Convergence and Divergence of Communication
Nico Brown COJO 1030 October 25, 2012 Convergence and Divergence Essay Intentionally or intuitively, we constantly use convergence and divergence in our daily communication routine. While the process itself is automatic; the manner of not doing either does not exist, because one of the two is always being chosen. Convergence is the process of adapting ones speech style to match others they want to identify and divergence is the use of linguistic mannerisms that emphasizes a person’s differences from others.
A person would be able to understand these two concepts through personal examples by comparing and contrasting the differences in each term, discussing what aspects of these communicative techniques were conscious and which were unconscious, and explaining the relational consequences. When thinking of the meaning of convergence, it takes me back to when I was in fourth grade. I had been going to this school for three years; I knew everyone and everyone knew me. All of my friends would come to my house after school and we would hangout until the sun went down. Everything we did, we did it together.
Whether it was getting into trouble by stealing the neighbor’s cat or celebrating each other’s birthday; there wasn’t an hour when you could see us apart from each other. Then one day we moved out of the neighborhood, which also meant I moved schools, but worst of all, my friends. Being that it was the middle of the second semester, I didn’t automatically fit in with the kids at my new school. The fact that I was now three towns from where I grew up and what my former friends and I did for fun was now considered lame led me to have less chances of acquiring new friends.
After a week or two of eating, playing and sitting alone I figured to give it a shot; that whatever they are doing, and even though it might be different than what I do, it may be fun. The next Monday during the morning recess I walked up to a group of kids and asked to play with them. A week later I had three new friends and with that I picked up a few new words. This is an example of convergence. The fact that I changed the way I did things while being accepted by others. An example of divergence would be the time I moved from the state of Kansas to the Lone Star State of Texas.
Being in a new state was a lot different than being in a new town that is a few miles down the road. Every Texan I came in contact with would ask me the same questions and say all the same things. Have I ever been in a tornado, does it rain a lot in Kansas, does Kansas have a lot of tornadoes, I talk weird, I sound funny, I have an accent. Personally that was the first time someone told me I had an accent or talked funny, and I got them both in the same day. I remember when I asked a guy what his favorite pop was. He looked at me with a confused face and asked what it was. Example of illustrators, a Non-verbal behavior that accompanies and supports verbal message). When I told him some people call it soda he laughed at me and said he thought I was talking about champagne. When I joined the football team the coaches would tell me to do certain things and when I never did they would argue that I was doing everything wrong. Then when they saw me do something good, they asked where I learned it from and my answer was would always be Kansas. Everything I did I made sure that everyone knew that I was from Kansas.
Whether it was the way I walked, the way I talked, the things I said, or the things I did. Thinking back, motivations I used when I was in the fourth grade would have come from all those days of sitting alone as well as eating alone. The thought of not being able to be around my old friends pushed me to get more friends. As to when I moved to Texas the reason I wanted to stand out from being the same as everyone else was because Kansas was all I knew. Everything I had ever known at that point I learned in Kansas and the sudden change just made me want make a statement that I was not a Texas native.
I would say that the wanting to standout from everyone in Texas was unconscious. The reason being because everyone did certain things that I would have never done if I were back home in Kansas and what I did they considered it to be “different” and something was wrong with it. But as much as they pointed out what I did differently I couldn’t help it because hose were things I was used to. It was more of a reflex because I was so used to doing and saying things in a certain way. Trying to change it would be conscious because I would focus more to what I was saying and how I would need to make it different.
When I changed schools and finally decided to make new friends was conscious communication techniques. Because I had to think about it before it happened. I also changed the way I behaved and I would say things in different ways than how I would usually say them. Instead of all of this automatically happening I had to think about things that I said and remember what was what so I would be accepted within the group. These two innocent situations that I experienced had unaware consequences on the involved relationships. The first one being that I changed the way I did things and I got new friends.
The second being I was able to be myself and I was considered different. And even though I was not the same as everyone else, I still managed to have friends that accepted me for who I was. Convergence and divergence both impacts and have an effect on our lives and the truth they always will. While we will use convergence to help us get closer to people and divergence to keep us distant from the ones we don’t want to be around. They two terms will continually be used throughout our lives determining the types of relationships we have. Whether it’s intentional or not, we will always use one concept or the other.