LETTER OF ADVICE

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1 Running Head: LETTER OF ADVICE Purpose: Use this sample Final Paper for a better understanding of what is present in a high quality Final Paper: Letter of Advice. We’’ve included these elements of constructive criticism to demonstrate that even “A” quality work still receives comments to improve the student’s thinking and writing on the topic. Please note that this paper was written when a slightly different set of learning objectives were being used in this class. Be sure you use the learning objectives listed in the final paper prompt.

See the footnotes at the bottom of each page for information about what the student has done wellin this assignment Dear Cassy and Jeremy,Congratulations on your recent engagement. It’s such a great time in your life. My wifeand I have been married almost 8 years. I also just took a class on interpersonal communicationsand would love to share with you some of what I learned in addition to some personalexperiences. 2 Knowing how your partner communicates and uses verbal and non-verbalcommunication is important in a relationship and will help in reducing miscommunications.Know going in to your marriage that there will be conflict but learning how to manage or resolvethose conflicts will help in a successful marriage. I know you both love each other very muchand that will help get you through those difficult times. 3 Interpersonal Relationships 4Interpersonal relationships are part of our everyday life. Getting married forms one ofthe most important interpersonal relationships you will ever have. But with any relationship thereare barriers to effectively maintain those interactions. Our self-concept is developed through ourinterpersonal relationships and changes over time. Emotional intelligence also has a great impacton how effective a relationship will be. The amount an individual discloses of themselves in arelationship can vary depending on the type of relationship and can have both negative andpositive effects. Interpersonal conflict is probably one of the most challenging aspects of arelationship and managing these conflicts effectively is important to the relationship’s wellbeing.2 While we usually discourage people from using the first person, this essay asks that the student write a personalletter, so it is okay to be more casual here3This is a good introduction. It would be even stronger with a more definitive thesis statement. The Writing Centerhas a great “Thesis Generator” tool to help students write a thesis: https://awc.ashford.edu/writing-tools-thesisgenerator.html4This segment is not required, but it was a nice addition. 3 LETTER OF ADVICE Interpersonal relationships have many pieces. Imagine a clock, there are many pieces thatmake up a clock and each one has to be working properly for it to run smoothly. With myrelationship we have set times we sit and talk to each other about anything that is bothering us.Just like with the clock sometimes you must work on that clock and even make repairs. If youwork to maintain your relationship just like you do with that clock it will run much smoother. 5Barriers to Effective Interpersonal Interaction 6 Interpersonal communication is something we all participate in everyday and though it isvery beneficial most of the time there are sometimes barriers that make the interaction not aseffective. “Along with the many beneficial functions of interpersonal communication come anumber of challenges” (Bevan, 2014). 7 Three of these challenges are misperceptions, longdistance relationships, and intergenerational relationships. 8Misperceptions, Long Distance and Intergenerational Relationships 9 Though interpersonal communications are an important part of any relationshipsometimes there are barriers that make the interaction not as effective. First is the misperceptionsthat 10 occur and most of the time the cause of this is noise that affects how effective thecommunication is between individuals. For example sometimes work or children will keep you5 Interesting analogy. The student has also introduced the central themes that will be covered in the paper,previewing what’s to come. Overall, this is a solid introduction.6Again, the learning objectives have changed slightly. Please use the current learning objectives listed in theassignment instructions. For instance, the new learning objective now says “Explain the principles of and barriers toeffective interpersonal communications.”7The student does not list both authors here and this quote is free-standing. Please be sure to introduce all quotes byeither explaining who is speaking (e.g. According to Bevan and Sole) or starting the sentence.8Introducing what is to come is a great way to highlight that the student is addressing three different barriers tohealthy relationships.9Good. Because this is a subsection of the header above, the first one should be centered and then this is justifiedleft. See https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/16/ for more information on levels of headings.10There is a missing word here. I believe the word should have been “can.” LETTER OF ADVICE 4 from answering a call or text from your significant other and they 11 may take the no response asbeing ignored. This is a misperception caused by noise (too much going on). 