Our social skills develop naturally at a young age, allowing us to have an instinctive approach towards socialization. However, the process can be anything but natural for many individuals. According to Michelle Garcia Winner, a Congressional-award-winning speech-language pathologist, some people can find the process of taking other people’s thoughts into consideration and acting with the right social skills at the right time very difficult.
At Rice Psychology Group of Tampa, we understand that social challenges can make finding the success you want for yourself or for someone you love exceedingly complicated. To help you take the first step towards a solution, we’ve prepared some information to help you more fully understand the issues at hand.
It Starts with Social Thinking
If you believe that your child, adolescent or adult family member is experiencing certain social problems, such as communication, conversation or body language issues, some professionals may suggest for them to learn better social skills. However, can the solution be as easy as teaching a person how to behave in specific social situations?
Social skills are recognized as behaviors an individual exhibits in a social situation. The likelihood of these behaviors being expected (appropriate) or unexpected (inappropriate) determines how others will judge our social skills, whether they’re good or bad. This means our social behavior is the direct result of a complicated and extremely fast thought process known as “social thinking.” The way we respond in a social context is impacted by our consideration (or lack of consideration) of other people’s thoughts and feelings.
To sum things up, in order for a person to react or behave in an expected or appropriate way, they must remain sensitive to the people around them and the situation they may find themselves in.
The Three Important Steps
Social thinking is one of the most important factors in social problem solving, which is why the psychologists at Rice Psychology Group believe in the three-step process to properly teach social thinking:
- Engage in Social Thinking – It’s important to remember that your behavioral response is directly affected by your social thinking. Your social behavior’s impact on other people will determine how they judge your social skills. According to Garcia Winner, improving your social thinking is a life-long process, but it can help you develop chameleon-like social skills.
- Learn to Adapt – By considering other people’s thoughts and feelings, you can adjust and adapt your behavior accordingly. It is very important to learn how to be flexible in terms of your actions so that you can choose from any one or a combination of tools in your social toolbox. Doing so will make it much more likely for you to receive the reaction you’re hoping for.
- Reactions Matter – Behaviors often get a quick emotional response. For example, we may feel as if someone we interact with is polite or rude solely based on his or her behavior. This cycle dictates how other people feel about the way we handle social situations, which can, in turn, impact our confidence and mental health.
The Skills You Need
At Rice Psychology Group in Tampa, we know how important a good set of social skills is for your success and we understand that improvement requires hard work and dedication from everyone involved on the road to progress. Our team of psychologists is equipped with a wonderful set of tools that make it easier to teach perspective talking and flexible thinking with clients who struggle with social thinking and interpersonal relationships.
We understand that talking about these issues can be difficult, but know that our offices are designed to provide you with a relaxing environment aimed at making a conversation with us easy and comfortable. If you have any questions about our services, or if you or someone you love needs help honing their social skills by working on their social thinking process, give us a call today.