HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

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Experience is the best Teacher

Last summer, was a particularly productive one for the likes of me. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in my first internship. My aunt, who works for a financial advising and wealth management firm, convinced her partners to allow me to be an intern in their office. It certainly made me feel more adult. It bolstered my interpersonal skills as well as my morale in a professional sense. It was all very exciting, at first. I acquired vital clerical experience over a course of 2 months. Although it was a paid internship, my aunt (who then became my immediate superior) admonished me to approach my position as if I were an actual full-time and full-fledged employee.  Initially, this certainly seemed like an easy standard to conform to and uphold. Originally the organizational climate of my internship felt very warm and welcoming. My coworkers, who were also my predecessors, as well as my bosses were appeared very amiable and easygoing to help me ease into what later became a very taxing job. In other words, what was originally a supportive climate became a very defensive climate. My first two weeks, my predecessors were very casual when speaking with me, and really reached out to me to help me become acclimated to such a new work setting. During the start of my third week, my boss and supervisor suddenly got more frigid and austere than what I was used to. This sudden solemnity made me feel like I was constantly under pressure up until the end of my internship. They pressured me into executing all of my managerial clerical duties with the utmost efficiency, regardless of whether I had any or enough  with them. Further and further into my time at the firm, I felt that the ice under me was thinning. I was bombarded with more and more  difficult tasks and given less time to fulfill them thoroughly. There were even two instances where I disappointed and was put on the spot in front of my coworkers. After those two moments, I realized that I had no future or interest in accounting.  Fortunately, I persevered and prevailed until the end of my internship. In hindsight, I am happy to have capitalized on such an opportunity.

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I would like to think that I am a wonderful friend  I am always there for my friends to offer them whatever support that they may need. When it comes to my friends and I am not selfish. I am also emotionally intelligent. I epitomize respect towards others, not because I have learned to behave a certain way, but because I truly feel this for others. I do believe in the golden rule. When it comes to friends, I have a huge heart for them and I always give them a benefit of a doubt in any tribulation that befalls/involves them. But it would take a lot for me to want to unfriend a friend of mine. Namely, betrayal of, indifference to, and total disrespect for me would warrant for me to renouncing my friendship with someone. People express how they feel about others by what they say and do. Likewise, I am a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. People can express disdain or antipathy to others nonverbally just as easily as they can verbally. I am particularly adept at reading people’s emotions. Any deliberate lack of communication towards me can be perceived as any of the three friendship deal-breakers that I mentioned above. So if I perceive that I am putting someone off or that they are no longer interested in having me around, on a consistent basis, I am very inclined to unfriend that person altogether. I have learned from experience how to let relinquish toxic relationships. It is better to escape a house on fire while you can, than to sit in while it crashes and burns. I impute this metaphor to any form of a failing friendship. I can cite two recent incidents where I have had to unfriend people. At the start of autumn, I had to completely cut a friend out of my life because I began seeing his true colors for the worse. I had developed a cumulative annoyance of his blatant and prolonged disrespect towards me in public. He seemed to enjoy embarassing me and aggravating me. Although I felt justified in unfriending him. I am no saint myself. As I said before, I believe in the golden rule. I feel that it applies to everyone. If I treated anyone in the ways that I totally wouldn’t approve of, I would not blame them for unfriending me either.

