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The difference is that "interpersonal" refers to relationships or actions that take place between two or more people while "intrapersonal" refers to things that go on exclusively within one person.
"Inter" is a prefix meaning "between." That is why, in the US, we have interstate highways. These are highways that go between states. We have intermediate schools in some places. These are schools that go between grade school and high school. Similarly, we have interpersonal relations that are between two or more people.
"Intra" is a prefix meaning "within." In schools, we sometimes have intramural sports. This means that the sports are "within the walls" of the school. They are sports played against teams from within the same school. Similarly, we have intrapersonal issues which exist only within one person.
When looking at forms of communication there are interpersonal and intrapersonal communication.
When you are looking at interpersonal communication you are looking at the relationship and sharing of information between two individuals how of effective those people are at communicating the meaning of their information so the other person “hears what they say” and that what person B hears and understands is what person A meant to communicate.
When you are looking at intrapersonal communication the focus is on the perception of language or thought of the person who is communicating instead of the person receiving the message. The focus is also on one person, not two people communicating. Some factors of intrapersonal communication include oral reading, writing, and an individual’s internal monologue about a topic. The focus is on how we as individuals process and understand information we receive from the environment to make it into useful information.
Intrapersonal communication is the communication that occurs within an individual. An individual uses this type of communication for various purposes such as analyzing situations, clarifying concepts, and reflecting upon phenomena. There are three elements that govern intrapersonal communication, namely self-concept, perception and expectation. An individual employs certain methods to communicate within themselves and these are internal discourse where thinking, concentration and analyzing occur, solo vocal communication which involves speaking out aloud to oneself, and solo written communication that encompasses writing not intended for others.
Interpersonal communication on the other hand is the type of communication that takes place between people. People communicate with each other for a number of reasons such as to explain, to teach, to inquire, and to inform. The channel of interpersonal communication consists of four basic elements; sender, message, medium and receiver. There are verbal and non-verbal forms of communication that are used to conduct interpersonal communication and these include letters, signs, notes, text messages, e-mails, memos as well as face-to-face conversations.
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