What are some social skills that one might be born with, and how can someone acquire them if they are not born with them?

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No one is born with social skills. How can that be? One acquires social skills through observation, practise, and experience. Yes, some people are better at it than others. They may have a natural disposition or aptitude for it but, as the skill implies, they need an environment of socialising in order for them to burgeon. The family is our first community and recourse to practice well our social skills. The larger your family and its extension the better, though not necessarily. It would be far more advantageous for social skills to be nurtured in belonging to a small-sized family of attentive, good communicators than a large, indifferent and emotionally dysfunctional one as I did.

So, the natural disposition or aptitude I earlier mentioned would exist in a child of an extroverted nature that sought interaction, connection and affection in its various forms with others. But, having not long completed a Diploma in Counselling at University, one of the key discussions was the age-old question, is it “nature or nurture”? In other words, is a child born with certain traits or are they nurtured in them? Many seem to answer this with a 50/50 response, that it is both nature and nurture. We are all born with certain innate and unique characteristics, then there are other elements of our personhood that need to be nurtured in order to flourish. I believe socialisation or social skills is one of them. By definition they depend on interaction and all children need and seek to interact and connect with their caregivers and family, especially the mother. Some may be more interactive and responsive than others - this could be due to a higher IQ, emotional needs/cultural bias but, regardless, it is necessary to all children for a healthy mind and quality of life as much as food and water is.

If you are aware that you have a deficit of social skills then, as I began, practice is the best remedy for this. Exposure to environments that will gently take you out of your comfort zone to mingle with others, in various settings ideally, and in a healthy atmosphere with encouragement or positivity and mutual enjoyment. It's as simple as that. You can find ways to improve your skills in sports or leisure groups, through shared interest groups, at work or at special workshops. Observing those who do it well is the best way to learn!

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