What are social skills? Definition of 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
- 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.
Are social skills important? 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:
Games for social skills
1. Emotion recognition
“Emotion recognition” is an ideal exercise for improving your social skills if that is your goal. This activity involves recognizing emotion from the depicted facial expressions and matching them to their definition. In this example, the person must choose whether the young man is feeling hate or joy.
2. Inferring Facial Expressions
“Inferring facial expressions” is a very useful activity if you aim to improve socal skills in kids and adults. In this example, the person must choose, among several options, the expression that best matches the hidden face shown in the picture. The following is a basic-level example:
3. Emotional reaction to situations
If you aim to improve social skills in adults, teenagers and kids, the activity “Emotional reaction to situations” is ideal for training them to match the depicted emotional responses with the appropriate situation.
The following is a basic-level example:
Look closely at the face of the person on the left. When would it be logical to display that emotion?
These exercises for improving social skills in children and adults target social cognition and reasoning.
4. Internal States
This exercise involves describing the internal emotional states of the individuals shown in the images by creating social stories or scripts.
- Dowd, Tom P.; Tierney, Jeff (8 October 2017). Teaching Social Skills to Youth: A Step-by-step Guide to 182 Basic to Complex Skills Plus Helpful Teaching Techniques. Boys Town Press.
- Mikami AY (June 2010). “The importance of friendship for youth with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder”. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 13 (2): 181–98.
- Coleman WL (August 2008). “Social competence and friendship formation in adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder”. Adolesc Med State Art Rev. 19 (2): 278–99, x.
- Romanczyk, R. G.; White, S.; Gillis, J. M. (2005). “Social skills versus skilled social behavior: A problematic distinction in autism spectrum disorders”. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Intervention. 2 (3): 177–193.