HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

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I like to think that i have a good amount of friends, and definitely a wide variety of them. I feel like my open-mindedness to trying new things, allows me to get-into new things, but because of my curiosity, i like to consistently try to learn things, and continue to improve my knowledge on that subject, so i like to have people to discuss things with. Over time I’ve built friendships with many different people that i share a certain interest in. For example, i have my baseball friends, who i talk baseball with. I have my pool friends who i play pool with. Friends who i go out to San Jose or Santa Cruz with, friends who i go to church with, friends that i go to parties with, and i guess because i genuinely care and respect people, they see that i’m somewhat a good person, so the friendships continue to develop and friendships turn into deeper bonds, and that’s how i consider most of my friends like family. I don’t think that i treat any friend better than another, or any different than any other. Obviously some of my friends enjoy different things than my other friends do, but i still love them all equally. I like to think that i treat all of them with the same amount of respect, so i wouldn’t really say that i do anything different to each of them, except with communicating, obviously i have different conversations with different people, but only because i share common interests with certain people, like my friend Josh for example, We have very common interests like anime and pool, but i don’t think that we could have a conversation on Country music or Corridos (a type of Spanish music). I guess it all depends on what i feel like talking about, or with whom i want to talk about it with.

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This prompt is a real difficult one, because i feel like my thought on what family is, is probably different than most people’s. Obviously i know that family is your immediate family, and like aunts, and uncles, etc. but i learned from a young age, that everybody who shares traits and characteristics that make you feel safe, could be considered your family. There are groups of people in my life, who i could consider as “my brother from another mother”, or “sister from another mister”, and i have the same respect for them as i do for my actual brothers and sisters, i would do anything and everything for them to make them happy, because i know that they would do the same. Some examples would be like my brothers from my baseball teams. I play for four teams, well one was my high-school baseball team, so i played on that team, i don’t currently play on that team anymore, and i consider most of the team-mates that i had as brothers. My travel-ball baseball team and i refer to each other as our brothers because of everything that we have gone through together. The team at MB, i don’t know that well, but i can say that there are guys on that team who in the future, i know i would consider like my family. From my high-school team, there are a-lot of guys who i consider my brother, but definitely some who i don’t respect on that level, because i know they don’t respect me on that level either. My last team is my Sunday-league team, and most of my team-mates are immediate family members so they’re all practically family. I also have my EOP family from my summer bridge program, its a group of like 10 of us, and i don’t think that any of us don’t see each other as brothers and sisters, me especially. I’ve been told on multiple occasions from my little EOP family, that i’m basically their brother. So, to get back on topic, the question of who do i get along with better, my family or my friends, well i would have to say my Family, even though i have a lot of friends who i consider family, i would definitely say that i feel more comfortable with my immediate family, and i get along better with them because we’ve spent so much time together that i’m basically an open book with them. And its not even like its some family members that i get along with better, i would say i’m open to my mother as much as my dad or my aunt or uncle, the only exception being my grandma because she over-reacts to everything.

