Last Updated on January 31, 2024 by Sarah McCubbin
Before someone can improve their interpersonal skills, they often need to see social skills examples to understand what they should improve. Social skills represent a nuanced interpersonal skills that make it easier to understand and interact with others.
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People with strong social skills can comfortably enjoy being with people in a variety of different situations that range from informal gatherings with friends to work, large gatherings or even formal parties. Good social skills do not happen by accident. They are something that people choose to intentionally cultivate.
Growing up, I had very social parents. They were leaders and teachers and knew a ton of people. I was the oldest of five kids and naturally more introverted. But it went beyond that. I didn’t understand people. I didn’t know how conversations worked, when I should take a stand on something versus just exchanging ideas. I would often get stressed and might break down when someone disagreed with me. I wasn’t “fun” and I didn’t know how to blend in with others.
When I looked around and saw others having a good time, I thought people just liked them more. They were in. I was out.
As it turns out, I was wrong (thank goodness!).
I was in my mid thirties when I read the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. (My poor husband had put up with my lack of social skills and bursts of intensity for 17 years…and he had been suggesting kindly that whole time that I read that book! I’m a slow learner. This book was amazing!) It was the book that made me realize I could develop better people skills if I took the time to learn how.
I like to say, I had to learn social skills the way other people learn math. It didn’t come naturally for me…but that didn’t make it impossible.
In “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Carnegie systematically approaches a wide variety of social situations and explains through real life examples how strong social skills can help people working toward a common goal. When we learn how our tone of voice, word choices and body language land on others, it can help us make different choices that will lead to better outcomes in one’s personal life and beyond.
In the work environment, social skills are sometimes called “soft skills.” Because traditional resumes focus on education and “hard skills,” many people overlook the importance of social communication abilities. Of course, everyone is aware of the person who doesn’t realize they have a problem. So effective communication is important…its just something we overlook initially until is causes bigger problems.
Table of Contents
What Are The Best Social Skills To Have?
While there is a long list of great social skills, these are the best ones to have when you are just getting started.
1. Active Listening
This means you intentionally listen to what other people have to say and try to hear it from their perspective, being careful not to jump to conclusions.
When you respect other people, you care about them. You will treat them the way you want to be treated and talk to them the way you want to be talked to. Even if you poor social skills in general, respect goes a long way toward building bridges in relationships.
3. Conflict Resolution
In relationships of all kinds, differences will arise. When you learn how to navigate conflict, you learn how to listen to both sides, speak calmly and use critical thinking skills to find a peaceful solution to the problem at hand. It doesn’t mean everyone will be happy, but it will mean that everyone will be heard as the problem is being worked out.
85+ Social Skills Examples for All Ages
Social Skills for Children
- Positive attitude
- Good manners
- Asking good questions
- Non-verbal cues
- Conversation skills
- Self Awareness
- Good listeing
- Making Eye Contact
- Facial Expressions
- Apologizing sincerely
Social Skills for Students
- Active listening
- Public Speaking
- Small Talk
- Showing empathy towards other’s feelings
- Respecting authority figures
- Introducing oneself and others
- Active involvement in community service or volunteering
Social Skills for the Work Place and Beyond
In the work environment, team members may come from diverse backgrounds and cultural ways of doing things. Someone with advanced social skills is going to be able to graciously interact with all kinds of people and be chosen for more leadership roles because they can navigate the nuances of working with people and find common ground when solving problems.
- Active listening
- Verbal communication
- Non-verbal communication
- Clarity in speech
- ssertivenessConflict resolution
- Negotiation skills
- Organization skills
- Goal setting
- Active participation
- Taking turns in conversation
- Asking questions
- Giving feedback
- Receiving feedback gracefully
- Conflict management
- Recognizing your own biases and prejudices.
- Adapting communication style to different audiences.
- Giving credit to others for their contributions.
- Showing support and encouragement to others.
- Recognizing and celebrating others’ achievements.
- Demonstrating good sportsmanship.
- Being a good role model for others.
- Showing appreciation for cultural diversity.
- Public speaking
- Building rapport
- Emotional intelligence
- Etiquette and manners
- Remembering names and faces
- Making eye contact
- Using appropriate body language
- Facial expressions
- Hand gestures
- Showing empathy towards others’ feelings and experiences
- Active listening in group settings
- Active participation in group discussions and activities
- Offering constructive criticism
- Resolving conflicts within a group setting
- Recognizing and addressing unconscious biases and prejudices
- Respecting others’ opinions and perspectives, even when different from your own.
- Respecting others’ time and commitments.
- Demonstrating good table manners and dining etiquette.
- Understanding cultural differences
- Respect for diversity
- Decision making
- Time management
- Accepting apologies gracefully
- Showing gratitude
- Expressing appreciation
- Giving compliments
- Accepting compliments graciously
- Offering help and support
- Conflict prevention strategies
- Respecting personal boundaries
- Respecting authority figures.
- Respecting others’ personal space.
- Demonstrating patience with others’ shortcomings.
- Respecting others’ privacy and confidentiality.
- Being punctual and reliable.
- Being accountable for your actions and decisions.
Social skills are something parents can teach their young children and cultivate in them as they grow. As a person who had social anxiety as a child, I have seen great benefits in incorporating these skills into a variety of areas in life.
Pairing social skills with essential life skills helps us pair related information and make sense of the world. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders may have a very hard time picking up crucial social skills naturally. Parentt and teachers can serve these individuals better by breaking down social and life skills into bite size pieces of information that help the world make sense.
Sarah McCubbin, founder of Ten Minute Momentum, is dedicated to helping parents confidently parent their kids by teaching life skills, social skills and leadership skills. As a child she was the kid that never quite fit in and is on a mission to help others understand the building blocks we all need to be successful adults. She lives in Ohio with her husband Mike, and 9 kids ranging in age from 5 to 21 where they use homeschool, private school and public schools for their kids education!