Interpersonal Wellness

We All Need Connection

Find your people and nurture your relationships with these interpersonal wellness strategies.

We're Built for Community

A sense of belonging is fundamental to our wellbeing. Whether it’s in our families, friendships, communities, or even campuses, knowing there are people who get us and share our values or experiences helps us feel understood, ask for help, and find meaning in our lives. 

Our time with others, from casual interactions to our closest relationships, are related to our physical and mental health and overall quality of life. This is known as interpersonal wellness, or the state of wellbeing stemming from positive connections and effective communication. Empathy, trust, respect, conflict resolution, quality time, communication, cooperation, support, and belonging are just a few facets of relationships that can impact our interpersonal wellness.

At its best, interpersonal wellness allows us to learn from and lean on each other and grow into a stronger version of ourselves. When interpersonal wellness is lacking, we can feel isolated, lonely, and more stressed. 

Tips for Building Interpersonal Wellness

Healthy relationships are those based on mutual respect and appreciation, quality interactions, empathy, trust, and conflict resolution. Healthy relationship lift you up and help you feel understood. When a conflict does arise, all parties involved work toward resolution and growth. 

Unhealthy relationships are those based on power, control, dishonesty, punishment, invalidation, and threat. The signs of an unhealthy relationship can be blatant abuse, but they can also be seen in more subtle ways, such as the quality of time spent together, how understood you feel in the relationship, or the way conflict is handled. 

Learn more about healthy and unhealthy relationships:



Explore these resources for recognizing the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships

Communication is the thread that ties all relationships together. It's through communication that we give and receive information, become closer, and work through challenges. But for something so important to relationships (of every kind) and our interpersonal wellness, it can be confusing!

Why Communication Can Be Challenging

If communication feels like a challenge to you, know that you are not alone. "Communication issues" is a common reason couples seek counseling, friends fall out, and group projects struggle to come together. One reason this happens is our unique backgrounds and life lessons that shapes how we give and receive messages. What one person considers a confrontation, another considers leadership, and what one person considers friendly advice, another perceives as being "pushy." 

Steps to Better Communication

The good news is, you don't need to be a mind-reader to communicate better. Often, better communication happens with simple intentions like showing respect, listening with undivided attention, and speaking in a way your message can best be heard.

Other skills like using "I statements" (find out more about I statements) and asking more "how, what, tell me more" questions vs. "why" questions can make a big difference in how a conversation goes. 

Experiment yourself with these statements: 

Why did you do that? vs. Can you tell me how this happened?

I feel lonely vs. You don't pay enough attention to me.

Why did you do it this way? vs. Can you tell me more about what you did here? 

Big difference, right?

Explore these resources for using communication to improve your interpersonal wellness:

Let your friends know that you appreciate them. From a simple thank you to an authentic compliment, a little appreciation goes a long way toward relationship health and happiness. 

Explore these resources for cultivating more appreciation in your social life: 

Conflict doesn't need to end relationships. In fact, healing after a conflict is an important positive friendship quality. 

Explore these tools for healing after conflict: 

Your well-being is the foundation of everything in your life. When you are happy, healthy, and thriving, your life and relationships reflect that. So, approach relationships with your fullest, happiest self. When you do, you'll find yourself communicating more clearly, setting healthy boundaries, showing appreciation more freely, and showing up as your truest self.

Do you have this double standard?

Take a step back and notice how you treat yourself. How does this compare to the way you treat others in your life?

Many people discover that they live by a double standard, holding themselves to higher scrutiny and offering less care to themselves than they would for someone they care about. Remember that YOU are someone worth caring about. Make a point of respecting and loving yourself in whatever small way you can. 

Tips for cultivating self-love and self-respect:

Bonding happens through quality time and quality interactions. Whether you're cooking dinner with a roommate or staying up late on a group assignment, any shared activity can be an opportunity to bond when you focus on these two things. 

The Secret to Quality Time

Quality time with the people in your life doesn't have to be fancy. The quality of your time spent together is determined more by your presence than the setting. If you are fully engaged, paying attention, asking questions, and listening, even the most mundane tasks can be bonding time. 

The next time you're with someone you'd like to strengthen your relationship with, no matter what you're doing, make presence your priority. Do this through eye contact, body language, and engagement in the conversation.

The Secret to Quality Interactions

Take your quality time one step further with quality interactions. Expressing interests in someone's life, cultivating trust, showing respect, and enjoying time together are all examples of positive friendship qualities. These qualities are so powerful that it only takes one good friend to make a big difference in your interpersonal wellness.

How to Practice Quality Interactions:

  • Use your time with others to get to know them on a deeper level.
  • Ask the people in your life meaningful questions.
  • Share important things about yourself.
  • Invite a friend or classmate along to something that matters to you. 
  • Remain open to exploring your friends' interests.
  • Resolve conflicts that arise.

Support Your People

It's also important to offer a supportive response when a friend comes to you in a hard time. Give a friend going through a hard time the space to be in pain while also holding an image of them as well and thriving in your own mind. Listen. Validate. Let them know that their perspective is understandable. When you have a question, approach it with genuine curiosity. If you want to help, give them an opportunity to tell you how you could help or ask them what they need. 

Explore these resources on quality time and quality interactions: