Relationships, careers and overall satisfaction with life can be improved with good, well-developed social skills. But many people with anxiety, especially social anxiety, find social situations unbearable.
Learning social skills can improve relationships, provide a more well-balanced life, increase satisfaction in your job, and improve self-esteem. Below are ten tips to help with developing better social skills:
1) Start small. If talking to other people is a scary proposition, start small. Start with saying “thank you” to the clerk in the store or giving a friend a compliment. To improve social skills, you don’t have to start out by having a long and meaningful conversation with someone, but can simply be sharing a smile with someone. By starting small, you can begin to increase your confidence.
2) Social skills improve with use and practice. Spend as much time as you can practicing your social skills. Although for someone with anxiety, this may be a scary prospect, the good news is any type of social interaction can help you practice your skills, therefore, any type of social interaction will help you. Start with interactions you feel comfortable with, such as getting together with a small group of friends or socializing with siblings. Try to add some new social interaction each week.
3) Observe the behaviors of people with good social skills. Is there someone at work everyone seems to like? Or do you have a friend or sibling that always seems to be able to make friends? Watch how they act with other people and try to emulate some of their habits. Be careful, however, to pick up the good habits and try to ignore the bad habits.
4) Make improving social skills a priority in your life. Interpersonal skills won’t improve without practice and dedication. Schedule time each day to work specifically on social skills. Make this a priority rather than avoiding it.
5) Join a support group. Talking with other people with anxiety can help you to feel more comfortable and know you are not alone. Joining a local group can give you a specific time each week to get together in a safe and secure setting and enable you to practice your skills.