The 5 Interpersonal Skills That Matter Most In Your Career, Relationships, And Life

The 5 Interpersonal Skills That Matter Most In Your Career, Relationships, And Life

In life, it’s not just what you know, but how you interact with others that counts. Whether you’re at work, with friends, or navigating daily life, certain interpersonal skills make a huge difference. Let’s cut to the chase and talk about five key interpersonal skills that can really turn things around for you in your career, relationships, and life.

1. You Keep It Real.

At work, when you’re genuine, people trust you more. They know you’re not just saying what they want to hear, and that builds real respect. It also means you’re not wasting energy pretending to be something you’re not, which is surprisingly exhausting.

In your personal life, being yourself is key to forming genuine connections. When you’re authentic, your friends and family get to know the real you, not some polished-up version. This leads to deeper, more meaningful relationships. It’s about showing up as your true self, quirks and all, and finding out who’s there for you when you do.

2. You Actually Listen.

In a professional setting, listening shows you’re not just there to push your own agenda. It means you’re taking in what others are saying, understanding their viewpoints, and that can lead to better teamwork and more effective solutions. Plus, people love feeling heard—it’s a surefire way to build rapport.

In your personal life, listening can be the difference between a good relationship and a great one. When you really listen to what your friends or partner are saying, you’re showing them they matter to you. It’s about giving them your full attention, not just waiting for your turn to speak. This kind of listening builds trust and shows you care.

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4. You Strike a Balance Between Heart and Head.

At work, this means making decisions that make sense on paper but also feel right. It’s one of the best interpersonal skills you can master in life. You’re considering the numbers, sure, but you’re also thinking about how decisions affect people. It’s about finding that sweet spot where practicality meets empathy.

In your personal life, this balance helps you navigate tricky emotional waters. Say your friend is going through a tough time; you want to be there for them emotionally but also offer practical help. This skill helps you do both. You’re not just a shoulder to cry on; you’re also the one helping to find solutions. It’s about being supportive but also grounded.

5. You’re Inclusive in Conversations.

In a work setting, being inclusive in conversations can lead to uncovering hidden gems of ideas from the quietest person in the room. It’s about valuing diversity of thought and creating a space where everyone feels comfortable chipping in. This isn’t just good manners; it’s smart strategy.

In your social circles, being inclusive means everyone feels part of the group. You’re the one making sure everyone’s involved in the conversation, not just the loudest. It’s about recognizing that everyone has something to offer and ensuring they get the chance to offer it. This kind of inclusivity can turn a group of acquaintances into a tight-knit circle of friends.

6. You Speak Up, But With Kindness.

Assertiveness, tempered with kindness, is a powerful combination. In the workplace, this skill means you can state your case without steamrolling over others. It’s about being clear on what you need and want but doing so in a way that’s considerate. This approach earns respect without creating resentment.

In your personal life, it’s about expressing your needs and boundaries clearly, but without being aggressive about it. Whether it’s telling a friend they’ve hurt your feelings or standing up for yourself in a relationship, it’s about being honest but gentle. It’s a tricky line to walk, but when you get it right, it strengthens your relationships instead of straining them.

Gail is Bolde's social media and partnership manager, as well as an all-around behind-the-scenes renaissance woman. She worked for more than 25 years in her city's local government before making the switch to women's lifestyle and relationship sites, initially at HelloGiggles before making the switch to Bolde.