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Managing Conflict and Power

One of the most crucial times where i had to make the decision to avoid conflict was probably my senior year of high-school. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I was sitting at the benches in Senior ark, which was on our campus, and it felt like any other Wednesday. It all started when a couple of the freshman football players came to the table, and talked to my friend Erik, who was also a freshman. I didn’t know what they had told him, but it sounded like they were messing with him. I got up, and walked over there and told them to leave him alone, and as they walked away they slapped his head. This would be my first test to see if i would be the bigger person and choose to let them walk away, or call them back and start a fight, but luckily they were just freshman, and i wasn’t about to go beat up a freshman, especially as a Senior. But whatever, that happened, and i got over it. But 15 minutes later i see the same people trying to mess with my friend, and it seemed like seconds passed by, but the next thing i knew, somebody was holding him while another person was punching him in the stomach. I got up, and sprinted over there, making my way through the crowd, just standing there watching it happen, and a huge fight broke out, as me and a couple of my other friends get there, and try to stop the fight, and make them leave my little freshman alone, as my friend pulled my freshman friend away from the guy who was holding him, i got a glimpse of his face and realized that the person that was holding him back was the freshman football players older brother who was also a Senior. i think that’s when i got angry, because it wasn’t fair, to my little freshman, to be held down by a 6 foot senior, who probably double his weight, and to not be able to defend himself. Luckily, my friend Adam was the person who got in the guys face, and went off on him for doing what he did, because if it was me, i would’ve lost it. That was probably my second test to see if i could be the bigger person and avoid any further conflict, but it wasn’t over. The guy ends up shoving my friend Adam, and then swings on him. Luckily my friend Edgar jumped in, and tackled the guy to the floor, before he hit him, but that’s when an even bigger fight broke out. It seemed like the whole football team was there, trying to kick only 6 of our guys asses. But the whole time, all i was doing was trying to drag other people out of the fight, and trying to calm my friend Adam. I think the biggest test of all was when i was trying to drag one of my friends away from a fight, and this guy comes up to me, and hits me for no reason. It took everything in me, not to go off on this guy, but none the less, i continued to try and get my friends out of their, because i knew once the security came, we would all be in big trouble, and probably have to not play for our next three games, because regardless of who started the fight, there was always major consequences for them, because fighting was not tolerated at our school.

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Non Verbal Communication

Ever since i was young, i was always a ‘touchy person. I love to hug people, and hold people, and generally be around others. I feel like i have a pretty good bond with a lot of the people i consider friends, and that leads to being more comfortable around others, and i display my comfort through touch. Whether its a pat on the back, me wrapping my arm around the shoulder, or in extreme cases a slap on the behind, I’ve always been very comfortable around others. I think it all goes back to me growing up, and seeing my dad and his baseball friends messing with each other, having fun, being idiots, that i get my sense of comfort around others. I was always taught growing up, treat others the way you would want to be treated, and i do want people to be very comfortable expressing their feelings and emotions around me, with respect of course. My baseball friends from high school, were the group of guys who i felt most comfortable around, i mean we would get half naked in front of each other everyday basically, so we got comfortable being around each other. I think this is where most of my inappropriate touching comes from, like messing with their male-breasts, or slapping their rear ends. We just had that level of comfort around each other, and it was great, very immature, but none the less great. Now, when it comes to women, i am very respectful. It is very inappropriate to touch a woman anywhere without permission, and i know this, and respect that. While on the topic of appropriateness, i would also like to mention that professional relationships, should have strict regulations when it comes to touching. Gestures such as hand shakes, or firm pats on the back are considered so.

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Verbal Communication

The first language I learned growing up was Spanish. I didn’t learn English properly until I was about 6 years old. I grew up living with my grandmother and my grandfather, who to me, are like my second parents, and they didn’t know English, so I was taught to understand and speak Spanish. In Los Angeles, my home town, especially in my community, there are probably more people who speak Spanish as their first language than there are people who grew up with English as their first language, so I don’t see myself any different than most people. As time went on, and I grew up, and got new experiences, my Spanish began to start becoming less Native, so I wasn’t speaking it as well as before when I was younger, because in school, most of the kids spoke English only. The only people i really talked to in Spanish were older people like most of the people who went to my church, and people like my Uncles and Aunts. Back then, I honestly didn’t understand how awesome it was to be fluent in two languages, and I took my ability to speak Spanish for granted. Now that i’m in a different place where Spanish is a language that’s rarely spoken, i feel like because i know how to speak it fluently, that its as if i’m part of a different kind of social group than I was before, and as time goes on hopefully I can fully understand the benefits of being able to speak Spanish, because i know from personal experience, that people who speak Spanish love to speak it, especially when they’ve just met another person who can speak it.

