There are people skills and there are true people skills. What we think of as “interpersonal skills” might include etiquette, small talk, eye contact, handshakes, smiling, saying thank you, reading people. These are all important and if you don’t already learned them, you definitely should. They help out a great deal in life.
True interpersonal skills are the manifestation of an intent and the intent is to treat others with the same understanding, compassion, respect and positive regard as you would like to be treated. Interpersonal awareness is based on the understanding of others, their needs, desires, motivations, and emotions. We use that awareness to make others feel respected, acknowledged, liked and even loved.
You’ve heard of “the method” when it comes to the great actors of our time. The “method” helps an actor not just to act like the character that he reads of imagines in the play or script but to act “as if” he or she is that character. They act as if through a number of methods but they primarily involve understanding the character’s motives and intentions and then reciting the lines but using the character’s intentions as motivations. They, in essence become the character.
I’m not advocating acting by any means. But I am advocating understanding why we want to treat others with respect, to listen, to acknowledge, to support. When we understand the intentions, the motives, then all of these behaviors like listening, be interested, being polite, sharing, become natural.