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Nonverbal Interpersonal Communication in “Friends” Show Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Dec 30th, 2020

Nonverbal communication

As language affects interpersonal relations (Wood, 2007, p. 102), it is necessary to make sure that people understand you and comprehend what you mean. Nonverbal communication can be used to make the meaning more obvious. However, an individual may use some means of nonverbal communication unintentionally (Wood, 2007, p. 123) and does not pay much attention to the overall meaning verbal and nonverbal messages create together.

Sometimes, I fail to express understanding because I shake my head as if I did not understand. Though most people nod their heads to express agreement and understanding, shaking one’s head does not mean that I do not agree, I simply express nonverbal messages unintentionally. I think that more effective control over the gestures and facial expressions could improve my nonverbal communication.

Nonverbal Communication Analysis in “Friends” Show

What is the name of the show? Who are the main characters, and what are their relationships to each other?

The name of the show is Friends, second season, the first episode “The one with Ross’s new girlfriend.” The main characters are Ross, his new girlfriend Julie, Ross’s sister Monica, her friend Rachel, their friends Phoebe, Joey, and Chandler. The relationships between Ross and Monica are obvious, as they are brother and sister; all of them are friends except Julie, who is a new girlfriend of Ross.

What are the five nonverbal types that you observed in the program? Explain with details from the program.

Haptics can be observed when people touch each other in a way (Wood, 2007, p. 131). For instance, more rough touch such as handshake can be observed when Rachel shakes hands with Julie; Rachel pushes Ross with her fist while addressing him to denote that they are close enough that she can do that; Chandler pushes Ross with his fist when he comes to talk to him.

Kinetics refers to body positions and movements (Wood, 2007, pp. 130-131). Rachel demonstrates her irritation and plenty of emotions with the help of her gestures and body movements.

Artifacts can be observed when looking, and Chandler and Joe opposed Ross. Either Ross has a more serious position at work, or a higher status in society, or both. At the same time, Chandler and Joe wear more convenient closes, unlike Ross’s jacket.

Proxemics and personal space (Wood, 2007, p. 133) can be observed when Ross stands with Julie aside from other friends, whereas Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, and Joe, as well as Rachel, are not tending to approach Ross and Julie who are viewed as a unit.

Paralanguage is the use of vocals (Wood, 2007, pp. 136-137) by Rachel when she is ridiculing Julie by using a more irritated tone than with other participants of the episode.

Was it easy or difficult to understand what was happening in the action while only observing the nonverbal cues? Explain with examples.

It was simple to understand the situation without hearing the words because the emotions expressed by actors were painted in their faces and their body movements. For instance, it was easy to understand that guys treated Julie negatively from the beginning and did not try to establish a contact later.

What effect did the nonverbal communication have on the characters involved?

The characters involved understood the nonverbal communication clearly and perceived it appropriately. However, it was clear that Ross did not understand that his friends did not like the fact that he came with a new girlfriend.

When you viewed the verbal and the nonverbal together, explain a situation where they contradicted each other. When this happened, which did you believe? Explain why with specific examples.

The example of verbal and nonverbal communication coming together was when Ross greeted his friends, and they were sincerely happy to see him. These two types of communication contradicted each other when Rachel used an irritated and unnaturally emotional tone of her voice to express how glad she was to see Ross, but she was meaning that she did not expect to see him with someone else.

What parts do verbal and nonverbal communications play in effective interpersonal communication?

Effective interpersonal communication includes verbal and nonverbal means that should not contradict each other. For instance, when a person claims that he/she is not irritated and waves with hands heavily, this cannot be interpreted as a non-emotional message as verbal communication contradicts the nonverbal one.

What did you learn from this project?

This project enabled me to understand who useful can be the observation of nonverbal means of communication. As interpersonal communication is based on both factors, it is important to recognize the real emotions and intentions or try to help a person even if he/she claims to be active and cheerful crossing the hands over the chest.


Wood, J. T. (2007). Interpersonal communication: Everyday encounters (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Thompson.

Crane, D., and Kauffman, M. (Producers). (1995). Friends [Television series ]. “The one with Ross’s new girlfriend” California: NBC and Warner Bros. Television.

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