nothing bothers her. This scene between Sally and Harry on the front step demonstrates all four areas of responses to conflict: exit response, neglect response, loyalty response, and voice response. It also demonstrates unproductive conflict communication patterns during conflict by disconfirming, mind-reading and kitchen-sinking. Sally tries to address the conflict directly with the voice response. She came right out and told Harry that he needed to learn how to control his feelings.
She explained that there is a time and place for everything and that was not the time or place. The conflict communication became unproductive from the beginning when Harry got up and said, “Well, when you’re giving your next lecture series in social graces, let me know. I’ll sign up. “ He disconfirmed Sally’s suggestion to keep his emotions in check. He stood up and walked away, using the exit response by physically removing himself from the conflict. Sally follows him and tells him that he doesn’t have to take his anger out on her. Harry feels that she is telling him how to live his life and calls her “Miss Hospital Corners,” ssuming nothing bothers her. He’s using mind-reading by assuming he knows how she feels. Sally uses the exit response by turning and walking away from him. She denies Harry’s claim using the neglect response. Harry continues to use mind reading, telling Sally she doesn’t have any feelings of loss for her last marriage. Sally uses the exit response again and refuses to continue the argument and says, “I don’t have to put up with his crap! ” She’s in denial because she feels she is in complete control of her life. They engage in kitchen-sinking when Harry assumes that Sally isn’t over Joe because she doesn’t see people.
His idea of seeing people is sleeping with them. She tells Harry that sleeping with someone doesn’t prove that you’re over someone. She accuses him of sleeping with every woman he dates like he’s out for revenge. At that point Harry realizes that it’s a lose-lose situation and the argument is going nowhere. He apologizes and hugs her and they make up. This shows the loyalty response because despite any differences they have, they are loyal to one another. This is a passive response to the conflict because they both realized nothing was being resolved.