This is why you relate well (or badly) with others: Find out how you can improve your social skills

11, 2021

7 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Within the study of human behavior there are the so-called social skills , which are the different strategies that people use in terms of behaviors to relate and solve situations with others in an effective way, depending on the context.

For example, expressing what you feel, your desires, defending your rights, supporting your attitude to what happens, and your feelings and emotions, are part of that universe.

Social skills are essential in all the spaces where you live, such as family, friends and work, the neighborhood and your community, long-distance relationships and any relationship with others.

Antisocial people are often spoken of as a trait that distances them from their environment; What usually happens is that there are certain social skills that are more developed than others, and, except for psychological disorders, nothing will prevent them from incorporating them to relate and interact in a better way if desired.

Know the two types of social skills

Social skills can be grouped into two large groups: basic and complex.

Among the basic social skills are, among others:

  • Listen to her
  • Be able to start a chat and end it
  • Ask questions
  • Give the thanks
  • Introduce yourself to others
  • Praise other people
  • Show interest
  • As you can see, most of them have to do with your internal way of acting in front of the environment, what we are calling “social” here.

The main complex social skills are:

  • Empathy: it is the ability to put yourself in the place of others, being able to even understand what that person feels.
  • Emotional intelligence: it is a set of social skills that allow you to manage your own feelings, emotions, motivate yourself, be empathetic and self-regulate the bond with yourself and with other people; all in order to better guide your interactions, attitudes and thoughts.
  • Assertiveness: this social skill allows you to have clarity, and that, by being frank and direct, you can express what you want without hurting or diminishing others. It allows you to connect appropriately and generate valuable conversation environments.
  • Active listening: it is the act by which you are totally present with the other person, understanding what they say to you, thinking and reasoning what you express, without aggression or double meaning; asking when you have doubts, and giving signs that you are understanding the feelings and words of others.
  • Communicate your feelings and emotions: just as in Emotional Intelligence you learn to manage these aspects, here you can express them clearly and precisely, whether in a positive, neutral or negative tone, depending on how you are experiencing them. As I always share, reality is neutral: what gives it the tone of “positive” or “negative” is our reaction and interpretation of what happens through emotions.
  • Ability to detect a problem and draw possible solutions: through this social skill you have the tools to analyze, process information, detect your own and others’ errors, and direct the solution of situations and misunderstandings taking into account your needs and those of others people.
  • Negotiation: it is a highly required skill in the world of work and also in everyday activities. It is about the ability to agree and seek solutions that are as satisfactory as possible for all parties involved.
  • Modulate emotional expression: it is the ability to express emotions and feelings clearly, directly, without aggressiveness and with inner awareness.
  • Ability to apologize: in this case, you are aware of the mistakes you may have made, you acknowledge them, and you apologize for them; including better effectiveness when taking charge and amending them through corrective actions in everything that is within your reach.
  • Recognize and defend your own and other people’s rights: it is about becoming aware of where your rights begin and end, and those of others, in that framework of coexistence that will allow you to defend them in an assertive way.


5 tips to develop your social skills

If you feel that your relationships, ties and contact with other people sometimes does not go as you would like, perhaps you could consider practicing these ideas to increase your social skills:

1. Learn to feel comfortable with people other than yourself

Perhaps the greatest teacher of social skills is being with people who are different than usual. Humans are social by nature, and we tend to congregate with like-minded people. In this case, to expand, it can be useful to know other points of view, forms of behavior and positions of perception of others. It will give you a breadth of mind and criteria, and new information to consider.

2. Verify the type of relationship you establish

It is about being fully aware and present when interacting with other people. Once you do, the next step is for you to detect what kind of social skill (basic or complex) that moment requires, activate it within yourself and experience it.

3. Listen to what your emotions say.

The emotional universe manifests itself in different ways; It may be that you are flooded with disturbing thoughts, or of satisfaction and pleasure, for example. The suggestion is that, from conscious observation, you detect which are the dominant emotions at each moment and that you can focus on the best way to act and resolve that moment that you share with other people.

4. Observe how your body is

Body position and gestures occupy a central place in human communication. According to scientists, approximately 90% of the interaction is of this type, without words. To develop your social skills, the invitation is to observe what your body says, your posture, if there is tension or serenity within you, if your hands support what you say; And, ultimately, check that your non-verbal language is consistent with the words. By doing so, your message will come through more clearly.

5. Eliminate distractions

In developing self-observation, which is a key to improving social skills, you need a greater focus on the present.

The human tendency is to go to the past – to look for previous guilt, or cognitive biases, which are the known routing of neurons in the face of similar situations.

A key that will help you if you feel that there is some difficulty to tune in better with people, is that, consciously, remove the distractions that hinder the bond. For example, you can prepare the environment by silencing the phone, and this will prevent you from dispersing to focus on a better result.

“Be yourself, unless it’s better than not, ” says Spanish psychologist and speaker Alfonso Alcántara. The important thing is to take a notion of how to interact with people, and improve your social skills as much as you want, in the process of being an improved version of yourself, if you choose.

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