Addressing the principles

By NICK VILLALOBOS, Editor-in-Chief

For the past three weeks, we have looked at different aspects of interpersonal communication.

First we started by addressing the question of why we should study this form of communication and answering it by looking at three forms of success that come from it, which are success in a personal, social and professional aspect.

Next we took an in-depth look at the various elements of interpersonal communication; source/receiver, messages, channel, noise and context.

This week we are going to look at the first of seven principles of this form of communication, which is interpersonal communication is purposeful.

According to The Interpersonal Communication Book by Joseph DeVito, interpersonal communication can be used to accomplish a variety of purposes. Three purposes this form of communication is used for is to learn, relate and influence.

Others purposes interpersonal communication is used for is to help and to play.

To Learn

When it comes to learning, and how interpersonal communication is used to accomplish that goal, DeVito said in The Interpersonal Book, interpersonal communication enables us to better understand the world of objects, events, and people whether it is through face-to-face contact or the internet.

How it enables those things to transpire can be best explained by looking at one of the various learning styles in which students practice. According to the Barbara Manner, with the National Science Teachers Association, students learn through a style known as personal meaning.

Under the personal meaning leaning style, students that are facing a problem, for instance writing a difficult research paper, decide to do what they can to solve the problem on their own. Then when they are unable to do so, they next turn to others for help.

When they turn to others to seek out a solution, not only are they learning, but they are engaging in interpersonal communication.

To Relate

When it comes to how interpersonal communication is used to relate as a means of being purposeful, we must look at the term interpersonal relationships.

Interpersonal communication is what drives these interpersonal relationships. According to, these type of relationships are social associations, connections or afflictions between two or more people. Or in other words, these are the type of relationships you have with family, friends or significant others.

The importance of these relationships can be best summed up by DeVito.

Such relationships help to alleviate loneliness and depression. They also enable us to share and heighten your pleasures. Lastly, they generally just make us feel more positive about ourselves.

Through the forming of interpersonal relationships we are able to relate to others.

To Influence

As college students, we frequently try to influence others. For example, we oftentimes use “convincing” in situations such as trying to convince an instructor to extend a deadline or offer extra credit points.

To further explain how interpersonal communication can be used to influence, we will also look at different ways in which people influence others.

According to an article by Susan Tardanico, on, there are five distinct categories in which influencing occurs. There is influencing by asserting, convincing, negotiating, bridging and inspiring.

To Help and To Play

The last two areas in which interpersonal communication can be seen as serving a purpose, are To Help and To Play.

When it comes interpersonal communication serving the purpose of helping, one example is that of a math professor helping a student out with any study tips for the upcoming quiz.

Though it seems small, that little bit of communication between professor and student is how interpersonal communication can be seen as being helpful.

Finally, one example to how interpersonal communication can be used as a means to play is through the updates on social media about the daily activity that students are participating in, or text messages between close friends about the recent March Madness basketball game or The Walking Dead episode.

All-in-all, interpersonal communication proves to serve a specific purpose for people who practice it, whether it be through learning, relating, influencing, helping or playing.