Social skills are important at every age, and for everyone. Social skills and life skills can be especially challenging for addicts in addiction recovery.
Adults who have developed strong social skills have an easier time at work, at home, and out on the town. Some people develop excellent social skills at a young age, while others require more time and effort to communicate effectively.
Social skills are applicable to many facets of life. Those with excellent social skills are in a better position to deal with life effectively. Poor social skills make life and living sober much more challenging.
Check Out Our Essential Social Skills List And Transform Your Life:
- Look People in the Eye. A lack of eye contract can be seen as shifty, having no interest, being shy, or having lack of confidence. A certain amount of eye contact is necessary if you want to be taken seriously. How much eye contact is appropriate depends on the situation.
- While speaking, maintain eye contract for about five seconds, then look away for a couple of seconds. It’s not a staring match.
- While listening, give more eye contact. Consider looking at one eye for a few seconds, then the other eye, and then the mouth.
- Provide constructive criticism. Don’t stay silent when you see things that aren’t right. Be assertive, not confrontational. This skill can be challenging, because others have varying degrees of tolerance for any type of criticism.
- Sandwich the criticism between two compliments. The first compliment boosts their mood, then the criticism can follow. The final compliment lifts their spirits.
- Address the behavior or the situation, not the person. For example, telling someone that they’re a slob is less effective than telling them their clutter is creating challenges for you.
- Give recommendations. Offer up some advice on what can be done to improve.
- Develop your listening skills. Eye contact is a big part of listening well. The other major component is your focus. Give your full attention to what the other person is saying.
- Ask relevant questions and give feedback. Avoid looking around the room. Everyone knows you’re disinterested if you’re distracted or looking for an escape. Focus takes practice.
- Build some rapport. Communication is usually more than just sharing information. Communication is a tool for building relationships. Without rapport, there is no relationship. Without relationships there is no sobriety and long-term recovery.
- Maintain good eye contact and smile.
- Use the other person’s name.
- Ask questions about the other person.
- Find commonalities. What do you both like to do? What are your shared interests?
- Use their favorite words and phrases. Have you ever noticed that you and your closest friends eventually share vocabulary and phrases? You can start doing that right away.
- Knowing how much to share. If you share too little, you seem aloof or reserved. Share too much and you’re viewed as a blabbermouth or weird. As a rule, only share a little more than the other person is willing to share.
- Consider the situation, too. A job interview, the office, and a night of drinking with your longtime friends are three different situations that call for different amounts of sharing.
- Sharing time when communicating. A good conversation should be like two people practicing tennis lobbing the ball back and forth. It’s not one person just shooting 20 Sirs in a row at somebody without a chance for them to hit back.
The person that never stops talking is a bore. The person that never has anything to say is also a bore. Communication requires give and take. Ensure that you’re holding up your end on both fronts. Contribute to the conversation, but be prepared to listen, too.
5 Ways To Listen Better | A 7 Minute TED Talk
Social skills can be improved by anybody. Notice the word skills a skill requires practice in order to get good at it. Mastery requires lots of practice. As you start getting better you will notice an increase in self confidence and an increase in happiness.
A suggestion is to pick one or two items for the list and start practicing it consciously.
It’s never too late to learn how to communicate more skillfully. Social skills are perhaps the most essential skills you can possess. Without these life skills for adults essential social skills list skills, you’re forced to deal with the world on your own. Those with outstanding social skills have an abundance of opportunities available to them.
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Some Really Good Resources
- Drugs, Brains and Behavior: The Science of Addiction (Drugabuse.gov) – In my opinion this is the best short read on addiction. I have used the content for many therapy groups and lectures…check it out.
- Understanding Drug Use and Addiction Many people don’t understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. This explains it nicely.