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Interpersonal Communication: Relationship Climate and Conflict Essay

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Updated: Mar 19th, 2021

Activity #1: Your Conflict Style

THE CONFLICT: Describe whom it was with, what it was about, etc. HOW I MANAGED IT:Describe what you said, how you acted, etc. THE RESULT: Describe how you and the others felt afterwards. Are you happy with each of the results?
I was in a conflict with a gas station attendant at a convenient store. I bought Macadamia nuts for my cousin but apparently, my cousin was allergic to them and asked to get ground nuts instead. So, I went back to the store requiring an exchange for ground nuts but the store attendant refused and demanded a fresh purchase. I explained the situation to the attendant but he completely ignored my request and demanded for a new purchase. The attendant lacked common courtesy. I was even surprised that the attendant used the old line “management obtains the right to refuse service to anyone”. I was so aggravated and I threw the pack on the counter and stormed out of the store.
I had saveda whole bunch of pennies worth $75 and left to get a drink at a local liquor store. My purchase came to $75 and since I knew I had enough, I dumped all the pennies over the counter for the accountant to account. To my surprise, the teller totally refused to take the coins and started yelling and screaming. I told him it was the legal tender of the U.S and walked out of the store with my purchase. I felt that pennies were legal tender, as per the Coinage Act of 1965. So that meant that a store has no right to reject my pennies or any other legal tender
My friend Shariffa, an exchange student from Indian (Hindu) gets mistaken for an Arab (Muslim) each time we board a train. One day on our way back from watching a movie someone from the back of the train screamed “we got a Muslim on board!” that got everyone in panic. I yelled back saying “not all Muslims are suicide bombers and unfortunately, my friend is a Hindu”. But to my surprise, the train guard was ready to throw us out of the train for posing security risk. I was happy by the way I handled the situation

Based on how I reacted at the time, am not happy the way I handled things. Corbin, Carol & Dawn (2009) states that good communication improves relationships, trust and support. The best way to have dealt with the conflict would be to discuss the issues in calm and a respectful manner rather than blurting it out in an angry and hurtful way. According to Corbin and Dawn (2009), this seems to be the best way to have avoided the argument, reduced stress, tension, resentment and resolved conflict in a healthier way. The conflicts made my relationships with the mentioned service attendants weaker since we both felt wronged and no one was willing to apologize to the other. First of all, shopping is a privilege, not a right and I should have asked the clerk if they were accepting pennies as common courtesy. Looking back on how I reacted to all the situations, I am aggravated in the way I resolve conflicts. I lost my anger easily by throwing the coins over the counter and walking away with my purchase. From my history, I do not effectively manage my emotions during conflict. I acted defensive rather than addressing the situation with an objective eye and willingness to understand the attendant’s point of view. Buying another pack of nuts may have seemed to alleviate stress the argument although the issues could have remained unresolved. I would definitely change the way I dealt with the conflict by first letting the shop attendant know I will be paying the bill with my pennies. I should have cared about my morals and about what others think and feel. It was completely wrong to create a scene by lugging my coins over the counter and walking out with my goods.

Activity #3: Self-Disclosure

Self disclosure is an act of sharing information with others. In other words, making people aware of information about what’s going on with our lives. Communication starts when someone bumps into a stranger and within minutes, the person ceases to be stranger and we may start disclosing information about ourselves. It has often been argued that more we get to know each other the more we feel comfortable sharing information about ourselves. Sharing information is a two-way street, and when a person feels like the other party is holding in information, the other party may start shying way.

I regularly self-disclose to my closest friend Tim, whom have known since high school and I feel comfortable telling him anything. Farber (2006) states that “self-disclosure can be assessed on an analysis of cost and rewards” (5). With this regard, it can be concluded that self disclosure enhances relationships.

I self-disclose to others because it helps me relieve stress, I tell my friend things I would that would never have been discussed with others. Self-disclosure is a way of learning about how others think and feel and without communicating my feelings, my friend Tim would not have known what is going on in my life. Talking to my friend Tim about my problems has helped me open up to myself and to my friend as well.

Sometimes I don’t self-disclose to others because I feel too embarrassed to do so. The security of telling people very sensitive issues may lead to unfavorable impressions. For instance, a person may use information disclosed to them against the individual willing to open to others through self-disclosure communication. We often take risks by sharing personal information with people who barely know. We should take time and build trust with people we are planning to be sharing personal information with as some may use this information against us or for blackmail purposes. Conclusively, too much disclosure can damage a relationship. Therefore, while self disclosure can be useful in helping us relieve stress, we should be careful on how much information we disclose, how soon we disclose information to people and the ability of others to keep our information confident.

It usually takes me close to one week before I decide whether to disclose or not to disclose information to others. Am often faced with fear that disclosure may make me vulnerable and people might judge me the wrong way. The grace period of one week allows me to assess whether the information am holding in might cause harm to others and how people might judge me. It has been suggested that without self-disclosure, we remain unrecognized and our connections with others may be fault.

It is proven that self-disclosure builds relationship and enable people stay together longer. You may also gain a lot of knowledge about yourself and may improve self disclosure. Talking to people about things you have done, how you feel about yourself and how you feel about life, helps someone begin to accept themselves and who they are. Self disclosure puts someone in a position to see who you really are and binds people together. In addition, every person has their own beliefs, and they are able to reconcile their disagreements with a person they feel close to. Someone may feel unaccepted, your feelings may be hurt and you may feel your relationship is threatened. To this reason, people need to make their feelings known by revealing and exposing themselves. Often, people who can not express themselves or rather shy individuals experience great anxiety in trying to express themselves. Conclusively, self-disclosure is a complex and challenging process but is still absolutely essential asset for communication and building relationships. One progressively moves from being a stranger to being close friends.

Sometimes timing may be too bad. Disclosing to much information so soon in a relationship may turn people away. If you disclose premature information to early your intentions may be misread as an invasion and some may see it as an attack. I met this lady Triza on my way back home from work. We exchanged some conversations and in few minutes, I was feeling so comfortable with her like we had known each other for a while. So, I had a secret I had been holding in for sometimes, and felt right to let it out. I mean, she was easy to talk to and very accommodating. I hoped that by telling this secret, I will be showing my trust to Triza. But she misjudged the unpleasant content of my message. Instead of revealing the awful details, I should have gone half way through the story and said “I will tell you about it later” and if she would have pressed for more information, I would have responded “this is not the right place or time for this disclosure”.

Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) otherwise known as the “internet”, has significantly improved the way I self-disclose to others. With social networks, one can post any information without feeling intimidated than it would to tell a bunch of people on what you are going through.

Conclusion

Overal I should have cared about my morals and about what others think and feel. It was completely wrong to create a scene by lugging my coins over the counter and walking out with my goods. Disclosing to much information prematurely may seem as an attack, misread as an invasion and some may see it as an attack. With this regard, I should take time to know people before unveiling really personal information. Lastly, we often take risks by sharing personal information with people we barely know. To this reason, we should always take time to learn someone’s character since some people may use our privileged information against us for personal gains. In all the situations, I acted defensive rather than addressing the situation with an objective eye and willingness to understand the attendant’s point of view. Buying another pack of nuts may have seemed to alleviate stress the argument although the issues could have remained unresolved.

Works Cited

Corbin, Carol., & Dawn, White. Interpersonal Communication: A Cultural Approach. Sydney: Cape Breton University Press, 2009.

Farber, Barry. Self Disclosure in Psychotherapy. New York: The Guilford Press, 2006

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