Part V: Interpersonal Communications SP-181

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In January of this year I decided to return to college for the eighth time? I am still working towards a useless associates degree. I may even graduate next fall semester. My speech class did not transfer and I needed one to fulfill a requirement. Being an experienced facilitator and speaker a speech class sounded dreadful. When the counselor said, “How about Interpersonal Communications?” I thought “Perfect! My previous managers told me to stop making my coworkers cry. I could use some interpersonal direction.” Well, here I am with only a couple weeks left in class and a slew of forum posts on the book chapters I never read. My instructor loved my writings and suggested I compile a book, or be a stand up comedian. As I already have this platform I opted to share those writings here. These are my personal commentaries on questions related to class material. These will be different than my previous blog posts and have minimal editing. I feel it is time to move my writings into a more authentic light. I hope you enjoy my thoughts just as my professor has this semester. (Each chapter focus and question are at the beginning of each post to provide the reader with a bit of background.)

Create safe places for yourself and you don’t have to be liked by everybody and the day you can get that down you know some people like you some people don’t that’s wonderful and the ones who don’t like you that’s great let them find their way.

Peter Woodbury from Edgar Cayce on Empathy, Sensitivity, and Boundaries: From Karma to Compassion

Language (Ch. 6)

Terms:

  • abstraction ladder
  • convergence / divergence
  • Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

Goal:

Rephrase disruptive statements in less inflammatory terms.

Question:

In your own words, explain the statement “meanings rest more in people than in words.” Cite examples from your own experience.


The statement “meanings rest more in people than in words” refers to the intentions of the speaker. I believe I used the Seattle HOV Lanes for another chapter. Fortunately there are plenty of real life examples to discuss. Currently in one of my Facebook groups for restaurant industry workers, one member made a post stating “There is Iced Tea. There is no such thing as Un-Sweet Tea. You do not ‘un-sweeten’ tea.” The Southern Industry rose up on this man like it was 1861. I chose to watch the fallout from the sidelines. Here is something basic, iced tea. If I order iced tea in New York City, Boston, or Washington D.C. I will receive iced black tea with optional sweeteners on the side. I personally do not like sugar in my tea, so I drink as is. As soon as you get into Richmond, VA it is a whole different story. Iced tea is still available, but it is made very differently than in other parts of the country. Proper restaurant iced tea has about 3 lbs. of white sugar added to the 5 gallon cambro prior to brewing. This allows the sugar to melt into the tea as it brews. Technically this is called Sweet Tea as opposed to Unsweetened Iced Tea. As a bartender I learned to listen and look for cues before upsetting a guest. If I am working in the South, I listen for non-southern accents when they order iced tea. I confirm if they want unsweetened or sweet tea. Outside of that handful of states, I listen for that beautiful drawl or piercing twang ordering iced tea. It is imperative I inform them we do not have sweet tea at CPK in Hawaii. For whatever reason these guests always take it personally and become offended when proper sweet tea is not available. Under no circumstances should they be offered iced tea with a side of sugar. That is an insult to the sweet tea of the South. Relationships are the perfect example of the above statement. How many arguments could be avoided if we all had the same meanings for words? Unfortunately we do not. Just before Thanksgiving my former partner and I were having issues regarding house hunting. As a family holiday was coming up, I made a peace offering to put our discussion on hold and return to it after the holidays. He agreed and we had a good holiday season. When I revisited the discussion, my partner was surprised. He thought my offer to table the discussion meant to table it until the end of time and never speak of it again. Yeah, I did say my “former” partner. In retrospect my words held a very different meaning from my partner’s understanding of my words. This is a perfect example of how electronic communication is affecting us. Perhaps if I had been face to face with him, he would have been able to infer my intent through my physical social cues. Words in a text message are subject to the reader’s interpretation. Often the intent of the sender is lost. 


Communication Climates (Ch. 11)

Terms:

  • ambiguous / tangential responses
  • communication climate
  • confirming / disconfirming communication

Goal:

Create appropriate non-defensive responses to real or hypothetical criticism

Question:

Describe a recent incident when you were defensive. Explain which part of your self-concept you were protecting, and describe the consequences of your defensiveness.


Seriously just wiped a Cheeto crumb off my keyboard and lost the piece I was working on. Oh the agony of posting on Laulima and not periodically saving my work because I am used to Goggle Docs doing it for me. SPOILED. Personally I can get very defensive very quickly. It is actually something I work on; and currently I find myself doing a good job of staying in my own lane. Along the way it is not worth my peace trying to convince someone I am right and they are wrong. As previously discussed in class, social media allows people to say things they may not say in real life. Social media is where I learned to just scroll on if I do not agree with someone or something. Recently my friend posted a remark about gas prices rising since the new presidency. Rather than point out OSHA sets gas prices I reminded him of the time during George W.’s administration when he pumped gas for me. I had a Ford Windstar with a 26 gallon tank. Cost $98.06 to fill up that day. I thought he was going to have a heart attack (again). Did I vote for George W.? No. Did I blame him or the GOP? No. Was it my personal choice to own a minivan with a massive gas tank? Yes. Do I now drive a fully electric Ford Focus? Yes. My mother gets pissed I do not get into fights online. Last year around the first lock down my mother got into a fight with her sister. I stopped following their online bitching via Facebook comments long before this. Apparently it was in reply to one of my posts, but I turned the notifications off once they started in. I do not know or care about what happened, but they stopped speaking because of it. Stupid right? They both believe the other is wrong. My mother is awaiting an apology and her sister isn’t going to give one. My aunt is in poor health and will certainly pass before my mother. Then she will be saying how wonderful her baby sister was. Death painting people in a new light is another story. Do not get me wrong I do not tolerate fascists. I am an actual American and I know my family fought in wars over this. My friend invited me to a meme group on FB. The only rule was do not report posts, just leave the group. A tad odd, but I figured people can be so sensitive these days so it was a warning. I did not expect the warning to be for me. Within 24 hours I starting seeing posts bashing democrats and promoting Trump rhetoric. (I do not want to assume your political views, but if you are a Trump supporter look in the mirror, YOU are NOT white. Now get over it he lost.) I went to report one, then I remembered the rule. I paused, said fuck it, and reported those racists fascist turd blossoms. Then I left the group. I am surprised my friend suggested it to me. Her dating profiles say NO TRUMPERS. We cannot change other people. We can only change ourselves. Sometimes it is best to hide comments, unfollow, unfriend, or even unplug all together. I recognize this doesn’t answer the question however I spend a lot of time in therapy to work on being less defensive and more accepting of myself and even others. I recommend meditation, affirmations, prayers, sobriety, and therapy. Speak your truth, protect who cannot protect themselves, and don’t let the bastards grind you down.