People with good social skills and interpersonal skills tend to do better in life. They create better personal and professional relationships than socially inept people. If you believe your social and interpersonal skills still need to improve, then you’re in the right place! This article has everything you need to know when it comes to socializing, from the fundamentals of social skills, as well as interpersonal and people skills, to its more advanced topics.
Some people find it easy and natural to have good social skills. However, for others, this is a skill that they actively study for. That said, start learning about social skills. Slowly and surely, you’ll find yourself more comfortable and socially skilled with social interactions, whether personally or professionally.
- What Are Social Skills, Interpersonal Skills, and People Skills?
- The Difference between Social Skills and Interpersonal Skills
- What Makes Social Skills So Important?
- Examples and Types of Social Skills
- Attributes of Good Social Skills
- A List of Social Skills
- List of Positive Social Behaviors to Adopt
- Negative Social Behaviors to Avoid & Protect Yourself From
- Improve Your Social Skills
What Are Social Skills, Interpersonal Skills, and People Skills?
They may sound somewhat similar, but there are distinct differences between social skills, interpersonal skills, and people skills you’ll want to keep in mind. By knowing the differences between the three, you’ll more easily realize which social skill you should use when you are in a specific situation or scenario.
The one you most likely know of out of the three, social skills refer to every single action you do or behavior you portray when you interact with another person or a group.
This covers a massive area ranging from eye contact and tone of voice to social problem-solving and emotional regulation.
In a 1984 study, Gresham, F. M. and Elliot, S. N. described social skills as “socially acceptable learned behaviors that enable a person to interact with others in ways that elicit positive responses and assist in avoiding negative responses.” It is everything you’ve learned since you started developing relationships up until today about building bonds with other individuals.
Interpersonal skills refer to a type of social skill that you apply mainly in professional settings. This covers distinct skills such as the ability to close sales, negotiate successfully, customer support, and the like. Basically, these are skills you use to excel better in your career.
People skills mainly refer to your ability to handle interactions with other individuals. It is a fairly newer term — relative to the previous two — people use when they refer to social skills that are applied by employees who work at office jobs when they interact with co-workers, subordinates, and superiors.
The Difference between Social Skills and Interpersonal Skills
People skills and interpersonal skills can be easily switched between one another. However, this isn’t the case for social skills and interpersonal skills. The key difference between the two is the fact that social skills are used for general, more personal interactions, and interpersonal skills benefit your professional life.
You generally would not speak with a friend the same way you would an office superior. The rules you apply for closing sales are not the approach you take when you try to ask a friend out for dinner. On the other hand, your behavior and speech pattern are vastly different when you are negotiating a deal than when you’re telling a story to a friend.
As you continue reading through this article, it is important that you distinguish the difference between the two so you can know what skills to use when you go out in public and interact with other people. These skills will guide you on when to be stern and when to loosen up. Learn how to interact with people you meet at social gatherings and dinner parties and how to handle interactions that directly impact your job.
What Makes Social Skills So Important?
Zilda A. P. Del Prette and Almir Del Prette outlined three characteristics of what having “good social skills” mean in their book, “Social Competence and Social Skills.” First, they must be a “descriptive construct of social behaviors valued within a certain culture.” Second, they must have a high probability of bringing favorable outcomes to an individual, their group, and their community. Finally, it must contribute to socially competent interactions during interpersonal tasks.
In other words, social skills are your behaviors that the people around you find appealing. These skills, when used properly, are beneficial to you, your group, and the community you belong to. On top of that, your social skills can be used to your advantage when it comes to your professional life.
There are different types of social skills and each of them is applicable in different scenarios. In fact, knowing exactly which type of social skill to use is a social skill in and of itself. For example, the “empathy” social skill is best used to relate to another individual and know what words to say to them and how to behave around them. Through this social skill, you connect with another person on an emotional level. This allows you to build a stronger bond with them in the situation and in the long run.
When you are socially adept overall, you also fit better in every situation you are put into. It is very important to have good social skills because of this. For example, if a peer or partner brings you to a party, you will never feel the need to cling to that one person you know for the rest of the night. You’ll be comfortable enough to engage with strangers, make new connections, and potentially make new friends.
When it comes to your professional life, you also will not cave to the socializing aspects of your job. For example, you will not feel as nervous when you speak to a superior about things such as workload discussions and salary negotiations. You will not feel awkward during team meetings and work trips. You will also be comfortable enough to actually build rapport with your workmates.
