Each person constructs their identity that is presented to the others with each decision they make throughout their lives. Shifts in one’s self-portrait are often linked with extreme circumstances that may trigger undesirable behavior (Adler & Proctor II, 2017). This paper will discuss the importance of perception points when discussing the sudden change in the level of self-disclosure. Without considering the importance of context and information significance, such communication could fail due to unintentional and undisclosed messages.
One’s perception of others, as well as their self-concept, is critical in such a situation. Donnie chose to keep silent as a way of self-disclosure, which might be the best option for his situation. Therefore, the difference in access to information is the first factor that affects our perceptions of the situation (Adler & Proctor II, 2017). Nonetheless, it should be possible to establish positive contact with Donnie due to us having a beneficial relationship in the workplace prior to his withdrawal from society. My relationship with that person is a critical factor in their openness. The level of self-disclosure depends heavily on the depth of our relationships (Adler & Proctor II, 2017, p. 86). Obvious factors may be easy to notice, but there is a multitude of less apparent causes for each change, and their disclosure would require a more intimate level of relationships (Adler & Proctor II, 2017). One’s perception of this situation cannot be defined in two tones only.
Another vital factor is my social influence that comes from my experience, resistance to stress, and reliability, which are known to my colleagues. The apparent difference in social position, such as working experience, presents another issue that affects communication (Adler & Proctor II, 2017). Donnie might be intimidated by my control over other employees that stems from my positive qualities. The risk of causing negativity to spark among us does exist and may change Donnie’s intentions to share his problems with me.
First of all, avoidance of any conversation is apparent in this situation, yet it does not warrant a direct confrontation. Silence indicates telling the truth is an unfavorable outcome for a person withholding the information (Adler & Proctor II, 2017). It would be more ethical to avoid interpreting silence without knowing all context (Adler & Proctor II, 2017). Donnie has the right not to confess anything during our meeting.
Both intentional and unintentional messages must be considered during such an encounter. If I was to confront this young employee directly, any sign of brashness may appear as an intimidating factor for them. In such a case, one’s presentation would position them as an attempt to mentor them and could cause defensive answers (Adler & Proctor II, 2017, p. 78). I should show restrain when conversing with Donnie to avoid appearing as ignorant or aggressive. Another strong tendency that can be detrimental to our communication is my appearance as a complaining side. It is easy to see why I could approach Donnie with such intentions, as he put additional strain on my work schedule. Knowing each other as usually optimistic and easy-going persons, we both must understand that truth can appear to be on both perspectives (Adler & Proctor II, 2017). Such a confrontation is not in our interest, as this would be dire neglect of empathy from our sides.
In order to restore communication with the distraught employee, I will have to empathize with them. However, it is impossible to do so without knowing the root cause of the issue, but it is possible to imagine possible reasons and how one would live through them (Adler & Proctor II, 2017). I must consider very carefully what behavior Donnie shows and act accordingly by avoiding any chance of an adverse reaction from his side. In this situation, accusations, assumptions, and the inability to see the situation from the perspective of my colleague would be devastating for our relationship (Adler & Proctor II, 2017). I can use the pillow method to analyze the situation. Presenting four opposite points of view and one compromise on the issue can highlight possible outcomes and their meanings without having to confront a person directly (Adler & Proctor II, 2017, p. 131). The complexity of this situation requires the elimination of any misunderstandings.
In conclusion, my approach to communicating with Donnie must take into account all potential undisclosed reasons through empathy and mindfulness to the reasons behind his silence. In my following communication with Donnie, I will have to show utmost respect to his privacy and avoid digging too deep if I sense any discomfort from his side. Empathy will be the key to a successful dialogue, as I have only a sliver of information regarding his current situation, which may be too personal to share and cause him distress in doing so. Moreover, I will have to consider our differences in social positions, as well as possible reasons for his absenteeism and hostility. The pillow method can help me prepare for potential ways our dialogue can develop, especially if I am in the wrong.
However, I must be ready for any turn of events, as the source of my colleague’s struggles is unknown to me. As Adler and Proctor II (2017) state, it is necessary to understand that “communication will not solve all problems” (p. 19). Some life situations require a person to choose silence over disclosure, as their private nature could be either detrimental to their self-esteem or bring discomfort to others.
Adler, R. B., & Proctor II, R. F. (2016). Looking out, looking in (15th ed.). Cengage Learning.