Work on social skills

10 Tips to Be More Social

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What are social skills?

The benefits of having good social skills

How can I enhance my social skills?

Do I have trouble with social skills?

The bottom line

We all have moments where our social skills fail us. Perhaps your joke was greeted with awkward silence. Or, at a restaurant, you enthusiastically told the waiter that they, too, should enjoy their meal. 

The odd mishap with friends is hardly cause for alarm. The embarrassment will soon transform into an inside joke, deeping your bond with others.

But, if you fumble too often, it can take a toll on your self-esteem and mental health. If you don't know how to improve your social skills, it can hold you back socially and at work. Some behaviors can come across as antisocial or even harmful to others, while simple shyness can read as aloof, standoffish, or arrogant. Knowing this might not put you at ease, but it can help you understand other people's reactions.

Now that companies are starting to pull teams together in person, many people are feeling some level of social anxiety. Just because it feels uncomfortable, not feeling confident in your ability to spend more than 5 minutes chatting with coworkers isn't an option. The good news? The past two years haven't helped anyone feel socially smooth. Many people are feeling awkward. The bad news? Many people are behaving awkwardly, and misunderstandings will happen.  

You don’t have to change yourself. But you might have to change your approach, not just to appear more sociable but to avoid the most unnecessary points of friction that undermine your confidence. This will not only improve how others perceive you, but it can also benefit you in other ways.

If you’ve been feeling out of place, developing your social skills can help you feel more at home with your colleagues. It can also improve your confidence, sense of belonging, and ability to collaborate at work — all important skills that will affect your mental health, motivation, and ability to succeed.

Training your social skills can be difficult. But we know you can do it. 

Here’s how to improve social skills at work, with strangers, and in every other part of your life.

Social skills are the verbal and nonverbal communication skills required to foster connections and appropriately navigate social settings. Think about socializing a puppy: The more interaction it has with other puppies when it’s young, the better it knows how to act when it’s older. Humans are similar. 

Most of the time, when people think of “social skills,” they think of their everyday interactions. It’s how they gain acceptance from their colleagues or peers and involves being comfortable when speaking to strangers, easily making friends, and earning the respect of your co-workers.

These things don’t always come naturally. Individuals with social anxiety, for example, might have trouble connecting with others. Introverts or shy people who like to keep to themselves may actively avoid social interactions — and appear rude as a result. Or, sometimes, we get uncomfortable around people we don’t know and lose some of our social confidence.

No matter the case, it’s nice to have some basic principles to fall back on. Knowing how to develop your social skills will help you in the long run. 

The benefits of having good social skills

So what’s in it for you? Well, a lot. Improving your social skills is essential for your social health and overall well-being.

In terms of mental health, people with strong social ties have lower rates of anxiety and depression. They also have higher self-esteem, greater empathy, and are more cooperative. 

For your physical health, researchers knew as early as 1988 that lack of social connection is more harmful than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure. And, more recently, they learned that isolation is associated with a 50% increased risk of dementia as you age. 

Sharpening your social skills will also pay you back in the form of social capital. Entire university programs are devoted to studying this concept. But, to keep it simple, we can define social capital as the sum of all benefits from being part of a social group.

Social capital comes with its own list of benefits:

  • People will like working with you. Social capital often translates to goodwill from your colleagues; if you’re easy to work with, people will be in your corner when you need it — like when you’re gunning for that next big promotion. 
  • When you ask for help, people provide it. What goes around comes around. If you’re kind and helpful to others, they’ll do the same for you. 
  • Others will understand your boundaries. Don’t want to go to a social event? It’ll be easier to refuse when people trust there are no hard feelings. When you use your social skills, you can help others see where you’re coming from and better communicate your feelings.  
  • Clients will love you. Whether you’re a freelancer, salesperson, or customer service rep, social skills are essential to winning and keeping clients. People like good work with a good attitude. 
  • You’ll nail your job interviews. Job interviews are about making great impressions. This is the perfect environment to flex your social skills. Use open body language, eye contact, and friendly facial expressions to impress your interviewers.

In today’s gig economy, social capital is critical. It can earn you a higher salary, win you more interesting projects, and may be the deciding factor in your next job application. Consider working with a BetterUp coach to improve this area of your career. 

How can I enhance my social skills?