Examples and Types of Social Skills
There is a wide array of social skills that cover different social grounds. There are verbal and non-verbal social skills. These dictate factors such as how your tone of voice should be when interacting with certain individuals or facial expressions. One is the ability to show interest in the lives of others and actually exhibit that.
Know these types of social skills and you’ll categorically learn which of them to use to your advantage depending on the situation you find yourself in. Remember, many of these skills can be applied to multiple situations. Below, you’ll learn more about these skills, as well as know examples of situations they are perfect for.
Non-Verbal Social Skills
This refers to the social skills that require you to speak no words at all when interacting with others. In socializing, the silent moments matter as much as the ones where you engage in conversation. The non-verbal social skills make you effective at connecting with other people during the silent moments.
The following are the non-verbal social skills that you can develop.
Encoding: Social Skills for expressing yourself verbally & non-verbally
Encoding refers to how you express yourself in front of others. It portrays a clear picture of you so others can determine who and what type of person you are. When controlled and used correctly, encoding social skills tells others you are confident, charming, charismatic, and other characteristics that are befitting of a good and interesting friend.
That being said, the following are examples of encoding social skills, how they’re beneficial in certain situations, and examples of usage.
- Finding and establishing common ground
- Audience-adapted messages
- Message Plan Effectiveness
Decoding – Social Skills for understanding people & situations
Decoding is on the opposite spectrum from where encoding is. Whereas encoding refers to how you portray yourself to the social and professional world, decoding refers to how you receive information from others and how you use those to build connections with them.
While decoding is primarily reactive, these are vital social skills to learn as they contribute to how others see you as a company. After all, interactions are a two-way street. As much as they enjoy perceiving you, they’ll also want to be with people who are willing and optimistic in perceiving them.
The following are the decoding social skills you’ll want to hone so people will want to engage with you and open up with you more.
- Showing interest in others
- Reading people and situations
- Interpreting verbal and non-verbal behavior
Encoding-Decoding overlap is when you use both encoding and decoding social skills to socialize with others better. These skills aren’t situational. Rather, they are skills you adapt and make use of whenever you go out there to interact with others.
- Emotional intelligence
- Social intelligence
Impression Management: Social Skills that have to do with your reputation
First impressions last, as the old saying goes. Considering that, it is important to have proper impression management if you want to make more friends. How you carry yourself from the beginning up until the other person considers you as a potential friend is a vital factor in your social life.
- Saving and losing face
- Social reputation
- First impressions
- Social status and social power
Function-focused: Social Skills that accomplish goals socially
Function-focused social skills are when you utilize multiple social skills in order to reach certain goals. It is knowing exactly which social skills to use so that you can function in a specific way for the sake of another person.
For example, one function-focused social skill is the ability to give advice. In order to do this properly, you must use multiple other social skills such as listening, empathy, vulnerability, and more.
- Interaction management
- Persuasion and negotiation
- Managing interpersonal conflict
- Emotional support and encouragement
- Giving advice and counsel
- Public speaking
- Narrative and storytelling
- Relationship negotiation
- Trust management
Attributes of Good Social Skills
Good social skills elevate you in every social setting. Not only that, but they also enable you to interact and understand other people a little bit more than you previously did. Good social skills help you befriend people, build rapport with work acquaintances, and make your overall quality of life better.
When you have poor social skills, you are nervous when you meet new people. You become anxious. You’d rather be at home. You’ll know your social skills have gotten good and sharp when you go to any place, in any setting, and in any situation, and you are no longer nervous about meeting other people. Whenever you do meet new people, interacting with them is natural and easy. Most importantly, meeting new people is fun! That is ultimately the goal of having social skills.
A List of Social Skills
The following is a list of the social skills that you’ll want to develop if you want to improve your social life and make new friends.
Paralanguage refers to the mode of communication you do that doesn’t have to do with words. It is how you say your words so that they are given more nuance and meaning. Paralanguage refers to your tone of voice and your tonal volume. It controls them to make your speech pattern appropriate to the situation. Paralanguage gives you your emotional tone of voice during emotional conversations. Similarly, it gives you your loud and cheerful voice when a situation calls for anything celebratory.
