Social skills are the skills we have to get along with other people. Often we take our social skills
for granted, without realising all the complicated skills we use when we interact with others. Some of
these skills are very basic and simple, like saying hello and good-bye,
or smiling and making eye contact when we see someone we know.
Others are more complex, like the skills we use to negotiate in a situation of conflict with somebody.
Some people learn social skills easily and quickly, whereas others
find social interactions more challenging, and may need to work on
developing their social skills consciously.
Social skills are important for resiliency for a number of reasons. People with good social skills
are naturally more popular than their less socially adept peers, which means they have better supports to
call on when experiencing difficulties in their lives. Also, well-liked people get more social reinforcement
(messages from other people that they are worthwhile and okay), so they tend to have better self-esteem,
which can also help them through tough times.
Social skills are like any other kind of skill - they can be learned. How do you know if you
need to improve your social skills? Ask yourself if you:
If any of these things are true, then you may benefit from working on your social skills.
The following is a list of basic social skills. Can you identify any areas where you might be able to
These are the simple skills involved in conversing and interacting with others
on an everyday basis. They include:
These are the skills you use when talking to other people. They include:
There are many skills involved in making and sustaining friendships.
Empathy means being able to put yourself into someone else's shoes and recognising their feelings.
It is not the same as sympathy or "feeling sorry for someone". Empathy is responding
in an understanding and caring way to what others are feeling. Empathic skills include:
Social interactions do not always run smoothly. Conflict
resolution skills include: