HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

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Maybe Should’ve Met In Person

Earlier this year, I was in a situation with a sort-of friend where he had been depressed (as had I) and we sort of leaned on each other for support. Already off to a bit of a bad start, two mentally unwell people trying to gain support from each other. When we’d meet in person, we wouldn’t typically talk too much about what had been going on, that was something we reserved for when we were texting. There’s a whole slew of problems with that, and they began to start culminating. One time about a month ago, he had been continually texting me about how he was upset about all these different things, I offered to not talk to him about certain things if that’d make him feel better, he just continued going on and on and we went back and forth until eventually out of nowhere he hits me with some strong sass and backhanded comments, completely out of nowhere. I decided to just leave him alone until he was ready to apologize for acting like a dick, he didn’t for a while, eventually three weeks later (of us barely talking) he messages me back with more backhanded comments about how I obviously don’t care about him enough to even talk to him. Since I was getting somewhat heated about it, I decided to continue having this discussion through the medium of technology as opposed to saying “Hey, look, maybe we should meet in person and talk about this?” The back and forth continued of kind of pointing fingers at each other, trying to find out who was in the wrong, until it turned out that he had misinterpreted my words of encouragement as words of condescension. This is not entirely my fault, as he could have just as easily asked for clarification instead of later blaming all of his actions on me and making it seem as if I must have responsibility for what he did, but if anything, it was a fair learning experience.

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Five Power Currencies

In interpersonal relationships there are five common power currencies: resource, expertise, social-network, personal, and intimacy. Resource currency is having physical materials such as money, property, and food. Expertise currency is a the power of knowledge. Social-network currency is a power through a network of connections. Personal currency is power through one’s looks and attributions such as height. Intimacy currency is the power when you share a strong bond with someone that no one else does. Allowing you to have power over them.

Out of the five power currencies I believe I have resource currency, expertise currency, and social-network currency. I am certain of this because I have a job that allows me to rack in income, which in turn gives me the luxury to rely more on myself for food and other commodities. I have expertise currency because from a very young age I was forced to learn many skill that others do not know. These skills include: cooking, sewing, mechanical work, repair work, computer skills, etc.Then there is social-network currency. I am able to meet and get along with people rapidly. Allowing me to have a network that I have power over. This includes being in good terms with my coworkers and bosses. I don’t believe I have personal currency because I believe I don’t have any attributes that can give me any sort of power. I don’t believe I have intimacy currency either because I have huge trust issues that prevent me from getting close and creating bonds with others. The currency I believe is the most important to have is that of resource currency. I believe this because when you have the power of resources, then you have the power to sustain your own and at times someone else’s life. Without resources, you won’t be able to live without relying on others. Intimacy currency I believe to be the least important of the five, because it’s hard to create and maintain a bond with someone that allows you to possess power over.

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Managing Conflict And Power

My results from the self-quiz ‘How do you approach Conflict’ are about what I expected. I agree that, in general, I approach conflict with a collaborative approach. I will often try to work with someone to find a solution that is beneficial for both of us, or exchange information to aid in effective problem solving together. That is typically my approach to conflict, but there are certain times or situations where I’ll use other approaches, such as competition or avoidance. If it is a subject that I know someone feels strongly about and talking about that will not help the conversation in any way, then I find it better to use the avoidance approach. And sometimes, occasionally, I will use a competition approach in less important situations or conversations.

I do agree that I’ve seen the Dyadic Power Theory in practice with certain people before, but the best example I can think of is my dad. My parents divorced when I was young, and ever since then they’ve shared a joint custody agreement where I’ve spent half a week at my mom’s and the other half at my dad’s. I also have two siblings, so between us we were moving back and forth, and living in, two separate households. This is complicated further by the fact my dad lives about 20 minutes away from my mom’s house, and his house is in the middle of a forest, far away from my friends, school, and an actual town. And then as my siblings and I have gotten older, my dad has fought even harder to keep us, and all our belongings he’s ever purchased for us at his house. But seeing as his house is out of the way of everything else that goes on in our lives something like that is incredibly difficult to manage. At the moment my brother is less than a month away from turning 18, and my dad is trying everything he can to convince my brother to continue going to his house. My sister, who just turned 16, has just gotten her own car and driver’s license, and my dad has to work even harder to get her to continue spending time at his house because she no longer has to rely on him for transportation.