For example, when speaking with a friend who is obviously going through a rough patch, as you approach them when you say, “How are you going, buddy?” you say that with a low, sympathetic, and calming voice. You don’t ask your friend how they’re doing with a cheerful, upbeat, and loud voice when you know they’re not feeling like their best self.
2. Expressiveness and Vulnerability
The people you socialize with feel more comfortable with you if you are able to express yourself more. It makes you more approachable and relatable. Express emotions properly and you’ll find others will appreciate your company better. For example, when you have a cause for celebration, express that and others will be happy for you. On the other hand, allow yourself to show sad emotions every once in a while. Certain situations call for an appropriate level of vulnerability.
That being said, be more vulnerable. It shows others you are comfortable enough in yourself that you are unashamed to express your sadness. They’ll appreciate you better for it. After all, sadness is an emotion every single one of us feels every once in a while. There is never a need to hide yours.
Charisma is your ability to attract, inspire, and influence other people. It is a very vague characteristic, but it is something that is present in every socially skilled individual. Your charisma is affected by how you carry yourself, how to say and express your words, and how you use your other social skills to attract the eyes and minds of other people.
For example, you exhibit charisma when there is a topic at hand and you spearhead that conversation by speaking with correct information and prime confidence.
If you want to be more charismatic as a person, you need to be more comfortable and confident in who you are. You need to be knowledgeable about the things you do, as well as know enough information about the world around you to have conversations about them. Manage that and everyone will be drawn to how magnetic you are as you continue speaking with authority and confidence.
4. Appropriateness and politeness
Appropriateness and politeness are two highly integral social skills. These can quickly make or break your social interactions. When you falter with either of these, you can cause others to avoid you in the long run. There is a proper timing in social situations you’ll need to look out for if you want to be more sociable.
For example, if someone in the group is allowing themself to be vulnerable and is sharing a personal story, it is greatly inappropriate to make fun of that person by picking apart their story and finding something hilarious about it. It is both inappropriate and highly impolite. Be appropriate by listening to them intently, subtly nodding when necessary, and offering advice should they require it.
Etiquette pertains to how you behave in certain situations. This is both a social and interpersonal skill since it is applicable in both social situations and professional settings. Observe proper etiquette, when the scenario calls for it, and others will deem you more respectable and sociable.
Although etiquette is a social skill factor many may find ostentatious, it speaks more to your restraint, maturity, and social intelligence than it does to how you perceive the notion of etiquette in and of itself. For example, when you are invited to a wedding, it is proper etiquette to dress appropriately, stay during the reception, and wait for the event to be over rather than immediately leave after finishing your meal.
6. Finding and establishing common ground
Have the ability to find and establish common ground with somebody and you’ll be able to build connections at a much faster and more effective rate. This social skill is best used during communal and personal interactions with someone within the first two minutes after meeting them for the first time.
This social skill also contributes to what is called the “Uncertainty Reduction Theory.” This theory states that with every stranger we meet, we always see their future actions and roles in our lives with a degree of doubt and uncertainty. This uncertainty, however, can be reduced continually as we learn more about them. Small talk is a contributor to this. Make meaningful small talks that lead to engaging conversations where you can establish common ground with another person.
7. Listening and showing interest
Your ability to listen is far and away one of the most important social skills to develop. If you’ve ever had to deal with a bad listener, you know how grueling it can be to be with them for hours on end. Be the type of listener people are drawn to talk to on a regular basis.
Show active listening by focusing on the person you’re having a person with. Saying this such as “I hear you” and “uh-huh” goes a long way when it comes to this. They deserve your undivided focus and nothing less. You can also prove that you are paying attention and are interested in the things they’re saying by asking questions every once in a while, especially if there are certain parts in the things they’re saying you don’t fully comprehend.
Another powerful social skill you’ll want to develop is empathy. Empathetic people have the ability to figure out the emotions of others and react accordingly based on what the other person needs. Empathy is a social skill that takes your kindness and intuition and uses them as a gift to other people. Now, who would not want a friend like that?
For example, when they are speaking with a person who seems and acts like they’re lost in life, an empath will act like a guiding light for them. They will say things they need and want to hear. They will act properly to lift them up and put them back on the right path.
9. Reading people and situations
The ability to read people is a social skill you’ll acquire once you get in touch with your empathetic self. However, another social skill you should include in your arsenal is the ability to read a room or situation. There are certain social cues you must learn to pick up so you can act around people better, or know how to react to them more properly.
