HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives


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Family Members Prompt #2

If I were to really think about it, I believe that I am closer to my friends rather than my family. Now before you think that I have anything against my family, I don’t. It’s just that the way I was razed was that we aren’t necessarily the most emotional family or maybe always doing family stuff,  because both of my parents work at different times so it is hard to do family stuff together. But anyways, there are certain things that I wouldn’t tell a family member that I wouldn’t mind telling a friend and vice versa. If I were to tell them that I did something that I am not supposed to do then they would not be happy, but obviously friends aren’t really going to care about that. The reason that I feel that I am closer to my friends than my family (granted my immediate family I would say I am close with such as my parents and brothers and sisters, but aunts, uncles, and cousins not so much), is that you choose you friends but family is family. No matter who they are you were born and raised with them. That and friends usually you share a lot of common interests with but with family that is not necessarily true. As for balancing different feelings for different family members, I suppose I am a lot quieter and less talkative with some of my cousins because we really don’t have anything in common. If I was hanging out with one of my brothers or my sister, I am more talkative and not so quiet because we actually have things in common. And if it were a family member that I didn’t get along with then I would probably just hold that emotion inside and act respectfully because that is just the way I was razed.

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Friends Prompt #2

The book states that friendships are less stable, more likely to change, and easier to break off than a family or romantic relationship. Some of these points I would agree with such as it being easier to break off, but it really depends on how deep the friendship goes. With a general friend that you aren’t really super close with then I would agree with that. However, if it is a best friend or even just a close friend it may be quite difficult to break off that friendship. Granted, you could just stop talking or communicating with the person but that still may not be very easy because the friend could be trying to reach out to you still. Also, you may feel very hurt on the inside from the breaking off of the friendship, so even though it may be easy to perform the action it will not be so easy in terms of emotional damage or impact. Stability wise, I think friendships are much more stable than a romantic relationship, because something that a friend could do to you could be a lot less damaging than say a romantic partner or a family member. Unless they were a best friend than maybe it could less stable depending on what they did. As for more likely to change, well I am honestly not too sure on that. I feel that my friendships have generally been the same, but my romantic relationships have changed over the course of the relationship. Though if I were to consider that my friends now are different than the friends that I had before then in that situation my friendship would have changed but if we are talking about the same friends than no they have stayed the same for the most part. Family relationships have also not really changed either, except maybe be treated more like an adult rather than a kid but that is more of an age thing really.


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Romantic Partners Prompt 7

I decided to take the self-quiz on “How Often Do You Betray Romantic Partners?”. I ended up scoring a 12, so according to the scoring chart I am considered an infrequent betrayer. If you think that I may be lying, I really am not. I held the few relationships I’ve been in very dearly when I was in the relationship. I believe my score to be very accurate because I believe myself to be a faithful, trusting, and honest person. Going down the list on the quiz for example, talking badly about your partner in front of others is definitely a big betrayal and I would never do that. Not to mention I don’t even understand why you would do that. It doesn’t make you look better, won’t make others feel better, and makes your partner feel like crap. Gossiping about them is also bad for the same reasons as above. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep either, because that can be hurtful to both parties and strain your relationship. The biggest two betrayals though on this list would probably be telling others information that was given in secret and lying. If you want to be in a good strong romantic relationship with a partner then you should not be disclosing private information that your partner told you. It completely breaks any trust between you and your partner and can quickly cause resentment and eventually some hatred towards you. Same goes for lying.

As for the best approach for dealing with these betrayals,  talk it through with your romantic partner. Granted, I haven’t been in a relationship in a long time so I may not be the best adviser on this but talking things through is always good. Another thing that you should do is not react with anger towards the person even if you may really want to because of the pain that they may have inflicted upon you.


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Nonverbal Communication Prompt 6

As a person that’s not the biggest fan of having a lot of people around me, my proxemics are very limited. I’ve always kind of been introverted, thought I never mind being with other people I am used to only hanging out with a few people at a time. Intimate space would probably only extend to a significant other. Intimacy implies deep love and contact, and I am not exactly the biggest fan of contact beyond handshakes or an occasional hug. Though if its just a hug or something than that would extends to close friends and family as well, since hugs are kind of whatever to me. As for personal space, that would be pretty much any of my friends, though if there are a lot people I am friends with around I tend to act a bit more awkward and uncomfortable since I am not really used to having a lot of people around at a time. The farther the space goes out to me, the more comfortable and less awkward I can be, so when it comes to social space and public space I don’t particularly care who is around. If someone looks kind of suspicious or if it were a criminal or something though I probably would not feel very comfortable if they were in my social space. Probably not even within 100 feet. Though I suppose that’s just me being paranoid. I think the fact that I spent a lot of time by myself in my room since I was all playing games or watching anime in there kind of changed my proxemics. I used to be more open and less caring about that sort of stuff when I was a kid, but ever since high school I started caring a lot more about my personal space and what not. It probably didn’t help that all throughout middle school I was at a small school, so that probably slowly started getting me used to not being around a lot of people.


