Interpersonal skills are measures of how adept you are at interacting with others. Active listening is an interpersonal skill, as is knowing how to communicate to someone else that you respect him or her. When problems arise you use your interpersonal skills to resolve conflict with others. People learn interpersonal skills by interacting with family members, going to school, and socializing with their peers. Healthy interpersonal skills reduce stress, resolve conflict, improve communication, enhance intimacy, increase understanding, and promote joy.
Examples of Interpersonal Skills
Communication skills involve both listening and speaking effectively.
Assertiveness skills involve expressing yourself and your rights without violating others’ rights.
Conflict is natural and inevitable. Conflict resolution skills help you resolve differences so that you may continue a relationship effectively.
Anger management skills involve recognizing and expressing anger appropriately in order to achieve goals, handle emergencies, solve problems and even protect our health.
Interpersonal Skills Self-Assessment
Ask yourself the questions below. If you identify with a number of these statements, you would likely benefit from work on your interpersonal skills.
How often do you…
…seek approval and affirmation from others, but fear criticism?
…guess at what normal behavior is?
…feel as if you are different from other people?
…isolate yourself from and feel afraid of people in authority roles?
…downplay your own accomplishments and good deeds?
…have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end?
…get frightened or stressed in the company of an angry person.
…lie in order to avoid conflict?
…judge yourself harshly?
…feel that others (or society) take advantage of you?
…take yourself seriously, and view other relationships just as seriously?
…have problems developing and maintaining intimate relationships?
…feel guilty when you stand up for yourself or put your needs first?
…feel responsible for others and find it easier to have concern for others than for yourself?
…act impulsive, before considering alternative actions or possible consequences?
…have difficulty feeling or expressing your own feelings?
If you find that you identify with a number of the above statements, you could likely benefit from work on your interpersonal skills. To begin this work, you may wish to review our online resources concerning communication, assertiveness, conflict resolution and anger management.