For example, if the topic in the room has gotten serious, whether someone is telling a serious story from their past, or the conversation involves a current topic that’s touchy and relevant, it’s best to adapt to the atmosphere and get serious with the group. Don’t break the mold by cracking up a few jokes when everyone is in a serious mood.
10. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence refers to your awareness and regulation of your emotions. Your emotional intelligence controls your emotions to an appropriate point. It ensures you don’t act inappropriately around others whenever you are driven by a certain emotion.
For example, if you are speaking to an insensitive person and they end up saying something terrible to you or someone else in the group, your emotional intelligence will tell you to reprimand but to remain civil. It tells you not to lose your cool, but to approach things with a stern but level head.
Social intelligence covers a massive ground over the entirety of your social skills. It is the kind of intelligence you develop as you interact with more individuals, make more friends, and similarly, lose a few others. Your social intelligence is your developed ability to socialize properly with others.
This covers a magnitude of social and interpersonal skills such as empathy, social awareness, the ability to listen, and more. At its core, you become more socially intelligent the more you develop your social skills.
The main way you develop social intelligence is by going out more, talking to more people, and paying attention to their perspective – their way of seeing the world. The more social you become, the more you develop an instinct for reading people and social situations.
12. Saving face (avoiding embarrassment)
It’s hard to come back and build yourself up in the eyes of another once again once you lose face. Losing face means losing the trust and respect of another person due to an action or inaction on your end. With that said, it is critical that you avoid losing face with others as it may damage your overall social reputation.
Instead, you’ll want to focus on saving face by keeping up with your social and interpersonal skills. Remain considerate and kind to others. Have the social awareness to act appropriately around other people. This ensures not only will you earn the respect and trust of others, but you will also end up keeping them.
13. Social reputation
Your social reputation is how you are perceived and thought of by others. This can also say a lot about you, and inform others of the kind of person you are before they even meet you. That being said, you want to keep a clean and respectable social reputation if you want to have a healthy social life.
Your social reputation is affected solely by your social and interpersonal actions. It is affected by how you carry yourself, the things you do in your personal and professional life, and how you interact with others. Your reputation builds up with every proper social interaction, which is made possible in the first place when you develop social skills.
14. First impressions
The first impression you leave on others will last for quite a while. It changes through time, of course, but that’s not a luxury you should afford if you want to have a healthy social life and be socially adept. This is the core of impression management and it’s something you must always be conscious of whenever you meet a new person.
That first meeting, lunch, or dinner with someone is very important. That said, when meeting someone for the first time, make sure to dress appropriately and look neat. Smell good. Look fresh. That alone is a factor in first impressions. Then, once you interact with them, be as socially adept as you can be. Share interesting stories and make funny jokes. Listen to them intently whenever they are speaking. Be an active listener and be empathetic. Make sure they enjoy your company as much as you enjoy theirs.
15. Social status
Your social status plays a part in your social life as well. This doesn’t merely depend on the amount of money you have, but rather, how good and successful you are in your career and how skilled you are in the things you do. While it seems entirely shallow and surface level, people tend to look up to those who appear as if they are excelling at many aspects of their lives, particularly their professional lives.
You have a high social status if you excel in your field and have climbed through the ranks. Conversely, you have a low social status if you’ve stagnated in the same low-level position for years.
That being said, take care of your professional life if you want your social life to flourish. When people look up to you, they are more inclined to want to get to know you better.
Note: having higher social status starts on the inside. You need to value yourself and develop your self-worth. When you do, people just assume you’re a high value person and treat you that way.
This is a factor all of us know about. It’s something you want from others if you want your social life to excel and it’s something you must give to others for the same reason. You’ll be respected if you carry yourself properly, be respectful to others as well, and treat others with decency and kindness. Conversely, others will disrespect you if you are also disrespectful. People won’t want to respect you if you’re rude and approachable.
That being said, there are many individuals in this world who will still insist on disrespecting you despite how respectful and courteous you are to them. Whenever you are feeling disrespected by someone despite the goodness of your actions, cut them off from your life. Do not give them any more attention. This is the only healthy way to deal with being disrespected by someone whom you’re respectful of.
17. Interaction management
Your interaction management skill refers to how you carry every interaction from start to finish. This pertains to everything from how you greet a person, and how you begin an interaction with them, to changing topics and knowing when and how to end a conversation. Essentially, your conversation skills are used here extensively.
