HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives


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Ignorant Side of the Family

In my case, it is not a matter of if I am closer to my friends or my family. It is a matter of which side of the family I am closer to. When my parents got divorced I did not really stay as connected with my dad’s side of the family. Though I really loved all of them, the fact that my dad had cheated had meant I  would see those relatives less and would not really be attending their holiday festivities.

Now onto the real issue. A year ago I began dating my now boyfriend who is African American. My mom had no problem and neither did my brothers, this is also why they found out much sooner than the rest of my immediate family….. like my father. He is a little more ignorant than the rest of us, if you catch my drift. For this reason, I have found it very difficult to share personal information with him and his side of the family because they are all similar in that way. For instance if they were to find out that I have an African American boyfriend, they would have negative reactions and look at me differently for going out with him… which is absolutely ridiculous.

Personally, I do not balance my feelings for different family members very well because on many different occasions they have said how they feel as though I do not like them. As well as many of them say I keep to myself too much when in reality that is far from true. I am an open book, but they really do not see that side of me because I can not deal with their ignorant side.


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I Could Have Avoided a Cheater

I avoided a really bad conflict that could have easily been avoided if I had made the right decision.

I was in a relationship where after awhile nothing was the same. I was not happy, but it seemed like he was. We had been in the relationship for just a few months, but our honeymoon phase was super short lived. I no longer made as much of an effort to hang out with him for the entire lunch period and I stopped laughing at his jokes. The spark and feelings had seemed to be gone, but I could not bring myself to end the relationship entirely. I felt bad for some reason. I have no idea if it was the idea of hurting someone or breaking their heart, but every time I would just bring up the idea of parting ways I always quickly took it back. I really do not know why I made the choice to stay in a relationship where I was not happy. I did not put my happiness before his, I was putting his before mine and that is not fair in any way.

As it turned out, I was not the only unhappy one in the relationship. He had been cheating on me with one of his girl friends. I was not very crushed as I was not necessarily into the relationship. Though, I was hurt because I did not leave the relationship purely because I did not want to hurt him, while he stayed with me while being unhappy and just went behind my back. At the end of the day, I came out on top because I was ultimately happy to be out of the unhealthy relationship.

If I could go back, I would have found a way to build up the courage and broken up with him when I first realized I was unhappy. I really would have liked to avoid the whole cheating scenario, that is for certain. I would have also maybe tried to even talk to him about it because then maybe we could have fixed our issues and possibly lasted longer than a few months. So many things could have had different outcomes and now that I am older I realize those things.


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Eye Contact

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year and three months. I know what he’s trying to say sometimes by just the eye contact we make. I guess it could also be the fact that I just know him extremely well too, but I personally think it’s the eye contact.

For instance when we lock eyes for multiple minutes, it creates a sense of seriousness and we both know that what we are discussing is something to not take lightly. This mostly happens when we are having an argument or heated discussion if you will. When I get upset and want him to really hear me out and listen to what I’m saying, I make sure to let him know by not taking my eyes off his and vice versa. On the other end when someone breaks the eye contact or refuses to make that contact, it shows the other their emotions towards the topic. Whether it is sensitive, uncomfortable, or whether they were even angry with the comment that the other made. Eye contact reveals it all. Another thing we do is lock eyes in order to make sure the other is paying attention. Sometimes he will be playing video games and I will ask him to please listen to me and in order to get him to really hear me out, I ask him to look at me and we make eye contact in order to make sure he is listening to me.


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Active Listening

I have a suite mate who can talk about her day for hours. I consider her incredibly talkative and because of that, I sometimes tune her out. Though many times, it does not always work out the way I want it to either. For example, one day I was about to take out the trash when she came out her room to go to her next class. Because she’s still one of my close friends, I agreed to walk down the stairs with her and you can bet that she talked the entire way down. As we got to the point where we should have parted ways, she continued to follow me and talk. At this point I had completely tuned her out and was just thinking about why she talks so much! It was driving me nuts! ‘Didn’t she have class?’  Is what you’re probably thinking and yes, she did have class. But oh this must have been too important to text or call or even just stop and continue later. That’s exactly how it always felt too. I always started off paying attention and then as the minutes would continue to go by, I would just begin thinking about other things that were important to me.

