In revising Messages, I added dialogues for analysis in each chapter. Here are 2, one from the culture chapter and one from the listening chapter.
Dialogue for Analysis
The Intercultural Relationship
Here’s a dialogue centering on intercultural relationships. Analyze the dialogue and try to identify examples of effective and ineffective interpersonal communication. How might you have engaged in this dialogue to make it a more effective, satisfying, and culturally sensitive interaction?
Annette, Barbara, Caroline, and Dana, all in their early 30’s
The four former college best friends now meet once a year for an elaborate reunion dinner.
Annette It’s so great getting together every year.
Barbara I’m always anxious to hear what everyone’s been up to.
Dana Well, I got engaged.
At once What? Engaged? When did this happen?
Annette You weren’t even dating anyone the last time we met!
Dana I guess I just met the man I’ve been look for all my life. And he’s not even from our country.
Barbara You couldn’t find someone right here? In this entire country?
Annette What did your parents say?
Dana They were furious.
Annette I bet they were.
Dana They were furious; they told me all the reasons it wouldn’t work and all the reasons I should get my head examined. And they want nothing to do with any children we might have. They don’t even want to see their own future grandchildren.
Barbara You know interracial relationships don’t work.
Caroline And it’s just not accepted—despite what you see on TV.
Barbara And TV is NOT reality.
Caroline And don’t be fooled into thinking everything will be ok—it won’t.
Annette And what about the kids?
Barbara Is he—tell me, he is—at least a Christian?
Dana No—surprise No. 3—he’s an atheist and a communist.
Annette Your parents are right; you should have your head examined.
Caroline You need to reconsider this, honey. You’re going to make the rest of your life very difficult. And what about the kids?
Dana Your kids are the ones to suffer. They won’t know who they are or where they belong. I know this for a fact. You know my cousin married that creep from Lebanon or some such third world country.
Annette And you’re going to bring your kids up as little atheists? That’ll make them real popular.
Caroline You’re pregnant aren’t you?
Dana No, I’m not pregnant but we are trying.
Dana Well, we intend to expose the children to a variety of religious viewpoints and let them make up their own minds. I mean isn’t that more logical than shoving one religion down their throats?
Barbara And where will you live?
Dana We’ll live partly in North Korea—he has a big family there and he’s very close to them and we get along real well. And we’ll live partly right here in Tokyo. By the way, his name is Kwon and we love each other.
Dialogue for Analysis
The Reluctant Listeners
Here is a simple dialogue that illustrates the difficulty people have listening to things they don’t want to hear. As you read the dialogue, try to identify the principles of listening that these individuals violate and indicate what they might have done to make listening more effective.
Sam (the father)
Kate (the mother)
Jack (son, age 16)
Heather (daughter, 19 years old)
Bobby (son, age 13)
The family is watching television.
Sam Kate, pass the popcorn; this is great stuff.
Jack Hey, mom, dad; I need to say something.
Heather What’s up? Let’s hear.
Bobby I need to get new sneakers.
Kate Oh, I forgot all about them. Let’s go on Saturday and I need to get a new toaster, coffee filters, and a hundred other things.
Sam And pick me up some duct tape—a six roll pack.
Heather So, Jack, you wanted to say something.
Kate Yes, dear, what is it?
Sam You’re not getting a car—not until you’re 18. And not unless you start college.
Jack It’s not a car. It’s me. I don’t know how to say this exactly but I think I’m gay. I mean I am gay. I know I’m gay.
Sam Holy shit! You mean you’re a faggot? My son is a faggot?
Kate Hold on Sam. He’s only 16; he doesn’t really know what he is. Lots of boys go through this phase.
Jack It’s not a phase Mom.
Sam Well, it better be a phase—if you want to live in this house, that is.
Bobby Tricia’s brother is gay; she told me.
Kate Bobby, don’t say things like that.
Heather I think it’s great that Jack’s come out.
Sam Come out! Out where? The neighbors don’t know, do they?
Kate I’m not sure what to say. Do you want to go to therapy? Do you want to get cured?
Jack Mom, being gay isn’t a disease that you get cured of. I’m gay and will always be gay.
Kate But, I can’t bear to see you unhappy.
Jack Mom, I’m not unhappy; I’m gay.
Kate Well, I don’t care; you’re not gay; you’re going to see Reverend Wilson. You’ll see, it’ll all work out. You’re not gay. He’s not gay, Sam.
Jack Mom, I am gay. Aren’t you listening?
Sam You better not be; no faggot is going to live in this house, under my roof, and eat my food. I’m going to the bar. [exits]
Heather So, what’s the big deal—he’ll listen to Barbra Streisand and sing Broadway show tunes—(Sings) I am what I am and what I am needs no excuses.
Jack Heather! She’s kidding Mom.
Heather Yes, Mom, I’m kidding.
Kate Let’s not talk anymore about this. Bobby, what kind of sneakers do we have to get?