HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

This Will Leave You Feeling Sad, Fair Warning

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I am a pansy. I am one who avoids conflict like the plague and would rather live with an unfair solution than fight against it. Things like encounter avoidance are my friend. Using this method, I can just make an attempt to never deal with my problems instead of taking care of them. For example, my ex-boyfriend was something of an asshole to me after I broke up with him last Summer. He was being extremely bitter that I had done so and was even accusing me of never loving him despite our nearly one-year dating. He blocked me and unfollowed me on various social media, but I didn’t know this until he tried to follow me back. After repeated attempts to contact me, many of which made me feel really uncomfortable, I just left his requests to sit. I did not block him, which would send the “back off” message. I did not friend him so we could talk it out. I am simply avoiding the problem, and I reckon I’ll continue to do so until he stops being a neurotic crazy person.

I use encounter structuring when I don’t want to talk about certain subjects. Typically this is not my most used method of managing my emotions because I often lack the foresight necessary to see where a conversation is going. When I need to avoid something I’ll often change the subject ex-post facto, but it isn’t often I’m so actively trying to avoid a topic that I keep it in the front of my mind to think about how to avoid it. To do that I would have to dwell on that topic in a borderline obsessive manner, and I usually try not to do that.

Attention focus is something that I try to keep close in an attempt to feel empathy for and understand others. The easiest and most recent example of attention focus I can think of is my coworker telling me that his son died a few years ago. In a different setting and were this about myself, I would use jokes and humor as a coping mechanism, instead of walking around the topic dancing on top of it. However, because this is my coworker and not me and because this is at work I make an active effort to avoid the subject and avoid talking about children altogether. This is the nice thing to do, rather than re-open wounds for seemingly no reason.

Two years ago my father died in a car accident (which is also why I bring up the joking about death thing). It was my first major death in my life and I depended on my father more than anyone in this world. Needless to say, my world was changed. I was never and will never be the same. After the first few weeks when the initial stages of grief wore off, I felt numb. I didn’t talk to anyone at school the same way. I would go home and go to my room and sleep. I didn’t connect at all with any human being for months. This is a textbook definition of deactivation. I was avoiding every interaction in order to feel nothing because I preferred it. Sad stuff, sorry to bring down the mood.

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Author: mirandapehrson

I'm gross.

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