HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives


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The Voice of Our Parents

I don’t know about you but I can clearly hear my parents’ voices in my head whenever something reminds me of them. When it comes to my parents, I have both positive and negative reactions to hearing their voices depending on the specific tone they take. Simply on how they call out my name can cause a high stress reaction or a reliving reaction. Years of being comforted and scalded by them has caused a wide variety to awareness to the mood that my folks are displaying when talking to me. The way people speak is just as important as what it is that is being said.

I believe that it’s completely ethical to judge based on someone’s voice. People aren’t going to simply ignore someone that sounds threatening or just speaks in a way that raises concern. One personal experience I’ve had was when I was walking with my girlfriend outside a 7-11 and this random guy was angrily speaking to himself. I wasted no time grabbing my girlfriend’s shoulder and moving her away from that guy’s direction.I’m sure that there some kind of context that may or may not justify this guy talking that way but I don’t care what it is. I’m not going to risk our safety in order to protect this guy’s feelings.

Though I don’t consider myself a “victim”, I did once have an incident where a nurse thought I was threatening her because I was frustrated with her piss-poor care. Context for this is long and not something worth addressing here, but the fact is that I was simply angry. I was not threatening her or anything like that but that’s just how she chose to hear it. I don’t blame her for reacting that way since she was just reacting as she saw fit, and I do believe that’s how it should be when reacting to the tone of those around us.


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Speaking English without actually being English…

As you all can probably deduct, my first and native language is English. Now, to me, speaking English in the United States is not an inherently cultural experience. American English doesn’t seem to have the same gathering power as other languages spoken in America. English is just seen as more of the default language and there isn’t anything too special about being able to speak English here. Americans tend to vary heavily so simply speaking English doesn’t provide much of a basis to make connects with fellow Americans.

Now, with being a primary English speaker does make forming connects with those whom speak other languages more difficult. It’s hard to find common interests when you want can’t even understand what the other person is saying. This is why learning a second language can very practical to overcome these language barriers.


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Turning A Blind Ear

Everyone has those people in their lives that they simply can not take seriously. There’s plenty of reasons for this reaction, but in the case of a dear friend and roommate of mine, its only because he’s a bit of an idiot. I say this with love of course, but there are definitely times where the only way to keep myself from going insane is to just ignore the guy when talking about more serious subjects. When it comes to serious discussions and debates and about politics, issues, and anything else like that, the guy just says ridiculous things that anger me. Now, I just avoid having those kind of discussions with him but if it can’t be avoided, then tune him out and start pseudo-listening.

If I really wanted to, I could try to remind myself of the importance of having a conversation and try to persuade him while actively listening to find commonalities with what he is saying on the specific issues. Basically, the way to overcome this specific case would be to adopt a more people-oriented listening style.


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Going from Al”Right” to Al”Left”

I never felt as out-of-place as I did when I first started college at CSUMB. I’m from a small mountain town called Three Rivers that borders with the Sequoia National Park and the culture there is completely different from what I see at this university. It’s fascinating how the big issues discussed here at school is basically nothing worth a damn back home and vice versa. My town is majority conservative and with that, I have been raised with ideals that are not nearly as popular out here at school. I’ve met a lot of people here from all over California and beyond, yet I still feel like I’m just from a different walk of life than those around me.

Up until my freshman year here, I had little experience with more…diverse people. I mean this as those whom are gay, trans, and any other descriptions that is covered by LGBTQ+. What’s funny is that I never even heard the LGBTQ abbreviation while I got to CSUMB. Furthermore, my freshman roommate was gay so he was my primary example of how a gay male behaves. He was a complete asshole…It had nothing to do with him being gay. he was just an awful person to live with or just be around. Fortunately, I have met several better people to set as a positive example for their community. Over the years since, I have learned much from the friends I made here from all sorts of backgrounds. I just hope I was as influential on them as they were to me.


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People Have Layers, Like Ogres

Based from we have learned about Social Penetration Theory, we know that people can be rather complex in that they have many different sides to themselves that they may or may not want others to see. This varies in people, of course, we all have people we know that are very open and social with other while we also know people that can be cold and closed off from anyone. To add to that, people also rate vary in the rate at which they open up to others or an certain trusted few. For the sake of right now, the more interesting cases of people opening up are the ones that get a bit too attached too quickly, and these stories can hopefully become funnier to tell once the smoke is clear.

Now, this story doesn’t actually include me directly, but it is a good example of this “too much too soon” concept. Two friends of mine began to see each other and spend more time together during the early Fall 2016 semester. It stated off fairly innocent, with light flirting and a couple “what if” scenarios off them actually dating, but almost as fast as it started, it imploded. Turns out one of them was really wanting a romantic relationship, while the other thought they were just having fun and spending time together as good friends and wasn’t truly interested in being a couple. This caused a bit of awkward moments amongst our friend group, things were fine…until the alcohol kicked in… Basically, there was anger, tears, sadness, threats, and some unfortunate self-harm and they were no longer friends. We’ve all worked things out since but the point of this story is to be careful before inventing so much heart on someone. Take your time and make sure that you two are one the same page before taking a simple friendship to something more serious.

In this case, the “too much too soon” was a drunken admission of one-sided love and well as some hurtful things being said for the sake of hurting the other person. Now, this wouldn’t be much of a problem if this whole thing didn’t all occur over the course of a month, maybe even less. One wanted to dive head first into a romance while the other wasn’t ready for that and wasn’t particularly interested in pursuing that with this person. The sad thing is it could have worked out great for both if they allowed themselves to take their time in building up a relationship that could go well, but instead, it got rushed and feeling were hurt. Love is hard thing to accomplish when there’s too many layers still covering the people involved.