We explain what social skills are and examples of this set of behaviors. In addition, what they are for and their importance.
Social skills or social competence is understood as the set of behaviors that human beings (and even other species of animals) manifest in community situations, that is, of social organization, and that report some type of positive environmental reinforcement (success) . More simply said: they are the set of talents conventionally valued by society that an individual can reveal in certain situations.
This is a difficult concept, since there is no single definition of these skills or a scientific consensus on this. In fact, to some extent social skills depend on the cultural context in which they manifest , since the same characteristic can be valued differently by different traditions, by handling protocols and ideas of courtesy often contradictory.
In general, social skills allow human beings to achieve their community objectives , that is, to properly manage their interpersonal relationships, which can have an impact on other areas of life. They are usually based on communication management and emotions.
In some cases of mental or neurological pathology (such as those of the autistic spectrum), the social skills of the human being are quite affected, requiring a different learning model from the usual, since normally these types of talents develop naturally , through social exchange (and, of course, they are determined by personality factors, parenting, etc.).
Classically, social skills can be classified into:
- Basics : listen to others, start a conversation, hold a conversation, ask questions, say thank you, introduce yourself, introduce someone else, make a compliment, dialogue, etc.
- Advanced : ask for help, participate in a discussion, give instructions, follow instructions, apologize, convince others, give a respectful opinion, make a complaint, mediate between two parties, etc.
- Affective : knowing what you feel, expressing what you feel, understanding the feelings of others, facing the anger of others, expressing affection, facing fear, self-rewarding, comforting the afflicted, etc.
- Alternatives to aggression : asking permission, loving oneself, sharing something with someone, negotiating with another, helping a third party, using self-control, responding to jokes, defending one’s rights, evading conflict, etc.
- Coping with stress : making a complaint, responding to a complaint, demonstrating sportsmanship, handling shame, dealing with frustration, defending an ally, dealing with failure, dealing with pain, dealing with group pressures, etc.
- Planning : making decisions, collecting information, knowing one’s talents, concentrating on a task, prioritizing needs, etc.
Social skills, according to some authors, allow the human being to perform the following functions:
- Reinforcement in social situations . They allow to deepen or modulate certain learning, or influence others to promote or discourage behavior.
- They guarantee collective position . A person with good social skills can seek positions of influence within a group, or negotiate in certain situations.
- They promote empathy . They are the route to the forge of affection and close relationships, which translates into self-esteem and appreciation of others.
- It reduces stress in social situations . Allowing a more relaxed and fluid performance when dealing with others.
Social skills can be a crucial talent in certain situations and a characteristic valued in areas such as:
- Emotional health . Emotional and self-esteem conditions are directly linked to social performance, especially in situations of love or erotic assessment.
- Support of other areas . People with a good social apparatus tend to perform better in other areas of life, since they do not devote so much of their mental and emotional energy to dealing with emotional or social deficiencies.
- Learning . Human beings are social creatures that we learn by repetition and through contact with others. Without that experience, our individual training becomes more difficult and it takes us long to develop as full and healthy individuals.
- Dealing with borderline situations . Limiting situations such as alcoholism , drug addiction, suicide, etc., can be overcome with the social support provided by the skills in this area.