As you meet more and more people, interaction management is something you’ll have to keep in mind, most especially if you’re not completely socially adept yet. Be conscious of how you start interactions, how you act, the things you say in the middle of the interaction, and how you leave interactions.
18. Argument management and conflict resolution
Argument management and conflict resolution are skills you use in personal and professional settings. Whether you’re arguing with a friend or dealing with an argument within your workplace, this is a social skill you should develop to assert yourself as a socially adept individual.
Argument management doesn’t only refer to stopping arguments, it’s listening to both sides if they want you to hear where they’re coming from. Then, assess the situation and help in whatever way you can so that both parties can reach a resolution. You must be empathetic to both parties and ensure both sides are heard equally.
19. Persuasion and negotiation
Persuasion and negotiation are social skills that may still be used in your day-to-day personal socializing. However, these are much better utilized in professional settings. People in business need to have great persuasion and negotiation skills.
Be that as it may, these skills are beneficial in personal interactions as well. From anything silly and cute such as persuading a friend to try out an activity you enjoy to more serious things such as negotiating and mediating an argument between two friends.
20. Emotional support and Giving Counsel
Being able to provide emotional support to a struggling friend or colleague is important in your social life. Your friendship won’t always be all rays of sunshine and rainbows. Every once in a while, your friend will go through something terrible and painful. They may lose their jobs. They may go through a break-up. Whatever the case is, they’ll struggle and you’ll have to be there for them.
That being said, you need to know how to support a friend and comfort them when they’re feeling down. Engage them in a deep conversation regarding what they’re going through. Listen, then show them the appreciation they deserve. Give them a genuine compliment. Remind them of how good they are. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.
21. Public speaking
Public speaking is another social skill that’s beneficial for both personal relationships and in your professional career. Being good at public speaking mainly requires the use of two social skills. You need to have great communication skills and confidence.
Whether you’re speaking in front of colleagues or telling a story in front of a friend group, when you speak, you need to make sure that everyone is listening to you. You need to hook everyone in. You can do this by shifting your gaze between everybody in the group or crowd. Look at their reactions. Have a confident and clear voice and engage in eye contact with everyone.
The ability to tell stories properly and cohesively is a social skill not too many people excel at. In fact, those who are great at telling stories have only learned to do so because of either repetition or practice. Good storytellers become good at this social skill because they’ve told stories in the past time and time again. They’ve told the same stories over and over that telling it is as natural as breathing.
Some people become good at storytelling because of practice. There are individuals who actively rehearse telling stories in private so that they can tell their stories coherently in front of others. It’s a social skill many people hone rather than being born with it. If you want to be good at storytelling to draw in your crowd and have them be engaged with you as you tell your stories, practice it. Practice telling your stories. Know which details to include and which to leave out.
Humor is one of those things where you’re either born with it or you’re not. However, just because you’re not naturally funny, that automatically means you’ll forever remain that way. Many funny people have learned to become funny over time. If you believe you’re one of those individuals who isn’t born with this social skill, you can definitely practice just to be better at it.
That being said, if you want to learn how to be funny, take the time to watch comedians doing stand-up shows and doing interviews. Observe how they tell stories and how they banter with the crowd or the interviewer. Pick up these skills by learning from people who are literally paid to be funny.
24. Relationship management
Relationship management is a social skill you’ll have to master to nurture your friendships. After you meet someone and become friends with them, the next step for you is to make sure your friendship is healthy and lasting.
You do this by continuing to build rapport with them. Connect and bond with them as you continue to hang out more. Then, you must also know how and when to set boundaries. Draw the line with them. This is so you and your friend remain comfortable and at peace throughout the relationship.
25. Trust management
This is another social skill you need to develop to nurture your friendships. Trust is something you need to build and develop over time. It is not asked and given. It is earned.
Thankfully, trust is earned easily when the friendship is healthy and constructive. That said, all you need to do to earn the trust of the other person is to continue being a good friend to them. They themselves will trust you naturally. In return, trust them too. It’s how you form the bond between you and the other person.
26. Giving and receiving gifts, help, and support
When friends are able to give and receive gifts, help, and support from each other, that’s when you know you have a balanced and healthy friendship. This is something you can promote with your friends and it is a social skill you can develop.
