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An Essential Guide to Interpersonal Communication

Building Great Relationships with Faith, Skill, and Virtue in the Age of Social Media

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Virtually every human endeavor involves interpersonal communication. Leading Christian scholar and media commentator Quentin Schultze and respected professor of communication Diane Badzinski offer a solid Christian perspective on the topic, helping readers communicate with faith, skill, and virtue in their interpersonal relationships. Designed as a companion to Schultze's successful An Essential Guide to Public Speaking, this inviting book provides biblical wisdom on critical areas of interpersonal communication: gratitude, listening, self-assessment, forgiveness, trust, encouragement, peace, and fidelity. Given the rapid rise and widespread use of social media, the book also integrates intriguing insights from the latest research on the influence of social media on interpersonal relationships. It includes engaging stories and numerous sidebars featuring practical lists, definitions, illustrations, and biblical insights.

1. Be Grateful
2. Listen Attentively
3. Single-Task
4. Know Yourself
5. Relate Openly
6. Encourage Others
7. Promote Peace
8. Restore Relationships
Conclusion: Celebrate Friendships
Appendix: Using An Essential Guide to Interpersonal Communication as a Supplemental Textbook


"Schultze and Badzinski provide a firm foundation for flourishing interpersonal relationships in a digital age, integrating timeless scriptural wisdom, cutting-edge communication research, and compelling insights from everyday life in a highly engaging, student-friendly volume."

Janie Harden Fritz, professor of communication and rhetorical studies, Duquesne University; author of Professional Civility: Communicative Virtue at Work

"Schultze and Badzinski seamlessly weave together contemporary communication research, the wisdom of Scripture, and the memorable words of Christian sages. The result is a book that not only increases our desire for warm friendship in a digital age but also offers inspired suggestions on how to reach this relational goal."

Em Griffin, author of Making Friends (and Making Them Count)

"At a time when we as a nation need to discuss important issues such as immigration, sexuality, racial unrest, and deep spiritual longings, we are losing the ability to talk with respect and civility. Unfortunately, social media often adds to our frustration and division. Where can we turn for help? Quentin Schultze and Diane Badzinski remind us that the Scriptures and communication theory offer rich advice on how to discuss difficult issues--both face-to-face and through social media--in order to help interpersonal relationships flourish. Their insights are practical, wise, and much needed in today's divisive communication climate."

Tim Muehlhoff, Biola University; author of I Beg to Differ: Navigating Difficult Conversations with Truth and Love

"This book is disturbing--in all the right ways. No matter how good you think your relationships are, be prepared to come away convicted, recommitted, and passionate about making them even better. If your relationships need restoration, hope fills these pages."

Robert Woods, Spring Arbor University

"Well researched, accessibly written, biblical in its wisdom, and practical in its advice. I gladly recommend this book as a rich resource for learning to build real community through effective communication."

Larry Crabb, NewWay Ministries; author of The Marriage Builder

"Schultze and Badzinski have written a primer on what it means to take interpersonal communication seriously from a Christian perspective. In eight brief chapters, the authors cover many of the common topics of their subfield from an explicitly Christian worldview. Moreover, they integrate issues, questions, and problems from the realm of social media--Facebook, Twitter, Instagram--and relate those communicative media to such thorny interpersonal issues as forgiveness, cultural difference, reconciliation, peacemaking, evaluation of self and others, conflict avoidance, and truthtelling. In the end, knowing the truth as God has revealed it in his Word, through his Son, and in his creation is the standard against which all communication is measured."

Martin J. Medhurst, Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Communication, Baylor University

"An Essential Guide to Interpersonal Communication will shake up your vision for relating. Professors Schultze and Badzinski understand that relating starts with the Spirit's virtues, such as gratitude and responsibility, which lead us to the redemptive skills of listening well, forgiving, and encouraging others. Along the way they point out our need to be true and to aim for peace while letting go of the myth that we can control everything about our relationships. Recommended for personal reflection and college classroom learning in communication and psychology."

Bill Strom, professor of media and communication, Trinity Western University; author of The Relationship Project: Moving from "You and Me" to "We"

"This is not your ordinary interpersonal text. Schultze and Badzinski uniquely combine communication theory and practice with centuries of spiritual wisdom, resulting in an engaging, practical, highly accessible guide that can be used as a stand-alone text or in conjunction with others. I highly recommend Schultze and Badzinski's Essential Guide for use in universities, churches, or any other setting where authentic, life-giving communication is desired."

Mary Albert Darling, associate professor of communication, Spring Arbor University

"In An Essential Guide to Interpersonal Communication, Quentin Schultze and Diane Badzinski present students and others interested in healthy relationships with a wonderful companion to guide their reflection on and self-understanding of this important area. The balance between biblical sources and academic research sets this book apart from others and will make it valuable not only in schools but in church settings as well. Schultze and Badzinski do a brilliant job of capturing the eight key elements of healthy interpersonal relationships."

Paul A. Soukup, SJ, Santa Clara University; author of Out of Eden: 7 Ways God Restores Blocked Communication

"Rarely does brilliance sing; but wisdom is poetic in Proverbs and Augustine, and in this phosphorescent book for the Twitter age. With its readability index a perfect ten, this book by award-winning authors turns the pivotal ideas of interpersonal communication into pathways of harmony and transformation."

Clifford Christians, Research Professor of Communications Emeritus, University of Illinois

"This book is accessible, practical, and inspirational and avoids meaningless generalities. It is filled with relevant examples and plentiful quotes. I know of no higher compliment than to say, 'It made me think.'"

G. L. Forward, professor of organizational communication, Point Loma Nazarene University

The Authors

  1. Quentin J. Schultze
    © Corriveau Photography

    Quentin J. Schultze

    Quentin J. Schultze (PhD, University of Illinois) is a speaker, mentor, consultant, and professor of communication emeritus at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His many books include Communicate like a True Leader, An Essential Guide...

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  2. Diane M. Badzinski

    Diane M. Badzinski

    Diane M. Badzinski (PhD, University of Wisconsin) is professor of communication and chair of the department at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colorado, where she teaches interpersonal communication, nonverbal communication, cross-cultural...

    Continue reading about Diane M. Badzinski


"The chapters are each relatively short, but contain material in which people can apply knowledge of interpersonal communication to particular settings. The book itself successfully combines both the communication research tradition and a religious perspective. By including many concrete examples, the book should help undergraduate students as well as church study groups, wrestling with day-to-day issues in communication, helping them see the relevance of interpersonal communication in their daily lives."

Communication Research Trends

"In drawing from a diverse array of sources, ranging from Scripture to church fathers and theologians, from philosophers and literary figures to historic leaders and popular leadership gurus, and from psychologists and marriage experts to shame researchers, Schultze and Badzinski's use of inspirational quotations and advice gives their message much 'expositional weight.'"

Clement Yung Wen,

Expository Times

"A book that will help readers navigate the rough waters of modern communication. . . . The advice is practical and applicable to both scholars and everyday folks trying to use their cellphones and email well. Real-life examples, lists, sidebars, and quote boxes make what could be heavy information into usable and understandable bytes."

Ann Byle,

Grand Rapids Magazine