How to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Interpersonal relationships are always improvable. In fact, improved links and interactions benefit everyone. Here are some helpful guidelines.
How to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships
Sofía Gimbert

Written and verified by the psychologist Sofía Gimbert.

Last update: 14 June, 2023

There are certain keys to improving your interpersonal relationships, which you can put into practice in order to establish healthier ties. In fact, a guide published by the National University of Costa Rica claims that good relationships help to recognize and build identity.

As human beings, due to our social nature, we need to relate to others. These links must be developed within a healthy framework. Based on this fact, we’re going to share some practical recommendations to promote the way in which you connect with others.

Keys for improving your interpersonal relationships

Building healthy and meaningful relationships requires certain skills. Therefore, it’s not always easy to do. In order to improve the quality of your interpersonal connections, we’re going to suggest some techniques for intervening in the creation of more meaningful and enduring connections.

1. Practice empathy

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and understand how they’re feeling. It’s an essential ingredient for building or improving lasting interpersonal relationships. This capacity contributes to emotional rapprochement with others and to understanding their demands and concerns.

To practice empathy, active listening and paying attention to facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice are important. You must try to understand how the other person is feeling, not just what they’re saying. Ask open-ended questions to get more information and show interest in what they tell you.

A chapter in the book, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life (2015) states that when someone listens to us without judging or trying to shape us, it feels good. This is what empathy is all about.

You might also like to read How to Develop Your Empathetic Skills

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication is the ability to convey your thoughts and feelings clearly and directly, as well as understand those of others. It helps you prevent misunderstandings and problems in your relationships.

Communicating effectively means speaking in a calm tone and not using passive-aggressive communication. It’s important to listen actively, ask questions to clear up any confusion and pay attention to your non-verbal communication.

3. Be assertive

Assertiveness consists of expressing your needs and opinions clearly and directly, without violating the rights of others. It’s an ideal quality for establishing healthy boundaries in your relationships and avoiding unnecessary conflict.

To be assertive, it’s important to speak in the first person, focusing on your own feelings and needs, rather than blaming or criticizing. Similarly, it helps to practice effective communication techniques. For example, using “I” instead of “you,” practicing nonviolent communication, and demonstrating confident body language.

4. Learn to forgive

Forgiveness is an essential part of a healthy relationship. Moreover, learning to forgive, frees you from anger and resentment and helps you build stronger and more representative ties.

To learn to forgive, it’s important to accept your own feelings and acknowledge the pain the other person caused you. Try to see things from their perspective and seek to understand why they acted the way they did. Then, forgive them and let go of your hurt and anger.

5. Apply conflict resolution collaboratively

Conflicts are a natural part of any relationship. The key to managing them lies in finding solutions that meet the needs of both parties and are mutually acceptable. This fact is confirmed in the book, The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work (1999).

Its author, John Gottman, stresses the importance of being flexible and willing to compromise to find a resolution that works for everyone.

Collaborative resolution involves working together and finding an outcome acceptable to both parties.

6. Accept and celebrate your differences

We’re all different. In fact, it’s these differences that make every one of us unique and special. Therefore, accepting and celebrating what distinguishes you from others is beneficial for improving your interpersonal relationships.

You must have an open mind and be willing to learn. Try to understand and respect other people’s perspectives and experiences, even if you don’t share them. Recognize and appreciate the unique strengths of others and find ways of working together to achieve common goals.

Improving your interpersonal relationships takes time, but it’s worth it

Healthy, meaningful relationships are critical for your emotional and mental well-being. But, building these links isn’t easy. It’s essential to know how to communicate to express your opinions and emotions while listening to and understanding the perspectives of others.

Empathy, assertiveness, forgiveness, and knowing how to solve problems, as well as accepting that others think differently are essential if you want to have strong and lasting interpersonal connections.

These relationships will benefit you and contribute positively to the quality of life of those around you. Indeed, there’s no doubt that building and improving your interpersonal relationships requires time, effort, and dedication. However, the results will be invaluable.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Goleman, D. (2013). Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. Bloomsbury Publishing.

  • Gottman, J. M. (2015). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. Harmony

  • Rosenberg, M. B. (2015). Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships. PuddleDancer Press.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.