This social skill teaches you when to give gifts without reaching the point of overburdening yourself, as well as knowing when to receive without taking advantage of others. Openly offer your help and support to your friends. Let them know you’re always there for them. Conversely, know that it is always okay to ask for help from others. You deserve to receive as much as you give.
List of Positive Social Behaviors to Adopt
The following are the positive behaviors you want to adopt to continue being socially adept. Have these traits and befriending others will become easier than ever.
A social butterfly is a reputation you want to have if you want a healthier social life. To be a social butterfly means to be free and happy in social settings. Every person loves hanging out with social butterflies because of their optimism for socializing.
But if you’re an introvert and don’t like to have too many “shallow” interactions you can reserve your right to be outspoken and gregarious when the situation calls for it. You can be quiet the rest of the time if you choose.
Just because you’re introverted doesn’t mean you have to give up on learning a useful social skill. You can learn it and use it when you decide to – not necessarily be a social butterfly 24/7.
2. Being fun
This goes without saying, one of the best positive social behaviors you should adopt is to be a more fun person. Have a more positive outlook on life and enjoy every moment you’re in. This positivity will be clearly visible to those around you and they’ll want to be around you more.
3. Being funny
A funny person is always great to be around. Improve your humor and make an effort to make other people laugh. Learn jokes and anecdotes to share with your buddies to give them a mighty good time.
Every once in a while, you need to be assertive in order to earn the respect of those around you. When it is necessary, stand your ground and don’t let others push you around. Be assertive for yourself and your friends.
Be more likable as a person to draw more people to you. You can achieve this by simply being kind and continuing to improve your social skills so you can interact with people better. If you’ve ever thought to yourself before, “I wonder if people dislike me,” this positive behavior is something you need to adopt immediately.
Everybody loves a cool person. When you’re chill, relaxed, and collected, more people will find you comfortable to be around. They’ll want to continue hanging out with you simply for your pleasant and calm aura. Be fun and energetic, but keep your cool at the same time. Know when and how to keep yourself relaxed and those around you will find you appealing.
Adopt a more energetic personality to make yourself more of an appealing character to be around. When you’re energetic, you and everyone around you will have more fun when you are present. This goes hand in hand with being more fun and becoming a social butterfly.
8. Authentic, genuine, and honest
Authenticity is important in friendships. If you want more people to want to be friends with you, be a more authentic and genuine friend. Promote honesty and truthfulness. Your friends will greatly appreciate it.
A trustworthy person is a good person to be friends with. After all, no friendship can function well and healthily without trust. You want your friends to be able to trust you easily. That being said, be a more trustworthy individual. Be reliable, don’t break promises, and don’t reveal secrets others have told you.
Diplomacy has its place in everything. This includes your social and interpersonal interactions. Be the kind of person who is able to use their words efficiently to get their points across without unnecessarily offending other people.
Encourage yourself to be more outgoing and adventurous. That kind of energy is exactly the kind many people are drawn to. Allow yourself to have spontaneous adventures. If you’re unused to spontaneity, plan trips and outdoor activities and invite your friends. You’ll have tons of fun and so will your friends.
One of the most important traits to have in this world is kindness. When you are kind to someone, you make their day just a little bit better. The world would be a better place if everyone treated each other with genuine kindness. Start with yourself and you’ll encourage everyone around you to be kinder as well.
13. Popular (only if & when you want to be)
When you’re perceived as a popular individual, whether it’s within your organization or community, as long as it’s for the right reasons, you’re automatically magnetic for others. People will be curious about you and they’ll want to know how you are as a friend. The simple way to attain this image is to simply keep befriending other people. Improve your social skills and befriend as many people as you can.
Humility is a fantastic virtue. No matter how good you become at socializing, if you are not humble, others will not be drawn to you. Avoid being way too boastful. Let your actions speak for you rather than your words.
Although it sounds simple, being nice is a complex concept. You want to be a nicer person to everybody for the sake of your social life. However, you don’t want to be too nice that others will see you as a pushover. You need to find the perfect balance of being nice enough for everybody to appreciate you without seeing you as too gentle of an individual.
Banter has its place in friendships and socializing. If you know how to banter properly with your friends, you’ll make them laugh and appreciate you for that ability. Humor plays a huge part in this. The goal when you banter is to make people laugh, not offend them. Be sure to always maintain this balance.
