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A social skill is any competence facilitating
interaction Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the concept of interaction, as opposed to a one-way causal effect. Closely related terms are interac ...
and
communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...
with others where
social rules A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated, or generally accepted standards, norms, social norms, or criteria, often taking the form of a custom. In a social context, a convention may retain the character of an "unwritten law" of custom (for exa ...
and
relations Relation or relations may refer to: General uses *International relations, the study of interconnection of politics, economics, and law on a global level *Interpersonal relationship, association or acquaintance between two or more people *Public ...
are created, communicated, and changed in
verbal Verbal may refer to: People *Verbal (rapper) Verbal (born August 21, 1975) is a Japanese hip hop musician, recording artist, music video director and record producer who debuted in 1998 as a member of the hip hop group M-Flo. He is a third gener ...

verbal
and
nonverbal Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact Eye contact occurs when two people look at each other's eyes at the same time. In human beings Humans (''Homo sapi ...
ways. The process of learning these skills is called
socialization In sociology, socialization is the process of Internalisation (sociology), internalizing the Norm (social), norms and Ideology, ideologies of society. Socialization encompasses both learning and teaching and is thus "the means by which social an ...
. Lack of such skills can cause ''social awkwardness''. Interpersonal skills are actions used to effectively interact with others. Interpersonal skills relate to categories of dominance vs. submission, love vs. hate, affiliation vs. aggression, and control vs. autonomy (Leary, 1957). Positive interpersonal skills include
persuasion Persuasion or persuasion arts is an umbrella term of Social influence, influence. Persuasion can attempt to influence a person's beliefs, Attitude (psychology), attitudes, intentions, motivations, or behaviors. Persuasion is studied in many di ...

persuasion
,
active listening Active listening is a technique of careful listening and observation of non-verbal cues, with feedback in the form of accurate paraphrasing, that is used in counseling Counseling is the professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psycholog ...
,
delegation Schermerhorn, J., Davidson, P., Poole, D., Woods, P., Simon, A., & McBarron, E. (2017). ''Management'' (6th ed., pp. 282–286). Brisbane: John Wiley & Sons Australia. Delegation is one of the core concepts of management Management (or managi ...

delegation
, and
stewardship Stewardship is an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources. The concepts of stewardship can be applied to the environment and nature, economics, health, property, information, theology, cultural resources etc. Histo ...

stewardship
, among others.
Social psychology Social psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern scienc ...

Social psychology
, an academic discipline focused on research relating to social functioning, studies how interpersonal skills are learned through societal-based changes in attitude, thinking, and behavior.


Enumeration and categorization

Social skills are the tools that enable people to communicate, learn, ask for help, get needs met in appropriate ways, get along with others, make friends, develop healthy relationships, protect themselves, and in general, be able to interact with the society harmoniously. Social skills build essential character traits like trustworthiness, respectfulness, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. These traits help build an internal moral compass, allowing individuals to make good choices in thinking and behavior, resulting in social competence. The important social skills identified by the
Employment and Training Administration The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is part of the U.S. Department of Labor. Its mission is to provide training, employment Employment is a relationship between two party (law), parties, usually based on employment contract, contra ...
are: * Coordination – Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions. * Mentoring – Teaching and helping others how to do something (e.g. a study partner). * Negotiation – Discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. * Persuasion – The action or fact of persuading someone or of being persuaded to do or believe something. * Service orientation – Actively looking for ways to evolve compassionately and grow psycho-socially with people. * Social perceptiveness – Being aware of others' reactions and able to respond in an understanding manner. Social skills are goal oriented with both main goals and sub-goals. For example, a workplace interaction initiated by a new employee with a senior employee will first contain a main goal. This will be to gather information, and then the sub-goal will be to establish a
rapport Rapport () is a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned are "in sync" with each other, understand each other's feelings or ideas, and communicate smoothly. The word stems from the French verb which means literal ...
in order to obtain the main goal. Takeo Doi in his study of consciousness distinguished this as ''tatemae'', meaning conventions and verbal expressions and ''honne'', meaning true motive behind the conventions.


Causes of deficits

Deficits in social skills were categorized by Gresham in 1998, as failure to recognize and reflect social skills, a failure to model appropriate models, and failure to perform acceptable behavior in particular situations in relation to developmental and transitional stages. Social skill deficits are also a discouragement for children with behavioral challenges when it comes to adult adjustment.


