Interpersonal Communication: Journal Posts 6-10

Assignment #6

  1. Which of the fallacies described in the textbook’s Chapter 4 is illustrated by the following statement? “I’m sick of working with the public. People are just obnoxious!”
    • Your answer: She over generalizes the situation. It’s really just 10% of the customers she’s upset with. Keywords: All, every, always.
    • Author Response: Over-generalization As she later says, not all the customers are obnoxious. In fact, most of them are quite civil, and some are very nice.
  2. Which of the fallacies described in the textbook’s Chapter 4 is illustrated by the following statement? “The customers should be more polite.”
    • Your answer: Being realistic. Not everyone can be expected to behave; you can’t change people, or at least certainly not everyone.
    • Author Response: Shoulds It’s unrealistic to think people will always behave the way they should. Expecting this to happen is a recipe for disappointment.
  3. Which of the fallacies described in the textbook’s Chapter 4 is illustrated by the following statement? “This work is driving me crazy!”
    • Your answer: You are in control of what you think based on stimulation. It’s not the work, it’s that she lets it get to her, and allows her self to get consumed and overtaken by it.
    • Author Response: Causation It isn’t the work that’s bothering her—it’s the way she thinks about the work. If you doubt this, imagine all the people in the world who would gladly trade their situation for hers, and who would view her work as a dream job compared to theirs.
  4. Which of the fallacies described in the textbook’s Chapter 4 is illustrated by the following statement? “I can’t quit: I’ll never find another decent job.”
    • Your answer: Negative, helpless thinking. She can quit, she just chooses not to.
    • Author Response: Helplessness, catastrophic expectations Of course she can quit. Nobody is forcing her to keep working at the coffee bar. It’s a catastrophic expectation to think that she will never find a job as good as serving coffee. It might be more accurate to say “I don’t want to quit, because it might be hard for me to find another decent job right away.”

Assignment #7

  1. Which of the fallacies described in the textbook’s Chapter 4 is illustrated by the following statement? “They’ve got to like me! This is a close family, and I’m doomed if they think I’m not right for Tracy!”
    • Your answer: The need for approval. He needs to remember that how she feels about him is not based on what her parents think. (Although, sometimes that isn’t the case.)
    • Author Response: Approval While it certainly won’t be pleasant if Tracy’s parents disapprove of Rupert’s history, the success of his relationship with Tracy doesn’t depend on their welcoming him. Rupert later recognizes that she has committed to him regardless of their response.
  2. Which of the fallacies described in the textbook’s Chapter 4 is illustrated by the following statement? “No matter how sensibly I act, all they’ll think of is my divorce and unemployment.”
    • Your answer: Catastrophic Expectations – the world is over because surely they’ll only see his divorce and unemployed status.
    • Author Response: Catastrophic expectation Again, Rupert is expecting the worst possible outcome. While the parents might focus on his less-than-ideal history, there’s no guarantee they will do so.
  3. Which of the fallacies described in the textbook’s Chapter 4 is illustrated by the following statement? “Maybe the family is right. Tracy deserves the best, and I’m certainly not that!”

    • Your answer: Nobody is perfect, and striving to be so will always leave you falling short. You can just be the best you can be.
    • Author Response: Perfection Like most people, Rupert isn’t perfect. But he is clearly a different, better person than he was in the past. Tracy knows about his history, and she still loves him for who he is. If he continues striving to be the best person he can, he will deserve Tracy’s love and trust.

Assignment #8

  1. Identify the parts of this conversation in which Rebecca uses “I” language, and the parts where she uses “you” language. (Hint: The pronouns “I” and “you” don’t have to be present to make a statement operate as an “I” or “you” message.)
    • Your answer: She starts out with you language accusing him of his behavior and only uses I to show how it affects her. That makes him defensive.
    • Author Response: Rebecca uses “you” language in her first few statements to Tom, where she judges his behavior. As the conversation proceeds, she uses “I” language to explain how his lateness affects her.
  2. How much of the “you” and “I” messages come from Rebecca’s nonverbal behavior?
    • Your answer: I totally noticed how the before and after conversations also highlighted non-verbals. She had an attitude in the first one, and was much more “reaching out” in the second example.
    • Author Response: A great deal. In the early part of the conversation, Rebecca’s accusative tone of voice and hostile facial expression are at least as defense-provoking as her words. As the conversation develops Rebecca’s looks and sounds less angry. Her nonverbal tone reflects her concern, but not aggression.
  3. How does Tom’s favorable reaction by the end of the conversation illustrate the transactional nature of communication, as explained in Chapter 1?
    • Your answer: She created a “safe zone” in the conversation by bringing it to relational level and less about content (got this from my Crucial Conversations class). You have to be able to communicate with two people involved and engaged.
    • Author Response: As Rebecca shifts from “you” to “I” language, Tom grows less defensive. His reaction, in turn, leaves Rebecca feeling less angry. If Tom had grown more aggressive, even after Rebecca began phrasing her concerns as “I” statements, she might have grown more upset, leading to a spiral of hostility. As Chapter 1 explained, relationships are created by the interaction of people. In other words, communication is something we do with people, not to them.
  4. What are the alternatives when someone responds defensively to your “I” statements? What are the likely consequences of each one?
    • Your answer: You have to stop the conversation and focus on helping both parties find the “safe zone”. Both should feel comfortable and not defensive. Otherwise you could end up resorting to stooping to that lower level of being defensive yourself. Sometimes you may just have to wait and bring the subject up later at a better time.
    • Author Response:
      • You can give in to your frustration and shift to “you” statements. The likely response is hostility from the other person. While lashing out might feel good for a brief time, the results are rarely worth it.
      • You can end the conversation. While this isn’t likely to solve the problem that led you to speak up, it is less likely to make matters worse.
      • You can continue to explain yourself using “I” language, either at that time or later. The hope here is that your persistence will make the recipient of your messages feel less defensive, leading to a better outcome.

