HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

Perceiving Others #7

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When I first met this person, as  I do with all people I first meet, I was very respectful. I knew that she had already been a part of the group longer than me, so I thought she was just being friendly to make me feel comfortable. However, when she approached and talked to me I sensed that she wasn’t really paying attention to me and what I was saying when I spoke. Instead, she was looking around to see who was watching us; to make herself look like a nice welcoming person. From that point on, I was always very cautious of how I acted and what I said around her because those vibes weren’t good.

The negative gestalt I had made actually was true. Through more time of knowing her in the group setting that we were in and the comments/responses she would give upon certain conversations reassured to me the fact that she always wanted to make herself look better no matter what it took. At the same time, I learned more about her past and her experiences which made me more understanding of why she would act the way she did. I was never rude to her and I’m not to this day whenever we meet. Just because I had negative information about her didn’t change the fact that she was another human with difficult experiences that had shaped who she was. Therefore I never focused just on that and I’m always polite and respectful, but keep the conversation to small talk only.

On the other hand, when I first started talking to my freshman roommate I had a positive gestalt. I think the positivity bias definitely influenced me because before we had even started talking, I always hoped I would get along with my roommate and that they would be a good person. So when we started talking and my initial impressions via chats were all positive I was reassured. I certainly looked at her comments with a sympathetic, open, and understanding eye because I really hoped we would get along ultimately, becoming friends. For example off the bat, she started cursing which I don’t mind as I do it all the time I just didn’t do it at first because I had just met her and wasn’t comfortable. With the positivity bias, I took it as she was a really honest, direct,  and already comfortable with me. I didn’t take it as something rude or disrespectful because of the halo effect. If it would have been the person I had the negative gestalt with, it would have probably been a reassurance to her negative impression.

Analyzing even just that, to me is funny and interesting. It’s funny to see how real these concepts are because in the moment you’re not analyzing what’s going on, you’re just living it second by second.



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