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.
I had the opportunity to interview an E. M. T. The E. M. T. I chose to interview was my friend Matt from the Highland lakes squad. I chose to interview him because it is easier forme to talk to someone I know than someone I don't know, and also I wanted to find out whats its like being an E. M. T. from a teenagers point of view. Q: Why did you become anE. M. T. ? A: I enjoy helping people, and I ...
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 risks and often gets paid off, I probably would not have blown up so much. It’s not as much of a blow to your pride to be beat by a fortunate gambler than it is to be beat by a substandard, but very lucky, player. If I would have simply made a different, and probably more accurate, perception of Tim, I would not have reacted the way I did.
If I had practiced a couple of the suggestions for better communicating the book, Communication in a Changing World by Dobkin and Pace, makes, the outcome of this conflict would have been much different. Had I used perspective taking, or “the ability to consider behavior from someone else’s point of view” (30), I would have reacted differently. Sometimes while playing you just get a good feeling about a hand, you really feel like you ” re going to win. This instinct may cause you to make bad calls, and sometimes you may get lucky and win the hand. This could be the reason Tim played the hand the way he did, he may have been playing on instinct.
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Had I took a second to think of this then, we wouldn’t have gotten into such a big fight. Another suggestion I would have been better off practicing is self-monitoring, or “the ability to see, think about, and act based on the consequences of your behavior” (30).
If, for one second, I really thought about the things I was saying, and what my actions were going to result in, I would have never made those decisions. The old saying “think before you speak” is so true, because in this case I was not thinking before speaking, and I almost ended up in a brawl with one of my best friends. I am not the only one at fault in this conflict because, as the saying goes “it takes two to tango.” Tim knew I was upset about his play, and should have made better decisions with his response to my inquiry. Whenever I catch a lucky break in a hand, I usually admit that it was luck, and sometimes even apologize if I realize I made a bad play.
If Tim had done so, I wouldn’t have been so offensive in my reaction. Also, once I starting verbally assaulting Tim, he was very quick to do the same to me, which isn’t the best way to avoid a fight. Even though I was mostly at fault for this dispute, Tim could have done a few things differently to avoid this quarrel as well. Major conflicts can arise from any situation, even over a simple hand of poker. Tim and I didn’t make the best decisions in our communication process, and we ended up at each other’s throats.
Be that as it may, we eventually apologized to each other, and are still good friends. We still play poker together, although now we are a little more courteous if we win or lose a hand to each other. Even so, we should have used better judgment in this situation. There were a great deal of things each of us could have done in order to avoid this outburst of aggression, and yet we let our anger spill out and we ended up with the worst-case scenario. Works CitedDobkins, Beth ami A.
In Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross is a 24 year old young man in love with a girl named Martha, who is thrust into the jungles of Vietnam. Carrying “the responsibility for the lives of his men” but distracted by his fantasies of Martha, tragedy strikes his platoon and Ted Lavender is shot and killed. (p. 97). Lieutenant Cross grieves for Lavender, for Martha, ...
, and Roger C. Pace. Communication in a Changing World. New York: McGraw Hill, 2003..