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Nonverbal Versus Verbal Communication in Relationships

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 1308 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Nonverbal versus Verbal communication in Relationships


In this essay will discuss Nonverbal communication and Verbal communication in relationships and then compare the two different communication styles. Nonverbal communication is communication without the use of the spoken language, such as using facial expressions, gestures, body posture, pitch, speed, tone and volume of voice, eye contact and movements which can make you become closer to the listener. Verbal communication is the use of auditory sounds and words to express yourself without the using gestures or visual cues.

 Nonverbal communication refers to all of the messages excluding the actual spoken words. These include facial expressions, gestures, body posture, pitch, speed, tone and volume of voice, eye contact and movements. A real world example could be when you haven’t seen your spouse or girlfriend in a long time you first see them from a ways away you can see a smile on their face before they even say anything to you, that is a sign that he or she is happy to see you. Touch is another Nonverbal communication that helps indicate a person’s feelings, expressions closeness, and illustrates characteristics of that person. A stiff handshake or warm hug signify obviously different feelings than a loose one. Nonverbal communication is extremely important in expressing our emotions. Emotions such as happy, satisfied, confident, surprised, eager, tired, stressed, sad etc.


With Nonverbal communication in your relationship your spouse for girlfriend/boyfriend can tell exactly how you are based on your Nonverbal communications you are putting off. Nonverbal communication plays a vital role in communicating in relationships. With the proper interpersonal communication we can establish trust in relationships and help determine a person’s fidelity. With Nonverbal communication there are several important functions such as providing information, regulating interaction, expressing intimacy, exercising social control and facilitating service goals. With Nonverbal behaviors we can create closeness with others and in relationships but we can also be interpreted incorrectly and be unreliable if you are faking emotions or feelings.  Couples use Nonverbal behaviors to have closeness by leaning in close, gazing at each other, touching or smiling and having close physicality.

Verbal communication allows the sender or receiver to hear what exactly you are saying. In today’s world what you are saying is not as important as how you are saying it. When you’re communicating verbally people will do one of two things. One, they will listen and that means they will mentally pay attention to what is being said. And this will set a standard as to what response will be given, or they will not listen at all and they will completely blow it off changing the conversation and not mentally listening. We use Verbal communication to impact the knowledge and information we are trying to put out clearly. Verbal communication can help solve misunderstandings and will allow you to provide the missing information to the receiver. We can use verbal communication to correct the wrong doing, we can use saying “I’m sorry” as an example because it seems to be more effective than the action.

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Using effective Verbal communication is really dependent on all other modes of communications because if we communicate completely verbally, isolated from other effective communication modes such as Nonverbal communication, listening skills, and clarification, we will face problems in conveying our intended message. The use of Verbal communication is important in any relationship because it allows you to effectively communicate what you are trying to say in a clear voice. The importance of effective Verbal communication though is that you also have to have good Nonverbal communication to engage with your receiver so they will actually mentally listen and comprehend what you’re saying.  We can even use Verbal communication to persuade others. Verbal communication creates a chance for debate, stimulates thought and creativity, and deepens and creates relationships.


I feel like the biggest difference between verbal and non-verbal communication is the way information is delivered and received. Verbal communications delivers the information to others using your actual voice. The receiver accepts the information audibly through their ears. The order of words, tone of your voice, and speed of delivery all contribute to the interpretation of message being sent. For example: Think about the many ways you’ve heard people say the word “I’m sorry”. Did the tone of voice behind it sound honest, sarcastic, or angry? With Nonverbal communication the information is delivered using body movement. The receiver will interpret the information given using their eyes instead of their ears. The best way to understand how verbal and non-verbal communication affect your interactions with others is to begin observing how others interact with each other and how you interact with people. You should definitely pay attention to your facial expressions you use, your hand gestures, and other body language utilized when you are speaking because it all falls under Nonverbal and Verbal communications.

Based on everything I have researched I have found that, no matter what, Nonverbal communication communicates just as much or, at times, more than Verbal communication. For example, if a person has an angry facial expression, enters into an aggressive stance, encroaches upon another person’s personal space and touches another person in an inappropriate way then it is clear that a confrontation is in view, even if the Verbal communication sounds neutral. The nonverbal cues override anything verbal.

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In conclusion, Nonverbal communication is what allows the receiver to understand what the speaker is saying in a whole. The use of Verbal communication is used to acknowledge throughout the world. When Verbal communication is used other will still get the point we are trying to make in a more distinctive manner as well as using facial expression, body language, eye gaze, touch and smell which is part of Nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication in close relationships and intimate relationships sends deep messages to each partner and can be acknowledged in a positive or negative way. Nonverbal communication behaviors also trigger lots of turning points in the relationships such as the first kiss, first sex, or even moving in together. In close and intimate relationships, partners seem to focus more on the Nonverbal cues from their partners. Close partners in relationships rely on their partner’s body language, as a whole, in their acknowledgement of how the partner truly feel towards them.


  • Reis, H. (2018). Relationships, Well- Being and Behavior. New York: Routledge. December


  • Muse, I. (2013). Oral and Nonverbal Expression. New York: Routledge. Retrieved December 9, 2018
  • Jones, Stanley & Lebaron, Curtis. (2002). Research on the Relationship Between Verbal and Nonverbal Communication
  • Miller, R. S. (2012). Intimate Relationships. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Moore, J. D. (2010). Confusing Love with Obsession: When Being in Love Means Being in Control. Hazelden Publishing.



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