We’re glad you asked! You can definitely learn or improve your social life. Here are some general guidelines to get you started:

1. Improve your emotional intelligence

Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine what they might be going through and try to understand their feelings. You’ll better understand their perspective, which will help you respond appropriately. 

2. Look inwards

Pay attention to your emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and triggers. Then it will be easier to control them while interacting with others.

3. Practice effective communication skills

Use tactics like active listening and open body language to demonstrate attentiveness. This opens the door to more positive interactions.

4. Fake it ‘till you make it

Try acting like your more social peers, even if it’s just small talk. It will become easier every time you try it.

5. Ask more than you speak

You don’t have to worry about speaking up; ask open-ended questions and use active listening. People love talking about themselves.

6. Give compliments

Everyone likes a good compliment. Tell someone that they were great in that meeting, or their project was top-notch. Be specific.

7. Be polite

Good manners go a long way. Words like “please” and “thank you” are small but powerful ways to soften requests.

8. Use open body language and non-verbal communication

Face the person with whom you’re speaking. Pay attention to your tone of voice. Make eye contact. Use your body language to show you’re present and paying attention.

9. Read the news

So many conversations revolve around current events; try to keep up so you can chime in.

10. Don’t let your thoughts get the best of you

It’s okay to feel a little anxious, but don’t let it get the best of you. You’re not your thoughts. Take a deep breath and try to let them go; this will help you relax in a social situation.

11. Start small

Start by spending time in a coffee shop or practicing your conversation skills with family members. Then you can ease into larger social settings. Before you know it, you'll be making new friends at your next social gathering.

Do I have trouble with social skills?

A lot of people with anxiety or ADHD have a hard time connecting with others. Introverts or very shy people may also struggle. 

Here are some signs that you don't have great social skills:

  • You scroll on your phone while people talk to you. Smartphones are great at keeping us connected, but often to the detriment of those right in front of us. It puts a physical barrier between you and the other person at best. This communicates non-receptiveness to their words, and at worst, you seem bored, uninterested, and rude.
  • You never take off your headphones. Sure, you might pause the music while someone talks to you. But they don’t know that. Take out your earbuds to show that you’re listening. 
  • You never do anything in person. These days, you can order just about anything to your door. But while this is wildly convenient, it cuts you off from the outside world. Don’t let yourself become socially isolated.
  • You force humor when it might not be appropriate. You may want to defuse your anxiety with humor, but it’s not always the best time. Learn to read the room and only use jokes when it makes sense.

The bottom line

It’s normal to experience awkward moments. You might tell the theatre employee to enjoy a movie they’re not going to see or tell a joke that no one laughs at. It happens; cut yourself some slack.

But poor social skills go beyond the occasional blunder. At best, you seem aloof. At worst, outright rude. It’s good to evaluate your social skills and see which ones you can improve to be your best self.

That’s not to say that you can learn to overcome shyness or that you have to be a social butterfly. But it’s nice to know that when you want to strike up a conversation — whether inside or out of work — you’ll feel comfortable doing so.

If you need help, BetterUp is here. We’ll give you the tools you need to learn how to improve your social skills to ease your social discomfort or learn better communication skills. Whatever your best self needs, we can help you find.

12 Ways To Improve Social Skills And Make You Sociable Anytime

  Amy Morin, LCSW   Posted on by Amy Morin

If you feel like you’re the awkward person at social events or you struggle to enter into conversations because you’re shy, it can impact your social life and your career. However, you can start improving your social skills by following these 12 strategies and soon, you’ll be able to enter into conversations with confidence.

1. Behave Like a Social Person

You can behave like a more social creature, even if you don’t feel like it. Don’t allow anxiety to hold you back. Make the decision to talk to new people and to enter into conversations even when you’re feeling nervous about it. Over time, it will get easier and you’ll quickly start improving your social skills.

2. Start Small if Necessary

If going to a party or spending time in a crowd seems overwhelming, start small. Go into the grocery store and say, “Thank you,” to the clerk or go to a restaurant and order your food. Practice making small talk gradually.

3. Ask Open-Ended Questions

If you want the attention off you in a conversation, get familiar with open-ended questions. Encourage others to talk so you won’t have to make the idle chit-chat. Ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer and you may open the door to invite the other person to keep the conversation going.

4. Encourage Others to Talk About Themselves

Most people really enjoy talking about themselves. Ask a question about a person’s career, hobbies, or family. Show you’re interested in hearing what is being said.

