Building Inter personal relationship

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Anupama Nair

www.mediaeyenews.com

 

Man is a social animal. The connections we build with other people are very critical to our social, emotional, and physical health. You need to know how to maintain inter-personal relationships and it helps you build a support system that provides strength as you cope with challenges life throws at you. Inter-personal relationships make up each and every relationship that fulfills a range of physical and emotional needs. These are the people you have the closest relationship.

“While romantic relationships are considered interpersonal, family members and friends are too, while secondary inter-personal relationships include acquaintances, neighbors, and others who you interact with on a regular basis”. In short, you have some kind of inter-personal relationship with everyone you know and meet. Given the importance of relationships to our emotional and physical well-being, it’s necessary to learn how to develop and maintain them. Relationships do not develop suddenly. George Levinger, a psychologist identified five stages of interpersonal relationships in which he termed as stage theory:

  • acquaintance
  • buildup
  • continuation
  • deterioration
  • ending (termination)

He stated, a successful inter-personal relationship will only go through the first three stages. A relationship that breaks up will go through all five of these stages. Not all relationships will make it past the first stage of acquaintance, either. “Part of the importance of Levinger’s theory is to show that interpersonal relationships are just as dynamic as they are varied”.

Maintaining friendships and other relationships require great effort. The first and most important factor is communication. This requires in-person discussions about your feelings. Although texting and messaging online can be very fulfilling sometimes, they often don’t provide the same effects as face-to-face contact. At some point in the relationship, a conflict might arise. How you deal with the situation will determine whether the conflict strengthens the relationship or not. It’s important to talk it through and listen to their point of view, rather than avoiding them.

If something is bothering or upsetting you, you need to speak up clearly. If you’re having some communication problem with a friend, family member, or partner then be sure to tell them. Hopefully they’ll reciprocate with respect and honesty. Apart from honesty and open communication, it’s also important to:

  • Establish boundaries.
  • Be an active listener.
  • Show the other person respect at all times.
  • Maintain a positive attitude.
  • Be open to constructive criticism and feedback without letting your emotions take over.

You need to realize, not all relationships are lifelong, as some may never go beyond an acquaintance level, as it is normal for certain relationships to come to an end. There are factors that affect the course of all of your inter-personal relationships. When you think of an interpersonal relationship coming to an end, you might think of a breakup with your romantic partner. However, other inter-personal relationships can come to an end too. For example, when you graduate from high school, you may not stay in touch with all your teachers and fellow students. It’s impossible to maintain all the relationships in your life forever. This is especially true of secondary relationships.

In order to form and maintain strong bonds with others, there needs to be a mutual give-and-take when it comes to sharing information with others. People need to open up to you, and you need to open to them and share details about your experiences, emotions, and opinions. It is through this mutual sharing that you get to know each other and the process is known as ‘self-disclosure’, and it forges bonds and deepens intimacy between people.

You nee to consider how you might feel if someone you care about did not share any important information with you about things that are happening in their life. You might be hurt and think, that they don’t trust you or that they don’t consider you a close friend. 

Letting others in is very difficult. By sharing information, you are indicating that you trust and care for them, and give them the opportunity to show the same in return.

In order to maintain good interpersonal relationship, you need to work on learning to be open with the people in your life. Always let yourself to be vulnerable. Look for opportunities where you can let people get to know the ‘real’ you.

Being open to others does not mean you should give others unlimited access to your thoughts, feelings, or time. Healthy boundaries are needed for any strong relationship. It is important not only to establish these boundaries but to enforce them as well. A boundary in your inter-personal relationship might look like having limits when you spend time together or have expectations when you will be there for one another. It can also involve how much you are willing to share about yourself emotionally, physically, and even digitally.

These boundaries are important in your relationships with other people also, but they’re also important for your relationship with yourself. It’s important that others respect your boundaries, but it is just as important for you to respect theirs. Respecting these boundaries shows that you care about each other’s values, goals, emotions, and needs.

Good communication is essential in any relationship, but it’s important to remember that communicating well involves being able to listen. Active listening involves being engaged with what your partner is saying. “You're not just being quiet and letting them say their piece, you’re reflecting on their words, paraphrasing what they have said to show you are listening, and asking questions you may have”. 

Listening shows that you care about the person. It shows that you are involved in the other person’s life and interested in what they have to say. Listening is really a great way to learn more about the other person and it also allows you to offer support and emotional validation, which can go a long way toward making the other person value you as a friend and confidant.

You should also show respect for others, to maintain a good inter-personal relation. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say or do what they want to do. However, It does mean you should show that you value their feelings, opinions, time, and interests.

While showing respect in interpersonal relationships, you should:

  • Avoid disparaging the things they enjoy
  • Keep the commitments you’ve made to them
  • Show up on time
  • Be mindful of their feelings
  • Listen to them, even when you disagree
  • Be empathetic

Inter-personal relationships benefit from showing empathy to others. What is empathy? Empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. When you are able to show that you feel what someone else is feeling, it helps them gain a sense of belonging. It helps others feel understood, and that understanding serves as a foundation for trust and closeness in a relationship.

Research also suggests that in addition to strengthening relationships, empathy also fosters kindness, cooperation, and helping behaviors and improves mental health.

Inter-personal relationships touch all aspects of our lives, including home, work, and leisure activities. Without strong relationships, it’s possible to feel lonely and undervalued as a person. You may also feel that you’re lacking social support. Today, it’s easier than ever to miss out on inter-personal relationships due to technology that encourages digital communication. People who work from home due to the pandemic miss the in-person communications with their co-workers. Friends and family then may opt to text rather than get together for a meal and conversation.

Make a point to see your family and friends in person and use other online resources for ways to engage in human interactions that is much needed today. Unfortunately, face-to-face interactions are becoming lesser and lesser as you do not have time to meet people, even your near and dear ones. Would you believe if I say, you can’t build inter-personal relationships if you do not have a good relationship with yourself? Well, it is true. What you should do is take time to get to know yourself first and also invest in self-care. If certain issues are keeping you from spending time with others, consider talking with a therapist for support and guidance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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