Pizza is sweet. But having great interpersonal relationships is a sweeter experience anyone can have. That is because our life depends on it.
In this writeup, we will look at the following:
- What do interpersonal relationships mean?
- Types of interpersonal relationships
- Importance of interpersonal relationships
- Things to help improve your interpersonal relationships
What do interpersonal relationships mean?
First, let us split the phrase interpersonal relationships.
We now have “interpersonal” and “relationships.”
To start with, the word INTERPERSONAL means between two or more people. While RELATIONSHIP, on the other hand, means connection or the state of being related.
Now put together: Interpersonal relationships are the association formed between two or more people through interactions aimed at different purposes.
Essentially, everybody relates to others daily for their mental health and emotional wellbeing. As the saying goes, no man is an island. And nobody can live a functional life in isolation.
Types of interpersonal relationships
There is no universal classification or grouping of relationships. But in this post, we shall be looking at the four most common ones. And they include:
According to sociologists, the home is the first place of socialization for every individual. As a person transcends from infancy through childhood, one forms an association with family members. And these connections consist of parents, siblings, nieces, cousins, nephews, grandparents, or as the case may be.
Ideally, the individual gets a sense of belonging from family through love and support showered by siblings, parents, or extended families. And usually, it is what many have received from the home they take out. As the old sage saying goes: Charity begins at home.
Friendships are usually platonic associations or interactions between individuals of diverse sex. Both young and old have and keep this type of relationship. And it is mainly built on shared values, interest, goals, and mutual respect. Ideally, parties involved in this kind of relationship try to look out for the best interest of another.
A lot of us spend most of our time at our workplaces. And during these hours, we interact with diverse people. Therefore, our interpersonal relationships at workplaces constitute our connections and communication with our colleagues, subordinates, superiors, or case maybe.
These relationships may be called for by our job roles, description, and expectations, or perhaps, from our volition. While there might be a degree of informality in these interactions, it is good to know the overall corporate goal of the organization is at the forefront before any individual needs or interest.
This form of relationship is the converse of platonic relationships. Romantic relationships involve a deep level of intimacy between the parties, which usually involves the opposite sex. And in fact, it is meant for mature adults.
Note, maturity here is not limited in scope. It encompasses other areas beyond physical maturity. A person may need to be mentally, emotionally, and financially mature to sustain a romantic relationship.
Importance of Interpersonal relationships
Beyond being a significant concept, individuals and firms look out for people with interpersonal skills (what others also term interpersonal relationships skills.)
That is why four out of every five job openings expect prospective applicants to possess this competence. Meanwhile, some of these merits of interpersonal relationships include:
- Emotional and mental wellbeing
No one can live a day without interpersonal relationships. That is the reason mastering it as an art or skill can do one a lot of good. One can, at best, discipline him or herself to stay alone or keep to oneself for only a while. But certainly not for too long.
Remember, as humans, we have emotional need to satisfy, as discussed in previous post.
That is because our functionality as humans is dependent on interpersonal relationships. Having excellent interpersonal relationships with others has a tremendous impact on emotional and mental health, even as it dissipates every tendency of experiencing loneliness.
- Produce synergy
Can a kingdom divided against itself stand? No, of course. Asking such a question is trying to know if an association or business organization with rancor or unresolved interpersonal conflicts can ever be efficient. While the question sounds rhetoric, it is good to reinstate this:
Without practical interpersonal communication, a business can operate at its zenith, taking into perspective productivity or the overall realization of its objectives.
Six Things to help you improve your interpersonal relationships
It indeed takes more effort to maintain relationships than to create them. But appreciating these six things can help the whole process and goal of creating and sustaining good relationships practically achievable. They are distinct, yet interwoven.
#1. Be a good communicator
Communication is the key to building and sustaining good interpersonal relationships. It practically refers to the rapport between two or more people. Communication can be verbal or non-verbal, or both at a particular point in time. And to have effective communication will be dependent on how one takes into cognizance the following:
#2. Having empathy
Only a few individuals can curtail the primitive tendency of humans to be selfish. They are usually empathetic fellows.
Empathy is the ability of a person to put oneself in the shoes of others. In simple terms, it is willing to identify with their perspective, circumstance, feelings, and emotions.
Empathy as a quality or philosophy for living is rooted in the golden principle for the success of every relationship, which states: Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.
#3. Show respect and Trust
Many believe that respect is reciprocal. But, sadly, a lot of people want to earn respect from different quarters, and even from places, they’ve never sowed respect.
Yes, respect is earned by simply showing or giving it. Simple.
And many a time, respect comes as a byproduct of our personality, attitude, and how we treat people. We earn respect by giving it out. However, there’s a difference between “feigned respect” and showing genuine respect. The former is deeply rooted in selfishness and hypocrisy, while the latter is spontaneous and flows naturally.
Maya Angelou once quoted:
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
#4. Be Open
Many relationships today, be it with family members, coworkers, or romantic partners, have turned sour because of the rigidity of one or the whole parties involved. Thus, these relationships get tainted by interpersonal conflicts arising from the fact that people are not open.
Openness reflects in the way we listen to others. Also, it shows in our readiness or willingness to accept corrections where (and when) necessary.
By being open and diplomatic (as many would call it), we can kill the urge to jump to conclusions or make rash decisions that can result in potential conflicts or fire up an already existing one(s).
#5. Be interdependent
For every relationship to thrive, the parties must understand the concept of INTERDEPENDENCE in relationships. That’s because before the relationship, you just like the other person existed, yet it takes two to tangle.
In other words, to improve one’s interpersonal relationships, one must first acknowledge people’s individuality. As humans, we naturally get comfortable with people who know us and are ready to accommodate our uniqueness.
While our relationships can shape and influence our personality, they shouldn’t be the source of our identity and self-worth. That is the mistake many codependent individuals make. They seem to get their sense of purpose and self-worth from their attachment to people.
#6. Be a value-giver
Relationships should be mutually beneficial, not parasitic. And one of the ways to improve one’s interpersonal relationships is to strive to be a person of value– that is, one who gives out value.
Indeed, we need each other; but then don’t be a parasitic fellow. However, it takes humility to appreciate the weakness of others and the fact that we need the help of others in one way or another, just as much as they would need ours.
We have looked at the meaning, types, and importance of interpersonal relationships, as well as the six things to help improve your interpersonal relationships. However, note, It may not happen automatically. But through conscious efforts and practice, building and sustaining good relationships with people in your world is possible.