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Nearest and Dearest

I am very proud of my family unit that I belong to. I am come from a solid and close network of relatives. Ever since my childhood, my family has been everything to me. They have always assumed responsibility for protecting me as well as rearing all of my other young relatives. In terms of values and social norms, my family has socialized me about those too. My mother and other family elders have always been consistent with keeping my behavior in check. But most importantly in addition to protection, indoctrination, I embrace my family the most for fulfilling their duty of affection and companionship. They have always provided me with warm and intimate bonds which only add to everyone’s safety and security. In every respect, my relatives are there for me. They understand and care about me. At my current age, 21 years old, I would say that my family has a high degree of self-disclosure. I feel that my family has loose family privacy rules. We can discuss virtually anything under the sun , jokingly or seriously, without any issues or conflicts. As long as we are respectful amongst each other in expressing ourselves, anything can be discussed. Because of this all of my family members are comfortable when it comes to divulging their thoughts and feelings to each other. The only things are really taboo and are restricted to be discussed with friends and close immediate relatives are explicit details regarding sex. Beyond that anything is fair to discuss or disclose. If anything sparks tension anyone in my family is open to discuss it. We do not let conflicts escalate and we have a simple way of minimizing or defusing tensions: we simply use our words. But through and through, I am blessed to have a family full of relatives who I can rely on for just about anything.

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Love burns

My first real romance was rather interesting and formative. I spent three years of high school thinking poorly of myself. If anything, adolescence sure was a rocky ride for me. However, it wasn’t all woe for me. The summer before senior year I found myself falling for a friend of another friend. I certainly wasn’t expecting such a gorgeous, sweet, nerdy Latina to reciprocate my feelings. I wasn’t expecting to fall for someone who was so much like me. I was deeply attracted to this kindred spirit.  In spite of us being in somewhat of a long-distance relationship, for a while things felt to be moving smoothly in this phase. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, like the relationship. But prior to that our little honeymoon phase wore off further into the relationship. 9 months into our relationship, that following she wanted me to visit her and meet her family. This was a bit of a surprise to me. Whenever we discussed our relatives she seemed awfully reticent in divulging anything about hers. When I finally visited to her, she was making desperate efforts to keep me from meeting her folks. I later found out that her family was somewhat of in shambles and that the root of her issues was her father. I eventually found out that her father was a prejudiced and abusive alcoholic who kept all of her immediate relatives (mother, brother, and grandmother) under his control. It was unpleasant that he made my girlfriend suffer a lot. I pity her for what she had to go through. But I am not sure whether to attribute her dishonesty in our relationship to her or her father. In the months following my visit to her hometown, we attended this university together for two semesters. I was happy we were no longer in a long distance relationship and that we could finally enjoy each other’s proximity as lovers. I expected a rekindling of our honeymoon phase, but instead encountered the turning point of our romance. In other words, the beginning of the end of it. I began seeing my girlfriend’s true colors, her mendacity, her duplicity, and her emotional instability. It became hard to pity her, but I could not help myself. And even with that she took advantage of my unyielding kindness to the bitter end. All my efforts to reach out to her, appease, and accommodate her were in vain. I constantly went the extra mile for her and she would not do the same for me. I was crushed and heartbroken before the relationship even ended. But this story has a happy ending. I felt so much better when I finally came to my senses and ended such a toxic relationship. My time is precious, my feelings matter, and I deserved better. It was such a blessing to free of such heartache. I have used this relationship as a crucial learning experience, especially in moving forward in my love life.

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If it is to be, It is Up to Me

Power is an important and pervasive influence in interpersonal interactions. I have learned and seen that power can be used to positive or negative ends when influencing other people or (the course of) things around you. Some of these very circumstances may quite easily affect others as well. Power is an abstract asset that is earned and/or granted. In terms of earning power, I am now aware that you must gain some sort of power currency. I understand that power is actually some sort of “social wealth”.  Out of the five power currencies, I am conscious that I possess only two. I am an average university student of African-American descent who comes from humble beginning.  I was not born into wealth, nor have I not reached the point in my life to where I have amassed my own wealth. I lack the resource currency. As an undergraduate , I am still in the process of developing my own trade or expertise that I will benefit from when I find my career. I do not have expertise currency. Lastly, I do not have the luxury of having influential/powerful in my immediate social network. In other words I do not have social network currency and intimacy either. I am a modest fellow only endowed with personal currency.