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Active Listening

Baseball is a topic where i can go on and talk about hours over, because for me, its easy to relate a lot of things to baseball, so there’s going to be a good amount of baseball blogs in here. I remember of this one day where again, I had ideas on how to improve on my swing so I could hit better. Now most of my coaches were “old school” and didn’t understand or like some new hitting mechanics that improve a persons power to hit home-runs. My coaches were “old school” and believed that if you weren’t born with natural power, then you shouldn’t work on being a home-run hitter. Earlier that day I had watched some YouTube videos on Josh Donaldson, who is an effective hitter in the major leagues, and his view points on his swing make a lot of sense, especially to me because I understand the kinesiology of baseball, especially when it comes to hitting. The only thing i remember him saying that day was “Munoz, look you’re 5″10′, you’re not Jose( Jose is a former teammate of mine, and he’s 6″2′), with natural power, you change your swing left and right, and it hasn’t gotten you anywhere. From that day, i learned that not only was my Coach a bad listener, but I learned that no matter what I did in this game, it would never be enough for him to understand that mentally I understand the game of baseball. I don’t think I ever got a positive response when I talked to him about hitting, he would always say I was wrong, and that it would never work. But to me, him telling me I was wrong and that I wouldn’t amount to anything sort of fueled the fire, and i had an explosive Senior Year, and took my team to the top, we were ranked 4th in our division out of over 200 schools. Oh and to add on, its one year later and I’m proud to say that they have a new hitting coach, who teaches my former teammates the exact same thing was trying to show them, and now over the summer, I have a position on the team as the hitting coach.

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Baseball is an emotional sport, but the trick is to not let it be too emotional. I remember of an incident where I had a “couch-jumping” moment, where I completely lost control of my emotions. It was my Junior Year of High-School, but i was playing a game with my travel-ball baseball team. We were playing a tournament in Las Vegas, and i believe it was the championship game. It was my first time up to bat, and the first pitch i got was a low curve-ball, that the umpire called a strike. I had a different opinion than he did about the call, and when i asked him why he called it a strike, he said that it was right down the plate. I tried to argue with him, but i ended up getting a warning. I didn’t want to get kicked out of the game, so i kept my mouth shut after that. The next pitch was a high fastball, that again he called a strike, and i disagreed with, but because i had gotten a warning, i couldn’t really say anything. At that point i was pissed off, because i had gotten two bad calls, that put me in a terrible position as a hitter, i had lost two of my three chances to put the ball in play. But fortunately, the pitcher made a mistake, and left a hanging curve-ball down the plate, and i hit a bomb to left field. Unfortunately there was no fence at that park, or else i would have hit it over, because they estimated the ball traveled almost 400 ft. What got the umpire angry was the fact that i bat flipped, meaning i threw the bat up in the air while flipping it, which is a way to show that you crushed the baseball, and you know for a fact that you hit a home-run, i only got a double out of that hit, which was probably the reason the umpire got so mad, because to him i had no reason to bat flip, and he probably thought i directed that flip at him, meaning i flipped it to show off that even though he called two pitches a strike, i still hit a bomb. What ticked me off was when he called me out for it. He said that bat flipping was illegal and a disgrace to baseball. That’s when i got mad, i ran over to him, and tried arguing with him, and tried to find out the reason he called me out. He gave me a bullshit response, and i said ” wow, you’ve got to be kidding me.” That umpire needed to get his ears checked because after that he said “that’s it, you’re out of here”, and kicked me out of the game. I later found out that he thought i said ” Are you fucking kidding me”, and that was his reason for throwing me out of the game. But after that my coach ran out on the field, and started arguing with him, then the umpire threw him out of the game, because he was being a “clown”, that’s when i lost it, i ran back on the field, and started yelling and cussing, and that’s when my coach had to basically force me off the field because i went off on that umpire, as i was walking threw the dug-out, i was tossing helmets gloves, i completely lost it. ANd well, lets just say that a certain somebody isnt allowed to play in any All-Star organized baseball tournaments in Las Vegas Nevada again, because apparently the umpire filed a report saying that i was a danger on the field, and that i threatened his life. Moral of the story, some people are simply retarded.