12 Second 13 is whenyou’re having a long distance relationship which can cause money issues because of travel, lackof comfort, and tension and stress along with several other challenges (Good point. Again,Bevan & Sole address long distance relationship. Cite sources whenever ideas are influenced bythem). Hopefully this will not occur in your relationship but sometimes traveling for work cancause these issues in a relationship. This occurred in my relationship with a deployment anddoing your best to communicate as often is possible worked best for us, even if it is with emails.Sometimes it would be a short email maybe one sentence because things were very busy, justsomething to let her know I was thinking of her. Letting your significant other know that youthere for them with calls and emails as much as possible will keep your partner and you happywith your relationship. As Bevan and Sole suggest, these types of distant relationships can haveboth challenges and opportunity (Bevan, 2014). 14 And third 15 is when there is anintergenerational relationship which can cause issues because of being in a different stage of lifewhich changes communication styles, different economic states, and age related stereotypes. 16 Iknow this does not relate to your relationship but it is important to remember that both of youhave different interests and entertaining both of your interests is important to keeping you bothhappy. It can also provide new and different insights 17 into the world around you (Bevan, 2014).You will learn to work together to get passed the obstacles you encounter. Though all these 11 Be clear about the referent. It’s not clear if the author’s use of the term “they” is in reference to the children or ifit is other individuals.12Good. In Section 1.2 of Bevan and Sole, they address noise and this was an opportunity to reference them andgive them credit and get credit for using a class resource.13A new topic means a new paragraph is necessary.14The student did not include both authors here either. The year only has to be listed in the first reference.15Again, this should be a new paragraph.16This is an interesting point, but could be developed a bit more to be more meaningful17This was an opportunity for the student to explain a few of them. LETTER OF ADVICE 5 barriers could have negative effects on your interpersonal interaction they are barriers that can beworked through.Self-Concept 18Self-concept will not only have effects on your identity and the way you perceive yourself butwill also affect the relationships you form and the way you communicate in those relationships. 19“Researchers believe that self-concept is a complex mix of how we see ourselves, what othershave told us about ourselves, and what society says we should be” (Bevan,2014). 20 “Thoughself-concept is an internal process, it is learned, maintained, and can change throughinterpersonal communication” 21 (Bevan, 2014). Our 22 self-concept is developed through theinterpersonal relationships we have through the years and can go through changes as we getolder. You can let what others say define you or you can change your self-concept through yourinterpersonal communications. Having a positive self-concept will likely help in a successfulrelationship. If others say negative things about you and you begin to believe these things it willlikely affect your relationship. This could lead to a bad self-concept and letting this affect you ina negative way it could have negative effects on your current interpersonal relationships. 23 “Aperson with high self-concept clarity should experience greater relationship satisfaction andcommitment, in part, because of inclusion of other in the self” (Lewandowski, 2010). If you 18 Please center the text here as this is a new section of the paper. And remember, the learning objectives havechanged. Use the ones listed in the final paper instructions – “Analyze the role of communication in developing andmaintaining one’s self-concept, self-image, and self-esteem.”19Excellent point. This is the gist of the importance of self-concept and how it relates to communication andrelationships.20Per APA style, all quotes need a page or section number21This is another free standing quote. Please start the sentence with something like: The authors continue by saying….22Once again, a new point means a new paragraph is needed.23Good point. It would be nice to see the student connect this point to the couple as well LETTER OF ADVICE 6 yourself are more stable than 24 you are more attractive to your partner and can contribute moreof a positive light in the relationship. Cassy and Jeremy it is important to try and work on yourself-concept because this could greatly affect your relationship in either a negative or positiveway. 25Emotional Intelligence and Effective Interpersonal Relationships 26 Being emotionally intelligent is a very important aspect of any relationship. It isimportant to not only understand your feelings but also the person you are having a relationshipwith. 27 According to Michelle Pence and Andrea Vickery (2012), “being able to listen in anactive-empathic way is positively related to having emotional intelligence, which involves theability to monitor, regulate, and discriminate among your own and your partner’s feelings inorder to guide your thoughts and actions” (Salovey & Mayer, 1990) (Bevan, 2014). 