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Case Study: Nonverbal Communication: A Touchy-Feely Topic
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Tay and Cindy recently married. Cindy loves her in-laws, whom she has known for several years and who are genuinely supportive of her, Tay, and their marriage. But Cindy is sometimes uncomfortable around Tay's mother, Mara. She isn't comfortable calling her "mom' or "mother," even though Mara has asked her to do so. Her mother-in-law also hugs Cindy, and tries to hold her hand or put her arm around her whenever they see each other. Cindy's discomfort has become noticeable to Tay, who asks about her feelings for his mother. "I love your mom, but I don't even hug my own father," Cindy responds. "I just don't like hugging too many people. I tell her all the time how much I love her and your Dad." "We are a very nonverbal family," responds Tay. "Please try to find a way to express yourself nonverbally."


What advice would you give Cindy?

What are the benefits or liabilities of discussing her feelings with her mother-in-law?

How can Cindy communicate her feelings for her mother-in-law nonverbally (without hugging her) by using her voice, body posture, eye gaze, personal space, and other nonverbal cues?

Why is touch such a personal form of nonverbal communication?

Why do some people react negatively to social touches such as hugs?

What are the gender differences in touch?

Dobkin, Comm ChangingWorld2006Online Learning Center with Powerweb

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