Teenage EQ: Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills, one compliment at a time.

Earlier we talked about inTRApersonal skills – the ability to understand your own emotions and communicate those emotions to others. Today we’ll focus on inTERpersonal skills.

What’s the difference between the ‘TRA’ and the ‘TER’, you ask? Interpersonal skills are defined as the set of abilities that enable someone to interact positively and work effectively with others. These skills are focused outward as opposed to inward.

Interpersonal skills are Empathy, Social Responsibility and Interpersonal Relationship Building. All are important, but today we’ll dive more into Interpersonal Relationships. 

Interpersonal relationships form when there is a strong association between individuals sharing common interests or goals. Some examples of interpersonal relationships for teens are:

  • Between a player and their teammates
  • Family members and relatives
  • Relationship between friends
  • A teacher, coach or trusted advisor

A sense of trust, loyalty, respect and commitment are essential in a relationship. Think about a teenager’s life and the different relationships that they are developing and evolving over several short years. These relationships can be difficult to navigate and keep sincere. This becomes even more difficult today when interpersonal communication is often happening through a digital device. How a parent or family works with their child through this development is essential.

“When it comes to developing character strength, inner security and unique personal and interpersonal talents and skills in a child, no institution can or ever will compare with, or effectively substitute for, the home's potential for positive influence.”
 -Stephen Covey

So what can you do as a parent? Here’s a fun exercise that you can do with your child, where you can focus on being sincere with different relationships and practicing communicating your sincerity.

It’s called FISHING FOR A COMPLIMENT. After all, we all need a compliment once in a while.

  1. Have your child take a piece of paper and write down family members, friends, team mates, a couple of their teachers, coaches, and any other people in their circle.  
  2. Next to each person’s name, have them write a sincere compliment for that individual, then share the compliments with you.
  3. Ask why they think that way or challenge their sincerity if you need to. The idea is that they feel confident about what they have written and are able to take it and actually share their compliments with the individuals in their circle.

This opens up a lot of conversation and possibilities to build relationships that are based on mutual respect and sincerity.

Remember, we are all work in progress. Learning to nurture good relationships is not easy, but if you are honest, open, sincere and kind, you can’t go wrong!


By Shawna Kovacs

Shawna is the mother of a fabulous teenage girl who is also an Ambassador Leaders alumna. Shawna is Founder and Partner of Leaders Required – a training firm focused on Leadership Development with an emphasis on Emotional Intelligence.