HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

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Family Members

Prompt: What is a tradition or communication practice that is significant to your family identity? (This could be a way you celebrate birthdays or a unique way of greeting each other.) Explain its contribution to your family identity.

Since we’re nearing the holidays, I’ll talk about some holiday traditions my family has, that we’ve been doing since as long as I can remember. Usually, during the holidays my immediate family and I will spend Christmas Eve with my father’s side of the family and on Christmas Day we will spend it with my mother’s side of the family. In the last few years, we’ve added some new traditions to our holiday festivities for example, Christmas eve night we go over to our neighbor’s house and have a fun, casual, relaxed dinner with real authentic Italian cannolis because they’re Italian and we reminisce about old stories and enjoy each other’s company. My family also has a family day over the holidays while we’re all out of school, it originally started with my parents having a huge vase for change, and every time we found change around the house, if you didn’t keep it, you would go put it in the vase and once it got to Christmas time, we would go cash in the change and use the cash toward our “family night”, which consisted of bowling, dinner and going to the movies. But first we would all take bets on how much we thought was in the vase, usually, the winner got 20 bucks.

One more unique and fun tradition my family does over the holidays is our “Pajama Olympics,” every Christmas Eve, my parents got all us kids (my two brothers and I) pajamas and we all dispersed to different parts of the house, my parents would blindfold us and we would have to unwrap and dress ourselves in all our new swag without looking and hoping for the best. Once again, the winner usually got a good cash prize.  My family is very competitive, we all played sports and still do, so the competition gets pretty heated.

All these small traditions play a big role in bringing my family closer together and always having fun with each other especially over the holidays when we all come back home to Washington and get to see each other.


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I agree with what question No. 2 said: friendships are less stable, more likely to change, and easier to break off than family or romantic relationship.

Such statement is formed because “friend-making” is the next step after being strangers. Only when two people become friends and are attracted by each other profoundly will they move on to a romantic relationship. So, that is why I said the romantic relationship is stronger and more stable than a friendship is. On the other hand, why did I say the relationship with family is also stronger than friendship is? It is because normally people live with their family since they were born. Human is a kind of creature that has a lot of emotions. If we spend time with someone for a certain amount of time, we will automatically offer empathy and care, and I think family poses as the best example of such statement. I still remember my first time coming to college: everyone is a stranger to me. But after I started to talk with them, we became friends. There were two boys and two girls that were very close to me. So, I created a group chat called “the international squad.” We used to be really close friends, did homework together and hang out every weekend. There was a girl in our group that I think is a really nice person, so I started asking her out privately. After several dates, we became a couple. However, there was a huge argument in our squad that has separated the squad into two sides. Two boys left our squad and I haven’t talked to them ever since the Fall semester began. From my opinion, the step of “friend” is the basic level of a relationship. It is not difficult to make new friends, but it is hard to maintain a friendship. The reason why friendship is often not as stable as a romantic and a family relationship are is because it can be broken by small arguments very easily.

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active listening

One time I was telling a story to my friend. I can not remember the story but what I remember is that I was excited to tell them. As I was telling the story they were doing a good job listening to me tell the story but in the middle of my story they looked at their phone. It did not sound like a phone vibrations. So to me they were just checking to see if they had any notifications. That made me feel unimportant and they were hoping for something more exciting to pop up on their screen. I became a lot less enthusiastic with my story. Negative impact has a huge impact on someone you become small and you lose your confidence because you think you are boring or not interesting. Even the slightest sign to show you are not engaged in the conversation can really hurt someone because they are coming out to you and telling you things they want you to hear but you do not care. There has been times where I will ignore someone or give other types of negative feedback because they are not worth my time and they deserve to know I am not interested. Or it is because they had done something similar to me and i am doing it back to them to show them how it feels to get negative feedback from someone you want to listen. I do think negative feedback can be constructive for some people. Sometimes negative feedback is a sign that you are telling a boring story or you are not making it exciting. Some people are not good storytellers so getting negative feedback might be able to help them get better at the way they tell a story.

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family members

A family story that is told often is a story of me as a child. It is more of my immediate family that are together when the story is told. The story is usually brought up when my brother and both sister start talking to my parents about when we were younger and this story is always brought up. The story takes place at a family barbecue at a park of some type. The grown ups were all at the picnic tables talking and hanging out. Not too far away maybe one hundred yards or so the kids are all playing on the playground. It was not that no one was watching us, the thing is we were always really well behaved kids so we were never getting into trouble. Well I was pretty young I was getting a hang of the whole walking thing and I was walking everywhere. I was walking and apparently I was walking straight and was about to walk straight off the playground where I would fall about ten to fifteen feet. Well at the picnic tables my dad could see what was about to happen and without saying anything he just got up and started running toward the playground. All the adults were confused as to why he just started running away. He eventually started sprinting and sure enough I walked right off the playground and was falling head first. Now the way my dad says it is he caught me by my head and just put be back on the playground and I walked away without a clue to what just happened. Once the adults saw what my dad had done they all started cheering and were very excited. It is a great story because it gives my dad a hero image in my head and it is a good memory my parents have of me as a kid even though i’m sure it was terrifying. I also like to bring up the story around my friends to show how cool my dad is.