5. Create Goals For Yourself

Establish some small goals for yourself. Perhaps you want to practice one particular skill or maybe you want to start attending a social activity in your community. Establish a goal and begin to work on strategies that will improve your social life.

6. Offer Compliments Generously 

Compliments can be a great way to open the door to a conversation. Offer a co-worker a compliment on a presentation he gave at a meeting or compliment your neighbor on his new car. Compliments can show others that you are friendly.

7. Read Books About Social Skills

There are many books on the market that can help you learn specific social skills and ways to start conversations. However, keep in mind that reading about these skills won’t make you an expert. You’ll need to practice them over and over again.

8. Practice Good Manners 

Good manners go a long way in improving social skills. Practice being polite, showing gratitude, and using good table manners.

9. Pay Attention to Your Body Language

Non-verbal communication is very important. Pay attention to the type of body language you use. Try to appear relaxed, make appropriate amounts of eye contact, and appear open to conversation.

10. Join a Social Skills Support Group

Many communities offer social skill support groups. Support groups help people who feel shy, awkward, or extremely anxious in social situations learn and practice new skills. You’ll start improving social skills and may be able to make new friends who understand your difficulties.

11. Stay Up to Date on Current Events

Read up on current trends and news stories so you have something to talk about with people. Try to avoid anything that is too controversial, such as politics, but do talk about other news stories that may be of interest. It can be a great way to start a conversation and can help you stick to neutral subjects.

12. Identify and Replace Negative Thoughts

If you have a lot of negative thoughts about your social interactions, it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, a person who thinks, “I’m really awkward and I will embarrass myself,” may sit in the corner at a party. As a result, he may leave the party thinking that he must be really awkward because no one talked to him.

Identify negative thoughts that are likely dragging you down. Replace them with more realistic thoughts, such as, “I can make conversation and I can meet new people.” Don’t allow yourself to dwell on thoughts that aren’t productive.

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7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Social Skills

Being a Human Being Practices how to

1. Get out of the house

Get out in the literal sense of the word - this is the only way to start communicating with people normally. Zooms with colleagues and correspondence with friends do not count. If you were, as they say, a socially shy person even before the pandemic, then the past months, most likely, only aggravated your condition.

Start with what you love: find an interest group or course and join the nearest face-to-face event. Of course, taking all the necessary precautions. The more often you go somewhere, the more confident you will feel.

2. Don't overthink what to say

In fact, the more you think, the more awkward the conversation usually becomes. Throw aside logic and rationality: you need to enjoy communication yourself and broadcast positive to others.

Concentrate not on words, but on sensations in the body - you should feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible, because in a conversation we are more guided by the body language of the interlocutor than by what exactly he says.

What exactly can be done?

  • Smile. Smile right now and try to feel sad at the same time. Happened? Hardly. What happens to and in the body affects how we feel. Therefore, whenever you are terribly nervous before some kind of meeting and conversation, use a smile as a tool to relax.
  • Stay in the moment , feel here and now. Focusing on feelings and what others are saying will allow you to think less about what to say yourself.
  • Don't try to impress others and appear smarter or more successful than you really are. People meet not to compete, but to enjoy communication.

3. Use every opportunity to communicate

Start by talking to random people, or at least by exchanging greetings and making eye contact. Say hello to a neighbor in the elevator, exchange a couple of phrases about the weather. Greet and thank the barista, compliment the girl in front of you in line for coffee.

It's not about pestering others with talk, but about exchanging positive energy. Also, once you start talking to strangers, you will realize that:

  • they don't bite. For the most part, people are generally quite nice;
  • others also need communication. We live in our “bubbles”, keeping our eyes on the screens of smartphones, and a little friendly conversation is always nice;
  • small talks, for which, for example, Great Britain is famous, small talk or “talk about nothing” is the key to success. You should not consider them as a waste of time - they allow you to establish connections with others and create a pleasant atmosphere around you.

4. Work on your body language

We have already talked about the need to smile and feel relaxed. What else can be done?

  • Straighten your shoulders and lean back in your chair. How did you feel? Probably confident, but relaxed. For contrast, you can try to slouch and listen to the sensations in the body. Working on the pose may seem silly, like trying to smile at your reflection in the mirror, but it works. It is important to turn this into an automatic skill.
  • Learn to maintain eye contact. Do not look at the other person too closely without blinking - try to smile with your eyes and let the other know that you are listening to him.
  • Speak louder. Tone and volume are very important - someone who mumbles or talks under his breath is usually not very pleasant to communicate with.
  • Track the tension in your body and relax. When a social situation excites, disturbs or frightens us, this inevitably reflects on the body. Perhaps your neck or back is tense, you are holding your breath.

