Interpersonal skills include the habits, attitudes, manners, appearance, and behaviors we use around other people which affect how we get along with other people. We sometimes do not understand how important interpersonal skills really are. It's easy to laugh and make jokes about people who obviously lack interpersonal skills, but sometimes we need to examine our own impressions on others to better prepare for success in life as well as for a productive career.
The development of interpersonal skills begins early in life and is influenced by family, friends, and our observations of the world around us. Television and movies also influence this area, but most of these characteristics are passed along to us by our parents or guardians. Some aspects of interpersonal skills are even inherited. Appearance and some personality traits are largely influenced by our genes.
For us to improve our interpersonal skills, we must first be aware of what we are like from the perspective of other people who interact with us. Habits we are unaware of, actions we think go unnoticed, and other things about us that might affect other people are impossible for us to change if we are not aware of them. One of the things that teachers try to do, starting in the early grades, is to help students correct bad habits and to develop good interpersonal skills.
As we become adults, it increasingly becomes our own responsibility to initiate any changes in interpersonal skills that might be needed. They are more important than ever and they greatly influence both opportunities and success. It's just that rather than trying to change interpersonal skills, as is the case when we are children, adults tend to make judgements about one another based on interpersonal skills without explicitly saying that is the case.