HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives


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Family Members: Prompt #1

Without a doubt traditions reflect the essence and unity of families. Ever since I remember, my parents have inculcated to my siblings and I that holidays are times to spend together as a family not simply a vacation time to have fun on its own. Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year are the most important days of the year to my family. Not only because it’s a holiday in where we typically have the day off and get to eat a lot of our traditional foods, but because we get to enjoy together as a family. Yet, during these times of the year, it is when most of my relatives have the strongest communication too. The fact that everyone works and are busy throughout the year, we hardy get to interact or converse with the family at once. Therefore, when it gets to these holidays, I see them as the “get together” as it is when we value the importance to get together as a family because these are times in which the majority of the relatives are together including my parents, siblings, nephews, nieces, cousins, uncles, etc.

When it comes to communication, in preparation to these holidays my relatives are in constant communication to organize the “get together.” The preparation can get started when we are all deciding where we are hosting our “get together,” what kind of food we are having, and if it requires traveling, deciding how to carpool. The preparation might sound stressful, but at the end of the day, the take away is that everyone’s opinion was taken into account. Also, the fact that everyone is involve in the preparation it avoids misinterpretations and keeps everyone at the same page. The lesson learned from these “get together” is that regardless of our current situations whether we are going through good or bad moments, when it comes to these holidays we all contribute and look forward in communicating on how to plan the “get together.” The fact that we are all in constant communication prior to these holidays, it enables to put in practice our listening and communication skills to reach into agreements on how to go about preparing and making happen our “get togethers.”

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Managing Conflict and Power: Prompt #1

Technology has become an essential tool in our daily basis, whether we are using our cells phones to communicate with family and friends and/or our using our laptops or cell phones to write emails to classmates, teachers, and coworkers. In anyway, now a day we tend to use technology devices as the main method of communication instead of conversing face to face.

From experience, there was one incident in where I used technology incorrectly to handle a conflict with one of my sisters. Everything started because I had to borrow my sister’s car to go get a haircut because my car was taken to the dealer for oil change service. When I borrowed my sister’s car, she had burly started her run, which typically takes her about an hour to get back home. Since the barber’s shop is just a few blocks from my home, I decided to take my sister’s car and send her a text message letting her know that I took her car, but did not specify where I was going. Yet, it was not that I didn’t wanted to share where I was going, but because I thought that I was not going to take long to get my haircut and I assumed that by the time I would get back home, my sister was probably still at her run. When I entered the barber’s shop, I noticed that there was a lot of people in front of me waiting for service. Though, I decided to stay since I was already there, plus it was Friday afternoon and didn’t felt like having to go back during the weekend. Also, while waiting for my haircut, I came across a long-time no see friend and he invited to go watch a basketball game at her house. I really got excited of my acquaintance with my old friend that as soon I was done with my haircut I went to drop my sister’s car and send her a text apologizing of having to take her car without her permission. Afterwards, I did not have a chance to see my sister instead a was ready to go pick my car to head towards my friend’s house. Next day, I noticed that my sister was mad as she didn’t want to talk to me. To avoid making this worse, I would text her on the following days whenever I wanted to communicate with her instead of approaching her in person. This made things worse because my sister argued that I didn’t had the courage to talk to her in person. Also, the fact that I was using my cell phone for texting purposes only and not talking or having a face to face conversation got her even more mad because that made her think that I did care or would take her into account about her feelings. After this incident, it did make me realized that now with the use of our cell phones we want everything more practical and feel that because texting can also be communication that is used on real time we feel that all of what we have to say can be reflected in a text, even when resolving issues. Yet, I prove to myself wrong because my text messages to my sister were being misunderstood and make her feel that I didn’t care for her. Overall, I feel that we should still have face to face communication, especially when reaching into an agreement, because many times the intended communication via email or text can be interpreted differently from our intentions.


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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

#8

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.