When you turned 20, what was your first thought? You probably thought that you needed to master the art of adulting, or you maybe realized that you needed to pick up more skills which you perceived to be more vital within the workplace environment. One of these skills that you have thought about may have been interpersonal communication, which many of us utilize on a daily basis.
However, the reality is that the process of developing interpersonal skills can be a great challenge. It takes patience, practice, and understanding in order to empathize and differentiate ours and other people’s emotions. So what are some ways you can develop and build stronger interpersonal relationships? Read on!
10 Ways to Develop Interpersonal Skills in your 20s
1) Learn to read facial expressions.
This statement is easier said than done. Sometimes, when we converse with others, we tend to ignore the other person’s facial expression and assume that they are alright with us continuing the conversation. However, in reality, the person may feel uncomfortable about our statements.
One way to tell how they’re actually feeling is by analyzing their facial expression; are their pupils dilated? Are they frowning? Is one eyebrow raised more than the other? Once you begin to notice these nuances, you will then know when to pause the conversation.
2) Try to gain more knowledge about various topics.
Whenever we begin a conversation with another person, we may feel the urge to gossip to the other person about our current relationships, friendships, or career life. Although gossip can be entertaining at times, it may drain our energy, leading the conversation to approach a dead end.
But how can we interact with others on a deeper level? One way is to learn more about different topics. Many people have different interests, and being able to connect with them and talk about a topic that they are interested in will turn frowns into smiles.
3) Practice “active listening.”
Whenever a friend or colleague talks to us, we often think of ‘listening’ as allowing them to talk about their desired topic. But active listening is much more than that; it requires us to be present whenever we are engaged in a conversation with an individual. We can do this by asking questions, and trying to summarize what we heard in the conversation.
Active listening is vital as it allows others to feel validated when sharing their experiences, and allows us to clarify any misunderstandings and misinformation.
4) Know that it’s not all about you.
I’m sure that most of us have experienced this: Imagine disclosing your experience to a colleague, and then they say that they went through a similar experience and end up making the conversation all about them. It can get quite infuriating as you feel unheard and you feel that your experiences are invalidated.
Although you cannot fix others, you can stop yourself from being a conversational narcissist. A great way to do this is to remember that not all of the conversations you have with people are one-sided.
In fact, everyone should be able to participate within the conversation. Next time when you’re conversing with someone, ask yourself: “Am I taking up too much space in the conversation?” and “Is everyone contributing equally to this conversation?”
5) When faced with a situation, find different ways to solve the problem.
We usually want life to be perfect: We do not want to face any problems which may inhibit our plans. However, we know that events are far from predictable. And when they do happen, it is easy to get into the habit of blaming the world.
Instead of thinking of the event as a challenge, it could be viewed as a journey. This will allow us to shift from a fixed to a growth mindset, and allow us to approach the problem in different perspectives, and solve it.
6) Learn to create opportunities for yourself.
In our twenties, we are often told to wait for the right opportunity to arise. However, if we wait, we may spend more time waiting instead of working towards our goals.
In order to do this, we need to set goals and be willing to create opportunities for ourselves. For example, if you want to learn a new language, you should begin to find the right classes, proper materials, and practice daily in order to master it.
In the end, no one will hand you the right opportunities on a silver platter. Instead, you will have to serve yourself.
7) Learn that not everything is constant.
Do you remember a time in life when you feel like you hit rock bottom? There are plenty of times where we may feel that way, but luckily, we won’t always be at the bottom of the totem pole.
In fact, our circumstances may change within the next decade and we may end up surprising ourselves with more progress than we expected. Instead of looking at the past, we can look forward and find ways to improve ourselves. So, you will learn how to strive for growth when there is adversity.
8) Strive to meet people with different personalities.
Not everyone will act the same way or have the same interests. In order to develop your interpersonal skills and keep an open mind, a good way is to meet different people and learn about their interests as well. You may be able to discover something new that you have never known before, and you may also learn how to deal and communicate with different types of personalities more.
As a result, you will learn how to develop thriving personal and professional relationships.
9) Learn to control and identify your emotions.
This is definitely easier said than done. Controlling your emotions can be a hassle as we cannot predict events or conversations. However, the first step, in terms of controlling your emotions, can be identifying them.
For example, you may feel angry after knowing what happened at work, or you may be sad as you did not ace the exam that you prepared for. By learning how to identify these feelings, you can learn how to decompress and validate your thoughts.
Therefore, when you are in a professional environment, you may become more focused on your work and learn how to differentiate between personal and professional thoughts. This is at the core of good self-management skills, and the payoff for developing a deeper understanding of and control over your emotional state can include improved productivity, discipline, and organization.
10) Be clear when others are crossing your boundaries.
Let’s face it – we have all been in conversations when we felt that the other person may be asking too much from us. If this is the case, it is important to let the other person know that they may be crossing your boundaries in order to engage in a healthy conversation.
You can start off by simply saying, “This topic makes me uncomfortable,” or perhaps, “I do not want to talk about this right now, but we can talk about it more later.”
In Summary: Developing Interpersonal Skills In Your 20s
In conclusion, developing your interpersonal and communication skills is no easy task. It requires practice, self-reflection, and multiple interactions with individuals who have different personalities.
However, as you’re able to control your emotions, you’re definitely more able to get a sense of the environment around you. After all, as you venture into the journey of adulting, you’ll sooner than later realize that interpersonal and communication skills can make or break anything.