Social skills are the way we interact with others. People with good social skills are usually well-liked and make new friends easily. They are confident around others and speak and act appropriately. There are many social skills that can be improved upon with practice and valuable, new skills can be learned.
Start small and practice as much as you can. You will soon feel and see the improvements, and eventually these skills will come naturally to you. The following are only a few social skills, but ones that are particularly relevant to teens:
- Initiating contact, either in person or via the phone. The best way to learn how to initiate a conversation is by rehearsing a short script that you are comfortable with. Speak clearly and loud enough for the other person to hear you without having to ask you to repeat yourself. At first you may experience shyness or nervousness. This should become less as you gain confidence. When meeting new people, remind yourself that they are probably just as nervous as you are. Try to make them feel more at ease and you should feel more comfortable as a result.
- Overcoming shyness. A certain degree of shyness is normal. When it makes it difficult for you to speak or interact with people, then it needs to be addressed. Overcoming shyness can be challenging but it is usually managed with practice. Start small and as often as you can. Role play situations in your mind in which you feel shy. Then replay them with yourself acting with the confidence and personality that you would like to see yourself have.
- Mind your manners. This is a difficult area to address because what is regarded as acceptable in one society, may be seen as bad manners in another. Try to understand the social rules of the place where you are, and respect them. Politeness is universally acceptable. This means that you should always ask before doing something in someone else’s home or helping yourself to something that is not yours. Thank people for things they do for you, kind words they say to you, having you in their home, or giving you a ride. No-one likes to feel that their efforts were not recognized or appreciated. Give thanks and compliments freely and sincerely.
- Appropriate speech and behavior. Bad language is simply that, bad language. It is not a sign of being cool, but shows an inability to express yourself intelligently. Bad language never looks good on anyone! Appropriate speech also means that you should be careful not to say things that may hurt another person’s feeling or ask questions that are personal and not your business. Bad behavior may get you attention for a while, but in the long run, it will not earn you respect, and respect is worth a thousand times more than attention, especially when it is negative attention.