HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

Perceiving Others (Prompt 7)

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Being a friendly and approachable person, I don’t normally think of people in a negative way because they usually reciprocate my friendliness, but there is always that one person. That “person” also happens to be someone who I have to interact with more frequently then I’d like to. I constructed this negative Gestalt because of the way this person conducts themselves. From the moment I met this person it has felt like they have had a personal vendetta against me, but with no reason to have one. The feeling of being disliked by a person for no obvious reason gave me no choice but to form a negative Gestalt for them. Due to this negative Gestalt, the positive things this person does don’t outweigh the negative feelings I have towards them. My impression of this person is heavily affected by the negativity effect because the negative information which I learn about this person adds to and proves my already formed negative Gestalt on them. I feel that the more negative information you learn about a person who you have already constructed a negative Gestalt for, only increases your feelings of negativity towards them and makes it so the positive information we learn is disregarded.

 

My best friend on the other hand is someone for whom I have a positive Gestalt for. I think that the positivity bias influences your impressions of someone like your best friend a lot. If the person that I have a negative Gestalt for cheated on his partner, I would think of the behavior as fitting and normal and it would add to the negativity effect, but if my best friend did the same thing I would dismiss the behavior because it is not normal of them. If my best friend cheated on his partner, I would be angry with him and ask him why, but I would ultimately dismiss it because it’s out of character and not normal for him to be acting that way.

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