5. Focus on others

Being in the moment, smiling, maintaining eye contact, listening to the sensations in the body is very important, but should not distract you from the main thing, from the interlocutor. Do not think about how and what to answer him, try to really hear and understand his experiences. Repeat the words of the interlocutor, paraphrasing them a little to make sure that you correctly grasp the meaning of what was said.


  • Notice the similarities between you - in views, interests, experiences - and convey it to the interlocutor. We like those who are like us.
  • Give the other person the opportunity to talk about what he likes: this way, communication with you will be associated with something pleasant for him.
  • Do not push: do not show that you are waiting for an immediate answer or cue. Let your counterpart be silent, breathe, collect his thoughts during pauses in the conversation.

6. Feel free to learn how to communicate

Social skills can be acquired through special courses and free videos on YouTube. There is nothing to be ashamed of. There are a lot of training products on the topic of communication, and using them means proving to yourself that this issue is important to you, that you are really ready to work on your communication skills. After all, your personal life and career may be at stake.

7. Be yourself

It would seem that advice contradicts the meaning of the article, in which we encourage you to improve yourself and upgrade your skills. But we're talking about something else: don't put on a mask, don't pretend, don't try to be someone you're not. Tell the world who you really are. How will people around you know what your views and values ​​are, what you are passionate about and what you are really good at, if you don’t tell them about it yourself?

Text: Pauline Franke Photo Source: Getty Images

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Social skills of preschoolers – development of social skills in children

The development of social skills is a necessary point of education. A child with a high degree of socialization will quickly get used to kindergarten, school, any new team; in the future will easily find a job. Social skills have a positive effect on interpersonal relationships - friendship, the ability to cooperate.

Understand what social skills are.

What are social skills and why develop them?

Social skills - a group of skills, abilities that are formed during the interaction of a person with society and affect the quality of communication with people.

Man is a social being: all our talents and aspirations are realized thanks to other members of the group. Others evaluate our actions, approve or condemn our behavior. It is difficult to reach the pinnacle of self-actualization alone.

This is why social skills are important. They should be developed from early childhood and honed throughout life.

Social skills are a reflection of the child's emotional intelligence, to which educators and teachers assign an important role in the process of personality development. Without this group of skills, a smart child will not be able to apply the acquired knowledge in practice: it is not enough to create something outstanding, you need to be able to correctly convey thoughts to the public.

Sometimes people mistakenly believe that social skills relate exclusively to the topic of communication, communication. In fact, skills include many multidirectional aspects: an adequate perception of one's own individuality, the ability to empathize, work in a team, etc.

Why do we need social skills?

  1. Regulate the area of ​​interpersonal relationships: the child easily makes new friends, finds like-minded people.
  2. Minimize psychological stress: children with developed social skills quickly adapt, do not feel sad due to changes in external circumstances.
  3. Form adequate self-esteem from childhood, which positively affects life achievements, development in adulthood.
  4. Social skills cannot be separated from building a successful career: the best specialists must not only understand the profession, but also have high emotional intelligence.

Development of social skills in a child

Social skills need to be developed from preschool age, but older children and even teenagers may well learn to interact with the world.

It is recommended to pay attention to areas of life that bring discomfort to the child, significantly complicate everyday life.

  1. Friends, interesting interlocutors: the kid does not know how to join the team, he prefers to sit in the corner while the others play.
  2. Verbal difficulties. The child does not understand the rules of conversation, is poorly versed in the formulas of etiquette (when you need to say hello, say goodbye, offer help).
  3. Problems with the non-verbal side of communication. Such a baby does not recognize the shades of emotions, it is difficult to understand how others relate to him. Cannot "read" faces and gestures.
  4. Does not know the measure in expressing a point of view: too passive or, conversely, aggressive.
  5. The child bullies classmates (participates in bullying) or is a victim.

In case of severe moral trauma, one should consult a psychologist: for example, school bullying is a complex problem that children are not able to cope with on their own. The involvement of parents and teachers is required.

In other cases, family members may well be able to help the child develop social skills.

What are the general recommendations?

