HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

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Romantic Partners (Prompt #5)

When it comes to dating, race/ethnicity has never mattered to me. If I am attracted to you, I am attracted to you. In fact, I have only ever dated guys who are not in my own ethnic group. I don’t purposely seek out guys who have a different ethnicity than mine; it just naturally happens. I wouldn’t ever let someone’s ethnicity stop them from becoming a possible partner. If I went by the bird-of-a-feather effect, I wouldn’t have dated my current boyfriend. I would be missing out on a shit ton if I didn’t choose to date him just because he isn’t from the same ethnic group as me. Honestly, it doesn’t sound fair and it is extremely limiting. But hey, if you feel more comfortable dating someone of your own race then you do you.

Thankfully, I haven’t encountered any difficulties with my family, friends, or the general public for having a bi-racial relationship. Nowadays, bi-racial couples aren’t that rare and I feel like people are generally more open-minded about it or they just don’t really care. As along as my significant other is kind, loving, and respectful then my family couldn’t care less about ethnicity. My current boyfriend is all of those things. In other words, he’s a keeper.


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Conflict & Power (Prompt #7)


What do you get when you have one overly-sensitive, stubborn younger sister and one sarcastic, older sister who doesn’t have a filter? You get two sisters who fight a lot. I admit I am not the greatest sibling, but I have realized my errors after self-reflecting. Believe me when I say I have profusely apologized, however, my (stubborn) sister will probably never fully forgive me.

My sister and I have always verbally fought with each other for as long as I can remember; we do not really get along. She even admits that we are complete opposites. We really could not be more different. Our vast differences puts us in arguments more times than I can count. In all honesty, it is both our faults. I contribute by sarcasticallly saying something she finds offensive and she contributes by shouting back with a snarky remark. These constant arguments have created a deep rift in our relationship that will take years to mend. 6 months ago, she refused to talk to me whatsoever; but after awhile she has gradually started acknowledging my existence. She felt that separating herself from me would be the best for her, so I gave her the space she needed. Now, she has gradually started talking to me again, but I still feel the lingering distance between us. I hope to repair our relationship no matter how long it takes. I make sure to be extra careful and mindful about what I say to her. Even if it is remotely sarcastic or if it can be slightly taken the wrong way I restrain myself from saying it. She still makes fun of me sometimes to see if I will take the bait, but I bite my tongue.

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Nonverbal Communication (Prompt #3)

I touch people often.

Just kidding! That sounds really freaking creepy, but then again the prompt question kind of sounds creepy so bear with me. Anyways, I am not a touchy feely person in general. I have a personal bubble that I like to stay in, so I assume everyone I don’t particularly know prefers it that way too. Don’t get me wrong, I love hugs (especially my boyfriend’s bear hugs). However, I will only initiate a hug if I know the person is a hugger. I knew someone who would straight up say “bring it in. I am hugger” whenever he would meet someone new. Good for this person; it shows that they don’t mind hugs at all and having their personal bubble invaded. I am also completely fine with social-polite touch. For example, I will shake someone’s hand if they offer a handshake. One of the reasons why I am not very touchy is because some people might misinterpret it as being flirty which could seem like I am leading them on. They might also think I am a total creep if I out right give them a hug when first meeting. It is better to be on the safe side. However, if I became more touchy I could also be perceived as a warmer, friendlier person. It all depends on who I am with and how well I know the person. Understanding the functions of touch can help me determine when to be more touchy and when to be less touchy. It can repel or attract people. It can be inappropriate or appropriate. I would never invade my boss’s personal bubble nor the stranger on the street. But if you are my homegirl/homeboy, you better believe it when I say my hugs can kill.



Verbal Communication (Prompt #1)

Geneva, Octavia, Summer, Leilani, Collette, Beverly, Nova….

The list of names that I would change my legal name to is endless. Don’t get me wrong, I like the name that my parents picked out for me. The name Madeline is pretty, but I personally do not feel it fits me. It is a little too common for my taste. I mean it could be much worse; I could have been named Dick (if I was a dude) or freaking North West (no offense to Kim K). Although I am proud to be named after my great-grandmother, there are so many gorgeous and exotic names out there that I absolutely love. So, I would be lying if I said I never thought about legally changing my name. I would want a name that holds a strong meaning for me while also sounding unique. Like if someone were to ask what my name was and I said, “[insert unique name here],” they would say, “oh wow, I love your name! It is gorgeous!”

