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Social Skills and Interaction

Posted on 2016-05-23 | Dani Coulthard Print Friendly and PDF

Living in an increasingly digital world, it seems harder and harder to meet people and make friends in the real world. Technology has made society comfortable and unwilling to branch out and explore the wider world around us, where all manner of interesting people await.

For all would be searchers out there, looking for new people to hang out with and form connections with is sometimes a daunting task. But all you have to do is take your main hobbies, interests and obsessions, and to go where they take you. Whether your interests revolve around sport, music, art, books or films etc..., find where like minded people congregate. It could be at an oval, a record store, an art gallery, a library or your local cinema; everyone is willing to like a new friend. The world is infinitely less frightening than in the negative scenarios that can occur in your mind.

If you want to start small, head down to your local cafe or shop where you are guaranteed to talk to someone. When you go through the motions of ordering or asking for your savings account, insert just one more sentence in the conversation, like "what would you recommend from the menu?" or "has it been a busy day today?" Just one more sentence in conversation can provide practice for social skills that you can utilise in everyday life, and all conversations start from building a rapport of communication.

Displaying confidence is a key factor in cementing social relations, and I shall describe a few tools for you to take away and use in everyday life, from casual interactions to job interviews to romantic situations.

Body language is a key identifier of an open and confident sense of self, which is vital to a healthy social exchange. You want to be as open with your body as you can, try and avoid crossing your arms, and angle your body towards the person you are speaking to.

Hand signals are a good way to convey confidence, rather than standing cross-armed or with your arms by your side, emphasise key words and sentences with your hands, making shapes that correspond to expressions, which reinforce comfort with a topic and promote expertise. In the initial meeting of someone, always offer a handshake, regardless of a man or woman, as it offers a polite respectful sentiment.

Eye contact is also very important in a conversation, whereby you should focus your gaze at one eye in particular, rather than shifting constantly between eyes. If prolonged eye contact feels too intimate and uncomfortable, focus on the bridge of a person’s nose some of the time, between the eyes, so as to reduce the feeling of anxiety in conversation.

These are just some of the ways that will help in gaining confidence in social situations. Displaying confident signs of how you hold yourself and engage with people will reinforce these values in you; as positive behaviours in social interactions build positive attitudes.


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