Do you think that you spend a lot of your time just maintaining interpersonal relationships? Or do you feel that you just don’t get enough time for it? Here are some tips for your interpersonal relationships. So that thery don’t trouble you and you can spend your time even more productively @ work.
The skill of maintaining interpersonal relationships, is, to a great extent, influenced by or is dependent on self-awareness. The greater the understanding of self, the more comfortable and secure one is in other relationships. Our level of awareness of the factors that form and maintain a relationship can determine whether we will be able to form healthy and successful relationships.
Let’s look at the Components that contribute to our Interpersonal Relationship Skills:
The Ability to Initiate Relationships: Striking up a conversation, making small talk, smiling and self-introduction are all means by which people initiate relationships. Relationships may be initiated for temporary gain, for long term friendships, professional reasons, and boredom or to overcome loneliness. Very often, low self esteem, a fear of rejection, lack of trust or the preference for solitude or just simply, the lack of communication skills hinder people from initiating relationships.
Sustenance of Relationships: Sustenance of relationships means the ability to carry a relationship through to a fruitful end or to remain committed in the relationship. Every human relationship has a honeymoon phase when both parties in the relationship tend to focus on the positive or unique qualities of the other. Even differences are looked at as strengths. After this phase comes the ebb, when people find that they have to really work at keeping the relationship going. They get irritated with the very things that they once found different and endearing. They are forced to accept the fact that the other is all too human and has very real defects and lacunae. Once acceptance of this fact sets in, adaptability and flexibility to the flaws and differences in the other person become easy. The decision to ’agree to disagree’ is an important one at this stage in order to carry on the relationship.
Negotiation: The art of negotiation is an important part of interpersonal relationship skills. Children constantly bargain with parents to increase or decrease punishments and rewards or fulfill needs and luxuries. Negotiation brings in a sense of democracy in a relationship. It means that all voices are heard and all viewpoints taken into account. When there is no room for negotiation, it often means that someone has been silenced while another is playing dictator. In a professional relationship, often several aspects of work ethic, training, productivity may be non-negotiable but the manner in which these are extracted from employees as well as employee responses are greatly dependent on interpersonal relationship skills.
Compromise: Compromise is often seen by some people as a weakness. However, the ability to compromise when all negotiations fail may save a relationship. A compromise may be temporary...just a means of biding time as one waits for better opportunities to communicate ones true feelings or needs. A compromise need not necessarily mean giving in to someone else’s demands. It may simply mean accepting the differences and agreeing not to get conflicted about these differences.
Compromise may be necessary in order to sustain essential relationships like those with your children, spouse or parents. For instance, a parent who learns to compromise and agrees to allow space for a child who has chosen a marriage partner of a different faith may find themselves at much more peace than parents who break all physical ties or emotionally cut-off from the child. Similarly, a daughter who refuses to compromise on an intrusive, critical mother may find herself festering with rage and lose out on the opportunity to have a non-conflictual relationship with her mother.
Maintaining Boundaries: Boundaries are an important aspect of relationships. They are an intangible reality in every relationship. People whose boundaries are diffused tend to intrude or be over involved with others. The do not allow for much freedom in relationships and can be quite suffocative in the demands that they make of others. People with diffused boundaries also tend to allow anyone and everyone to have a say in their lives. They are heavily influenced by others and leave little room for self.
On the other hand, people with rigid non-flexible boundaries tend to be defensive and do not allow warmth or trust to grow in relationships. They have an emotional barrier that they put around themselves and rarely allow people to enter this space. They take offense easily and resent any demands made on them. Often, a fear of rejection keeps these people from developing relationships. It is therefore essential for people to have open and clear boundaries in relationships that protect individuality and autonomy while allowing freedom of interaction.
Developing Intimacy: The ability to develop intimacy in spousal, parental or other close love relationships is also an important aspect of interpersonal relationship skills. Many couples delay developing sexual relationships in their marriages for reasons as varied as a fear of the sexual act, lack of desire or arousal, disinterest in the partner, ignorance about sex, confusion about sexual orientation or discomfort with ones sexuality. Becoming comfortable with who one is sexually, is an important milestone towards sexual intimacy.
