Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with advising people to do one thing that scares you every day.
Sound advice, especially if you want to get out of your comfort zone.
Now, let’s apply that same reasoning to social skills.
One common misconception is that to improve or even maintain your social skills you have to go a lot and be a social butterfly. Not quite.
Social skills improve with the more social interaction we have. And luckily for us in the 21st century, technology enables us to have social interaction from the comfort of our homes and from a distance of others.
1. What aspect of social interaction do you find most intimidating?
- Small talk?
- Talking on the phone?
- Composing a casual email?
- Making eye contact?
- Admitting you were at fault? / apologizing?
- Inviting someone somewhere (*after social distancing ends*)
- Telling a story (at the dinner table, in a casual conversation, during a zoom call)
- Striking up a conversation with someone you don’t have much in common with
- Listening with empathy
- Interrupting someone who won’t stop talking
2. Challenge yourself by doing the “thing” that frightens you
While you could do this in person under normal circumstances, given the current global situation, you can do these from your home: through calls, virtual meetings, emails, and instant messaging. The point is, if you have an internet connection, you have access to social interaction.
3. Rinse and Repeat: go through the list of challenges and complete all the quests
Awesome. You completed your first Explearning challenge. Don’t stop there. Now’s that you’re revved up, keep going. Run through the list above or create your own list and as you make your way through it make note of your progress. Take notes on the strategies you’ve used, on the feedback from the listeners, and on how you felt while communicating.
The way our lessons are designed, we encourage you to try out the strategies we provide in each video and blog post. Treat each Explearning lessons as a communication quest to complete during your own social interaction. We have hundreds of communication and social skills challenges for your to complete. Check them out here.
With practice, you’ll find that your social skills can improve, even when your social interaction is contained to a zoom call, a text message, or a video chat. Even in times when you may be physically isolated from another human being, you are never truly alone. So while social distancing is isolating, it doesn’t have to be lonely. Keep your social skills sharp and be sure to implement your social strategies when you feel a tinge of loneliness creep in. You and your conversation partner will be thrilled you did.
Sure, virtual social interaction is not the same as face-to-face communication, but it certainly does the trick when you find yourself in a pickle. And these days, the world is in a pickle. But it's temporary, so we can get through this, Explearners! Keep flexing those beautiful social skills muscles of yours.
Happy Explearning ⚡