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Work Place Relationships

How many of your work peers do you consider friends, rather than simply coworkers? Would you consider any to be best friends? How do these peer relationships affect your job satisfaction?

Before I came to CSUMB I worked as a swim instructor. Also during the summers when I come home I  teach kids from the age of six months to teenagers of the age of fifteen how to swim. So many of these certified instructors where people that I played water polo and  I swam with.

Many of my friends outside of school were my sports friends and I just so happened to work with them as well. So basically more then half of the swim instructors were my friends. I would have to say out of the four instructors that were my friends, one was and still is my best friend. We always joked with each other and messed around. We disclosed everything to each other. We practically did everything together. Same classes, same year, same age, went surfing together, we did everything together. Even as of today she attends school in Oregon and I see her rarely but we still try to stay in tough as much as we can.

When it came to work we knew we had to be professional because this was our job. At first we messed around but we did work around kids so we could not joke around as much as we were used too. Plus we knew that while we were on the job, we immediately became coworkers. Besides since we did not teach the same group of kids, we hardly talked. We did not really have time. So when we did it was before we clocked in or after we clocked out. We would hangout after or before work. During work we never had any problems with our boss or with each other. We respected each other as friends and as coworkers.

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Communal and Agentic Friends

I have a variety of friends. However, I distinguish them base on the person and our connection. For instance, if I hang out with a person constantly and if we are talking about emotions while we hang out then I consider them as communal friends. However, if I hang out with a person and all we do is just fix each other problems or we plan to hang out in the future then I consider them as agentic friends. I consider my roommate and people that I know throughout the years as my communal friends. While people who I know from a class or through an experience of helping a specific person in the past can be considered as my agentic friends.

When I communicate with my communal friends it is more hanging out or playing card games. Fortunately, there is just more than just playing card games with these friends. We actually give each other emotional support to one another or we just talk about some issues that one of us might be facing. While with agentic friends, we just plan an event ahead of time. For instance, if I or the friend has something to do like needing help with a project or just wanting to hang out to get some coffee, we will check our own individual schedule and plan for a day. I tend to share more thoughts and ideas with communal friends while I give more of a second hand do those who are agentic friends.

When I hang out with my roommate, we tend to do activities like playing a card game called, Cards Against Humanity or go to Fishermen’s Warf in Monterey. On these occasions, my roommate and I would just talk about our day and even our problems that we are facing. We tend to give each other some kind of support while trying to enjoy ourselves. While with an agentic friend, we tend to just help each other out by planning ahead of time. If my agentic friend and I are in the same class and when homework is assigned, we tend to schedule a meet and complete the task. My communal friends are those who I do more activities and share some experience with while my agentic friends are those that I want to complete a task with or just collaborate and talk with.

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Long-Distance Friendship: Between Two Cultures

My score on the quiz resulted an eight out of ten, which is high durability in friendship. Though, my best friend and I currently live thirty miles away, I agree that my friend and I always contact each mostly through the phone, and rarely on Facebook. Whenever we are feeling stressed, or receiving surprising news about upcoming events, such as movies or video games, we will likely contact each other and chit-chat about the activities. We have been sharing activities and slowly practiced some self-disclosure along the path of friendship. Since we see each other physically once or twice a month, my friend and I somehow have a change in professions, appearances, and attitudes. Though my friend kept some of his enthusiastic behavior back in high school, he is still aware about my boundaries when it comes to my interests. He can get a little forgetful when he gets excited and enthusiastic at times, but I specifically communicate for him to understand our plans and schedule. This helps maintain our friendship.

Differently, a couple years ago, when I was visiting the Azores (Portuguese archipelago) with my family, I reunited with one of my friends I have not seen in two years. Two of which one was a short skinny girl who is two years older than me, and her brother who is two years younger than me. Without calling them, I was happy to see them in person, and preparing to share activities together (such as swimming). However, since those activities did happen, I was getting suspicious of them when they were being flaky. After swimming, they reminded me that they were going to return to the area within half an hour. I was upset when they have not returned for over an hour and a half. I returned to my family vacation home discussing these issues with my grandfather. At that same area they have not made an appearance for the past three days to which my grandfather and I were being sarcastic of how they promised to come back in thirty minutes, but they get stuck in their own world forgetting about me all the time. I went up to a computer room building to check my Facebook account only to discover that my friends were at a beach located at the east side of the village a couple miles away, according to one of their profile pictures. It was upsetting to see how my friends I have not seen in years, decided to withdraw themselves to their own activity. They came back and asked if I wanted to swim at the beach without receiving any concerns from them such as “I’m sorry.” I hung out with them, overall. Next year, my grandpa and I were discussing my friends’ flakiness which made me consider them as good, but not great friends. My quiz score for these types of friends resulted a moderate durability of four out of ten.

As I still maintain friendships with my best friend and my long-distance friends in the Azores, long-distance friendships can depend on a certain degree where different cultures and generations of a person’s interest will happen. My best friend and I will share our stories about our current events happening, especially the news, and will hang out to do our same interests. On the other hand, I will have a strong feeling that when I return to the Azores next year, my friends and I will have a happy reunion from geographic separation and share the same activities. However, I will suspiciously feel that they will repeatedly be flaky and lost in thought the longer I hang out with them, based on the social media they use.