1. Be patient

Don't push your child to get the job done. Let them take the initiative: for example, do not rush to help during school gatherings, let the baby work on the problem on his own. The same goes for lessons and other activities.


Support undertakings

Children's dreams seem trifling to adults, but the initiative turns into a habit over the years and helps to discover new projects, meet people, and experiment.

3. Criticize the right way

When making negative comments, remember the golden rule of criticism: you need to analyze the work, highlighting both positive and negative aspects in a polite manner. Commenting on the specific actions of the child, and not his personality or appearance - this will lead to problems with self-esteem.

4. The right to choose

It is important for children to feel that their voice is taken into account and influences the course of events. Invite your child to personally choose clothes, books, cartoons. Ask about ideas, plans: “We are going to have a rest together at the weekend. What are your suggestions?

5. Personal space

Make sure that the baby has a place where he can be alone and take a break from talking. Personal things should not be touched: rearrange without prior discussion, read correspondence with friends, check pockets, etc.

Children, noticing the respectful attitude of adults, quickly begin to pay in the same coin; the atmosphere in the family becomes warm and trusting.

What social skills should be developed in a child?

Let's dwell on the main qualities and skills, the development of which is worth paying attention to.

1. The ability to ask, accept and give help

Without the ability to ask for help, the child will deprive himself of valuable advice; the lack of the ability to accept help will lead to losses, and the inability to provide help will make the baby self-centered.

  • Let the child help those in need: for example, a lagging classmate.
  • Explain to your child that getting help from friends and teachers is not a shame.
  • Show by personal example that mutual help enriches the experience: tell how you exchange advice with colleagues, friends.

2. The ability to conduct a conversation and get the right information

Being a good conversationalist is difficult, but the skill is honed over time and brings a lot of benefits.

  • Prompt the child for dialogue development options: for example, you can start a conversation with a relevant question, a request for help.
  • Do not leave the child in the role of a silent listener: when discussing pressing issues at home, ask the opinion of the baby.
  • Support children's public speaking: presentations at school, performances, funny stories surrounded by loved ones will add confidence.

3. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to recognize the emotions of others, put yourself in the place of another person, empathize.

This ability will make the child humane, prudent. How can it be developed?

  • Start by recognizing the child's feelings - it is useless to listen to people if the person does not feel personal feelings. Ask your baby: “How do you feel after a quarrel with friends?”, “Do you want to relax today?”
  • After conflicts with classmates, ask your child how the children with whom the quarrel may be feeling now.
  • While watching cartoons, reading books, pay your child's attention to the emotional state of the characters.

4. Ability to work in a team

Many children can easily cope with tasks alone, but this is not a reason to refuse to work in a team. It gives the opportunity to exchange ideas and experience, delegate tasks, achieve goals faster and more efficiently.

  • If the child does not communicate with members of the team, try to introduce him to another social group: for example, the lack of communication with classmates can be compensated by a circle of interests, where the child will feel calmer.
  • Make the family a friendly team in which the child has his own "duties": for example, do housework, remind parents of upcoming events. Any activity related to the well-being of other family members will do.

5. Respect for personal boundaries

Not having an obsessive desire to intrude into other people's lives is a valuable skill that helps win people's sympathy.

  • Respect the child's personal boundaries: do not enter the nursery without warning, do not rummage through personal belongings and correspondence, if the matter does not concern the life and safety of the baby.
  • If the child violates other people's boundaries (takes toys without permission, asks uncomfortable questions), talk about it in private.

6. ​​Ability to overcome conflict situations

It is difficult to imagine our life without conflicts. The task of the child is to learn how to culturally enter into a discussion, defend his point of view, and not be led by the provocations of his interlocutors.

  • Talk about problems calmly, without raising your voice. Do not put pressure on the child with parental authority unnecessarily: the child is a separate person who has the right to an opinion.
  • Do not judge people for views that differ from those of your family but do not affect your well-being. Show your child that the world is very different.
  • You can demonstrate to children the basics of a civilized dispute, explain what arguments are, etc. It is advisable to teach this child in kindergarten.

7. Self-confidence

Stable and adequate self-esteem is a quality that not all adults possess.

It is formed under the influence of many factors: relationships between parents, the role of the child in the family circle, the characteristics of the environment that surrounded the child in early childhood.

It is important that the child does not grow up to be either a narcissistic narcissist with fragile self-esteem, or an overly shy person. How can you help your child find balance?