HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives


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Listening To Someone With The Wrong Idea

I had multiple situations that I have listened for the wrong reason, especially listening to my girlfriend. Just like the video in class, I was always trying to give solutions, but all she wanted was me to comfort her.

There was once she told me about problems she encountered at her college. She brought up issues like her studies, friends, social life, and so on. I provided her all kinds of solutions that I could think of, because I thought that was what she wanted. After the long talk on the phone, she was still not happy. I asked her was there something else she didn’t told me. She then got mad and stopped talking. I tried my best to make her smile again and luckily it worked.

She told me she just wanted some comfort. I didn’t know that. I think most men will try to give solutions to their partners and ends up in the same situation like me, or even worse.

Since then, whenever she shares her story with me, I would still give her advices but this time they come with comfort.

Hint for men: If you encounter situations like this, just comfort her. It will save you time for thinking a solution for your girl. You can stay lazy and keep your girl at the same time.


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Emoticons do help

Thanks to the advanced technology, emotions are now able to be expressed through text messages, and misunderstandings are more likely to be avoided.

While texting my friends, I will use emoticons once in a while to express my feelings toward something. The one that I use most often when texting with my friends is the one that shows I am laughing hysterically. I used to just type in “hahahahahahahaha” annoyingly long to let my friends know I am laughing, but now it’s just that emoticon.

Another instance that emoticons helped is when I text my girlfriend. When we first got together, we did not use emoticons. We only used words to text and express feelings. I have no idea when, but we started to using the heart and kissing emoticons in every text messages for years, even when we are not trying to say “I love you”, we still use those emoticons. We would stop using those emoticons whenever we were in a fight with each other, but after five minutes we would start to use it again. I guess it is our way of reminding each other of our love. It also makes me happy whenever I see her text messages because they will always be the most colorful ones when there are other notifications.

Now, all the text messages and love emoticons are more important to us as we are in a long distance relationship, with 15 hours of time difference. Of course, being loyal to each other having trust are essential for any relationships, but I believe the emoticons do help us to feel connected, and expressed our love to each other.


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As a real Asian

I am a Chinese, who was born and raised in Malaysia, which is in the continent of Asia. My country has three main races: Malays, Chinese, and Indians. Malays are stereotyped as lazy but friendly, Chinese are stereotyped as liars but hardworking, Indians are stereotyped as fearsome but funny. These all started with stories.

This makes it clear that I was being stereotyped as liar but a hardworking person back in my country by other races, but the truth is I am not really hard working and I don’t really lie to people, which is totally the opposite of my general stereotype. I do not think that stereotyping is totally bad because we can still be nice to others even though we stereotyped them. That is how we live together in Malaysia. Stereotyping is a good thing for us because we know who should we ask for help during different situations. When I wanted to hang out and have fun, I would hang out with Malays. When I wanted to go somewhere that is not safe, I would go with an Indian friend. When I wanted to get a project done, I would work with Chinese.

I don’t really know how Asians are stereotyped in America, but I have watched talk shows from stand up comedians, and heard what they said about Asians. Well, it was not that bad, and some made me really proud of it! I don’t know all of the stereotypes, but I will try to list few of them. For example, some Americans think Asians are:

  1. People who can’t drive
  2. “Cheap”
  3. Hardworking
  4. Martial artists
  5. can’t speak English or maybe speak it in funny accents
  6. all of us are Chinese
  7. Mathematic geniuses
  8. strict parents

and the list goes on.

As an Asian, I don’t have strict parents, I’m bad at mathematics, I can drive and I know things about cars, I’m willing to spend than more people do, I can speak four languages including English. It is true that I’m a Chinese and a martial artist, but I was not born in that part of China where people are always fighting and flying around on the trees. Even the great martial artist Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco. I don’t know Kung Fu because I am practicing Mixed Martial Arts. They are different, just in case anyone does not know about it.

Well, stereotyping is not really a bad thing to me. I can take jokes about Asians/Chinese too, and I always find them funny, unless the person who is telling the joke is not funny at all. I don’t mind it as long as someone is not stereotyping me in a mean way. People can stereotype me however they want, I will still be nice and respect them if they are nice to me. I also think that people should always be able to take jokes about themselves, it will probably make the world a happier place. Of course, one should  not cross the line just to be cool while making jokes.


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Too much too soon?

Having layers when disclosing information is a good habit to protect ourselves from strangers. As the relationship gets closer, it is like what Shrek said, we will start to disclose information ourselves more and more.

I’m not the type of person who will disclose too much if I am not really close with the person that I am talking to. However, I can talk about anything and everything with people for hours, and normally it is with people who are older than me, without disclosing too much information. It is not that I don’t trust them, it is because I always take the chance to listen to people who are older than me as they are most likely more knowledgeable than me, so I will be able to learn more from them, instead of wasting time telling them about myself. Well, if they really ask, then I will tell, still not too much. It is a habit.

Things that I consider as “too much too soon” are things that are not related to the conversation, and someone brings it up all in a sudden, out of nowhere. Let’s say we are in a conversation about sports, but all in a sudden, the other person brings up about his or her own political views about Donald Trump. I will be like “Wow, I didn’t know Donald Trump can run that fast!” in my mind. Yet, if anyone is really disclosing too much too soon, I would not put the person into an awkward situation, or stop them from disclosing too much. I would still sit there quietly and listen to what they say. There must be something for me to learn, or at least know more about them.

Anyway, we have freedom of speech. As long as the words are not hurting and the speaker is feeling fine to say it, I do not mind anyone to disclose whatever they want.