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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Managing Conflict and Power #8

The most recent time I can remember was at the beginning of this past Fall semester. I was originally going to dorm with my freshman year roommate but there were some financial differences and we didn’t end dorming together. So I was in a double with a new roommate from Japan and 3 other suitemates. We had initially planned on cleaning up after ourselves and I agreed because I figured since we were girls and we had all put clean to somewhat clean on the roommate application that we would, therefore, live in clean common spaces.

However, by the time of Thanksgiving break the bathrooms were dirty, especially the sinks, and the trash was only taken out if I asked someone to take it out. I thought we would be conscious of our space and that there would be no need to ask others to take out the trash when there was a “cleaning log”. I would always make sure to clean up because I learned from being in college/dorms that I’m a somewhat of clean freak and If it were up to me I would clean everything and throw the trash as soon as it gets full. Despite that, I knew that if I were to always do it, I would be the only one cleaning when I’m not the only one living there. So I made a “cleaning log” but it was rarely used.

I never brought it up to them directly because I didn’t want them to think that I was a clean freak or overreacting. Plus I didn’t want us to be uncomfortable living in our suite and seeing each other every day of the semester with that tense feeling. That’s why looking back, I would have vocalized during our roommate agreement that we should have had specific cleaning jobs/responsibilities like we did this semester. Two months in and our shared spaces are clean. We all realized that last semester was horrible in that specific aspect and needed specific jobs even though we all considered ourselves clean.



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Managing Conflict and Power Prompt 10

There was this one conflict I had with my father around 5 years ago were I noticed that he treated me differently than the rest of my siblings. I never was extremely close to my father, I was able to have a deeper bond with my mother which I believe my father was envious of. One day I confronted him over the phone about him treating me differently because I had a closer relationship with my mother, he’s a truck driver so he’s not home very often, and he got angry stating that it wasn’t true. We kept bickering back and forth until he finally clicked, which angered me more and we did not communicate for over 2 weeks even when he was home. One day my mother had enough and forced us to talk about the issue and my mom even noticed how differently he treated me from the rest of my siblings. He would start of by having me do everything around the house and any work he needed to be done, even though he told my brother’s to do it first he would take away that chore and add it to mine. I explained how this kind of treatment didn’t make me feel like I was in a home. It took time to improve our relationship, but I feel like the conflict would not have escalated to such lengths if I would have just talked to my father in person rather then over the phone. I feel like he thought it wasn’t a serious issue and that I was exaggerating the problem.

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Managing Conflict and Power prompt #2

After taking the quiz “How Do You Approach Conflict?”, my top ways to manage conflict are accommodation and avoidance. I wasn’t surprised by the results, but I also think that it just depends on the situation of how I would handle conflict. For example, during work I would probably use accommodation more to resolve a conflict. Being a cashier at Little Caesars, I literal find myself getting in a conflict with a customer most of the time that I go which just sucks. During these interactions most of the time I would use some sort of accommodation. For example, if a customer is getting mad because they don’t like how the pizza was cut, it was not symmetrically cut into eight slices which actually happens, I accommodate the customer by asking what can we do to to make it better or to fix the problem. Which most of the time we end up giving them some free bread, wings or another pizza. Even though that particular customer was upset for some reason he still wasn’t being rude to me but this is not the case with other customers who because maybe they’re just having a bad day or their just being an asshole.  If there being destructive I would still try to accommodate with them, but with some customers I just can’t. I have seen instances where a customer would escalate the situation that easily could have been fixed. I remember this one weekend when the store was pack because three out of the four Little Caesars were closed to get remodel. I think the waiting time for one pizza during that weekend was around an hour. Anyways, I had just gotten to work and I was a cashier for about less than thirty minutes when this one customer came out of nowhere cut everyone in the line and started screaming that he wasn’t going to wait in line and that he wanted a pizza right now. The guy was just acting crazy bangging on the table, making a scene. So, I didn’t even try to handle the situation by accommodation. I think personally it depends on the situation on how I would react.


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managing conflict and power #6

After completing the self-quiz on Power-Distance, I was scored as a Low Power-Distance person. In hindsight, I could have figured this out from analyzing my experiences with conflict throughout my life. But on the quiz it was very decided since I didn’t agree with hardly any of the statements they laid out.