She was always venting and talking about her day to me or someone else, that I ignored myself and the things I had to take care of. I felt bad doing it because she was a good friend of mine, but she just….. wouldn’t stay quiet for more than 5 minutes. I rarely even got to talk to her about my problems because by the time she would look at the time and realize how late she was or something she would say ‘oh gotta go bye!’ I know I could have avoided this, though. I know I could have just told her what time it was and she would have probably stopped talking, but I guess to some extent I just felt bad. I wanted to let her vent, even though I never could.

Since then, we have grown closer and I have actually been able to tell her how I feel about her talkative behavior. I even told her that after a certain amount of time, I wasn’t even paying attention. I realized if I would have told her from the get-go, we probably would have been EVEN CLOSER than we already are.


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Perceiving others

First going into work, I loved my job. I loved my co-workers. I loved my managers. I even adored our store director. They were all amazing people with such great personalities. Not to mention I got along with all of them extremely well.

Here’s some background on the topic: I do not agree with President Trump’s views and actions as our nation’s President so far. With that being said, I am a feminist and I support many movements that have been impacted by this new Presidency. Now back to the story.

As I was working one day, one of my managers was talking about President Trump. I am not necessarily the type of person to really be out there about my political beliefs, but I guess she was. She was talking about the travel ban and how she felt it was incredibly necessary because of all the immigration problems we have. I couldn’t believe it. I had thought she was the sweetest human being ever and now my thoughts of her were kind of everywhere. She was still an amazing person, but HOW?! HOW did she agree with such a man?! Being as though I was only an employee, I knew I would get fired in a second for going crazy political about something like that. I didn’t want to lose my job. After I heard her say that, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I was completely shocked and I really didn’t even know how I should have reacted. We happened to have the same break time and I guess she was not done with her Trump conversation. I tried so hard to hold everything I was feeling and thinking inside. Then it just slipped out: ‘do you agree with everything he says?’ ‘No, I don’t. I don’t agree with his thoughts and ideas regarding woman’s rights.’ HERE WE GO!!!!! I was so happy that there was at least something that she did not agree with. I constantly found it hard to just hear how much agreement there was with it and that was my problem. I didn’t agree with those ideas and I wanted to stop the conversation on them.

Ultimately, I was glad that we found some sort of common disagreement with President Trump because it also made her realize that I was not his number one fan. In this case, I don’t know if I really became more world-minded but I did kind of find a solution in order to approach those who I am in constant disagreement with on a topic. My main struggle was approaching the question because I could no longer bare to hear her talk about why something as drastic as a travel ban should be imposed.


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Nothing Would be the Same

What I got from this statement by Ludwig Wittgenstein was that so much would be different. I kind of interpreted it like being in the tourists’ shoes. Not speaking the same language and not understanding what was going on around you. Having a different language is somewhat like having a different culture. Language distinguishes people and many times people even form judgments off of one’s language. For example, I work at GAP at the Del Monte Center. Every day, we get tourists from Korea, Mexico, Spain, etc. The way we post and communicate our sales throughout the store is difficult for them to sometimes understand because of the language used by us and the signs. As a result, they go to the cash register with loads of items that they cannot afford and later feel embarrassed and humiliated. They do not see things the way we do. We only know the world we have been conformed to. The one that we understand and we can communicate with. In a more complex sense, an exchange student peer of mine from another class once said that seeing students working AND going to school was so weird and strange to her because back where she is from school is at such a low cost that students do not feel the need to apply for a job. In her sense her language is associated with her culture and thus she is startled and surprised that we do both work and go to school. If we spoke a different language, nothing would be the same.


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I was just doing what my mom said

All through high school, and somewhat still today, tests/exams were my worst nightmare and sworn enemy. I was a terrible test taker and it seemed as though no matter how long and hard I studied, I could never get a satisfying grade. My freshman year, I took biology and boy did it kick my butt. Not only did I find tests hard in general, but I also struggled with the subject. One night, I had been studying  for hours for a bio exam I had the next week. Though after seeing how stressed I was, my mom told me to just relax and forget all about it. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken her too serious. I practically suppressed the idea of the exam in order for me to not be stressed and panicky.

Ultimately, I ended up forgetting about the exam until the day of the exam….. as I was walking to the class. As a result, I did not ace nor fail the exam. In my personal opinion, I don’t believe suppression is a good way of managing your emotions. I feel as though suppression is more commonly paired with more negative emotions and avoiding or masking them isn’t always the best. The way in which I can see and understand suppression of emotions is when you perhaps don’t want to hurt or affect someone else’s emotions.