Social Skills – Concept, examples and importance

We explain what social skills are and examples of this set of behaviors. Also, what are they for and their importance.

Social skills
Social skills are based on the management of communication and emotions.

What are social abilities?

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) . Put more simply: they are the pool of talents conventionally valued by society that an individual can reveal in certain situations.

This is a difficult concept, as there is no single definition of these skills and no scientific consensus on the matter. 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, when handling protocols and ideas of courtesy that are often contradictory.

Generally speaking, social skills enable human beings to achieve their community goals, that is, to manage their interpersonal relationships in an ideal way, which can have repercussions in other areas of life. They are generally based on the management of communication and emotions.

In some cases of mental or neural pathology (such as those on the autism spectrum), the social skills of the human being are quite affected, requiring a learning model different from the usual one, since normally these types of talents develop naturally, through social exchange (and, of course, they are determined by personality factors, upbringing, etc.).

Examples of social skills

social skills
Dialogue is a very important basic social skill.

Classically, social skills can be classified into:

  • Basic. Hear from others, start a conversation, carry on a conversation, ask questions, say thank you, introduce yourself, introduce someone else, pay 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. Know what you feel, express what you feel, understand the feelings of others, face the anger of others, express affection, face fear, compensate yourself, comfort the afflicted, etc.
  • Alternatives to aggression. Asking permission, loving yourself, sharing something with someone, negotiating with another, helping a third party, using self-control, responding to jokes, defending one’s rights, avoiding conflict, etc.
  • Coping with stress. Make a complaint, respond to a complaint, demonstrate sportsmanship, handle embarrassment, deal with frustration, stand up for an ally, deal with failure, deal with pain, deal with peer pressure, etc.
  • Planning. Make decisions, collect information, know your talents, focus on a task, prioritize needs, etc.

What are social skills for?

Social skills, according to some authors, allow human beings to perform the following functions:

  • Reinforcement in social situations. They allow to deepen or modulate certain learning, or to influence others to promote or discourage behaviors.
  • 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 forging of affection and close relationships, which translates into self-esteem and appreciation of others.
  • Decrease stress in social situations. Allowing a more relaxed and fluid performance when dealing with others.

Importance of social skills

social skills
Emotional affections are linked to social performance.

Social skills can be a crucial talent in certain situations and a valued trait in areas such as:

  • Emotional health. Emotional and self-esteem affections are directly linked to social performance, especially in situations of love or erotic valuation.
  • Support from other areas. People with a good social apparatus tend to perform better in other areas of life, since they do not dedicate as much of their mental and emotional energy to dealing with affective or social deficiencies.
  • The learning. Human beings are social creatures who learn by repetition and through contact with others. Without that experience, our individual formation becomes more difficult and it takes us a while to develop as whole and healthy individuals.
  • Deal with extreme situations. Borderline situations such as alcoholism, drug addiction, suicide, etc., can be overcome with the social support provided by skills in this area.