Tips, Tricks, and Friendly Reminders for the Social Holiday Season
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you might be anticipating the social pressure that comes along with a big social event. You might be planning to host a big gathering yourself, or you might be planning to attend a gathering with lots of other people. Thanksgiving gatherings can feel especially awkward if you don’t know what to say. And the one social skill we need to overcome the discomfort? Conversation! Conversation leads to connection, and connection leads to happiness and well being.
Personal care and hygiene is an essential component of being a good social communicator. By following the social rules associated with having good hygiene, we will be perceived positively by our friends and communities. When our outside appearance is clean and well maintained, we won’t have to worry about personal hygiene being the factor that negatively impact us making and maintaining friendships.
Understanding personal space boundaries is an important social skill that is typically understood non-verbally. Whenever we are with other people, we are using personal space boundaries, whether we are conscious of the rules or not. Following the social rules that go along with personal space boundaries allow us to get along in harmonious ways with each other in public.
Texting can be a highly social method of communication. Knowing the social rules around texting can be incredibly important. Texting is an entirely new way of communicating with one another, and learning the social skills involved in texting is an area that is not frequently talked about.
A great option for social skills training in San Diego is the PEERS program. PEERS (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills) is a group based social skills training program for motivated teens and young adults that focuses on social skills related to making and keeping friends, developing romantic relationships, and managing conflict and rejection, among other foundational social skills.
Social cues exist in most social situations we find ourselves in. We are expected to use social cues to communicate with others, and read social cues that other people are expressing. Whether we are with our families, friends, coworkers, or strangers, we are expected to pick up on the social cues around us and react to these cues in a prosocial way.
Visualizing friend relationships as a set of concentric circles can help us see the bigger picture when it comes to beginning, building, and maintaining friendships. Friendships aren’t one size fits all - a close friendship is different than a situational friendship and relating to an acquaintance is different than relating to a stranger. Each ‘circle’ of friends has its own set of unique assumptions and boundaries.
Social skills are essential for all of us. We need a solid foundation of social skills in order to be effective social communicators in our school, work, home, and social lives. Most of the time, social skills are learned implicitly, but the abstract concept of social communication can be broken down into concrete steps that can be taught and learned. Learning these social skills can provide you with valuable knowledge that will positively impact your life in all areas.
Did you know that ‘hidden rules’ exist in all of the social contexts that we encounter daily? Hidden rules are guidelines that we are expected to follow throughout our day. The environments that we encounter daily all have a set of hidden rules that people are expected to follow. They exist all around us - in our homes, schools, stores, outdoor spaces - everywhere you find people, you will find people following social rules. When we are able to follow these rules, we are able to successfully navigate the social world around us.
Friendships are almost always built around common interests. We make friends based on what activities we enjoy participating in, what we like to talk about, and what settings we gravitate towards. Taking some time to identify the interests that bring us joy in our lives individually is an essential first step in learning the social skill of finding common interests.
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