HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

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Friendship (Prompt 8)

Friends-with-benefits, the definition provided by Urban Dictionary explains it as “2 close friends who think it would be fun to have sex with each other again and again. Until 1 falls in love and gets their heart broken when the other doesn’t want a relationship”. By definition its given that someone will develop feelings in the relationship but I’m here to help prevent this from happening. The easiest way to manage a friends-with-benefits relationship is to significantly reduce the time you spend with the other person. Attempt to keep going out at a minimum so your friend does not think your outings are dates. Keep couple related things out of sight and out of mind, do not allow the other person to leave a toothbrush or clothes at your house. Also try to manage how many times you guys do the deed, make sure it’s often enough that you’re both satisfied but don’t be excessive. You should also only be at the other person’s house twice a week, anything more may turn a routine into a relationship. Assess the situation with your friend frequently, let them know what you guys are, so feelings aren’t hurt nor confused. Its okay to hang out and be friends once in a while but limit it to just a few times a month. The less contact you have with the person the better, when you do talk and text, point out people you think are attractive or people you may potentially engage in a relationship with so they know you are still just friends. The reason you want to take these precautions is because you don’t want to hurt your friend. Remember that you guys were just friends before things got a little more intimate and that if anything, you need preserve your friendship before anything else.

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Family Members (Prompt 6)


Self disclosure in my family is pretty minimal because I feel there’s a lot that my sisters and I can’t say in front of our parents. The self disclosure between my sisters and I is far beyond it is between my parents or I or any of us. Our parents though they are more modernized now they were more third world mentality oriented as I grew up. In our family it is believed that relationships are things you don’t trouble yourself with until you are done with school. This is the philosophy of parents they were never okay with my sisters and I ever dating so when we did it would have to be in secrecy. Although it does suck not being able to be open with our parents it did bring us together as siblings. My sisters and I are a close net group and we’re pretty much inseparable, they’re my best friends and my role models. Instead of confiding in my parents I’d confide in my sisters, they would always be there for me and comfort me. My parents were more there as supervisors than anything else, don’t get me wrong they were awesome parents and gave us all we ever wanted but they weren’t really there emotionally. Though there is little to no self disclosure I wouldn’t trade my family for anybody else’s mine is awesome and I love them.

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Romantic Partners (Prompt 5)

Most of my high school career I dated outside of my ethnic group and dated a caucasian female. I myself am I dark skinned Indian man so as you can see we pretty different. My family, well my parents are very traditional Punjabi so there mindset for their children is to arrange their marriages when the time comes, so having a girlfriend was a no go. My sisters and I were always taught to put education as our priority and not to worry about girls or boys. We did put education as our primary focus but being americanized we didn’t see the harm of trying new relationships at school. When I was talking to my soon to be girlfriend at the time I let her know a few things up front, that she would probably never meet my parents unless it sprouted into something outside of college and that she probably wouldn’t meet to much of my family. The reason I told her these things were to protect our relationship and to minimize problems down the road because I already laid the law. Dating her was an interesting experience because I dated her for two years, for the most part it was a nice friendly and “loving” relationship but going out in public and when topics about family came up it got awkward. Even though I had told her from the beginning that my parents aren’t going to know because they won’t approve she still wanted to push me into telling them about her even though I didn’t want to. This is probably what caused the biggest stress on our relationship. I also couldn’t bring her around many family members either because they most likely wouldn’t have approved either or they may have told my parents which was a complete NO GO. If we were more mature or if my parents were more understanding of the relationship things may have worked out better but because of all the differences and clashing cultures I had to terminate the relationship and move on.

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Non-Verbal Communication Prompt(6)

I, myself feel that having space between you and others is typically polite. By allotting the person in front of you enough space to breathe and act normal, you are being polite and respectful of their space. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people invade this space, when they feel as if standing closer will make their turn in line come faster, or something of that nature. Intimate space is space which I have reserved specifically for my significant other and my family. Invading that intimate space from 0 to 18 inches is exceptionally impolite because that is space most people like myself have reserved for the people closest them. Some may even find this as hostile because they aren’t being given the courtesy that they give to others. Personal space is another bubble I don’t let strangers invite themselves in to. Personal space is space that I usually only allow my family and close friends into, which is 18 inches to 4 ft. This is an appropriate distance to where you can communicate freely with those close to you, and will allow enough distance to make others feel comfortable as well. Social space is reserved for my acquaintances and friends with whom I am not as close with, yet I am still not willing to let most strangers into this space because they haven’t gained my trust yet. Four to twelve feet is a good distance to be able to communicate with others, but is enough to where no one is invading your personal space. My public space is reserved for strangers. If someone is twelve or more feet away from me, it is safe to assume that this person isn’t someone I know, nor someone I associate with. Proxemics varies from person to person, but I believe that it is a good to know and understand others’ boundaries and space.

