HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

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Managing Conflict and Power (Prompt #5)

The most common power currency that I possess is generally expertise currency. I remember when I was a younger student, perhaps in middle school and people would always think I was the “quiet, smart girl”. Because of this they would ask me for help on problems they could not understand. I suppose I had this power currency for schoolwork and appeared “smart” because I finished my work and turned it in, which does not necessarily make me automatically smart. The other expertise I would have is in relation to art and marketing it online. I have had people commend me or ask me for help with art in the past and presently as well.

I don’t think I have ever really had much of resource currency because my family struggled when I lived with them and we had enough but not a lot. I probably have some objects which could make it into the category for resource currency. Such as my large binder of Pokemon Cards or art supplies. Especially the art supplies I would say. I do not have a lot but when I have extra I try to give them to people who would use them more. I’m not giving up my Pokemon cards though…

I have had social-network currency and am trying to grow my network as well. Because I had a good relationship with a professor they were able to help me get an on campus job because of the work ethic I showed her. This power currency is arguably one of the most important, especially in the field I am in. Networking is the main way people in my field get their career jobs. As your career and success determines part of your happiness and future I would think that it is pretty dang important.

Other than social-network currency, intimacy currency is very important as we humans need that kind of interaction. I do not have that power currency with many people but I do have a very strong intimacy with my partner. Sharing that bond with someone that no one else shares is certainly powerful and it also feels fulfilling.

Resource currency is important because it helps get things done. I do not have a lot of this and sometimes it is hard. Such as not having enough money or food. I think this power currency is best used when people that have it help those who do not.

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Nonverbal Communication

I took the quiz on page 227 but I already knew I am very strongly a M-Time person. I am one of those people who has 10 alarms on their phone for reminders to go to class, eat, take medication, wake up, etc. It is difficult to manage everything based on my (very poor) short term memory so alarms definitely help. I am almost always on time or early to events such as work, job, or commitments. The only time I am late is once in a blue moon when something out of the ordinary happened. I pride myself on being punctual and I think it is a good skill to practice. I try to respect people’s time because I know a lot of college students have a lot of things to do and not much time, and who may be also working and have a ton of other commitments. Other people’s time is just as important of course, but I try and be more sensitive to those who also have a busy schedule and many different commitments.

Constant scheduling keeps me alive with everything I have going on; job, school, homework, artwork, my business, social life, etc… but that does not mean I enjoy it in the slightest If anything the constant reminder I have something to do makes me even more anxious rather than someone else planning what is going to happen and I can just come along without worrying about messing up or missing a commitment. When people do not respect my time or are late it frustrates me because I do not feel as respected or that they value my time or understand my time is important to me, since I do not have much of it to spare.

Sometimes being a M-Time person can make me be inflexible or seem rigid and anxious. It is hard to be flexible with so much to do and planning so much does make me anxious but I do not enjoy to be or do those things. I am working on being more in the present and enjoying what I have, taking life step by step. I am also trying to be more flexible if things do not go the way I planned or if plans were canceled. These goals are definitely more difficult during the school year but I think I have made decent improvement so that’s something at least.

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Verbal Communication (Prompt #4)

The majority of the idioms I use with people are those who I feel very close to, such as my sister (not as much nowadays), close friends, some family but primarily my significant other. I do not really remember the personal idioms I would use with my family, sibling, or others because I do not use them much anymore. However, I do use a lot of the personal idioms with my significant other. One of my favorite things with getting close with someone is that we can tell each other “Fuck you, ya dweeb” and it meaning you love each other. I wouldn’t really call it tough love, because there is not any sort of negative feelings to it, it outright means we love the other. Some of the other examples include, “hun, honey, love, cutie, bun/bunny, family” and loads more of disgustingly cute names, it’s great. On the other end we also call each other names like, “nerd, weeb, fuckin memer” and the list goes on. The different names erupt different feelings and emotions but both sides are positive. While the cutesy names are romantic and sweet, the others are playful and show trust.

I think the relationships where I have the least idioms are probably professional settings and family. I am not very close to my biological family, and I try to limit my contact. I know the idioms they go by but I do not want to use them. Such as with my parents, it is hard for me to even think of them as Mom, Dad, etc. and I more so think of formal terms like Mother or Father. An example of negative idioms would be “goblins”, which I call a couple of my abusers to help cope.