I know some people who don’t even think twice about their given name; but I am not one of them. Names are important; they are a part of your identity whether you like it or not. Even though I am not in love with my name, I would want to have my surname hyphenated when I get married. I couldn’t imagine having to write my full name and not write Rapella at the end. I would not be able to part with it. But I am not going to lie, people have made fun of my last name plenty of times. They misspell it, mispronounce it, and even leave out the last three letters which turns it into Rape. How lovely is that. Ya, it is so old.


Active Listening (Prompt #10)

I have a confession. I admit I am guilty of underestimating a person strictly because of their appearance. Yes, it is a shitty thing to do. It’s unfair and superficial, but I think it is safe to say that I am not the only one who has done this. It actually happened a couple of weeks ago; one of my older classmates (let’s call him Bob) was about to present his project to the class. Specific characteristics about Bob made me think he wasn’t the brightest nor the sharpest. So, there I was; half-heartedly listening to his presentation (only because I was loosing focus on having to listen to so many other projects) and totally oblivious for what was about to come.

A couple of minutes passed until I started to really pay attention to what he had to say about the subject he chose. He wasn’t like the other classmates; he was very engaging and enlivened. Bob talked about the subject of war as if he had first hand experience of it. It was just a project for school, but he put his heart and soul into it when he talked about how ancient soldiers use to fight. He completely captured my attention. Once he was done, our teacher asked him why he chose to talk about war. A sad smile appeared on his weathered-out face.

“Well, it is easy to talk about something if you have been through it yourself. I know what it feels like to be gunned down and stabbed. I still remember fighting in the Vietnam War like it was yesterday,” he explained.

My mouth dropped to the floor in utter shock. In that moment, I knew I had totally misjudged this man. He was a war hero. He went on about his experiences in combat and the men he used to know who fight by his side. He talked about what it was like to kill another human being.

“You know…,” his voice cracked from the budding tears, “they teach you how to kill and how to start a war, but they never teach you how to stop it.”

Tears trickled down my own cheeks; his story was like something you would hear in a movie. But it wasn’t, it was his own life that he experienced through his own eyes. It wasn’t some made up, glorified war story where the hero goes home unscathed of war’s wrath. He was a living, breathing veteran who has seen things I could not even imagine. My respect for him skyrocketed. I could feel his pain as he poured his life out in front of us. The class was in tears as they were just as surprised as I was to hear about what this man went through. Although the Vietnam War ended for him long ago, a psychological and mental battle still wages inside his mind. He is a tortured soul, but he is miraculous because despite the suffering he still chooses life. Even though he wanted nothing else in the whole wide world to die alongside his friends on that battlefield, he still chooses to keep going.

“I truly wanted to die. I wanted to end the pain. But I knew, deep down, there was a part of me that was begging to live,” he weeped.

It baffles me to think that I once underestimated Bob. Little did I know how much wisdom and stories he had to share. I could endlessly learn from people like Bob. In fact, I can learn from anyone. I just have to keep an open mind and listen. I did not know what I needed to know until Bob shared his life; never judge a book by its cover.

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Emotions (Prompt #6)

The silence was deafening.

Only the sound of my high-strung heart was audible. Ahead of me was pure darkness and the blinding lights that focused everyones’ attention on me. I mustered up as much fleeting courage as I could, and brought the microphone to my lips. My heart was ramming itself against my tight chest. It wanted out; but I stood my ground. I was not leaving this stage without a fight. I was dead set on defeating my life-long fear, stage fright. I knew the words that were to be sung like the back of my hand. All I had to do was open my mouth and let the music pour out. So I did. I took an immense gulp for air as I dove headfirst into the sea of fear. My body and mind knew what to do. They gained control of my doubts, they let my worries go. After I let the first line out, I was no longer in control. The stronger, braver version of me embodied my heart and soul. It did not feel like the real me belting those notes out or standing on that stage with thousands of my high school classmates gaping at me. I was singing the notes like I had never sung them before. I was stringing powerful emotions and passion into the music like never before. The energy of the crowd that was covered in a blanket of darkness below empowered me. But it was only me and the music. I lost my nervous self somewhere in it. When the song was over, I was swarmed with the sound of roaring applause. I was utterly elated knowing I had just conquered one of my biggest fears.

Losing control of my behavior and emotions does not always have to be a bad thing, sometimes it is best to just shake off the stubborn doubt and trust. I trusted in the fact that it will be okay in the end. In this case, losing control did me well. My buried, braver self took over; the self I did not even know existed.




