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Social Skills

Social skills are all of the things we do and say in order to "fit in" in our social environments, to get along with others, and to read and understand the people and situations around us.

Social skills form the foundation for relationships with others. They include:

  • Thinking of topics for a conversation
  • Listening to the other person without interruption
  • Keeping the conversation going
  • Reading the facial and verbal cues that the other person sends and responding appropriately to them
  • Knowing when and how to end an interaction or conversation with someone else

What might you see?

  • Lack of awareness of personal space and boundaries (for example, talking about private family matters, asking questions that are too personal, or flirting inappropriately)
  • Reduced sensitivity for the feelings of others (reduced empathy)
  • Possible disregard for acceptable standards of conduct at home or out in public
  • Use of inappropriate language or behavior

How can you help?

  • React calmly when the service member or veteran demonstrates inappropriate social skills.
  • Role-play or rehearse responses to social situations.
  • Use an agreed-upon signal to let the service member or veteran know that they may be saying something inappropriate.
  • Use redirection (in other words, try to change the topic or focus of interest to something else).
  • Praise and reinforce appropriate behavior.