Why should we care about, and how can we build, interpersonal relationships?
By interpersonal relationships, we mean the ability to establish and maintain mutually satisfying relationships that are characterised by the ability to both give and take in relationships, and where trust and compassion are openly expressed in words or by behaviour. Mutual satisfaction includes meaningful social interchanges that are potentially rewarding and enjoyable and characterised by give-and-take. Positive interpersonal relationship skill is characterised by sensitivity towards others. This component of emotional intelligence is not only associated with the desire to cultivate friendly relations with others but with the ability to feel at ease and comfortable in such relations, and to possess positive expectations concerning social intercourse.
Fortunately, the skills for building durable, mutually beneficial relationships are well-known and easily practised by those who truly want to improve skill.
The first step is to examine honestly the level of satisfaction you currently experience. Consider the relationships that are central to your life and think about the most and least satisfying aspects. The second step is to recognise that, if you want to make new friends or improve the quality of an existing relationship, it will be you who does the changing…. It is never a useful goal to set about changing or improving the other person; rather, it is a recipe for certain frustration and failure. The third step is to start working on specific behaviours, such as improving your listening, introducing yourself to others, finding areas of common interest, reading non-verbal cues, and ending conversations in a way that encourages more contact in the future.
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