People who learn how to develop interpersonal relationships with most everyone they meet certainly experience more success in life than those who don’t. Effective and personal communication stands at the heart of every relationship, whether you are interacting with a friend, a significant other, a family member, a professional colleague or the sales clerk at the local coffee shop. You may ask yourself, what are interpersonal relationships and how can I enjoy more of what they offer?
Two people that share communication in any form have an interpersonal relationship. The types of interpersonal relationships are many and some have lasting consequences. Interpersonal relationships can be brief, such as when you interact with the pharmacist at the local pharmacy – or lifelong – such as the relationship you enjoy with a spouse, friend or family member. Professional interpersonal relationships, such as those with work colleagues, doctors or clients, take on a different tone than the relationships you share with your friends or family members. Any person with whom you share communication, whether face-to-face, anonymously over the Internet, a stranger you pass on the street or the neighbor next door, defines the meaning of interpersonal relationship.
The development of interpersonal relationships is the keystone in building what you want to achieve in life. How you interact with others, your body language, the tone of your voice and the expressions on your face are just as important as what you say, if not more important. Interpersonal relationships involve more than just the verbal communication between people. People communicate as much with their gestures and body language as they do with their voice and words.
When you learn to communicate effectively, people gravitate toward you naturally and interact with you because they sense this quality in you. Your ability to make a person feel comfortable in your presence, no matter their station in life, is a measure of your effectiveness in the development of interpersonal relationships.
Learning to cultivate when and how to communicate is important to the development of interpersonal relationships. But equally important is your willingness and ability to listen to the other person. Successful communicators all have one thing in common: they are good listeners. While it is certainly important to know how to communicate and talk with another person, nothing is more important in flourishing interpersonal relationships than your ability to listen fully to the other person.
When you find yourself lacking in the development of interpersonal relationships and want to know how to improve interpersonal relationships, start with developing your listening skills. Learn to listen to what the other person is saying. Most people don’t take the time to really listen. When the person with whom they are interacting is speaking, most people are often engaged in a conversation in their own head where they are constructing what they plan to say next. Good communicators are, first and foremost, good listeners because they have made a practice of listening and understanding what others say and can respond accordingly.
Interpersonal relationships are two-way streets. Developing good listening skills is as important as effective communication, if not more so. In a world where everyone is clamoring to be heard, taking the time to listen, in all of your interpersonal relationships, secures your success as a person and one who “works and plays well with others.” Most people are too full with the importance of their own words to take the time to listen fully to what another person has to say. The person who takes the time and gives the other person in the relationship their full attention, responding with body language to the words being communicated will flourish in all of their interpersonal relationships.
Cultivating the art of interpersonal communication in the work environment, at home, in play or with your neighbor is far more about how you respond to the person you are interacting with than what you have to say. If you can learn to take the time to listen, to engage yourself fully with the other person as they speak and give them your full attention, you’ll find that when it’s your turn to speak and share your words, all ears will turn toward you. Watch the difference in a person’s face when you take the time to listen. Watch how they change right before your eyes.
In a world where everything is moving at lightning speed, and new forms of communication are changing the face of communication itself, the development of interpersonal relationships becomes increasingly more important. This is evident with the popularity of social networking and the need to “connect” with others electronically. This represents a deep-seeded, but often misunderstood need for interpersonal relationships with other people.
The importance of interpersonal relationships cannot be denied. Whether you interact with a colleague, a stranger who shares your likes or dislikes on your favorite social network, your boss, your wife or your friend – learn to listen, learn to care about what the other person has to say and you will find yourself at the center of several interpersonal relationships that define and give meaning to your life. Making connections with other people starts with your ability to listen to them, your ability to validate them and your ability to let them know that what they say is important to you.
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