Physical affection, emotional attachment, caring acts experienced through childhood and adolescence, all contribute to the ability to develop intimacy in relationships. The lack of affection during significant periods in life can result in adults lacking the ability to be affectionate and caring in relationships. At the other extreme, emotionally deprived or abused children may go on to become adults who crave for attention or develop sexual addictions.
Termination: The ability to end a relationship amicably and with maturity also forms an important component of interpersonal relationship skills. Termination first requires individuals to be able to evaluate a relationship for what they are gaining out of or putting into it. Termination through divorce in spousal relationships can be a painful affair, especially where children are involved.
Preparing the family for the consequences of divorce is essential. Children need to be prepared for what is going to happen. Parents must remember that even though their spousal responsibilities may now be over, their parental responsibilities are permanent. Parents often drag children to take sides. Others try to punish their spouse by not meeting up with children or disallowing the child to meet with the divorced spouse. This creates a great deal of anxiety in the child about the security of his family.
Termination of relationships between dating couples can often become painful affairs. Partners need to allow for closure by breaking up face to face and not by telephone, emails, sms, greeting cards or telegrams. Sometimes, partners abandon each other because they cannot communicate their needs or they have now found someone new. Many a times, you may come across the spouse who wants to leave the relationship blaming the other partner for causing them to leave. They lay blame so that they themselves can avoid the guilt. It is important that people acknowledge their role in the death of a relationship and not place blame elsewhere.
Tips to Improve Interpersonal Relationship Skills
Some things that you can start doing today are:
1. Initiate conversation with that one person whom you’ve been curious about at work or college.
2. Do that one thing that your spouse, parent or significant member has been asking you to do for a long time now. It maybe something you’ve been putting off for lack of time. Let it serve as an act to sustain your relationship.
3. Take your spouse or partner out for a romantic date or write him/her a romantic email. The aim here is to increase emotional intimacy.
4. Call up that one person you’ve been really upset with and found hard to forgive. Rekindle ties with them and try to look at things from their perspective.
5. Tell a close friend what he/she means to you in the relationship.
6. As a parent make it a point not to talk about your grouses with your partner in the presence of your children. Don’t belittle your spouse in the presence of your child.
7. As a parent, learn to apologize for the mistakes that you make even to those younger than you or economically weaker than you. Remember that your children watch your every move.
8. Make it a point to organize a family reunion at least on a bi-annual basis. Introduce your children afresh to the extended family
9. Control your harshness of tone or words the next time you mother or father calls you asking for the nth time why you haven’t visited them or blame you for not doing something for them. Instead try to humour them or change the topic to something less conflictual. Later try to spend some time and think of whether their complaints are justified and if you can actually do something about it.
10. If you are in a toxic relationship and are afraid to let go, try to picture yourself 10 years from now and analyse whether you would still be a happy cheerful you or an unhappy, unfruitful bitter person. You know what you should do if you see a bitter you! Build up the courage to leave by taking the help of someone who you know would understand. Take them with you to talk things over with the person you want to leave
11. Do something special for your in-laws. If you know there’s a birthday or anniversary coming up plan it in advance. You may be adding brownie points to your marital relationship
12. If you are someone who befriends people easily and then has trouble maintaining boundaries here is something you can try: This time when you find someone you think can be a good friend spend a little while observing them from a distance. Watch how they interact and who they hang out with. How do they treat women or older people? How are they with money? Who are their current friends? The idea is to practice reserve and restraint and gradually work towards initiating a conversation. You can then slowly begin hanging out with them and disclosing more of yourself to them.
13. If you have trouble stopping yourself from beating the people you love because you find this an effective way of establishing control or having your way in the relationship then you need to urgently consider seeking counseling. Please don’t delay this as you may be damaging your partners self confidence as well as their emotional well being. Violence could also end in tragedy if it gets out of hand and you don’t want to get yourself into legal trouble so do the right thing today.