Sana’s first day at her new job didn’t go as planned. She expected an orientation, formal introductions and a chance to talk about her motivations. Instead, she was met with a quiet group of strangers typing away at their desks without a glance in her direction.

To say she was stumped would be an understatement.

Not only did she have to find her way to her desk but she also had to take the onus of introducing herself to all her new colleagues. She spent the day feeling unwelcome and uncomfortable.

This is not an uncommon scenario. Organizations often overlook the importance of interpersonal relationships in the workplace. It’s important to encourage employees to interact with each other. This improves team dynamics, collaboration and communication which boost productivity.

For instance, Sana would have had a happier memory of her first day at work had she received a warm welcome. Given the lack of warmth and friendliness she experienced, she may feel discouraged from interacting with her colleagues or avoid building a rapport with them going forward.

Let’s look at the different phases of interpersonal relationships to understand how they can help you build strong bonds at work.

What Are Interpersonal Relationships?

Interpersonal relationships at work define the connections between employees. They are built on trust and loyalty where one can rely on another without hesitation.

There are times when you have to share your workload or collaborate with your team members. To do this successfully and achieve the desired results, you need to work in tandem with them. Interpersonal relationships strengthen these bonds and help you sidestep conflicts and mix-ups at work.

Phases Of Interpersonal Relationships

If you want to build strong interpersonal relationships at work, you must understand the different phases of creating a strong rapport. The first phase is an introduction. When you meet someone new, you start with a formal introduction. From there, you go on to build trust and ultimately come to rely on each other for support.

Here are the four phases of interpersonal relationships:

  1. Introduction

Your introduction is the first thing you give when you make an acquaintance. Whatever the social setting, it’s common etiquette to start by sharing who you are and where you’re from. In this phase, you get to know the other person and begin to establish a rapport with them. You may find out interesting things about each other and discover common interests.

The introduction stage is important because it sets the pace for how relationships will unfold. In the previous example, it was a rocky start for Sana which would have affected how she perceived her team members.

  1. Build Trust

Once you’re comfortable enough to share things about yourself, you can move to the next stage, of building trust. As you continue working together, you’re no longer strangers; you are coworkers. You begin to trust each other and share your ideas and thoughts. This is especially helpful when you’re stressed or anxious about work. Catching up in an informal setting can help you ease some of the pressure and even look forward to your day.

  1. Interdependence

Establishing trust is the stepping stone to interdependence or relying on each other for support. In interpersonal relationships with our colleagues, we depend on others when times are tough.

For instance, say that you’re going through a personal crisis and you need someone to cover your shift. In this scenario, your coworker, with whom you get along, may step up to the task to help you out. It’s important to encourage interdependence within teams so that if one employee is unavailable, another can pick up their share of the work.

  1. Health Check

Not all interpersonal relationships work out as you would hope. Sometimes, you need to do a health check to identify relationships that have weakened. You can start by assessing who in your network has been helpful and who hasn’t. Harappa Education’s Expanding Networks course will teach you how to run a SWOT analysis on your professional network.

You can see the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to your network. This way you can repair your network and build constructive relationships.

Building an equation with your coworkers through these stages of interpersonal relationships may not be a walk in the park. You have to interact with different types of people. Some may be shy while others may be outgoing. Navigating these differences may be hard in the beginning, but with patience, you can learn to get along with everyone.

Harappa’s Expanding Networks course will teach you how to build robust and mutually beneficial relationships. A strong network can help you build lasting and meaningful bonds at work and make progress in your career.


Explore topics such as Interpersonal RelationshipsBuilding Relationships and How to Build Trust in a Relationship on Harappa Diaries and learn how to build lasting bonds in the workplace.

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