My personality, my character traits, are my only social assets. I am an introverted intellectual as well as a man of charisma. I am a kind, and nurturing soul who loves using his force of personality (personal currency) for receiving others as well as making them feel comfortable. Despite being so introspective, I have a gentle way of speaking with others and making myself heard whenever a situation warrants it. I stand out because of the strong character I uphold  Despite lacking most power currencies, I am still very happy with the one that I am blessed with. Although I don’t have capital, a vocation, or powerful associates, I feel that my personal currency is all I need. I believe that this is especially true if I aspire to acquire any of the other four currencies. I feel that can be extended to others outside of myself. One’s personality and being can pave the way for them acquiring financial resources, developing their own profession, and building their own social network. If anyone has the sine qua non of personal currency that they can certainly achieve all five currencies in due time. It all starts with self. After all, nothing worth having ever comes easy.

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Mom Always Knows

Through and through, I actually do believe that eyes are the windows of the soul. The eyes are the visual channel which we use consciously or subconsciously to look into another’s inner/personal realm, or psyche. I find kinesics to be the most powerful form of nonverbal communication. The visual channel is a strong dimension through which we can relay so much information to another during the process of communicating with others. . In fact, Eye contact is another crucial but often unnoticed feature in interpersonal communication, let alone body language. The simple dilation of the pupils, or squinting of our eyes can tell so much. Our eyes can be used to signal a wide variety of positive or negative emotion. I have come to realize in my experience that we tend to have better, more, stronger, eye contact with those we value and deeply care about. For example, eye contact is important with my mother. To tell the truth, my degree of eye contact is probably the highest with her. As a child, my mother taught me that eye contact is important especially when it came to instilling obedience in me.  Eye contact was enforced even harder with her during the instances where I would be scolded by her to pay attention. Through her I learned that eye contact displays that I am focused on her and what she has to say. Whenever my mother was displeased with my behavior or sought to make herself heard, she would use her eyes to shoot a petrifying glare at me. In turn, I unwittingly internalized this trait to express my emotions. I have learned several facial expressions from my mother and their effectiveness all derive from the eyes. Today, as an adult, I have realized that eye contact has and currently fulfills the purpose of building trust with a loved one. My high degree eye contact with my mom or any other close relative or friend, shows that I have a connection with them. It may even suggest that I trust and feel comfortable with them. Eye contact is so much more than a social phenomenon. It is the bridge for two psyches to meet ,interact, and resonate with each other.

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What is in a Name?

Names are a feature of everyday life that may easily be taken for granted. Unbeknownst to many names are actually symbols. But honestly, what is a name?? Names are terms we use to identify people, places, and things. In relation to people, names have the most value. My name is a symbol that represents who I am. My name is my quintessence. Not only is it the objective and/or subjective property of my being, but it is also both an intrinsic and central part of my very being. Through and through, our names define us.  My given name, or legal name, that I was ascribed at birth, distinguishes me just as much as it identifies me. Over and above that, names are symbols that we use to communicate meaning about what we value in our culture. My given name is a proper example of this fact. I was born into a Christian family and due to my family’s religious devotion it is no surprise that my name is of Biblical origin. Joshua in Hebrew means “Jehovah (God) is Salvation.” This situation is a result of one of the characteristics of verbal communication: that language is cultural. The phenomenon of naming only proves that language and cultures are, essentially, intertwined. As aforementioned, names are powerful symbols that are fundamental to all of us. It is often hard to change such a property of us that is both essential and static in our existence. The only instance that I can think of in which I would change (part of) my legal name is for the sake of marriage. In other words, I would only do so in the event that my spouse and I agreed on changing our legal surnames for sharing a different surname of our choice. In the event that my spouse and I cannot reach or find a surname that we both agree name, I also totally am amenable to hyphenating my surname. I hope to be a very liberal and down-to-earth spouse, so the matter of naming actually would not matter a huge deal to me. I believe that a crucial part of marriage is compromise. I am more than open to compromising my attitudes, values, and beliefs with those of my spouse for the sake of creating a happy and fulfilling future with her. Still, Nonetheless, my name is still important to me and who I am.