If I am asked what comes to my mind when one mentions interpersonal communication, I will think of several points, some of which I will try to explain here.
The first and perhaps the most important element of my prototype of interpersonal communication is ongoing development. What it means by ongoing development is that interpersonal communication requires interactants to build a relationship between them and this can only be done over a long period of time, through a relatively high frequency of interactions. Thus, without gradual developments, one cannot expect to have an interpersonal relationship with others, because to get to that level, efforts and time—which both are the foundations of ongoing development—are very necessary. Our personal experiences can be the example of this. Let us think for a while about the relationships we have in our life. Most, if not all, of us can only mention a few names of people that we think we are really close to. This does not mean that we are lonely or not popular. In fact, this is normal and very reasonable. As mentioned previously, it takes time and efforts to bring a relationship to an interpersonal level. This means that the more people we want to have interpersonal relationships with, the more time and efforts we need to devote to the relationships. Considering that we have only limited time (only 24 hours a day) and we usually intend to use most of this time for achieving our personal goals, then it becomes practically impossible to forge friendships or relationships with as many people as we want. Therefore, it is not surprising at all if we can only name a handful of people as our best friend, lover, etc.
Another important, distinctive dimension of interpersonal relationship is recognizing people as unique entities. In an interaction that is not interpersonal, we tend to recognize our communication partners with labels set by their social roles. When we communicate with our employer in a workplace setting, our communication becomes a boss-employee type of communication. When we pay our groceries in a supermarket, our communication with the cashier becomes a costumer-cashier type of interaction. These kinds of communications are usually typical, not distinctive. No matter where we go to buy our groceries, our interactions tend to follow a similar, repetitive pattern: greeting, small talk with a little smile, and parting.
In interpersonal communication, however, the interactions are different. In an interpersonal level, everyone is recognized as a unique individual (Miller...