Alcohol misuse

Social skills are often significantly impaired in people suffering from
alcoholism Alcoholism is, broadly, any drinking of alcohol In , alcohol is an that carries at least one (−OH) bound to a atom. The term alcohol originally referred to the primary alcohol (ethyl alcohol), which is and is the main alcoho ...
. This is due to the neurotoxic long-term effects of alcohol misuse on the brain, especially the
prefrontal cortex In mammalian brain A brain is an organ that serves as the center of the nervous system In Biology, biology, the nervous system is a Complex system, highly complex part of an animal that coordinates its Behavior, actions and Sense, senso ...

prefrontal cortex
area of the brain. The social skills that are typically impaired by
alcohol abuse Alcohol abuse encompasses a spectrum of unhealthy alcohol File:Alcohol general.svg, upright=0.8, The bond angle between a hydroxyl group (-OH) and a chain of carbon atoms (R) In chemistry, alcohol is an organic compound that carries at least ...
, include impairments in perceiving facial emotions,
prosody Prosody may refer to: * Sanskrit prosody, Prosody (Sanskrit), the study of poetic meters and verse in Sanskrit and one of the six Vedangas, or limbs of Vedic studies * Prosody (Greek), the theory and practice of Greek versification * Prosody (Lati ...
perception problems, and
theory of mind In psychology Psychology is the scientific Science (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area ar ...
deficits. The ability to understand humor is also often impaired in alcohol abusers. Impairments in social skills can also occur in individuals who have
fetal alcohol spectrum disorder Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Symptoms can include an abnormal appearance, short height, low body weight, small head size, poor coordi ...
s. These deficits persist throughout the affected people's lives, and may worsen over time due to the effects of aging on the brain.


ADHD and hyperkinetic disorder

People with
ADHD Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention, or excessive activity and impulsivity, which are otherwise not Developmental psychology, appropriate for a person's age. Some indivi ...

ADHD
and
hyperkinetic disorder Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention, or excessive activity and impulsivity, which are otherwise not Developmental psychology, appropriate for a person's age. Some indivi ...
often have difficulties with social skills, such as social interaction. Approximately half of ADHD children and adolescents will experience peer rejection, compared to 10–15 percent of non-ADHD youth. Adolescents with ADHD are less likely to develop close friendships and romantic relationships; they are usually regarded by their peers as immature or as social outcasts, with an exception for peers that have ADHD or related disorders themselves, or a high level of tolerance for such symptoms. As they begin to mature, however, it becomes easier to make such relationships. Training in social skills, behavioral modification, and medication have some beneficial effects. It is important for ADHD youth to form friendships with people who are not involved in deviant/delinquent activities and/or significant mental illness/developmental disabilities in order to reduce emergence of later psychopathology. Poor peer relationships can contribute to
major depression Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known simply as depression, is a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of pervasive low mood. Low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, low energy, and pain witho ...
,
criminality In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a State (polity), state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Crime, defin ...
, school failure, and
substance use disorder Substance use disorder (SUD) is the persistent use of drugs (including alcohol) despite substantial harm and adverse consequences. Substance use disorders are characterized by an array of mental/emotional, physical, and behavioral problems such as ...
s.


Autistic spectrum disorders

Individuals with
autistic spectrum disorders The autism spectrum encompasses a range of neurodevelopmental conditions, including autism Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder Neurodevelopmental disorders are a group of disorders that affect the development of the nervous syst ...
including
autism Autism is a developmental disorder Developmental disorders comprise a group of psychiatric conditions originating in childhood that involve serious impairment in different areas. There are several ways of using this term. The most narro ...

autism
and
Asperger syndrome Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger's, is a neurodevelopmental disorder Neurodevelopmental disorders are a group of disorders that affect the development of the nervous system, leading to abnormal brain function which may affe ...
are often characterized by their deficiency in social functioning. The concept of social skills has been questioned in terms of the autistic spectrum. In response for the needs of children with autism, Romanczyk has suggested for adapting comprehensive model of social acquisitions with behavioral modification rather than specific responses tailored for social contexts.


Anxiety and depression

Individuals with few opportunities to socialize with others often struggle with social skills. This can often create a downward spiral effect for people with mental illnesses like anxiety or depression. Due to
anxiety Anxiety is an emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and a degree of pleasure or suffering, disp ...
experienced from concerns with interpersonal evaluation and fear of negative reaction by others, surfeit expectations of failure or social rejection in socialization leads to avoiding or shutting down from social interactions. Individuals who experience significant levels of social anxiety often struggle when communicating with others, and may have impaired abilities to demonstrate social cues and behaviors appropriately. The use of social media can also cause anxiety and depression. Internet is causing many problems, according to a study from the National library of Medicine, National institute of health, with a sample size of 3,560 students. Problematic internet use may be present in about 4% of high school students in the United States, it may be associated with depression. About one third of respondents (28.51%) reported spending fifteen or more hours per week on the internet. Although other studies show positive effects from internet use. Depression can also cause people to avoid opportunities to socialize, which impairs their social skills, and makes socialization unattractive.


