Updated: Aug 28
Social Skills can be HARD. People and relationships are complicated. Here are some tips for you lovely Wakey mateys:
Many of us turn to panic and anxiety in social situations. Some of us worry that we will say or do something humiliating. Some of us have a belief that if we are not perfectly sharp, charming and hilarious then we are worthless.
We may not even notice these thoughts but they are deeply unhelpful and can lead to people withdrawing and missing out on wonderful connection with people. Luckily social skills are like any other skills (see last week) and they can be learnt.
It is said that much of language is non-verbal. Despite what we might think - people actually want connection and communication just as much as we do. Show people you are interested and friendly by: Smiling, keeping your head up, being positive(compliments and small talk) and encouraging to people.
There are lots of great tips to help your verbal communication if you feel panic and anixety about social situations. Most of them come down to this: Spend most of your time listening. People love to feel that they are being heard and understood. Be curious about people and ask them questions and they will warm to you.
To supercharge your skills: repeat back what people have said and check you have understood: "So you're saying..." This helps to check that you have understood correctly and lets people know you are paying attention. Only once you've developed that good communication and trust can you start to add a flourish with jokes and smart comments.
Sometimes when we turn to panic and anxiety in social situations we can struggle to get our needs met because we are worried people won't like us if we stand up for ourselves. But actually people are much more likely to respect us if we are assertive (which is not the same as being pushy or aggressive).
Assertiveness is the straightforward communication of our needs and feelings. Remember people can't read your mind. Actually assertiveness is helpful to other people too because clear communication helps people know and understand you in a way that indirect or passive-aggressive communication does not.
Start sentences with "I", speak plainly, use facts (not opinions), and tell people how you are feeling: e.g. "I feel upset that you didn't invite me to the party."