HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

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This site contains the student blogs of Mr. Rodger’s HCOM 214 class at the University of California Monterey Bay (CSUMB).

All students are required to post each week.  Our blogs engage with classroom readings and blog prompts, as well as chronicle our growth from classroom discussions.  Our postings are responsible, reflexive writing in action.


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I like to think that i have a good amount of friends, and definitely a wide variety of them. I feel like my open-mindedness to trying new things, allows me to get-into new things, but because of my curiosity, i like to consistently try to learn things, and continue to improve my knowledge on that subject, so i like to have people to discuss things with. Over time I’ve built friendships with many different people that i share a certain interest in. For example, i have my baseball friends, who i talk baseball with. I have my pool friends who i play pool with. Friends who i go out to San Jose or Santa Cruz with, friends who i go to church with, friends that i go to parties with, and i guess because i genuinely care and respect people, they see that i’m somewhat a good person, so the friendships continue to develop and friendships turn into deeper bonds, and that’s how i consider most of my friends like family. I don’t think that i treat any friend better than another, or any different than any other. Obviously some of my friends enjoy different things than my other friends do, but i still love them all equally. I like to think that i treat all of them with the same amount of respect, so i wouldn’t really say that i do anything different to each of them, except with communicating, obviously i have different conversations with different people, but only because i share common interests with certain people, like my friend Josh for example, We have very common interests like anime and pool, but i don’t think that we could have a conversation on Country music or Corridos (a type of Spanish music). I guess it all depends on what i feel like talking about, or with whom i want to talk about it with.

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This prompt is a real difficult one, because i feel like my thought on what family is, is probably different than most people’s. Obviously i know that family is your immediate family, and like aunts, and uncles, etc. but i learned from a young age, that everybody who shares traits and characteristics that make you feel safe, could be considered your family. There are groups of people in my life, who i could consider as “my brother from another mother”, or “sister from another mister”, and i have the same respect for them as i do for my actual brothers and sisters, i would do anything and everything for them to make them happy, because i know that they would do the same. Some examples would be like my brothers from my baseball teams. I play for four teams, well one was my high-school baseball team, so i played on that team, i don’t currently play on that team anymore, and i consider most of the team-mates that i had as brothers. My travel-ball baseball team and i refer to each other as our brothers because of everything that we have gone through together. The team at MB, i don’t know that well, but i can say that there are guys on that team who in the future, i know i would consider like my family. From my high-school team, there are a-lot of guys who i consider my brother, but definitely some who i don’t respect on that level, because i know they don’t respect me on that level either. My last team is my Sunday-league team, and most of my team-mates are immediate family members so they’re all practically family. I also have my EOP family from my summer bridge program, its a group of like 10 of us, and i don’t think that any of us don’t see each other as brothers and sisters, me especially. I’ve been told on multiple occasions from my little EOP family, that i’m basically their brother. So, to get back on topic, the question of who do i get along with better, my family or my friends, well i would have to say my Family, even though i have a lot of friends who i consider family, i would definitely say that i feel more comfortable with my immediate family, and i get along better with them because we’ve spent so much time together that i’m basically an open book with them. And its not even like its some family members that i get along with better, i would say i’m open to my mother as much as my dad or my aunt or uncle, the only exception being my grandma because she over-reacts to everything.

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Managing Conflict and Power

One of the most crucial times where i had to make the decision to avoid conflict was probably my senior year of high-school. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I was sitting at the benches in Senior ark, which was on our campus, and it felt like any other Wednesday. It all started when a couple of the freshman football players came to the table, and talked to my friend Erik, who was also a freshman. I didn’t know what they had told him, but it sounded like they were messing with him. I got up, and walked over there and told them to leave him alone, and as they walked away they slapped his head. This would be my first test to see if i would be the bigger person and choose to let them walk away, or call them back and start a fight, but luckily they were just freshman, and i wasn’t about to go beat up a freshman, especially as a Senior. But whatever, that happened, and i got over it. But 15 minutes later i see the same people trying to mess with my friend, and it seemed like seconds passed by, but the next thing i knew, somebody was holding him while another person was punching him in the stomach. I got up, and sprinted over there, making my way through the crowd, just standing there watching it happen, and a huge fight broke out, as me and a couple of my other friends get there, and try to stop the fight, and make them leave my little freshman alone, as my friend pulled my freshman friend away from the guy who was holding him, i got a glimpse of his face and realized that the person that was holding him back was the freshman football players older brother who was also a Senior. i think that’s when i got angry, because it wasn’t fair, to my little freshman, to be held down by a 6 foot senior, who probably double his weight, and to not be able to defend himself. Luckily, my friend Adam was the person who got in the guys face, and went off on him for doing what he did, because if it was me, i would’ve lost it. That was probably my second test to see if i could be the bigger person and avoid any further conflict, but it wasn’t over. The guy ends up shoving my friend Adam, and then swings on him. Luckily my friend Edgar jumped in, and tackled the guy to the floor, before he hit him, but that’s when an even bigger fight broke out. It seemed like the whole football team was there, trying to kick only 6 of our guys asses. But the whole time, all i was doing was trying to drag other people out of the fight, and trying to calm my friend Adam. I think the biggest test of all was when i was trying to drag one of my friends away from a fight, and this guy comes up to me, and hits me for no reason. It took everything in me, not to go off on this guy, but none the less, i continued to try and get my friends out of their, because i knew once the security came, we would all be in big trouble, and probably have to not play for our next three games, because regardless of who started the fight, there was always major consequences for them, because fighting was not tolerated at our school.