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Active Listening (Prompt 8)

The majority of people I talk to and engage in conversations with, are people which I see as respectable and genuine. I like to believe that I am a people-oriented listener and at worse, an action-oriented listener, but for the majority of the time I listen to whomever is speaking and try to offer positive feedback or reinforcement. I try to offer genuine help and listen to the person’s problem but there is always that one special case. I have an acquaintance who is just so painfully obnoxious and unbearable to be around, this person is one of the few people who I selectively listen to, if I do at all. The reason I perceive them like this is because they are blatantly disrespectful and lack common manners which is why I do not pay much attention to what they say. I could have avoided this selective listening behavior by either turning it to pseudo listening or completely avoiding the person altogether. My choices of types of listening that I can apply to this person are limited because of their narcissistic listening. This person will use any opportunity to change the conversation back to them and completely ignore others thoughts or ideas and will usually escalate to aggressive listening. When I first met this person I applied my normal listening strategies and tried to understand them and establish commonalities, but soon found there were none because of the kind of person they were. In special cases I believe it is alright to (employ) negative listening strategies to maintain your own mental sanity and not respond to the conversation in a negative manner. Personally, I believe it is more polite to pseudo listen or selectively listen to a person like this rather than replying to them with anger or annoyance because it is beyond their understanding anyway.

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Emotions (Prompt 2)

The quote by Henry David Thoreau is something I think everybody should hear at least once in their life, so they can reference back to it. The way I interpreted this quote was that happiness will come when you least expect it and will come when it’s not sought after. If you constantly chase after it, you will forget to live in the present moment. It is like seeking all the money in the world in hopes that it will make your life happy and whole, but when in reality, it is just a materialistic need. People actively seek happiness all the time because it makes them feel good and brings energy to their lives, but happiness doesn’t come in a specific shape or form. Sometimes it’s the simple things that can make your day brighter. The key to life is happiness, feeling accomplished and satisfied with who and what you are, but these key ideas can be blurred with the desire to seek an improbable goal. Those who focus all their attention on one thing and one goal, inhibit themselves from growth and their true goals of happiness. A workaholic’s goal is to work and work and work until they reach a point in where they can stop and bask in the glory of all the money they’ve made. But what about all the family dinners they have missed in order to achieve their goal? Was it worth it? Sometimes a goal seems honest and simple to begin with, that along the way, you begin to lose sight of the small things that once made you smile. By chasing the goal of happiness you’ll lose the happiness which once surrounded you. You may complete your goal of being financially well off, but was the accomplishment of this goal worth losing your social life? I think this quote holds a very powerful meaning because it describes how happiness will come to you no matter what, that you don’t have to go out of your way in trying to achieve it. Happiness will always find you in the end.


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Perceiving Others (Prompt 7)

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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Self Concept (Prompt 1)

By disclosing the genre of music I listen to and the types of televisions programs I watch, a person can learn a lot about me. For instance by looking at me, you may not suspect that the majority of music I listen to is rap and hip hop. Music plays a huge roll in my life, it can act as my therapy, my motivation, and also my comfort. Many people are quick to assume that listening to rap and hip hop automatically makes you ignorant, and that may be a person’s assumption of me before they get to know me. Once the person has had a conversation with me, and I’ve explained why I enjoy my music, they’ll be able to see the layers around it. Rap and hip hop can make a person feel happy and uplifted, sad and heartbroken, or it can make a person question authority.

My Web browsing on the other hand would probably bore people to death. Though a person can learn a lot about me this way, they’ll probably get tired of the sheer repetitiveness of my browsing. Going through my browsing, you’ll probably see these websites come up the most: Bestbuy, Youtube, Craigslist, and Amazon. I’m always looking at Bestbuy and Amazon just to see if there are any deals on items I may need to purchase and whether or not it’s a good time to buy. Craigslist makes my list because I check craigslist everyday to see if there are any new listings or deals for wheels and tires for my car. Lastly I love Youtube because I enjoy learning more about the newest technologies at our disposal.

Essentially, if a person were to spy on me as if they were an NSA agent, they could make a lot of inferences about me as a person. They would know my interests, my likes and dislikes, and could overall make a pretty good educated guess on how I am as a person. They would know that I am more of an active person by my choices in music and entertainment, they could also infer that I am extremely interested in cars and new technologies.

I believe that the media plays a huge influence on how we see ourselves. The media is obsessed with what is “sexy”. Both men and women are subject to this obsession, and I feel that it has a strong effect on society in general. The obsession of achieving an unattainable body makes life as a young adult hard and almost painful. We are forced to hold ourselves to this extreme goal in order to be hopefully considered as sexy or attractive, but it’s all in vain. If you adhere to the media’s unrealistic standards, you’ll never be satisfied because you cannot photoshop yourself in real life. The idea of the media’s standards discourages many young adults and has a huge impact on one’s self confidence which can result in many other factors as a consequence.