What topics can I ask about here?

Welcome to Interpersonal Skills Stack Exchange.

Interpersonal Skills Stack Exchange is a question & answer site for people looking to better understand or improve their interpersonal skills. Interpersonal Skills are behaviours that are used to interact with other people, to achieve certain goals.

Questions about the following subjects are on topic for this site:

  • using or understanding interpersonal interactions to resolve specific problems or prevent problems from occurring with a specific goal in mind. This includes interactions with family, friends, work/school associates, acquaintances or strangers (or anyone else).
  • the written and unwritten - but well-established and expected - rules or conventions of behavior in a specific setting (also called etiquette).
  • understanding social norms as they relate to interpersonal interactions - why do we interact the way we do?
  • understanding theories and concepts commonly associated with interpersonal skills. - What is [theory/concept] or How do I use [theory/concept] to achieve [goal]?

Questions must be specific enough to be answered

Because interpersonal interactions are very complex, we require that questions be specific - and preferably that they relate to a situation you are actually in. Please include the following information where possible, and to the degree that you are comfortable (anonymizing as necessary):

  • Cultural context. Culture may include your geographic location and/or the type of setting (e.g. a specific workplace or social group). See Should we tag our questions by cultural region? for more information.
  • Who is involved and their relationship to you - how you interact with a spouse vs coworker vs employee is vastly different.
  • What you've already tried, if anything, and what effect that approach had.
  • Your priorities for the outcome. In addition to resolving the immediate issue, this may include goals such as preserving or improving your relationship with the other person(s), having your feelings acknowledged, spending less time on the issue, etc. If any of your goals might conflict with one another, please rank them.

Questions failing to provide sufficient detail, asking overly broad, general questions, or questions that are purely hypothetical, will likely be closed. Please endeavor to provide this initially or add it to your question if requested.

Questions should focus on the Interpersonal Interaction

Interactions between people happen in relation to just about any subject. On IPS, our focus is the interpersonal interaction, not the subject of the interaction. While the context is important to the situation, it is secondary to the interpersonal interaction. As such, questions (and answers and comments) should focus on the interpersonal concerns rather than the contextual ones.

What questions are off topic here?

While this site allows questions that meet the Good Subjective requirements, some questions are too subjective for us. This includes questions that:

  • lack a clear goal we can address. We can provide solutions to achieve goals but we can not tell you what your goal should be. Questions should state the preferred outcome of the situation clearly.
  • ask us to adjudicate “right” and “wrong” in a situation or whether something is rude/racist/sexist/[insert other discriminatory terms]. If you are having a dispute with your spouse or coworker, we are not going to settle the dispute for you or give you points to argue. Focus your question on resolving your issue, rather than whether there is an issue or not.

Other types of questions that are off topic include questions that:

  • ask us to rewrite text or otherwise tell you what to say. We are not an editing service. Questions should focus on how to generally write or decide what to say so that you can tailor them to your situation.
  • violate the Stack Exchange “Code of Conduct” rules by encouraging bigotry of any kind, harassment, or abuse of others. While not all interpersonal interactions meet these guidelines, our goals are to encourage respectful interpersonal skills.

This site is specifically not here to discuss issues and disputes between users on the Stack Exchange Network. This site is not the “court of public opinion” of Stack Exchange. Please refer all concerns related to Stack Exchange to

  • the child meta of the site you are using
  • Meta Stack Exchange
  • the staff directly using the Contact link at the bottom of any page.

If your question relates to others but doesn't focus on the interpersonal skills interaction, there may be other sites that better suit your needs:

  • questions about interacting with your children may be better suited to Parenting
  • questions specific to the workplace environment may be better suited to The Workplace
  • questions specific to the academic world may be better suited to Academia

If you’re still unsure whether your question fits on the site, please check Interpersonal Skills Meta to see if there are any discussions related to what you would like to ask. If there aren’t any, please go ahead and ask the question on the main site and the users will help guide you to improve it if it does not meet our standards. If it is closed, please ask for help improving it on meta. For more information, see our discussion here.

Although entirely optional, if you would prefer to get feedback on a question before posting it to the main site, feel free to visit our main chat room, The Awkward Silence (requires 20 reputation on the Stack Exchange Network), or post a draft in our question sandbox (requires 5 reputation on Interpersonal Skills Stack Exchange).