Assignment #9: Stephen Covey’s “Proactive Paradigm”

  1. What does “Be Proactive” mean?  How does a proactive person think?   What actions does a proactive person take? Being proactive is the opposite of reactive. It’s forming our behavior as a function of what we decide not what is around us. We are not a victim of our conditions and environment. “Being proactive means that you choose to act, rather than being acted upon. Proactive people choose to be the creative force of their own life. They choose to take control of their present and to make and reach their goals.“-Stephen Covey
  2. What is the difference between proactive thinking and positive thinking? Proactive thinking is about making decisions. Positive thinking is about trying to make a positive outcome based on what’s going on around you. Positive thinking is a step in the right direction, but you need to take the control that’s involved in proactive thinking. You are the master of your life. No one can make you unhappy unless you let them.
  3. What is the relationship between the Circle of Influence and Circle of Concern for a reactive person?  What is the relationship between the circles for a proactive person? The circle of influence are the things we have control over, whereas the circle of concern are all the things we could concern ourselves with. Being proactive means that your circle of concern should be fairly compared in size to the circle of influence, because you only worry about what you can change or control. Reactive is nearly the opposite. You worry about everything that could happen and lose time to focus on controlling the outcome.
  4. Why is it best for people to focus on “be” rather than “have”? I’m not sure I understand this question. I think you mean that it’s better to focus on “being” and doing something than focusing on what you “have” to do…?
  5. Let’s say a college student finds that she is continually running short on funding for tuition.  Her family promises to pay for tuition, but every quarter the student registers and gets dropped from her classes for nonpayment because the promised funds are not available when she needs them.  The student loses the opportunity for certain classes and actually has to attend BCC for a longer period of time than she would have had the money been available when she registered at the beginning of each quarter. She is not getting the classes she needs and is spending more time going to school than is necessary.  How can she use the Four Human Endowments to be more proactive with this situation?
    • self-awareness:
      She could be more aware of the affect that this situation is having on her life, and how she could be more in control of the situation. She could take more control and not let this happen to her.
    • conscience:
      not sure how I would say this plays a part.
    • independent will:
      this plays a part in that she would revolt. This is where she’d say “enough” and take action to change the situation.
    • creative imagination:
      Here’s where she’ll look around her and use her imagination to look for other solutions to the problem… could she get a job to help support her education herself? Could she take a quarter off and work and save more money than the time she wastes by having to drop classes? Could she ask for the money a quarter ahead of time to make sure she has it in time for the deadline? Get creative!

Assignment #10

NonVerbal Communication Observation #1

Find a public gathering place to observe a group of men OR women and sit far enough away so that you cannot hear your subjects’ conversation.   You should observe for at least 5-10 minutes.   Record the different types of nonverbal behavior you observe.  If you would like to use a partner, feel free to have that person write down your observations.  This way you will not miss any of the interaction by writing notes.  Be specific. For example, what type eye contact do you see?  Do they look often? How long is their gaze?

Situation One – Two males, seems to be co-workers, a boss and employee.

Looking all over the place, sometimes direct contact but it breaks often, other guy no expression, subordinate, eyebrows, leaning forward.  No touching, checking and answering cell phone,

Dominate person, stiff and listening, work type relationship.  Leaning into the conversation,

Situation Two – A group of girl friends, first 4 in one conversation, then they break in to twos. Finally a guy enters the scene.

Touching, hugging, rubbing of backs, gesturing: animation w/hands to describe. Picking of teeth with a toothpick.  Close together with posture, leaning in and whispering, gestures close to face, cross arms, direction of attention changes quickly… two separate conversations, fiddling with hair, pulling back and letting it drop.. lots of touching of mouth. Hands touching below the neck.  Male close to female,… soft playful touching.  Couple starts to seclude themselves, in their own world. Rubbing shoulder leaning nuzzling, arms around her, touching hair, kisses her checks.

Telling a story, two are nodding back, responding to whatever she is saying, rebutting… responds with touching of arms. Favors one of the two she is talking to.  Using hands to pinpoint information.  More people arrive. Embraced with hugging, holding gifts of some sort.  Introduction.


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