Our society tends to encourage instant relationships with others. However, while forming relationships can seem to be easy, very few of them develop into long-lasting relationships. Interpersonal commitment is the ability to form durable and lasting relationships with others.

interpersonal commitment

Our mobile, fast-paced society has made it harder than ever to form and keep meaningful interpersonal relationships, yet these relationships are very important in our lives. In order to teach your students to form good relationships, teach them about the following topics:

  1. Turning an acquaintance into a friendship
  2. Maintaining friendships
  3. Maintaining family relationships

students talking

Turning an acquaintance into a friendship

In today’s society, it is easy to develop casual acquaintances; however, it is much more difficult to develop lasting relationships. The reason for this is a lack of interpersonal commitment. True friendship takes time to grow, nurture and secure. In other words, creating healthy and lasting friendships with others involves interpersonal commitment. Remember that all friends start off as acquaintances.

Here are several steps to help your students turn an acquaintance into a friendship:

  1. Speak to the acquaintance whenever you get a chance. Communication is an important part of creating a friendship.
  2. Get to know each other. Joke around together, share likes and dislikes and discover what you have in common.
  3. Tell your acquaintance that you would like to get together socially at some point. Letting someone know that you are interested sends the signal that you want a friendship.
  4. Spend time together in a social setting and learn more about each other.
  5. Call your new friend to check in. Make sure that you keep up the communication.
  6. Tell your friend that you appreciate the friendship. People like to feel that they are liked, and telling your friend this may provide the opportunity for your friend to express similar feelings to you.

girls thumbs up

Maintaining friendships

Once your students have turned an acquaintance into a friendship, they may think that the hard work is done. Actually, it is just beginning! A good friendship is something valuable and it needs to be nourished and protected. Here are some tips to teach your students to maintain strong and lasting friendships:

  • Be Honest. A relationship is only as good as its foundation. To have a solid friendship, friends must be honest with each other. Having a friend who can be up front with you will also help you know yourself better.
  • Forgive. No one is perfect. When you have a friendship with someone, you are bound to mess up at times. When you make a mistake, apologize and make sure your friend understands that you are sorry. And when your friend makes a mistake, be quick to forgive and move on.
  • Make time and show appreciation. Find time to spend with friends to show that you care for them. Be kind and considerate toward your friends.
  • Accept your friends for who they are. We are all human and make mistakes. Don’t get caught up in wishing they were different. Appreciate what they bring to you and your relationship.
  • Show compassion. It’s easy to become cynical toward negative aspects of others , but it’s far better to be compassionate and understanding. Being able to reach out to help others in need keeps us vulnerable. It is also its own reward because it makes us feel good to be able to help others.

family relationships

Maintaining family relationships

Family relationships are some of the most important relationships you will ever have in life. Family relationships form the backbone of society. They are what help create your sense of self, worth, and wellbeing. However, family relationships have eroded in our society for many reasons. The stabilizing influence of extended family, for example, has been lessened by the need to relocate— sometimes many times—in pursuit of careers. Yet, in spite of all the reasons that family relationships have weakened, it is still important to stay close with your parents, siblings and other relatives.

Here are some ways you can teach your students to maintain strong and durable relationships with family:

  • Spend quality time together whenever possible. Eat meals together and do fun things on a regular basis. Celebrate birthdays and holidays in a special way.

  • Communicate in positive ways. Talk frequently and about everything. Share your feelings with one another. Listen with full attention and work together to solve problems.

  • Work together as a team. Follow a set of family rules. Share household chores.

  • Appreciate each other. Take an interest in each other’s lives. Support and encourage each other to build up one another. Stay in touch with extended family members.

Thanks for tuning into our post about teaching interpersonal commitment to your students. If you want to learn more about developing or teaching soft skills, sign up for a free soft skills webinar here.