My score suggests that I don’t view power as consequential unlike high power-distant people. This is true in my life. It’s not like I don’t respect people with power or that it means nothing to me, rather, I believe that people in authority can and should be questioned and challenged. For me, people with power must be questioned exactly because they have power. There must be a check on their authority. So, for the specific question on the quiz that went something like, “you believe that respect for authority is the most important thing you could teach your children,” I disagreed; I would rather teach them respect than the unconditional respect for authority.

My score also suggests that I engage in conflicts with powerful people, and that I easily confront them. This is also true in my life, though it does depend on the person in power. In my history of conflicts, more than a few have been with parents, teachers, and coaches. This shows that I don’t avoid conflicts with those in power. However, when it comes to interpersonal power rather than authority figures, I find that much trickier to navigate. If a friend were to wield their social network currency or intimacy currency in an unfair way, I might not bring it up because it’s scary to be powerless in those situations.

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Blog #7: Conflict & Power


As I am trying to think of a time that I avoided conflict in the past, I realize that I am currently avoiding conflict. Right now I live in an apartment with five other girls. Two of them I roomed with last year and became close with them. The other three girls were complete strangers. Although I do not share a bedroom or bathroom with these three girls, I still see them very often since we share a living room, kitchen, and laundry room. I have lived with them for seven months now and there has been conflict between us since the first week. The main conflict we have is that there is a lack of communication between us. We do not talk much at all and it creates awkward tension in our apartment. This led to lack of respect of our belongings, which is a bigger conflict. They are constantly using things that do not belong to them without asking the owner, and sometimes breaks or ruins things that do not belong to them. I am currently avoiding conflict by not speaking up or doing anything about this conflict. I am simply telling myself to just get through the year without causing anymore tension or drama between all of us. I could have prevented this conflict at the beginning by making clear statements about what is mine and not theirs, and also making a roommate agreement of what we would be willing to share and what we are not, and the responsibilities of each person living in the apartment.

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Managing Conflict and Power Prompt 7

One of my cousins and I have a repeated conflict. Although it does not happen as often as it used to it will come up once in a while. We both grew up very close but always compared to each other so it made us very competitive towards each other. This always ends up in us trying to compete in everything. It comes from grades to just life in general. We can argue about the smallest things like who knows the right facts about some dog breed. It breaks our relationships sometimes but we usually make up the next time we see each other but it will make us ignore each other for the rest of the day. I contribute since it seems like just our thing always being competitive with each other. I am a very competitive person so it just comes to me to fight over the little things with us. There are days where I just do not want to fight so I just let her way or I go “no no no this is not gonna happen again, we’re done good bye”. We can try to collaborate with each other in order to break this habit of arguing with each other. This pattern can definitely change if both of us notice it when it is happening and we can always talk it out and have a conversation about the arguing we do. (We both very much love each other so no need to worry here).

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Managing Conflict and Power #8

A time when I avoided a conflict was between me and my dad. My dad is the type of person to always want the backyard and the outside of the house to look nice and clean. When I first got my German Shepard Harley, I had to promise my dad I would clean up after him which included picking up his poop. Once I got my dog I was really good with cleaning up after him and I always made sure he wouldn’t break the plants or anything to destroy the yard, but as time went by I started to get really lazy and busy so I stopped doing that. I would still take him on walks and play with him, but I stopped picking up his poop. My dad would get really mad  at the fact that there was poop all over the backyard so he started telling me that if I didn’t pick it up he was going to give my dog away. I was obviously upset by the threat he had made, but like always I told him I would do it later. It’s not that I wanted to be avoiding this situation its just that I had other things to do rather than picking up poop. I choose to avoid it because I thought my dad would get tired of telling me and just do it himself but I was wrong. Ignoring this conflict was one of the dumbest things I ever did because turns out I was wrong and my dad didn’t end up picking it up. Usually when I get home from school I go straight to the backyard to feed Harley, and as I was about to feed him I didn’t see him anymore. I called his name and looked everywhere for him. I was so scared! I just felt my heart drop and didn’t know what to do. Turns out my dad kept him at my grandmas house to teach me a lesson to always keep my word when I say I will do something. After that I made sure to keep cleaning up after him and I learned that you can’t just ignore something and expect it to go away, because sooner or later it will catch up to you. If I could do anything differently it would definitely be cleaning up after my dog because my dad scared me so bad and I never want to experience that ever again.