This is the time of the year when most of us are resuming our routines — work, school, college, etc. — after a small break during which we spent time with our loved ones. And actor Kate Hudson’s latest book, Pretty Fun: Creating and Celebrating a Lifetime of Tradition, emphasises how important it is to give the gift of time and create stronger bonds with people around you, be it family, friends or colleagues. We speak to a few experts on how great interpersonal skills translate to a better quality of life, as well as how those with reserved personalities, can work at building good relations.
“Having people around who are supportive and caring, gives strength for overcoming difficult situations such as when one is emotionally low or is physically ill. It is one of the most effective ways of coping with negative life events no matter how tough the situation is. Money can buy everything in the world, but human relations – not necessarily blood relations – which are true and genuine are the ones that sustain forever,” says Namrata Dagia, clinical psychologist, The Illuminating Zone, Kandivali (W).
Human interaction is also necessary to offset the effects of being caught up with virtual life. Dr Jyoti Sangle, psychiatrist, Dr. L H Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, says, “It is important to have a genuine human connect for the simple reason that only this connect can have an emotional component vis-à-vis a technological connect, and hence, stimulate certain parts of the brain which would be otherwise rendered rudimentary.”
But what if you have a personality that simply interferes with your social skills and forming or maintaining bonds with people is a task for you? In that case, being mindful of a few key points in mind and taking one step at a time, may help, as per Dr Hozefa A Bhinderwala, psychiatrist, Saifee Hospital, Charni Road.
Bhinderwala suggests the following to improve interpersonal relations in various spheres of life:
Active listening skills demonstrated by the elders in the family serve as a role model for the youngsters to emulate. The need to understand before attempting to explain can make a big difference in how members of a family are willing to share issues.
Empathy is another important face wherein an ability to understand and accept the emotions and position of the other person without being judgmental is an asset no family should be without.
The obstacles to good cooperation that parents need to be aware of are accusing, name-calling, blaming, sarcasm, threats, commands, warnings, excessive moralising and physical abuse. These should have no place in a family.
While it should not be the first word in a response by a parent to a child’s request, the child should be taught alternatives to ‘no’. Healthy ways to inculcate ‘no’ in a child’s vocabulary should be encouraged. How to creatively say ‘no’ helps the child in the long run.
The ability to handle one’s own emotions, and those of the people around is what propels a person towards popularity and promotion at work.
Respect for fellow human beings and their integrity are paramount in any workplace. Hierarchical position and power are temporary. The more a person feels valued at work, the better the output of work.
Workers are humans, and humans will make errors. It is the ability to correct errors at work without demeaning the human behind the error that makes or mars an organisation. Any organisation is only as good as the employees working for it.
By our mere nature of being social animals, it is important that we be aware of and sensitive to our neighbourhood. Those who are considerate of and show care for their neighbours are making investments that are seldom going to disappoint them. Small gestures like a greeting, and big ones, like being ready to help those around have a magical way of building credibility and respect among neighbours. A happy neighbourhood is a healthy neighbourhood.
In this age of individualism and instant gratification one often wonders ‘why should I ever put in effort at maintaining relationships?’ Neeta V Shetty, psychotherapist, Blissful Mind Therapy Centre, Wadala (E), gives a few reasons why one can be bothered to cultivate good social skills:
They enable healthier interpersonal relationships that often help come up with good conflict resolution techniques.
They also help in having good social networking skills and in bonding with co-workers and bosses. This in turn makes one more productive at workplace as well as to enhance one’s career.
In general, good social skills cut down conflicts in life, thus enhancing overall happiness and well-being.