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Perceiving Others (Prompt #5)


The light suddenly flickers on as a lively crowd of family and friends bombard me at the door. My heart lurches in my chest as I try to recompose myself.

“Oh gosh, you guys scared the shizz out of me,” I exhaled. Their beaming smiles and expecting eyes follow me as I am finally able to peel myself away from my only escape route.

“But we wanted to surprise you for your birthday!” my 8 year old cousin exclaimed, “We thought you would—”

Okay hold up, not to be a complete party pooper, but I strongly hope I never have to be in a situation like the one I just described. You might be wondering why I would dislike surprise parties, but my conscientiousness can give you an explanation. First off, I do not like being surprised at all (unless it’s a really, really, good surprise like if you were to surprise me with a puppy). Secondly, I crave predictability and consistently in life like I crave sugared doughnuts. I love knowing what is going to happen or being able to predict what is going to happen.

However, I got to give some credit to my high amount of conscientiousness which is my most liked personality trait among the main five. It has gotten me through high school and college (so far) with a decently high GPA. When I am given homework assignments, it helps me stay on track and to not get distracted with all the yummy food I could be eating. Okay, fine. Sometimes, as in 99.99% of the time, I give in and just head straight for the fridge; I got to keep my priorities straight here, folks. My conscientiousness, for the most part, serves me well. I cannot complain about being an organized, clean freak because I actually like living in a room that doesn’t smell like booty (not trying to say your room smells like booty if you don’t clean it. It could naturally smell like Glade’s Hawaiian Breeze in which case good for you).

Since I am a lover of consistency, predictability, and planning I seek out others who are similar. I can be a little biased sometimes when I meet a clean freak like me who actually likes to clean. I will immediately place them on my good side whether or not they deserve it. Overall, my conscientiousness makes me bias during the perception process. I will tend to focus on the person’s conscientious-like traits and discard any negative ones they might have. When the conversation is over, I will walk away with a positive judgement of them simply because they like to clean or they are organized or they love predictability. If you totally think I am nuts by now, just know two things. I do not like being surprised; and if you must surprise me, a fair warning would be greatly appreciated.

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Self-Concept (Prompt #1)

I do not watch many television programs, but the ones I do watch have to have complex, strong, and relatable characters. My all time favorite tv show is Game of Thrones. The show has it all. From the intricate characters to the gorgeous costumes, I fell in love with its grandeur. For those who do not watch it, it takes place in another world filled with magic, mythical creatures, kings, and queens. It transports me into that world every time I watch it; that is why I love it so much. I like to imagine a completely different world than the one we live in. The characters are multidimensional and nothing is black and white. In my opinion, it is all about the people in the shows and movies. If they can make me feel sympathetic towards them or make me root for them, then it is a show worth investing time into.

My favorite character in GOT is Daenerys Targaryen, a strong female lead. She defies the phrase “damsel in distress”. Just when everyone underestimates her, she rises from the ashes of fire stronger than ever and fights for the Iron Throne. I could write forever about this tv show, but the main point is that I love strong characters, female or male. I value strength in all its forms (physical, mental, etc…), imagination, and compassion. I mainly watch tv shows and movies because I like to step into the shoes of the characters and imagine I am them. Sympathy and compassion play a huge role in this. If I can’t sympathize or relate to the people in the stories, I quickly lose interest; there is no point in watching them if I do not care for them.

If you were to look at my iTunes playlist you would quickly come to the conclusion that I am a sucker for romance. Most of the songs I listen to are either slow, heartfelt songs or about love. For a hopeless romantic like me, I enjoy listening to those sappy love songs most people would find disgustingly cheesy. I love music that pulls at your heart strings and songs that make you cry a little bit (the good kind of cry) because it is so achingly beautiful. Initially, I did not prefer to show people how much of a hopeless romantic I was, but now I do not attempt to hide it. I love love.

The media can greatly influence us and our self-image if we let it. It takes a certain amount of strength to rise above the noise and bombardment of the media’s unrealistic ideals. If you accept the societal pressures that are around us, it can destroy your self-esteem. The media can deprive you of your true essence and make you feel incomplete. For example, it displays heavily photoshopped images of women demonstrating that this is the way all women should look like. However, it can also motivate you to improve yourself by spotlighting your favorite role models. I see the media as a tool; you can choose to let it damage you, improve you, or you can straight up ignore it. In general, however, the media influences our self-image and esteem in a negative manner.