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Active Listening Prompt #8

There is a recent situation, I would even go as far to say just about every time I talk to this person, of where I am a selective listener. One of my roommates that I live with is a fairly critical and bossy person, so usually when I listen to him talking to me I only really pay attention if its something important. I would rather not hear any critiquing of the way that I cook my food or what not and don’t want to be ordered around by this person to do stuff that he should have done himself. I will admit this has to do with my bad perception of him from long ago, but he has done nothing to help with this situation. I try my best to listen to others no matter what they say, even if I disagree greatly with what they say because its rude to ignore others. However, no matter how hard I try I will admit I have a really hard time paying my fullest attention to this person. He seemed like a kind and respectful person at first but slowly became a rude, very critical, and controlling person.

A way that I could avoid this selective listening behavior is if I reshape my perception of this person. I can set aside our differences and once again open my ears and be attentive to what he says. I can also give him feedback when he is talking to me about different things instead of just saying stuff like “Wow thats crazy” or “Dang that sucks”. I can also try to be more understanding of what may be going through what he is going through, since that may be why he is acting this way. It will take a lot of effort but I will try my best to do so.


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Emotions Prompt 11

I’ve used and use suppression as a means of managing emotions more than I probably should, but one time I can really think of it is when dealing with my dad on topics such as religion. When I was younger, I used to be Catholic, but over my middle school and beginning of high school, I slowly grew away from Catholicism. Coming from a family full of Catholics however, this did not go down well. My dad was very unhappy that I did not get confirmed in the church and still to this day occasionally brings up the fact (though I do want to quickly point out that I do love and care for my dad, its just a minor problem at this point). When he first found out my fading faith, he threatened to make me break up with my girlfriend at the time and take away a bunch of my stuff. I was furious at the fact, but instead of lashing out at him and causing serious harm to my relations with my dad, I instead suppressed the anger I had about the issue. I am glad that I did, because I don’t want to cause any problems with my dad, and while I do occasionally gripe about going to church with them when they ask me to, it in reality isn’t much of a problem anymore. So in this case, suppression was indeed the right solution to this issue.

Suppression as an emotion management strategy is an effective method in the right circumstances. While it is good that it may prevent you from blowing up in anger, it can also have the effect of making the situation eventually worse if you do reach a breaking point and explode on somebody. I would say that the most effective way of using suppression is to use it wisely and sparingly. Talking the issue through is the more effective method for dealing with problems, but there are times when using other methods like venting or suppression that are more effective for the situation.


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Perception Prompt 7

There is someone I can very clearly think of that I have a negative Gestalt for. At first, I just had a neutral impression of the person as would be the normal or right thing to do. But after spending only a short amount of time with this person, I quickly realized who he really was. I had first thought that he was a clean, respectful person. Never have I been so wrong in my life. He constantly leaves messes in the kitchen, dishes in the sink, and uses my cooking equipment and leaves it dirty. Now if this only happened occasionally I could care less, but this happens almost every single day. In addition to this, said person is also quite disrespectful. Using food that does not belong to him without asking, and constantly trash talking any food that I make. Essentially, the more and more this type of thing happened, the worse and worse my impression got of him. In terms of the negativity effect, I suppose you could say this very quickly gave me a horrible impression of this person. Sometimes negative Gestalts can be wrong, but after repeatedly experiencing these events over and over again I would say they are really accurate.

Now on another note, I have a friend of mine that I immediately formed a positive Gestalt for once I had met him. He is one of the nicest, most respectful people that I have ever met. While at first it may have been a positivity bias that influenced my impression, it quickly became clear that it was no bias, but it was just who the person really was. My experiences with this person were just pleasant and positive one after another. I can truly say I have not had one bad experience with him, and I am happy to call him a great friend to this day.