28 In anarticle by the American Journal of Family Therapy, they describe 29 emotional intelligence asbeing able to recognize emotions in the self and others (Malouff, 2014). 30 Being empathetic withwhat your partner has to say is also an important element to your relationship. “One of theprimary benefits of relational partners sharing their thoughts and feelings with each other is thatdoing so helps each partner understand the emotions of the other person. It is for this reason thatresearchers call empathy “a central and crucial” component of healthy romantic couplefunctioning” (Bevan, 2014). In any relationship especially a romantic one being an active and24 “Than” is used for comparisons, such as “This is ‘more than’ enough food.” If you start a sentence with “if,which happens here, use “then.”25Explain how and why by using a specific scenario. Also, whenever possible, try to create some transitionsbetween sections.26Please note that the learning objective now also covers self-disclosure.27Great point. Having an emotional connection is a crucial part of bonding with others.28When using a source that is cited in a source you read, use this citation: (as cited in Bevan & Sole, 2014, Section8.3).29Avoid using “they” and instead be precise and list the authors. The journal didn’t describe emotional intelligence,the authors did.30Use all of the authors’ names. LETTER OF ADVICE 7 empathic listener is important and that is highly related to being emotionally intelligent. If yoursignificant other is talking to you, stop and listen to what they have to say, be active in theconversation and show empathy. 31 This shows your partner that you care about what they have tosay, and that is extremely important in a healthy relationship. Put your cell phone down, turn thetelevision off, plan 10 minutes a day to sit and talk with your partner, it will make all thedifference. If you do not have good communication with your partner there will likely be manyissues in the relationship.Listening 32As I mentioned earlier listening is another key factor in a healthy relationship. “Listeningskills are some of the most important ways in which you express consideration for otherpeople—by making good eye contact, appropriately smiling, being engaged with the otherperson, and responding with meaningful questions and comments”(Bevan, 2014). When youmake your partner feel important and loved it builds a stronger bond. “If you do not listen duringan interaction, then you cannot understand others, respond appropriately to what they say, orprovide helpful feedback” (Bevan, 2014). Listening leads to better more comprehensiveconversations between the two of you. Cassy and Jeremy make an effort to analyze yourlistening skills, and work to improve them. 33Self-disclosure 34Everyone has the desire to feel close to others and share stories of their life, but howmuch of this self-disclosure should be shared and how soon?31 When in a new relationship Excellent advice based directly on what the student learned in class. This is how a student can show they are“applying” knowledge from the course32This works for a discussion about empathy as long as the student clearly discusses empathic listening.33While this is an important point, this advice would be even stronger if specific strategies listed above arereiterated for the couple and maybe even an example of when this might come up.34Again, remember that the learning objectives have changed. You must now also “Analyze the impact of genderand culture on interpersonal communications.” LETTER OF ADVICE 8 whether it be an online one or face to face sharing too much personal information too soon canleave the individual vulnerable. “Sharing very personal or revealing information may create avulnerability that threatens the person’s position in the relationship” (Murstein & Adler,1995Terzino, 2009). 35 Giving too much information too early on could lead to beingemotionally hurt. But once in a serious committed relationship it is important to disclose more,but how much is always a question. Obviously you two are at a point in your relationship wheresharing is extremely important. Knowing who you are marrying, being best friends with eachother is extremely important. Self-disclosure in a marriage is paramount in order to grow trustwith one another. 36 Sharing your inner thoughts and feelings will constantly change how you seeyour partner and will help your relationship grow over the years. I know that you two love eachother very much and this should not be a difficult task at first. But once you have been marriedawhile and life begins to get in the way, for instance children and career demands it can becomea more challenge task. 37In an article titled “Can We Talk?” the author talks about the quality ofthe communication over the quantity. Obviously you will talk daily but will you talk aboutfeelings and dreams or just about what’s for dinner and what laundry needs to be put away? Iwill admit that this happens with me and my wife, you get busy and your communicationbecomes mundane. You do not grow as a couple from these mundane conversations, you growand are happier when you communicate how you feel and the dreams you have for your familyand yourself. 