Anti-social behaviors

The authors of the book ''
Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work ''Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work'' is a 2006 non-fiction book by industrial psychologist Paul Babiak and criminal psychologist Robert D. Hare. Contents summary The text covers the nature of psychopaths in the context of employment ...
'' explore psychopathy in workplace. The FBI consultants describe a five phase model of how a typical
psychopath Psychopathy, sometimes considered synonymous with sociopathy, is characterized by persistent Anti-social behaviour, antisocial behavior, impaired empathy and remorse, and Boldness, bold, Disinhibition, disinhibited, and Egotism, egotistical Be ...
climbs to and maintains
power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equal to one joule per second. In older works, p ...
. Many traits exhibited by these individuals include:
superficial charm Superficial charm (or insincere charm or glib charm) is the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick and verbally facile. The phrase often appears in lists of attributes of psychopathic personalities, such as in Hervey M. Cleckley's '' ...
, insincerity, egocentricity, manipulativeness, grandiosity, lack of empathy, low agreeableness, exploitativeness, independence, rigidity, stubbornness and dictatorial tendencies. Babiak and Hare say for corporate psychopaths, success is defined as the best revenge and their problem behaviors are repeated "ad infinitum" due to little insight and their proto-emotions such as "anger, frustration, and rage" is
refracted In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior throu ...
as irresistible charm. The authors note that lack of emotional literacy and moral conscience is often confused with toughness, the ''ability'' to make hard decisions, and ''effective'' crisis management. Babiak and Hare also emphasizes a reality they identified with psychopaths from studies that psychopaths are not able to be influenced by any sort of therapy.Baibak, P; Hare, R. D
Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work ''Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work'' is a 2006 non-fiction book by industrial psychologist Paul Babiak and criminal psychologist Robert D. Hare. Contents summary The text covers the nature of psychopaths in the context of employment ...
(2007)
At the University at Buffalo in New York, Emily Grijalva has investigated
narcissism Narcissism is a self-centered personality style characterized as having an excessive interest in one's physical appearance and an excessive pre-occupation with one's own needs, often at the expense of others. It is human nature to be selfish ...

narcissism
in business; she found there are two forms of narcissism: "vulnerable" and "
grandiose In the field of psychology, the term grandiosity refers to an unrealistic sense of superiority, characterized by a sustained view of one's self as better than others, which is expressed by disdainfully criticising them, overinflating one's own c ...

grandiose
". It is her finding that "moderate" level of grandiose narcissism is linked to becoming an effective manager. Grandiose narcissists are characterized as confident; they possess unshakable belief that they are superior, even when it's unwarranted. They can be charming, pompous show-offs, and can also be selfish, exploitative and entitled. Jens Lange and Jan Crusius at the University of Cologne, Germany associates "malicious-benign" envy within narcissistic social climbers in workplace. It is their finding that grandiose narcissists are less prone to low self-esteem and neuroticism and are less susceptible to the anxiety and depression that can affect vulnerable narcissists when coupled with envy. They characterize vulnerable narcissists as those who "believe they are special, and want to be seen that way–but are just not that competent, or charming." As a result, their self-esteem fluctuates a lot. They tend to be self-conscious and passive, but also prone to outbursts of potentially violent aggression if their inflated self-image is threatened." Richard Boyatzis says this is an unproductive form of expression of emotions that the person cannot share constructively, which reflects lack of appropriate skills. Eddie Brummelman, a social and behavioral scientist at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Brad Bushman at Ohio State University in Columbus says studies show that in western culture narcissism is on the rise from shifting focus on the self rather than on relationships and concludes all narcissism to be socially undesirable ("unhealthy feelings of superiority"). David Kealy at the University of British Columbia in Canada states that narcissism might aid temporarily but in the long run it is better to be true to oneself, have personal integrity, and be kind to others.


Management


Behavioral therapy

Behaviorism interprets social skills as learned behaviors that function to facilitate social reinforcement. According to Schneider & Byrne (1985),
operant conditioning Operant conditioning (also called instrumental conditioning) is a type of associative learning process through which the strength of a behavior is modified by reinforcement or punishment. It is also a procedure that is used to bring about such lea ...
procedures for training social skills had the largest effect size, followed by
modeling In general, a model is an informative representation of an object, person or system. The term originally denoted the plans of a building in late 16th-century English, and derived via French and Italian ultimately from Latin ''modulus'', a measure. ...
, coaching, and social cognitive techniques. Behavior analysts prefer to use the term behavioral skills to social skills.O'Donohue, W. (2003). Psychological Skills Training: Issues and Controversies. ''The Behavior Analyst Today, 4 (3),'' 331–3
BAO
Behavioral skills training to build social and other skills is used with a variety of populations including in packages to treat addictions as in the
community reinforcement approach and family training Community reinforcement approach and family training (CRAFT) is a behavior therapy approach in psychotherapy for treating addiction developed by Robert J. Meyers in the late 1970s. Meyers worked with Nathan Azrin in the early 1970s whilst he was de ...
(CRAFT). Behavioral skills training is also used for people with
borderline personality disorder Borderline personality disorder (BPD), also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD), is a mental illness A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that ...
, depression, and developmental disabilities. Typically, behaviorists try to develop what are considered
cusp Cusp may refer to: Mathematics *Cusp (singularity) In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and ...
skills,Sébastien Bosch and Michael D. Hixson (2004). The Final Piece to a Complete Science of Behavior: Behavior Development and Behavioral Cusps. The Behavior Analyst Today, 5(3), 244–5

/ref> which are critical skills to open access to a variety of environments. The rationale for this type of approach to treatment is that people meet a variety of social problems and can reduce the stress and punishment from the encounter in a safe environment. It also addresses how they can increase reinforcement by having the correct skills.


See also


References


External links


National Association of School Psychologists on Social Skills
{{Nonverbal communication Group processes Human communication Zoosemiotics Behaviorism Life skills