Day 533: Secrets to interpersonal effectiveness

I don’t like to keep secrets. If I know something valuable, I like to share it, out loud.

And I do know some valuable information about interpersonal effectiveness, because I:

  • am a licensed psychotherapist,
  • have lived many decades, and
  • am an eager observer and student of behaviors.

Shall we begin?

Secret #1:  It helps to know your own natural interpersonal style.

If you know and embrace your natural interpersonal style — that which you (1) demonstrated as a child and (2)  will likely revert to during times of stress,  no matter how old you are  — you have more freedom to modulate it, as you choose. This gives you more options to respond effectively, in the moment, to particular people and situations.

My natural interpersonal style is to be transparent. That is, I don’t like secrets, I like to show my thoughts and feelings, and I often explain my motives in the moment.

I’m going to be transparent, right now, about some here-to-fore hidden agendas for the blog post today:

  1. I wanted to write about a topic that felt important to me and
  2. I wanted to show you all a bunch of cool photos I took yesterday.

Actually, perhaps those agendas weren’t so hidden, since I pretty much demonstrate the same ones in most of the friggin’ posts I’ve written here, at least over the past year.

I like being transparent. Revealing my motives, thoughts, and feelings frees me up. Keeping my motives, thoughts, and feelings hidden feels exhausting and disconnecting to me.

However, if I don’t appropriately  adjust that natural style of mine to the current moment — or if I disown, judge, or am unconscious of that natural style —  that  style might have too much power over me.  I will likely go to extremes, rather than achieving balance. That is, I may  alternate between revealing too much, experiencing guilt and shame about that, and then withdrawing into isolation. Also, if I’m not aware of and sensitive to another’s natural (and perhaps very different) style, that will interfere with the connection.

For example, in the (inter)personal world of felines:


Oscar (foreground) likes closeness and Harley (background) prefers space, so my interacting the same way with them would interfere in the connections. And, using a photo from yesterday’s post, here’s a priority, for me:


I might assume that E.M. Forster, whose quote is used so cleverly in that sign, had a similar natural style to me … but who knows?

I’m wondering, at this point, if you know what your natural interpersonal style is.  In order to help you with that answer, I should probably give you a list of natural styles.  However, I am not aware of the existence of such a list, in the moment, and I want to show you these cool pictures, before I leave for work.   So, I hope you can put words on your own natural style, and reveal it here (if you choose).

Ah!a  I just used my natural interpersonal style of transparency, there, again.  And it felt … good!

Onward to the best I can do, this morning, making up secrets and showing off photos.

Secret #2:  Let other people know how you feel, authentically and respectfully.


Secret #3: Honor the past and the future — for yourself and others — but be present as much as you can, with the people who are there for you now.



Secret #4: Leave space and look for for your own and others’ strengths, and for personal  growth and creative expression, too.


and closer (up top) …


Secret #5: Be curious and inquisitive, with good intent:


Secret # 6: Leave time and space for yourself and others to just be:



Secret #7: Allow for love, every day, in different ways:



Speaking of love, I would love to tell you more about my friend Jan, who practices as a nurse, where I work. But I need to leave,  so I can see Jan and others throughout my day. So I’ll end with this:

Secret #8: Prioritize, as best you can, balancing your needs with others.

Thanks to E.M. Forster, beautiful creatures of every kind, Jan, Sam (from “Under the Gunn“), all those who do their best to connect no matter what their natural interpersonal styles and — of course! — to you, for interacting with me here, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , | 39 Comments

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39 thoughts on “Day 533: Secrets to interpersonal effectiveness

  1. Okay, so now you’ve got me thinking…..

    Love the photos, as always! 🙂

  2. I don’t like secrets either, Ann. I believe in honesty, taking off the mask. Sadly, most people don’t see it this way. Beautifully written article. I’m posting from my reader so to make sure I can comment. Love, Amy

  3. My natural style is to be a gatherer and sharer, Ann.

    Thank you for gathering great insight and photographs and sharing them with me today.

  4. Is there a ‘look around the table and see everyone’s gifts and lets use them to work together for a common purpose’ style? I want to see a list of the natural styles Ann! ❤
    Diana xo

  5. I have no clue what my own natural interpersonal style is – so I googled. I would have guess Assertiveness. But the test I took said Insightfulness. Interesting!

  6. Thanks for this. I really need to work on #6.

  7. Gene Phillips

    This has given me a lot to think about. Since I am going to be department chair again, I need to be more mindful of my natural interpersonal style and consider how best to modulate it. In the personal sphere as well, it is important. Now just what the heck is my style?

    • Judging only from this comment, Gene, maybe your natural personal style is thoughtful, careful, preferring some time and space before making important moves, and asking great questions.

  8. Lots of great info here Ann! I have worked with DISC behavioral styles, but not natural interpersonal style.
    I’ll be right back 🙂

    • I am not familiar with DISC behavioral styles — and I will be checking that out after I finish writing this comment. When I think of natural interpersonal styles, I think of the Myers-Briggs Test, but that is also a measurement of decision-making styles (as well as lots of other things). I may have made up the term “natural interpersonal style” today. Or … maybe not!

      In any case, thank you for reading and commenting, with what I experience as your natural interpersonal style: kindness, enthusiasm, an eagerness to learn, and flair!

  9. Thank you, Ann, for this wise and useful post.

  10. Not yet sure what “natural interpersonal style is; but I will seek to find out. Definitely, I fail to let others know how I feel, for fear of generating a confrontation. I make an effort to live in the present. I make my own space and respect others’ right to exist within their own comfort zone. I am only inquisitive and curious about things that interest me. I am a daily work-in-progress. But, at least I am working on it. Thank you for sharing this helpful and informative post.

    • I think you display your natural personal style in what you write and in what you know about yourself. It’s interesting to read here that you “fail to let others know how I feel,” because you seem to do such a great job of that here at WordPress.

      Thank you for this insightful, helpful, kind, and informative comment.

  11. Great post, Ann. Thank you.

  12. A thought-inspiring post dear Ann. Hmmm… I think I am quite an open, maybe even extroverted person. Honesty is top priority and transparency helps others understand and deal with us. I just think that there are situations and people in which/with which we are better off keeping some things to ourselves. I totally agree with all your other points/secrets!!

  13. amusez798387

    beautiful pictures and thoughts

    • Thank you so much. So wonderful to see you here, with your usual supportive, helpful, and appreciative spirit.

  14. I’m not actually certain I can peg my natural interpersonal style. I know that I enjoy one on one conversation or very small gatherings, because I’d rather share more intimately. Larger groups shut me down and I just smile a lot. LOL! But I really don’t know how I’d answer that. I love your photos and your very nurturing message! There’s a lot here to think about. 🙂

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