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Difference Between ‘Interpersonal’ And ‘Intrapersonal’

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In a lot of industries, the word ‘interpersonal’ and ‘intrapersonal’ is being used. However, people, in general, tend to use the words interchangeably which is completely unacceptable. 

So what is the difference between ‘interpersonal’ and ‘intrapersonal’? To state it out in brief, interpersonal is used to address any communication or any sort of relationship with people whereas intrapersonal means a relationship or the way one communicates with one's own self.

Now that you have obtained an idea about the difference between the terms ‘interpersonal’ and ‘intrapersonal’, let’s have a look at each of the terms in-depth and also look at the difference between both the words.

So without much ado, let’s get started!

What Does The Term ‘Interpersonal’ Mean?

‘Interpersonal’ refers to any relationship or communication between people. 

The concept of ‘interpersonal relationships’ works in all dimensions. It involves social as well as professional affiliations between like-minded people. Interpersonal relationships can defer in terms of closeness and duration. Sometimes the relationship is limited to just a certain aspect and sometimes it can even involve a high degree of intimacy.

Some of the well-known examples of interpersonal relationships are family, marriage, work, acquaintance, and so on.

In regard to ‘interpersonal communication’, it is an exchange of information between at least two people. It is not just limited to verbal communication but even non-verbal ways of communication. 

Interpersonal communication can be seen in every aspect of life. Be it interacting with a family member or a group of friends or even colleagues, it covers all such interactions between people where they are connected to each other or have knowledge about each other.

Communication between two family members, a professor, and his student, two colleagues, or even friends are all examples of interpersonal communication.

What Does The Term ‘Intrapersonal’ Mean?

‘Intrapersonal’ means the relationship that one shares with oneself, thoughts, and communication that happens within an individual mind.

‘Intrapersonal Relationship’ means the relationship that one has with his own self. The relationship that one has with oneself is very important for the overall well-being of an individual. This is because you understand your strength, your weaknesses, goals, and aims that you have set for yourself.

Having a clear relationship with yourself will make you more confident and aware of everything that is happening around you and often has an impact on different relationships that you have.

‘Intrapersonal communication’ includes but is not limited to talking to yourself, thinking, writing down your thoughts, and analyzing a situation from your perspective. Intrapersonal communication helps an individual to be aware of his or her surroundings and makes them more confident about themselves. 

Apart from that, it helps one in understanding himself in a better way by analyzing their thoughts and what they are going through.

However, many a time intrapersonal communication might pose a threat as it leads to over-thinking, misinterpreting a situation, and incorrect decisions.

Differences Between ‘Interpersonal’ and ‘Intrapersonal’


Interpersonal means communication or a relationship that is shared between two or more people.

On the other hand, intrapersonal means a relationship that one shares with oneself or communication that happens at a personal level.

People Involved

At the interpersonal level, at least two people are involved. Whereas, at the intrapersonal level, it’s just you.


When it comes to the interpersonal level of communication there are a lot of means. It involves in-person interaction, emails, the use of other electronic modes, and also non-verbal cues like facial expressions, gestures, and so on.

The means of communication are very different at the intrapersonal level. It involves self-talk, imagination, recreating scenarios, and even recollecting memories of the past.


In professional life, interpersonal relationships and communication play a vital role as people are interdependent on each other.

In contrast, in personal life, intrapersonal communication plays a more important role as it helps one in regulating their emotions.

Comparison Chart: ‘Interpersonal’ vs ‘Intrapersonal’

Point Of Difference‘Interpersonal’ ‘Intrapersonal’
ScopeInterpersonal communication has a wider scope as it is used while doing any sort of activity.The scope of intrapersonal communication is smaller as it helps to regulate and understand things only when a  person feels the need to do so.
ImprovementsA lot of employers hire experts to help their employees improve their communication skills for the betterment of the company.A lot of people who face problems understanding their own thoughts visit a therapist who can help them out with the internal conflicts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Meaning Of Interpersonal Psychotherapy?

Interpersonal psychotherapy is to improve a person’s interpersonal relationships to help reduce their distress and this therapy includes means to improve their problem-solving skills.

It can also help people solve unresolved grief that might be related to the death of a close one. In addition to that, if a person is going through a major life transition like moving to another city or divorce this therapy can help them out as well.

What Are The Most Important Interpersonal Skills?

The following skills are important not only with respect to personal but also at a professional level as they will help you adjust to any environment. The skills are ‘body language’, ‘storytelling’, ‘leadership skills’, ‘empathy’, and ‘supportiveness’.


Understanding the usage of similar-sounding words is a difficult thing to do. The words are often misused so that it becomes difficult to find out the exact meaning of the word. The same problem could be seen between the words  ‘interpersonal’ and ‘intrapersonal’ and a lot of people find themselves confused between which term to use and when to use it.

In this article, we have tried our best to explain the meaning of ‘interpersonal’ and ‘intrapersonal’ as well as the difference that lies between both of them. We hope that this article has cleared all your doubts about both the words and in case you find yourself stuck in a dilemma about which word to be used, just refer back to this article and you won’t get confused anymore.


Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Tom Vincent

Tom Vincent graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and social studies. He then started his higher education at the University of François Rabelais in Tours with a DUT Information Communication. To expand his knowledge, he also followed a professional degree in e-commerce and digital marketing at the Lumière University of Lyon. On this project, he is in charge of articles covering language, industry and social.
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