Interpersonal communication



Interpersonal communication is a special form of unmediated human communication that occurs when we interact simultaneously with another person and attempt to mutually influence each other, usually for the purpose of managing relationships.

  • Interpersonal Communication Involves Quality

Interpersonal communication occurs not just when we interact with someone, but when we treat the other as a unique human being.

-Conversely, impersonal communication occurs when we treat people as objects or respond to their roles rather than to who they are as unique people.

  • Interpersonal Communication Occurs Simultaneously

-While you are talking and your date is listening, for example, you are also observing your date’s nonverbal cues – eye contact, clothing, body posture, and facial expressions.

  • Interpersonal Communication Involves Mutual Influence

-This means that both partners are affected by the interaction.

Example: During dinner you ask your date where he/she is from, and you assume your date heard you. If so, you’ve both been affected by the question. But if your date did not hear you then interpersonal communication has not really occurred.

  • Interpersonal Communication Helps Manage Relationships

Relationships: are ongoing connections we make with others through interpersonal communication.

-Relationships form for different reasons.

Relationships of circumstance form situationally – simply because our lives overlap with others’ lives in some way or because a situation brings us into contact. (Relationships with family, teachers, coworkers)

-In contrast, when we seek out and intentionally develop relationships, those are termed relationships of choice.

-include friends, lovers, and relational partners.

-Categories are not mutually exclusive – they can evolve into the other.

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