I do not think that personal idioms are only positive, they can be negative although they are positive for the most part in my case. I enjoy using (the positive) personal idioms, it creates a feeling of closeness with whoever you use them with – especially if both sides use it. My boyfriend is kind of stoic and has a harder time with vulnerable emotions but he uses more personal idioms and more often than I do, which I think is an interesting contrast.

I want to use more personal idioms with friends I have, but it is harder for me to use them unless I have gotten to know the person for a year or so. Maybe it is just me but once I learn someone’s name it takes a lot of uncomfortable effort to call them by a nickname, for most people I only use one name.

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Active Listening (Prompt # 9)

  • Being so interested in what you have to say that you listen mainly to find an opening to get the floor.

When talking about a topic that I am interested in and excited about, I am guilty of this. Especially if I think what I have to say is important to the conversation or would be good to say / tell the other person. One example would be talking about a road trip I planned and if I was excited to go to a specific place, waiting to be able to mention that place or my plan.

If someone says something wrong, meaning if they misunderstood something or what I said, I try and tell them as soon as I can that there was a misunderstanding.

I also do this sometimes if someone is a talker, or does not let me talk or put a word in, because I want to input as well. People sometimes talk over me, which is not too fun – and I try to find a place where I can put my input as well.

The other time when I do this is when I have something I am really excited about to tell the other person but they will not stop talking.

  • Formulating and listening to your own rebuttal to what the speaker is saying.

I do this a decent amount with people I know that ramble a lot. The main reason is so I can remember what I want to say, if I do not keep it in my mind and keep thinking about it I will lose the train of thought. It is not something I like to do since it makes me feel more overwhelmed because of having to remember extra, but if I do not do it I will forget. I suppose in order to limit this I can try and write some things I want to say down on paper.

I also tend to do this when I am in an argument or heated discussion, especially if we are both trying to prove out point. When I am angry or heated, I try and be calm but sometimes I just want to get my point out. I discuss things with a lot of people and it is always difficult if I cannot get a word in edgewise.

  • Not asking for clarification when you know that you do not understand.

Sometimes when I am too timid to ask someone who may get upset or think I am stupid, I just do not ask for clarification. This is mostly in class or when someone mentions a famous person or a topic and acts like I should know about it. I do not want to be teased so just not saying anything or asking about it works.

I know there are things I can do to become a better active listener, which I would certainly love to do. I would also like to learn how to help those that are close to me to become better active listeners so that our communication is better.

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Emotions (Prompt #1)

I disagree that that statement and unalienable right in the Declaration of Independence should mean that the United States and its inhabitants are the happiest people on earth. It seems like a bit of a fallacy statement. Sure, it states that we have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. But reading it for what it means and not how it looks is important. We have the right to pursue happiness, to chase after it and hopefully capture it. This does not mean that we should or are or will be the happiest on earth by any means. I do not think some words (although very important words) will suddenly make you happy just because it says you have the right (I wish it were that easy).  It is up to you, your support group, your choices, your outlook on life, emotional intelligence, and probably another hundred things that make your happiness. Not all of them are even controlled by you; your childhood, romantic experiences, family relations, education, and even media can also affect your outlook on life and how happy you are. These are things that we as a nation and people can help change to make happiness more achievable. A united and supporting nation with the right amount of trust and nationalism for its government (with mutual trust and a watch on the government) could help this.

I do think that there are some good lessons and words of wisdom that we as a nation can learn from the danes however. I have noticed that in America, especially the United States – there is a kind of culture of expectation. We expect people to meet our expectations and get upset when that does not happen. Granted, like most generalizations, this is not always the case, but it is a trend and common. In other countries, asking for your food to be remade or demanding a refund is very rude and not tolerated, but in the United States it is expected. Americans generally expect things to revolve around them, which is not always good. I myself think individualism is a great thing, but like most things – in too large a dose it can be bad. I think only thinking about yourself and never the greater good is not a healthy way of thinking – both for yourself and others. The opposite is true as well, in many religions it stresses to think mostly for the group and not for yourself – which is unhealthy too. I think a good medium is best, being an individual but also concerned for the community and greater good. I think adopting this would help our outlook to be more positive and happy.

What the Danes think as far as setting their expectations low has some good lessons as well, as long as it is not taken too far. If you are always expecting the best then you will surely be disappointed and unhappy. In contrast if you always expect the worst you will have a poor outlook on life and be unhappy and pessimistic. I feel that most things boil down to finding the right amount, and that is what life is all about – finding the right amount of everything. So, setting your expectations low may help you be happy, but can also be bad if they are too low. Aiming for no expectations is the best in my opinion and leads to a more positive outlook on life. I certainly struggle with that myself, being a more neurotic person among other things, but as long as you are trying – well, that is all one can do.