Wit is another positive trait that will absolutely impress others. Train your conversation skills to the point where you become witty enough to respond to jokes, comments, and banter quickly. A lucky few are born with this ability, while some have to practice it. Whichever one you fall under, adopt this positive behavior and people will enjoy socializing with you more.
18. Being open
Do not have the fear of opening up to people. Learn how to loosen up and allow others to see your more vulnerable sides. This will humanize you greatly and make you more relatable. After all, everyone goes through rough patches. You never need to pretend that your life is perfect all the time. Let others into your life freely.
Develop charm and people will be more drawn to you. Continue improving your social skills and you’ll slowly and surely become more charming. Charm will allow you to draw people to you and have them stay there for a longer period of time. They’ll want to interact with you more and they’ll be more attentive to the things you say to them.
Negative Social Behaviors to Avoid & Protect Yourself From
On top of knowing which social behaviors to adopt, you should also consider the ones that you should completely avoid. This applies to yourself and to the people you choose to build relationships with. You don’t have to deal with the bad behavior of others.
Antisocial people can range from being unpleasant to be with to outright dangerous. This doesn’t apply to every antisocial individual, of course. However, antisocial people have a higher tendency of being extremely impulsive to the point that they do things that are reckless, dangerous, and even illegal, on a whim.
Sociopathy is a condition wherein a person shows no regard for what is right and wrong. They also have the inability to fully consider the feelings of other people. That being said, not all sociopathic people are bad. In fact, many of them make an effort to be kind to other people solely because they are aware of their condition and they do not want to hurt those around them.
That said, a few sociopaths aren’t fully aware, or they are and they just don’t care about the harm their condition can bring to others. When you encounter someone like that, the best thing to do is to run in the opposite direction.
People who have a tendency to gaslight others are not good company. They’ll end up bringing your confidence and self-esteem down because of their inability to own up to their own actions, therefore they must put all the blame on you. They’ll make you believe false information just so they can continue controlling you. It’s an absolute red flag you should not tolerate in friends, colleagues, or any relationship.
4. Trying too hard or being a people pleaser
While this isn’t as bad as the other negative social behaviors, be wary of people who try way too hard to either please you or have you believe them. It’s a behavior you don’t want to adopt yourself as well. People who try too hard have little to no authenticity. That’s not something you want in a friend.
Narcissistic people only care about themselves. When you have a friend like that, you can expect every single one of their actions, although some of them will seem like they are for your benefit, to be purely self-serving. Everything they do is for them because they’re the only one that matters in their eyes. Avoid befriending people like these.
When someone gossips to you about another person, you best believe they will also gossip about you behind your back. People gossip because they believe sharing stories about other people will bring them favors to whoever it is they are talking to. When in actuality, all they are doing is promoting and handing out toxicity. This is a trait you should not tolerate.
7. Being Arrogant or Pretentious
Arrogance is a fickle thing. Many use it as a defense mechanism to hide their true selves. Unfortunately, though, many arrogant individuals truly believe they are better than everyone else because of where they are in life. Humility is a stranger to arrogant people and you’ll feel nothing but terribleness when you force yourself to become their friend.
Being socially awkward isn’t necessarily bad. Some people are awkward at parties. Some make social mistakes. You can fall under these traps too. That said, it’s a social behavior you must avoid for yourself if you want to have a healthier social life. After all, that’s what you’re doing here, isn’t it? Improving your social skills? When you allow yourself to be socially awkward, everything you learn here will be all for nothing.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why am I so weird?” If you truly believe that, there are two things you must remember from here on out. First, stop being so hard on yourself. People are weird in their own way. Second, there are things you can do if you want yourself to be less weird for the sake of your social life.
Your awareness of the situation is already a good first step. You must simply take measures to be more confident and comfortable in social situations. That is why you must continue to improve your social skills! This ultimately is the key to that goal.
10. Being Boring
It’s one thing to be weird and socially awkward, but when you’re boring, that’s an even worse social situation to be in. You never want to have that reputation if you want to have a healthier social life. You never want to be the type of guy who will always think that others will be bored with what you have to say. Avoid this behavior at all costs. Make an effort to be more fun, approachable, and outgoing as a person. Develop a personality people can gravitate towards.
11. Being Annoying
It’s hard to deal with annoying people, isn’t it? Everyone has that person in their lives. If you have been around them, imagine if you were the annoying one. How would the people around you feel? Considering that, make sure to remain conscious of this negative trait. Avoid adopting this and you’ll do your friends and colleagues a favor. Be considerate and kind to them. Be more socially adept. Never be the annoying friend in the group.
