Interpersonal Conflict Essay Free

Interpersonal Conflict Essay

Interpersonal Project

     My friends and I play poker on a regular basis. One of my friends, let’s call him Tim, constantly plays bad hands and often catches lucky breaks. Tim and I have been friends since middle school, but one night we got into a very big argument which almost became physical.
     In one particular hand, Tim made what was in my opinion a horribly bad call. Ask most poker players and they will tell you that they would have folded in this situation. Nonetheless, he got incredibly lucky and ended up knocking me out of the tournament. Having lost my money, I was extremely upset and I very angrily asked him why he called my raises. He gave a weak shrug, a half-smirk, and said something along the lines of “I thought I had you beat.” To me this came off as very sarcastic, and I took it offensively and started shouting at him. We exchanged verbal blows and the argument was fast becoming physical before our friends restrained us.
     In this conflict, there was a great deal of missteps in communication, or “the process of creating and sharing meaning through the use of symbols” (Dobkin and Pace, 7), by both Tim and I, and the whole ordeal could have easily been avoided if either of us had used slightly better judgment. To begin with, I was the initiator, or “one who begins or advances the communication process by generating a message” (12), of communication and had I not said anything in the first place, this conflict would be nonexistent. Had I simply walked away and “cooled off” before speaking to Tim, I would have not been so offensive and the conversation would not have escalated to such dramatic extremes.
     I also made a few errors as an interpreter, or “one who perceives and attempts to understand a message” (12). I may have misinterpreted Tim’s nonverbal communication, or “messages expressed through symbols other than words” (14). I registered his smirk and the inflection in his voice as symbols, or “words, images, gestures, and expressions that we use to represent our thoughts” (9), of sarcasm and arrogance. This infuriated me, but I may have exaggerated his actions. The smirk may have just been a suppressed smile because he was happy to have gotten so lucky, and it is possible that I just imagined that sarcasm in his voice. Had I made better judgment of Tim’s feedback, or “response to a message” (18), the argument would have never began in the first place.
     Perceptual constancy, or “the tendency to maintain the same perception of people over time” (73), may have also played an important role in the breaking out of this argument. My perception, or “process of assigning meaning to sensory information and experiences” (66), of Tim as a bad player who often gets lucky may have made me judge his actions quicker and with more scrutiny. If I would have perceived Tim as someone who likes to take...

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Conflict between people is a part of life and it is not necessarily a bad thing. I believe a relationship with frequent conflict may be healthier than one that seems to completely perfect or does not have any observable conflict. Conflicts can occur at many different levels of interaction, work, among friends, family members, and intimate relationships.

When conflict occurs a relationship can be weakened or strengthened depending on the conflict and its resolution. Thus, conflict is a very critical event in the course of any relationship. Conflict can cause resentment, hostility, and perhaps end a relationship if it is handled poorly. However, conflict can be productive, lead to deeper understanding, mutual respect and closeness if it is handled well. I believe that the determination of whether a relationship is healthy or unhealthy does not depend on the number of conflicts between people, but on how the conflicts are handled and resolved.

In the movie Hitch (Mordaunt & Tadross, 2005) I noticed the interpersonal conflict of lack of communication between the character Alex (Hitch) and Sara. In the movie they started to date and really got to like each other however, they both failed to disclose some very personal and important facts about one another. The most important thing in a healthy relationship is good communication and self –disclosure which both parties failed to do effectively.

Both parties were dodging around the true aspects of their jobs. However, they were both very cautious about what they told each other and this eventually created a big problem in their relationship. The conflict actually started when a friend of Sara’s fills like she was dumped by her boyfriend due to the advice of a date specialist known as the “Date Doctor”. Sara later finds out that the man that she has a relationship with (Hitch) is the “date doctor”. Sara confronts Hitch and ask him if he is indeed the “date doctor” he confirms that he is and tries to explain to her what he does. She refuses to listen and the fight begins.

When she calms down and tries to talk to him he blows her off and refuses to listen. Finally, in the end they work things out. I believe that if Sara had been more open and really disclosed what she was trying to do they could have avoided the conflict that happened between them. Hitch could have been more open about what his job really consisted of and this may have given her more understanding on what he tries to do for people. The conflict may have been avoided if after Sara found out that he was the “date doctor” she had given time to explain and may have been reassured he was not trying to hurt people but make love connections. Instead they both chose to be stubborn and not communicate with other causing a lot of hurt and misunderstanding in their relationship.

It is our interest to maintain relationships that are smooth, flexible, and mutually enhancing. The problem occurs when we fail to use cooperative approaches in our dealings with others. People do not create conflict intentionally. It sometimes happens because we are not aware of how our own behavior contributes to interpersonal problems. Sometimes we feel so exasperated that we focus on our own needs at expense of others. Then we find ourselves in conflict within our relationships. To prevent conflict from happening it is important to identify the ways in which we contribute to the disagreement and work on how you say things.

Have a discussion (listen) to understand both sides of the problem and try to resolve it. In a relationship a person should be ready, willing and able to communicate their inner thoughts and feelings to one another. Communication is a key role in any healthy relationship, whether it is platonic, or intimate.

Mordaunt, W. Tadross, M. (Executive Producers), & Tennant, A. (Director). (2005). Hitch [Film]. Los Angeles: Sony Pictures

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