38 “Quality communication is defined somewhat differently from study to study,but research consistently has shown a link between happy marriages and “self-disclosure,” orsharing your private feelings, fears, doubts and perceptions with your partner” (Schoenberg, 35 Again, if a student uses a source that is quoting another source, he or she must indicate this.This is a crucial point. The student did a great job!37The student is approaching the topic from a new angle and therefore a new paragraph is needed.38Excellent description of why disclosure matters in a healthy relationship.36 LETTER OF ADVICE 9 2011). So no matter how busy your life gets make sure you set time aside even just 10 minutes aday to focus on quality communication between the two of you and you will continue to grow asa couple. 39Managing Interpersonal Conflicts 40 There will always be some conflict in a relationship but how it is approached willdetermine the success of a relationship. Management of conflict is the most common outcomebut resolution of the conflict is recommended. “Although management is the most likely conflictoutcome, it can be problematic when conflicts become serial arguments” (Bevan, 2014). Forinstance if Cassy tells you Jeremy on a regular bases that she does not like you talking bad abouther family and you say you will not but it continues to be brought up, this is an example ofmanagement. 41 The conflict will likely keep taking place. 42 It is important that instead you finda way to resolve this conflict, so that it does not continue to happen. “This means that there is astrong likelihood that the issue will come up again and that the parties will engage in futureinteractions regarding the issue”. Resolution is important and should try and be obtained, thesethree things must occur for a resolution to happen:“The parties in the conflict decide to end the conflict.The parties are both satisfied with the outcome of the conflict.The parties do not engage in or deal with the conflict again” (Bevan, 2014). 39 This is a great point. It would be nice to hear what this “growth” might mean.The language now says “Evaluate strategies for using communication techniques to resolve interpersonalconflicts.”41The student could have been more specific here by adding the word “poor” to management.42The student offers a good illustration of the importance of confiding in others and taking it into account in howone acts in the future.40 LETTER OF ADVICE 10 With conflict management you’re basically agreeing to disagree 43 and the conflict is not resolvedand will more than likely come up again. For the well-being your relationship both of you needto make an effort to resolve the conflict, not just manage the conflict. 44 This could be dangerousfor you both and each time the conflict could grow and cause more stress on the relationship.Resolution to the conflict needs to occur in order to have a more peaceful relationship. So Cassy and Jeremy in closing if you do everything you can to keep your relationshiphealthy by working at it on a daily bases it will run more smoothly. Just as I mentioned earlier itis like a clock and needs all the parts working together. To have a healthy, happy fulfillinginterpersonal relationship you must work at it. Constantly looking at ways to better yourcommunication and conflict resolution with each other. 45 Communicating your dreams andhopes and your inner feelings will help you grown closer and more intimate with each other.Being empathetic towards your partner will also show each other how much you care for oneanother. There will be tough times, everyone has them, my wife and I have them but putting thework and time into your communication will defiantly46 have positive impacts on yourrelationship. 47 Again congratulations and the best of luck to you in your upcoming marriage.Sincerely,Student’s Name43 This is a specific type of conflict management, not all.This is a crucial distinction. Nice point!45This is an incomplete sentence. Notice that Microsoft Word has underlined it in green to warn that there might bean issue.46Be careful with word choices. The student likely means “definitely.” Defiantly means to do something in arebellious way, which is very different than “definitely” which is synonymous with the term absolutely.47Nice restatement of the student’s key points.44 11 LETTER OF ADVICE ReferencesBevan, J. L., & Sole, K. (2014). Making connections: Understanding interpersonalCommunication (2nd ed.). 48Lewandowski, G. W., Nardone, N., & Raines, A. J. (2010). The Role of Self-concept Clarity inRelationship Quality. 49 Self & Identity, 9(4), 416-433. Malouff, J. M., Schutte, N. S., & Thorsteinsson, E. B. (2014). Trait emotional intelligence andromantic relationship satisfaction: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Family Therapy,42(1), 53-66. doi:10.1080/01926187.2012.748549 50Schoenberg, N. (2011, January 17). Can we talk? McClatchy-Tribune News Service. Retrievedfrom http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-01-14/features/sc-fam-0111-talk-relationship20110111_1_happy-marriages-couples-marital-therapy. Terzino, K. A., & Cross, S. E. (2009). Predicting commitment in new relationships:Interactive effects of relational self-construal and power. Self & Identity, 8(4), 321341.doi:10.1080/15298860802102273 51 48 To make this a perfect citation, include [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/ at theend.49Please only capitalize the first word of the article title. So this should read “50Omit DOI number.51This is mostly a very good reference list!

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