12. Being Judgmental
One of the worst people to be around is those who are completely judgmental. It feels very uncomfortable to be around people who are prejudiced or who are quick to jump to conclusions without knowing more. They can easily drain your energy and you can never feel like you can be yourself around them.
Don’t be that kind of person either. Be the kind of person who would rather get to know a person than judge them immediately.
13. Know-it-all and condescending
It’s exhausting to deal with a condescending person. Know-it-alls will go out of their way to prove they’re right, even when they’re not. They jump at every opportunity to hijack conversations to make themselves appear better. If you happen to have this tendency, the best time to stop being a know-it-all is right at this moment.
Passive-aggressive people can range from being hilariously annoying to being painfully inconsiderate. They may not necessarily engage you in arguments, they’ll just constantly make remarks that can irritate you and ruin your mood. It’s an immensely toxic behavior you wouldn’t want in a friend, and you certainly do not want to adopt for yourself.
15. Humiliation and embarrassment
Feeling humiliated and embarrassed is normal in social situations. After all, nobody is perfect and we make mistakes all the time. However, you absolutely should not let the embarrassment get to you. Do not allow embarrassing social situations to bring you down and negatively affect your social skills. Bounce back from these situations, learn to laugh them off, and move on.
It’s hard to deal with difficult people. There are multiple reasons as to why a person can be perceived as “difficult.” They either are dealing with something terrible in their own life, which is why they find it hard to deal with others, or that’s simply the personality they’ve grown into.
It’s not entirely bad to befriend a person who’s “difficult.” You can still attempt to help this person become a better version of themselves. However, when you try and try and they don’t have any positive reactions to your efforts, it’s better to stop before you adopt their personality.
17. Being Rude
It’s fairly evident why you should avoid rude people. Similarly, you must avoid being perceived as rude yourself. Rude people, or jerks, are toxic to any friend group. They cause arguments and conflicts. They drive away people. It’s immensely difficult to deal with them and create a common ground because they will always do things their way.
Phubbing is when you constantly stare at your phone even though you’re interacting with another person. It is a rude behavior you don’t want to adopt. Whenever you are interacting with another individual, pay them the respect they deserve by giving them your attention. You can always pay attention to your phone later on.
Snooping is a negative social trait that’s always unseemly to everyone. Everybody hates it when someone is always snooping around on their business. You don’t want to be this person in your friend group. If you’re curious about something regarding a friend or colleague, if you want to snoop ethically, so to speak, wait for them to personally open up to you. Lend an ear and be a good listener instead.
Improve Your Social Skills
A lot of the information here may seem overwhelming to you. You may start to think that you do not have these things and can never have them. In response to that, you have to know that your social skills are not set in stone.
Throughout the years, I’ve helped countless people build up their social skills. I have seen people grow socially. People I have coached and helped over the years have matured from being socially awkward to being one of the most socially skilled individuals in their circle.
The same can happen to you.
The social skills you have now are not the ones you will have forever. You can develop them. You can learn new ones.
For now, start with the social skills that you lack. Read back and list down some of the skills you know you need to work on. Preferably, start with the ones that are most difficult or painful for you. Put yourself in these tough situations so you can train better.
Keep practicing. Study your targeted social skill, then go out there and start applying the things you learn. Be sure to celebrate these small wins as well. The fact that you’re actively doing this and trying new things deserve commendation on their own.
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, though. It’s always okay to make a few mistakes every now and again, as long as you don’t end up hurting yourself or anyone else. What’s important is how you rise above your mistakes and learn from them.
Once you learn and master your first social skill, move on to the next one. Then, onto the next, and repeat. Keep improving your social skills until you’ve become socially adept.
Refining your social skills should be a priority activity for you, especially if you believe your social life is unbalanced and unhealthy. Remember, no one on this planet is an island. We, as humans, are reliant on others to survive. Our bodies literally demand it.
Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas at the University of California told NBC News that, “Human beings are an ultra-social species — and our nervous systems expect to have others around us.”
Allow yourself to be surrounded by others. Befriend others by improving your social skills. Study and apply more so that your day-to-day interactions are more meaningful and fruitful. Your mind and body will thank you for it. Good luck!