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Perceiving Others (#6)

Honestly, the way I would perceive them differently would probably depend on which views differed from mine. For example, if they were fiscally liberal and I was fiscally conservative, that would not be a big problem, or a problem at all. I would be interested in hearing about their fiscal and economic views. If it was about something fact, proven, or scientific and they disagreed I probably would have less respect for them as an intelligent person. If someone disregards fact there is not much room for common ground or discussion, only perhaps to try and convince them to believe the facts – which can be very difficult if they are very rooted in their beliefs. One example would be my grandmother who is very big into conspiracy theories. Now, one of the theories she believes is that the Holocaust never happened. Now, I already very much disagree and this trivializes the millions who died and the families who still live and the culture passed on in Jewish communities. My boyfriend and his family are Jewish, so this would be a very awkward interaction. I would certainly call that a challenge.

I think that it is easiest to discuss and debate with those who do not have black and white views of the world or are at least open to hear the grey. For example, I sometimes watch debate videos – both because I would like to get better, and I am interested in the topic. Such as if someone thinks that gender and sex are the same thing, and that there are only two genders. If they are not open to the idea that culture and biology are different then the argument will be very tiring and annoying.

I have had debates or conversations that opened me up to new ideas or I opened the others’ minds to new ideas – and it always feels relieving to be on the same page and to convince someone. I try to be very open minded, but I do have strong beliefs that I stick to, unless I find a flaw in it and then change accordingly. I think that keeping yourself open to new ideas is a good idea and promotes education. It can certainly be very difficult, and I am not always able to do so. There are some topics where I cannot imagine me as a person believing the other side. For example, I strongly believe in if you are not hurting others or yourself, you have the right over your own body. I cannot remember the quote that I am thinking of, but that is the essentials of it – freedom over your own body. If someone were to say people should not do drugs in their own time or women should not be allowed to get abortions, I would disagree.


Self Concept (#4)

One label that people would often use for me, especially when I was younger is “shy” or the “quiet girl”.  When I was around age 7 or 8 I used to be much more expressive around others, but due to moving around a lot which made me lose friends from school, and my parents’ constant battles in court – I became more withdrawn. In my opinion, I believe this is partly due to the fear of losing more friends so I would not establish close relationships because I knew I would just move away again. It was more of a subconscious thing, I still had friends – just not close or great ones. The label started around 3rd or 4th grade, I would not talk a ton so I became the “quiet girl”. This began to bug me more in middle school when classmates did not take the time to learn my name and to get my attention would call “Hey, shy girl”. I disliked this label because I felt that I was not “quiet”, I just didn’t have anything to say, so I didn’t say anything. It made me feel like an outcast and I began believing it, despite the fact I had strong beliefs and views and enjoyed talking about a lot of things. The label got to me and I think this actually led to me speaking softer, due to lack of confidence or a fear no one would listen. For a lot of my life I have struggled with social anxiety, whether it came from the label or not – it certainly did not help with it. Nowadays I work to speak louder. Social interactions take a lot out of me, and are scary sometimes as I don’t know what to say, so often I still do not talk a ton with those I do not know. However, when people get to know me – I do not shut up. I blab on constantly about anything; video games I like, social issues, pets, you name it. I often enjoy talking, and it helps when the other person is also an anxious person because they understand the troubles.

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Romantic Partners #1

I do not agree with that statement. Most “always” statements are a generalization, unless it is a proven scientific fact (ex: if you throw an apple up in the air, it will fall down). It certainly does in many relationships, but I think that has less to do with the “honeymoon phase” ending and more so that the people in the relationship turn out to not enjoy or like each other as they previously thought they did. Me and my partner have been together for almost three years our feelings for eachother have only grown. I believe this is for a few reasons that many relationships lack. Firstly, communication is key. Establishing guidelines to the relationship, such as whether it is monogamous or polyamorous or what the partners are comfortable with. If something your partner said  upset you, it is much better to talk to them than let those negative feelings fester. Secondly, if your partner is also your best friend it makes the relationship last much longer. This means you can have fun talking and hanging out with them, but also have romantic feelings for eachother. I am not completely sure what is meant by intense passion in the question so I am unsure of how to answer that. However, I do not believe love fades when passion does. You can love a hobby, pet, or person but not be passionate about it, although it certainly helps to be passionate about it. I love some of my family members but I am not excited about them, I just feel like I want to protect them.