Interpersonal Communication & Human Relationships

Human relationships develop through nonverbal and verbal interpersonal communication. In Psychology Today, Randi Kreger reports that nonverbal interpersonal communication like body language may communicate 93 percent of your attitudes and beliefs, suggesting that others tend to believe your nonverbal communication if your verbal messages contradict them 3. A New York Times article states that physical contact may communicate a wider range of emotion than gestures and facial expressions.

Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication includes communication that occurs with your words and through your tone of voice, posture and facial expressions. People receive and broadcast communication through each of these channels. According to an article published on Columbia University’s online database, you use language in verbal communication to communicate precise messages 3. Non-verbal communication involves any other information that you send and receive from others including your body language, eye contact or how you say a particular message.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence affects your competence in personal and social situations. According to the U.N.I. Business website, you are emotionally intelligent if you are self-aware and can accurately assess your strengths or limit your actions in a self-confident way. Emotional intelligence affects your social competence because it involves your ability to develop healthy relationships, and to perceive and interpret other people’s emotions. With emotional intelligence, you will select responses that are socially appropriate to situations and the emotions of other people.


Through interpersonal communication you can establish trust in relationships. Verbal and nonverbal interpersonal communication can help gauge a person’s trustworthiness. Consistent behavior encourages trust, because it suggests the same behavior will occur in the future. Cooperate and draw attention to the qualities you have in common with others to help develop trust. Cooperation occurs in professional relationships when you let others check the quality of your work and acknowledge your interdependence in the relationship.

Understanding and Identity

According to "Functions of Interpersonal Communication" by Tim Borchers, interpersonal communication can help you understand “relationship messages.” These messages include the way that you say things to another person and go deeper than the literal surface-level meanings of words. Communication with others can also help you establish your own identity, because it can help define the role you play in a relationship and the image of yourself that you present publicly.

Relational Stages

According to the four stages of Altman and Taylor’s theory of relational development, your public behavior and interaction communicates verbal and nonverbal messages during the first stage of relationship development. Friendship occurs when you reveal private details about your personality and develop more trust and willingness to communicate during the second stage. Close friendships or romantic relationships occur in the third stage, as trust and willingness to communicate increase for both people. The fourth stage may not require as much verbal interpersonal communication as prior stages. Nonverbal interpersonal communication may characterize the fourth stage, because you can reliably interpret the feelings and behavior of others in this stage.