Social skills are the skills we implement to verbally and non-verbally interact with those around us. Problem-solving, communicating, decision making and self-management are all factors that contribute to one’s social skills. Some people appear to have such skills innately and are able to carry themselves through social situations with great prowess. In reality, we start learning these skills from day one and always have the potential to improve our own.
Learning Social Skills in Childhood
In our early lives, our social skills are primarily shaped by interacting with our parents or other caregivers. At this stage, the foundation of these skills is being formed. Children are constantly seeking models at an early age and will often mimic displayed behavior. As we move throughout life, those skills are continually sharpened as we interact with teachers and peers.
Factors That Shape Our Skills
It is not at all uncommon for adults to struggle with social skills. Luckily, these skills are not set in stone once we reach adulthood. Before we can make a conscious effort to improve our skills, it is worth introspecting in order to decipher where our skills are lacking. If you are struggling to sharpen your own ability to interact socially, it is most likely because of a deficiency in one of the following areas:
- Emotional – Difficulty regulating our own emotions and understanding/ interpreting the feelings of others (or low emotional intelligence)
- Verbal – Difficulty engaging in flowing conversations, sharing too little or too much information, inappropriate speaking volume and the tendency to avoid social situations altogether
- Physical – Poor eye contact, body language, use of facial expressions and grasp of personal space
Whether you struggle with one of these factors or each of them, you should understand that there are steps you can take to overcome these deficiencies. In some cases, something larger, such as being on the Autism spectrum, can play a role in the presence of these deficiencies. In any case, social skills are still something that can be improved with a conscious effort and a little guidance. Our best advice to you would be to seek out a professional who can help you identify your specific social needs and assist you in creating an improvement plan.
Improve Your Social Skills with CBT Baltimore
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