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Tristan Biesinger

COMM 1050
March 22, 2016
Communication Crash Paper
Introduction: Every day we use communication. We communicate with several different people
in various ways. With the help of todays modern technology we have the opportunity to
communicate either face to face or, if we desire to communicate with someone at a long distance,
we have various methods of communication that helps us reach those far away. Communication
helps us with many different things and is a great asset to all of us. Though communication has
many benefits to us, it can also cause huge setbacks as well. Conflicts can be very powerful,
especially within relationships. This paper will cover exactly that; I will describe a conflict I was
involved in with two of my very good friends. It was a difficult situation for all of us. In this
paper I will explain the Social Exchange Theory including defining it, applying the theory to the
conflict, and finally I will explain how the theory could have been beneficial in better resolving
the situation.
Description of the Conflict: My senior year in high school was a very fun time for me. It all
started in the late spring of my junior year. I played football all through high school and created a
lot of tight nit friendships because of the sport. The relationships you build in football are really
special ones. You and your teammates all go through very challenging times together throughout
the season and you are always there to help each other through those times. You watch out for
your teammates and they become brothers to you. In the off-season, my best friend Jeff and I
became very good friends with a kid named David. The three of us all had very fun times
together especially in the summer going into my senior year. Once football and school started,
we began having even more fun in our group. We all became very close and I enjoyed every time
we were all together because we were all happy. I was very happy. We all were enjoying our time
in what is known as the honey moon phase of the friendship, which is defended by one
specialist as the early weeks or months of a relationship, often referred to as the 'honeymoon
phase.' During this phase, people are more likely to ignore the social exchange balance. Things
that would normally be viewed as high costs are dismissed, ignored, or minimized while the
potential benefits are often exaggerated. (Cherry, par 9). However, unfortunately as time went
on, Jeff and Dave started having a difficult time getting along. Both of them were very good
friends of mine, and I liked hanging out with both of them. But there was definitely tension
between the two. Jeff is a very laid-back person, which is not always bad, but it he can definitely
try the patients of even the most tolerant people. Dave on the other hand is very similar to me.
He is a very impatient individual; however, unlike me, the way Jeff acted really bothered Dave.
Sometime this caused Dave to show a lot of anger towards Jeff, and often he said very rude
things to him. I could see Jeff and Dave were both right and wrong but the tension between them
only grew as time went on putting me in a very awkward position. I did not know who to side
with or what was the best way to go about handling these sometimes very delicate situations.
With continual bickering between the two, my solution was to evaluate the pros and cons of the

friendships. I sat down and thought what would be the result of siding with one which I knew
would very possibly lead to losing my friendship with the other.
Theory Definition: The theory can be summed up by an interesting equation Worth = Reward
Cost which illustrates the basic principles of the theory. The foundation of the theory is that we
analyze all of our relationships with the use of the equation above as defined by West and Turner.
The Social Exchange Theory proposes that the major force in interpersonal relationships is the
satisfaction of both peoples self-interest. Self-interest is not considered to be necessarily bad and
can actually be used to enhance relationships. Interpersonal exchanges are thought to be
analogues to economic exchanges where people are satisfied when they receive a fair return for
their expenditures (187).
Theory Analysis: In the personal experience listed above, I was caught in a cross roads with my
two very close friends. I had a strong friendship with both of them but the situation they put me
in filled me with stress and guilt because I felt if I were to side with one of them I would lose the
friendship of the other. I had no idea what to do and it took a very long time for me to make the
decision. Before making the decision, I felt very torn. Both of them refused to hang out with each
other, so whenever I wanted to meet up with them, I had to pick a night with one and another
night with the other. I felt like I was a kid going through a divorce. I had to take turns hanging
out with each of them and it began to become very annoying and very frustrating, mainly
because they did not put in a single bit of effort to get along with each other. I did not want my
senior year of high school to be like this because it was stressful for me. That was all until David
began hanging out with a kid named Davis. Davis was a kid I could not stand. He was someone
who did not share the same standards I did. David also began to lower his standards. Because of
this, and the fact that both David and Jeff refused to get along making it awkward for me, I
decided to limit my friendship with David. I did not realize it at the time but I assessed the
situation by using the equation from above: (Worth = Reward Cost). The analysis for Jeff was
Worth = Friendship Awkward situations. For Dave it was Worth = Friendship (Awkward
situations + Lower Standards). I came to the conclusion that though I really did think of David
as a close friend, it was too much of a cost for me to continue the friendship while he was acting
in this manner. It was not an easy decision, but if felt it was necessary.
Theory Recommendation: While the conflict was not within my control and would have
happened one way or another, the entire conflict could have been handled better if Jeff and Dave
had known the aftermath and I had been open and honest with Dave. Being honest with people,
especially when it is someone we care about or are close to can be very difficult if we feel the
honesty is going to be harsh. That being said, had I been honest, assuming David still wanted to
be friends, perhaps he would have looked at the equation of Worth = Reward Cost and applied
towards his choice in friends he was making along with determining whether or not it was really
necessary or worth it to continue adding to the tension between he and Jeff. Evita Ochel explains
In the end, it is not about staying or not staying friends with someone, but about always
communicating your needs and feelings openly and honestly with the other person and being
open to the same in return. It is not always easy, but honest, clear and open communication
always moves us in the direction of our highest state of being. (Ochel, par 12) Looking back I
should have really been open with Dave and explained the feelings Jeff and I were both
beginning to have.

Conclusion: In this paper I have described the conflict that I was involved in with two of my
very good friends. I explained the Social Exchange Theory including defining it, applying the
theory to the conflict, and finally I explained how the theory could have been beneficial in
resolving the situation. The event I described in the paper was very difficult for me and my two
friends. Conflict is never an easy thing, especially when it creates a void between you and
someone you were close with. Its easy to look back and say I should have done things
differently, but until I really began to study communication I had no idea what I could have
done to correct the situation. This is why the study of communication is so important in helping
us understand how to better handle these situations. In conclusion, though I am disappointed by
the end result, I am also optimistic that the next time I am faced with a similar situation I can
look back on this and apply what I have learned from this experience and from an online article
which states, Communication is key to your successin relationships, in the workplace, as a
citizen of your country, and across your lifetime. Your ability to communicate comes from
experience, and experience can be an effective teacher, but this text and the related business
communication course will offer you a wealth of experiences gathered from professional
speakers across their lifetimes. You can learn from the lessons theyve learned and be a more
effective communicator right out of the gate. (McLean, par 1)
Work Cited:
Cherry, Kendra,What Is Social Exchange Theory? How Does Social Exchange Theory
Influence Relationships? 13 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 March 2016 <>
Ochel, Evita, Communication - The Cornerstone of All Relationships Evolving Beings. (n.p.)
26 Dec. 2012. Web. 20 Mar 2016. <>
McLean, Scott. Business Communication for Success, V. 1.0 Flat World Education, Inc. 2016.
Web. 20 March 2016 <>
Richard West and Lynn H. Turner. Introducing Communication Theory Analysis and Application.
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2000. Print.
In this assignment I reflected on past experiences with my friend where communication had
become a source of disagreement or conflict at the time I was not aware of why the
misunderstanding happened and why my friend misinterpreted what I said. Now looking back at
the situations explained in the paper I now have the knowledge and understanding of how to
solve or fix the communication problems by applying material regarding communication that I
learned in this class
Every day we use communication whether its with enemies, friends, strangers, or longtime
acquaintances. Therefore it is very easy to apply what I have learned in taking this class by
simply applying it to all of the communicating I do on a daily bases regardless of who I
communicate with.