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Non Verbal Communication

Ever since i was young, i was always a ‘touchy person. I love to hug people, and hold people, and generally be around others. I feel like i have a pretty good bond with a lot of the people i consider friends, and that leads to being more comfortable around others, and i display my comfort through touch. Whether its a pat on the back, me wrapping my arm around the shoulder, or in extreme cases a slap on the behind, I’ve always been very comfortable around others. I think it all goes back to me growing up, and seeing my dad and his baseball friends messing with each other, having fun, being idiots, that i get my sense of comfort around others. I was always taught growing up, treat others the way you would want to be treated, and i do want people to be very comfortable expressing their feelings and emotions around me, with respect of course. My baseball friends from high school, were the group of guys who i felt most comfortable around, i mean we would get half naked in front of each other everyday basically, so we got comfortable being around each other. I think this is where most of my inappropriate touching comes from, like messing with their male-breasts, or slapping their rear ends. We just had that level of comfort around each other, and it was great, very immature, but none the less great. Now, when it comes to women, i am very respectful. It is very inappropriate to touch a woman anywhere without permission, and i know this, and respect that. While on the topic of appropriateness, i would also like to mention that professional relationships, should have strict regulations when it comes to touching. Gestures such as hand shakes, or firm pats on the back are considered so.

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Experience is the best Teacher

Last summer, was a particularly productive one for the likes of me. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in my first internship. My aunt, who works for a financial advising and wealth management firm, convinced her partners to allow me to be an intern in their office. It certainly made me feel more adult. It bolstered my interpersonal skills as well as my morale in a professional sense. It was all very exciting, at first. I acquired vital clerical experience over a course of 2 months. Although it was a paid internship, my aunt (who then became my immediate superior) admonished me to approach my position as if I were an actual full-time and full-fledged employee.  Initially, this certainly seemed like an easy standard to conform to and uphold. Originally the organizational climate of my internship felt very warm and welcoming. My coworkers, who were also my predecessors, as well as my bosses were appeared very amiable and easygoing to help me ease into what later became a very taxing job. In other words, what was originally a supportive climate became a very defensive climate. My first two weeks, my predecessors were very casual when speaking with me, and really reached out to me to help me become acclimated to such a new work setting. During the start of my third week, my boss and supervisor suddenly got more frigid and austere than what I was used to. This sudden solemnity made me feel like I was constantly under pressure up until the end of my internship. They pressured me into executing all of my managerial clerical duties with the utmost efficiency, regardless of whether I had any or enough  with them. Further and further into my time at the firm, I felt that the ice under me was thinning. I was bombarded with more and more  difficult tasks and given less time to fulfill them thoroughly. There were even two instances where I disappointed and was put on the spot in front of my coworkers. After those two moments, I realized that I had no future or interest in accounting.  Fortunately, I persevered and prevailed until the end of my internship. In hindsight, I am happy to have capitalized on such an opportunity.

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I would like to think that I am a wonderful friend  I am always there for my friends to offer them whatever support that they may need. When it comes to my friends and I am not selfish. I am also emotionally intelligent. I epitomize respect towards others, not because I have learned to behave a certain way, but because I truly feel this for others. I do believe in the golden rule. When it comes to friends, I have a huge heart for them and I always give them a benefit of a doubt in any tribulation that befalls/involves them. But it would take a lot for me to want to unfriend a friend of mine. Namely, betrayal of, indifference to, and total disrespect for me would warrant for me to renouncing my friendship with someone. People express how they feel about others by what they say and do. Likewise, I am a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. People can express disdain or antipathy to others nonverbally just as easily as they can verbally. I am particularly adept at reading people’s emotions. Any deliberate lack of communication towards me can be perceived as any of the three friendship deal-breakers that I mentioned above. So if I perceive that I am putting someone off or that they are no longer interested in having me around, on a consistent basis, I am very inclined to unfriend that person altogether. I have learned from experience how to let relinquish toxic relationships. It is better to escape a house on fire while you can, than to sit in while it crashes and burns. I impute this metaphor to any form of a failing friendship. I can cite two recent incidents where I have had to unfriend people. At the start of autumn, I had to completely cut a friend out of my life because I began seeing his true colors for the worse. I had developed a cumulative annoyance of his blatant and prolonged disrespect towards me in public. He seemed to enjoy embarassing me and aggravating me. Although I felt justified in unfriending him. I am no saint myself. As I said before, I believe in the golden rule. I feel that it applies to everyone. If I treated anyone in the ways that I totally wouldn’t approve of, I would not blame them for unfriending me either.

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Nearest and Dearest

I am very proud of my family unit that I belong to. I am come from a solid and close network of relatives. Ever since my childhood, my family has been everything to me. They have always assumed responsibility for protecting me as well as rearing all of my other young relatives. In terms of values and social norms, my family has socialized me about those too. My mother and other family elders have always been consistent with keeping my behavior in check. But most importantly in addition to protection, indoctrination, I embrace my family the most for fulfilling their duty of affection and companionship. They have always provided me with warm and intimate bonds which only add to everyone’s safety and security. In every respect, my relatives are there for me. They understand and care about me. At my current age, 21 years old, I would say that my family has a high degree of self-disclosure. I feel that my family has loose family privacy rules. We can discuss virtually anything under the sun , jokingly or seriously, without any issues or conflicts. As long as we are respectful amongst each other in expressing ourselves, anything can be discussed. Because of this all of my family members are comfortable when it comes to divulging their thoughts and feelings to each other. The only things are really taboo and are restricted to be discussed with friends and close immediate relatives are explicit details regarding sex. Beyond that anything is fair to discuss or disclose. If anything sparks tension anyone in my family is open to discuss it. We do not let conflicts escalate and we have a simple way of minimizing or defusing tensions: we simply use our words. But through and through, I am blessed to have a family full of relatives who I can rely on for just about anything.