Skills That Promote Interpersonal Relationships

People talking

It’s no secret that humans generally perform better in functional communities than in isolation. Even the most introverted persons require some form of interaction with family and friends. Whether you can yap about how your day went at a rate of 200 words per minute or barely make 5 sentences the entire day, chances are you’d want to connect with other humans.

Can you imagine coursing through life alone on the good, bad, exciting, and disheartening days? It’s true that you may not be able to express every single feeling you experience to another human, but sometimes, random conversations or a show of concern provides some comfort. Forgive my yapping, let’s talk about why you’re here. We’re going to discuss skills that promote interpersonal relationships.

What are interpersonal relationships?

Interpersonal relationships refer to the connections we form with people around over time. It includes the relationship with your family members, romantic partner, friends, and work colleagues. Any social context that requires you to form a continuous interaction with someone qualifies as an interpersonal relationship.

These interactions form the bulk of our human experience, so it isn’t unreasonable to want a smooth experience for the most part at least. Who wants to foster animosity and consistent friction with their friends, family, or colleagues? My guess is “not you” so let’s keep it moving.

Skills That Promote Interpersonal Relationships

There are probably dozens of skills that enhance healthy interpersonal relationships, but I’ll discuss those I consider important:


Of course communication is here. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s the foundation of any human interaction and relationship. The more you communicate with someone, the better you understand their values, interests, and personality which includes how they may react under certain circumstances.

A simple conversation with someone can help you confirm their grievances or displeasure with something and clear up misunderstandings. Of course, it's a nice way to bond with those you love or someone you're getting to know. People don't communicate the same way so you may not get the same level of rapport even with members of your family.


Unfortunately, people will grate on your nerves mistakenly or otherwise. While you don't want to be the nice girl or guy who anyone can walk all over, you probably don't want to throw fists anytime someone upsets you. You need some level of tolerance to happily coexist with other humans because guess what? You aren't perfect either.

We all have different personalities, perspectivies, values, faith and interests so offences are unavoidable. Some things aren't even worth making an issue of, but there are times when a confrontation becomes necessary. I always avoid confrontations until I get to the "I can't ignore this anymore" point.

Either way, tolerating minor shortcomings helps promote interpersonal relationships. Some may prefer the term "forgiveness". It's basically choosing to let go of something unpleasant. Obviously there are betrayals or hurts that may threaten a relationship, but someone mistakenly stepping on your feet isn't enough reason to ghost them forever.


Patience is similar to tolerance. It involves giving people grace. Even when you complain about certain habits or behaviour, you may not get an instant change from someone. Being patient means you give people some time to understand you while you try to do the same. It also helps you to regulate and explain your feelings calmly. Sometimes, you just gotta be gracious and understanding. Yes, sometimes.


This is literally one of the traits I admire a lot in others. Being assertive means you're able to communicate and conduct yourself confidently. Yes, it's good to be gracious and forgiving, but it's not a good idea to give out fraidy cat vibes. Don't feel bad, I'm not coming at you or anything. Being assertive is something I've had to consciously improve on.

Sometimes, you just have to say no or express your dislike for something. When you're convinced you're making the right choice, you may need to defend your choices to people in your circle even when you appreciate their opinions and advice. A dose of assertiveness is healthy for everyone.


I know what you're thinking. "It's not possible to always be honest." As humans, we always fall short, but that doesn't mean the standard should change or we should advocate for deceiving people. You can gain the trust and respect of people within your networks by being honest.

Your parents, siblings, friends or partner are bound to notice your habit if you keep spitting lies every chance you get. You don't want your words to hold no meaning to those you love and value. Even as a professional in the marketplace, be honest about what you can offer. Are you really computer savvy or you just learnt to use MS word way back in primary school? Speak the truth.


No one likes to feel unimportant. A great way to make people in your life feel special is by showing them some respect. You can show respect by greeting when necessary, listening to someone when they talk, avoiding condescending comments and apologizing when you offend them. Respect may also mean different things to different people.

For instance, Joshua may not consider it a big deal if his siblings or friends don't greet or salute him at every meeting and just go straight to what they have to say, sometimes skipping the 'how are yous'. But, he may feel very disrespected if one of them called him stupid as a joke. Rita on the other hand doesn't feel okay with just jumping into a conversation without exchanging pleasantries, but she's way more tolerant with jokes.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence refers to your ability to understand emotions in yourself and in others. If you acknowledge that certain things get you upset, you can empathize with someone who expresses a similar feeling.

Being emotionally Intelligent doesn't mean you validate everyone's reactions to emotional triggers. While you may understand the root cause, you'd rather they channel their emotions in a reasonable manner. You also understand how your actions affect those around you so you're thoughtful about how you act and speak in different scenarios.

Parting words

Just like most valuable things in life, building and maintaining a relationship requires conscious and consistent effort. It's not really possible to control every scenario, but if you will, you can always put your best foot forward or at least be honest about where you need to make some adjustments. That's okay, we're all growing and evolving.