Which social skills are necessary to live a happy life?

So many! That’s why it’s so important to focus on developing them so that we can communicate more effectively, get our views across, be heard, and create an impact in our social, personal, and professional life.

These 7 social skills can be a good starting point in helping you lead a happier life:

Skill #1. Being curious about the world around you.

It’s a combination of thinking like a detective, being open to new experiences, and learning new things. When you’re curious, you also get in tune with your inner child, a part of you that gets ignored often due to the responsibilities of adult life. Now is a good time to revisit who you used to be when you were younger. Try to pay attention to that part of you by devoting some time to exploring the things that made you happy and excited before all this “growing up” stuff happened. It can help you to think and see the things around you differently.

Skill #2. Knowing how to listen to people.

Sometimes that means just staying quiet while a friend is talking about an event in their life, and other times it’s picking up on non-verbal cues to fill in the blanks (observing their gestures, the way their eyes move, how they express their feelings by moving their body). Listening is the number one method of learning, and it precedes everything else. When you’re in a conversation, try to observe as much as possible, absorb new information with all of your senses, and then take the time to process what it means before jumping to conclusions of whether it’s something “good” or “bad.”

Skill #3. Asking important questions.

How can you gather more information unless you ask someone to tell you more about a topic, situation, or issue? But don’t just ask the obvious stuff, or focus on things they can answer “yes” or “no” to. Take advantage of each conversation by asking questions that can reveal more about the topic: what is the single most important thing they believe in, whythey think it’s something you should pay attention to, how does it impact their life and how could it impact yours.

Skill #4. Being respectful towards others.

If you want to be treated as a valued member of society and any social group, you should approach its members with the courtesy and respect you also expect from others. That can mean anything from addressing people politely (especially if you are just getting to know them), to being gracious by letting them express their views and opinions before you start speaking of yours, to treating their time as a valuable commodity (and therefore not taking up too much of it or demanding that they be available to talk to you whenever you want it).

Skill #5. Providing something of value to others.

Providing value means you bring something to the table that can help to solve a problem other people have. It can mean anything from using a personal strength or skill (the ability to teach, code, decipher dense historical texts, or implement a binary search algorithm) to addressing an immediate problem by asking someone, “How can I help?” Whether the problem is big or small, temporary or long-term, your ability to add value gives more meaning to whatever you’re doing, which in turn also gives you a greater sense of purpose.

Skill #6. Showing gratitude.

Not only does the practice of gratitude train your brain to focus on positive things (which can affect your entire life in a positive way), but it also shows people that their efforts to help you don’t go by unnoticed or get taken for granted. This applies to your family members, partner, close friends, coworkers, classmates, neighbors, and anyone else in your social circle who has an impact on your life. When you receive a compliment, say thank you. Next time someone gives you a shortcut to save you time when you’re struggling with a difficult task, tell them how much you appreciate it. And don’t stop there: brainstorm ways in which you can reciprocate by offering something in return: find out what they need and help them get it, offer to help them reach a goal faster, or share a task so it doesn’t take as long.

Skill #7. Sharing the happy moments.

There’s so much growing up for all of us to do, and with that comes a tremendous amount of serious work, long hours, dealing with challenging times and coming up with ways to overcome them and become stronger, better, more resilient. That’s a normal part of everyday living. Which is why it’s so important when you’re experiencing something that lightens your load, brings a smile to your face, fills you up with new energy and makes you feel good about being alive, to share that beautiful moment with someone else. It helps you fully immerse yourself in the moment, it can prolong the feelings of joy and optimism, and it can create a more meaningful memory that your mind can retrieve for years to come.

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