Part VII: 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

Relational Dynamics (Ch. 9)

Terms:

  • affinity / immediacy
  • connection-autonomy dialectic
  • metacommunication

Goal:

Explain how change and culture affect communication in interpersonal relationships.

Question:

Explain how gender, culture and/or mediated communication affect intimacy (emotional, intellectual, etc…) in one of your important relationships OR society/culture today.


I have lived throughout the country and I am well traveled. The best thing I heard after moving to Hawaii, “Hawaii is part of the United States, but it sure as shit is not America.” Truth spoken from a haole Cali girl.

Where to start with this one?

  • Fruit punch is not juice. Fruit punch, is not, juice. Fruit punch is flat soda or colorful high fructose corn syrup.
  • Musabi is not acceptable to feed children. Please stop offering it to my kids.
  • Right is right. Right is RIGHT! You can’t push a cart through Costco, I hope you’re not out there driving.
  • Why isn’t there fluoride in the water?
  • Please hold the door open for the person behind you. Unfortunately one of the rudest places I have ever been. 
  • Unless you are a first responder on duty, STOP BACKING IN YOUR CARS! None of you can do it correctly, you’re blocking traffic, and then your trunk or flat bed isn’t accessible for your Costco haul.
  • I am an only child. We are not related. Please do not call me auntie or sis. “Ma’am, hey you, excuse me” are all acceptable. 
  • Please do not relate the government ordered mass genocide of my people to the history of Hawaiians. 

So who is thinking I am an asshole now? I was probably one before you were born and I am okay with it. Here are some things I have learned since moving here 8 years ago.

  • Hawaii is the only US state with official languages, ‘Ōlelo and English. I acknowledge and respect I only speak one of these. If I encounter a situation where only ‘Ōlelo is spoken that is on me. Fortunately my mother learned when we moved here and I have some friends to call on.
  • Chopsticks! Who knew? I carry them to the Mainland now.
  • Corruption is most certainly colorblind.
  • I have learned more about Polynesian tattoos than I ever expected. I am beginning to understand the meanings and spot the fakes. If you have a chance my friend teaches a couple courses at WCC. I highly recommend you take at least one class from Tricia Allen. 
  • Hawaiian navigation is beyond impressive. I was able to visit the Hokulea when she was in Washington D.C. I happened to be home for a visit and made a point to go see her.
  • It is safe and acceptable to eat food from 711 in Hawaii, do not do that on the Mainland.
  • Pidgin. I always assumed it came from a lack of education*. I learned my understanding was completely wrong. 

Back to my friend’s statement about Hawaii. Every place has its own customs and societal norms. The Washington D.C. area is a melting pot of ethnic groups. My high school was 20% Korean and no one noticed I wasn’t white. One reason my family chose to move to Hawaii was for the diversity. No one hassles my kids for being hapa. I appreciate not being asked, “What are you?” when someone wants to know my racial background. The brief history of Hawaii is an amazing one of diversity and perseverance.

*In the south eastern US there is a form of pidgin, mix of Creole, French, English, etc. If you have ever seen The Waterboy you understand. My personal experience living as a biracial woman in Winder, Georgia includes coming across this dialect. My friend, was-band, and myself went to a farming supply shop for U-Hual boxes. My giant pasty white friend strolled in and asked the older clerk where we could find the boxes. The reply was utter nonsense to us. Essentially a series of “na na na urr na gunda ur da.” My friend and I stood there in silence not knowing what to do. My was-band came up behind us and said, “Thank you sir, appreciate your help.” Then headed off down an aisle. Apparently his time in Georgia helped him to understand the clerk. He did not even notice he was not speaking English.

https://youtu.be/vcvou0SAxZI (link to Farmer Fran scenes, completely offensive)


Interpersonal Communication in Relationships (Ch. 10)

Terms:

  • intimacy
  • love languages
  • role

Goal:

For a specific family (real or televised), explain how family roles are created and perpetuated through communication.

Question:

Do you believe in Knapp’s staircase model of relationships or in the Dialectical Tensions model more?


I did mention I haven’t actually been reading the book for this class right? Quick Google search and in my opinion Knapp must not have had children. Parents do not have time for 10 steps and 2 phases. I hope to wash, dry, fold, and put the laundry away all in one day. As for the Dialectical Tensions model, sounds a bit too scientific to be practical. The iconic 1950’s ideal of courting and marrying is not the norm any more. There are so many different types of relationships and gender identities, it’s not that concise. Essentially a relationship is when two, or more, people decide to tolerate each other for an extended period of time while they get to know one another. Ideally marriage is finding someone you have mind-blowing sex with so you are willing to tolerate/love them until death do you part. Obviously it’s not that basic, but it sort of is. Personally I am a fan of The Gottman Institute. They are the cutest couple, I highly recommend their interview with Brene Brown on her podcast. What is the ideal relationship? Johnny and June? Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher? David Spade and Chris Farley? Sir Patrick and Sir Ian? Steve and Bucky? Peanut butter and chocolate? Marshal and Lily? Honestly my favorite couple is Marge and Homer Simpson. Can Marge do better, yes. Does Homer know she can do better, absolutely. Should Marge do better, hell yes. So why doesn’t Marge leave Homer? Love, kids? I think she found the person she is willing to grow with despite the distractions and the chaos. They don’t always agree, they spend time apart, but they never cheat and they always come back together. Marge is Homer’s lobster. All relationships take work. Part of that work is determining which relationships are worth the effort. Humans are an unpredictable variable, a model cannot cover all the probabilities. I recommend knowing what you want before looking for a long term relationship. It is easy to know what we don’t want, especially after a divorce. Go follow Case Kenney on Instagram, buy his journals, and save yourself some heartache.  

Here are two of my favorites on marriage:

“Marriage is hard. Just two people slogging through the shit, year after year, getting older, changing. It’s a fucking marathon, okay? So, sometimes, you know, you’re together for so long, that you just… You stop seeing the other person. You just see weird projections of your own junk. Instead of talking to each other, you go off the rails and act grubby and make stupid choices. You know if I read more Russian novels, then…” 

“You have to be prepared for her to change and be open to loving those changes. In 60 years I have loved 7 different women, all of them your grandmother.”

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