Human beings are social beings and, therefore, we must acquire a series of social skills that allow us to live in harmony with those around us , since we need others to survive and to enjoy an emotionally healthy life.

Not possessing certain social skills determines how we behave when we are with other people and our way of acting can sometimes be misinterpreted by others, which can result in conflict that could have been avoided.

The 14 basic social skills

Social skills are a set of behaviours that we emit when we interact with other individuals and that help us to relate to others in an effective and mutually satisfactory way. Fortunately, they can be acquired and developed with practice. However, it may be difficult to master some of them, because we have to be patient and take time to develop them properly

In today’s article, we have prepared a list of the 14 main social skills to succeed in your relationships and in your life . Let’s get started!

1. Active listening

There is a big difference between listening and hearing . Knowing how to listen is very important in communicating with other people and, although we don’t always realize it, sometimes we spend more time paying attention to what we think and what we say instead of actively listening to the other.

Active listening is not just paying attention to the words that come out of the other person’s mouth, but consists of being fully aware of the emotions and the non-verbal language that the other person is trying to communicate.

Active listening is really important when it comes to communicating effectively with other people.

So it’s interesting that you take a look at our article: “Active listening: the key to communicating with others”

2. Assertiveness

Assertiveness is a very important social skill for many reasons. The assertive person expresses his/her opinion in an appropriate manner and defends his/her point of view , always respecting the opinion of others. Thus, assertiveness is key to communicate efficiently with other individuals, but also for our own emotional well-being.

But what differentiates assertive people from non-assertive people? You can find this answer in our post: “Assertive people: 10 characteristics they have in common”

3. Emotional validation

Emotional validation is the understanding and expression of the acceptance of the other person’s emotional experience , and improves interpersonal relationships since the other partner feels understood and recognised. When someone feels that they are being understood emotionally, their trust towards the other person increases and they are able to open up, that is, to verbalize what they think and feel. It is essential to create a good relationship with other individuals

Recommended article: “Emotional validation: 6 basic tips to improve it”

4. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to put oneself in the other’s place and know what he feels or even what he may be thinking . Therefore, it is necessary to be able to have interpersonal relationships with other individuals and to know how to behave in front of others. Empathy, moreover, is key to adapting to social situations.

You might be interested in: “Learning to handle empathy and adaptation: two wonderful qualities of the human being”

5. Negotiation skills

When we share our day-to-day life with people it is necessary to have good negotiation skills . Whether with colleagues or with your partner, knowing how to negotiate is a necessary skill because it can avoid many conflicts. Moreover, conflict can arise in any relationship, and learning how to manage it and negotiate is a healthy and essential way to make relationships work.

6. Respect

People are more willing to relate to us if we show respect for their beliefs, values and ideas. In addition to respecting their way of thinking, respect can be expressed through eye contact that indicates sincerity , so that people feel taken into consideration. Lack of respect is one of the attitudes that we hate the most and that, in some cases, is difficult to leave behind.

7. Credibility

Showing oneself as a credible person is necessary to gain trust with others and also to persuade an audience. As with respect, credibility makes people show themselves as they are and be more receptive. Always be consistent with what you say and do.

8. Compassion

Nobody is perfect and therefore we can all be wrong . Sometimes we are very hard on others, even though they have not done something in bad faith. Being compassionate is key in dealing with other individuals, and acceptance and forgiveness help to improve our well-being.


You might be interested in: “Forgiveness: should I or should I not forgive the one who hurt me?”

9. Positive thinking

Living life in a negative way will influence how we see the world and, therefore, how we relate to others. Having a positive mentality and facing situations with optimism is one of the best ways to live . And, moreover, it attracts other people.

Article to deepen the positive thinking: “25 positive phrases to live day by day with optimism”

10. Emotional regulation

Emotional regulation is a key concept when living with other individuals and is a necessary life skill. Being aware of and regulating our own emotions is necessary and at the same time helps us to better develop our ability to promote our own and others’ well-being.

11. Open-mindedness

A mind free of prejudices and stereotypes is a strength that helps you to relate to different people and to adapt better to your surroundings. Mental rigidity and intolerance are certainly a limitation for interpersonal relationships.

12. Patience

Being patient is one of the great virtues we can possess, especially when it comes to our social environment. If we do not master this skill, anything can bother us and become a big problem. Patience helps to be relaxed and to avoid being more tense than necessary . Before exploding into a fit of anger, it is best to take a few seconds to rethink. A good way to improve this skill is through Mindfulness.

13. Courtesy

When we are courteous and polite to other people they will rarely be ungrateful to us . Behave respectfully and politely with others and you will see how things go much better for you. Being gentle and kind is always a plus .

14. Knowing how to express oneself

Knowing how to express oneself is key when relating to others . With regard to verbal language, it is necessary to be clear and get the message we want across to others. This seems easy, but it is not always the case. Using concrete examples, having a good capacity of improvisation, vocalizing correctly or considering the tenses are useful strategies.

Featured article: “The 10 Basic Communication Skills”

Extra ball

In addition, reading and writing are important for communication . Reading makes intellectual development possible and helps us to understand reality better. And mastering writing is essential nowadays, since the new information and communication technologies (ICT) have burst into our lives with force.