What are social skills? 

Social skills are a set of behavioral strategies and the abilities to implement those behaviors in order to help solve social situations effectively, that is, in an acceptable manner for both the individual and the social context.

They enable individuals to express feelings, attitudes, desires, opinions or rights in an adequate way to the situation, while respecting other people’s behavior. Thus, they improve our interpersonal relationships, make us feel good, help us accomplish what we want without others preventing the achievement of our goals.

These behaviors are necessary to interact and socialize with others in an effective and mutually satisfactory manner.

List of social skills to teach: What types are there?

Regarding the types of social skills, we can speak of basic and complex social skills.

Basic social skills

  • Listening
  • Initiating conversations
  • Asking questions
  • Saying thank you
  • Introducing yourself
  • Introducing others
  • Giving a compliment

Complex social skills

  • Empathy. The ability to put oneself in the place of another person.
  • Emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action (Salovey& Mayer, 1990).
  • Assertiveness. The ability to state what one wants in a clear, direct, and honest manner without hurting anyone’s feelings or underestimating anyone’s worth, only defending one’s personal rights.
  • Listening skills. The ability to listen carefully, attentively, and understanding what the other person wants to say and then communicating that the message has been received.
  • Capacity to communicate feelings and emotions. The ability to express one’spositive or negative feelings in an appropriate manner to others.
  • Capacity to define a problem and evaluate solutions. The social ability to analyze a given situation by taking into account all the objective elements, as well as the feelings and needs of every individual involved.
  • Negotiation. The communication ability directed towards finding a solution that is satisfactory to all parties.
  • Emotional regulation. The ability to adjust the expression of emotion to the environment.
  • Capacity to apologize. The ability to be aware of mistakes made and to acknowledge them.
  • Recognition and defense of individual rights and the rights of others. The ability to be aware of our rights and those of others and defend them appropriately.

Why are social skills necessary?

They are a set of behaviors that allow us to socialize with others in a satisfactory manner, so they are essential in any environment (with family, at work, in the street, etc.).

Adequate execution of these skills is beneficial for learning how to express oneself and to understand others, to take into account everyone’s needs and interests, to try and find the most satisfactory solution for everyone when facing a problem, or to be supportive. All these behaviors are essential for living in society.

How to teach social skills? How to improve social skills?

Looking for social skills games for adults or for kids? Next, we introduce games for teaching social skills:

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