11 signs you have exceptional social skills, according to psychology

Are you one of those folks who just seems to “get” people? Do you find it second nature to read and understand the temperature of the room? Are you at ease in the presence of others? Are they with you?  

These highly useful traits are called social skills. And this has nothing to do with having a gazillionty followers on social media. That’s just superficial popularity.

Someone with great people skills goes way deeper than your average influencer.

And the good news is that it’s a skill you can work on acquiring if you have the desire to learn. 

So, whether you already have finely-honed social skills or are hoping to brush up on them or improve them, let’s take a look at the traits of someone with exceptional social skills, according to psychology.

1) Active listening 

As always, one of the best qualities a person can possess is their capacity for active listening. It’s not very common which is why someone who’s an excellent listener makes such an impact on people.

Why’s that? A Harvard University study revealed that 60% of the time, people revolve a conversation around themselves. Worse still, when it’s not our turn to talk, we’re often mentally constructing our response instead of listening.

Having excellent social skills isn’t about always holding the floor. The most important component of any conversation is the listening end.

Clinical psychologists emphasize that active listening is a crucial skill to work on, from mundane interactions to important business.

2) You’re upbeat 

Experts confirm that humans are naturally drawn to people who give off positive energy. People who are upbeat and enthusiastic are a pleasure to be around. If you feel crappy, a genuinely positive person can lift your spirits in no time.

So try to resist complaining, casting blame, or being a Debbie Downer. There’s always a time and a place for venting negative emotions. But as a general rule, try to keep   the conversation moving in a constructive direction.

3) Positive body language

Your social skills require more than mere words. If you’re trying to build a rapport with someone, utilize centered body language.

While communicating, maintain eye contact. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by the goings-on around you or when you get a text notification on your phone. 

If you want to make a positive and lasting impression, make sure the person you’re conversing with has your complete attention.

4) You’re thoughtful 

Another all-too-rare but very crucial social skill is always remembering to thank or acknowledge others for what they’ve done for you. 

A little gratitude goes a long way.

This is just common courtesy, people. Part of the basic manners we should’ve been learning since childhood. 

A simple “thank you” should be a knee-jerk response to another person’s kindness, no matter what the situation. 

5) Emotionally expressive

Research conducted by American psychologists revealed a strong link between someone’s emotional expressiveness and their social skills.

The study shows that people who are emotionally expressive find it easier to connect well with others.

That’s because they put everything right out on Front St. and their emotional immediacy makes them more relatable and approachable.

The willingness to be emotionally vulnerable encourages other people to follow suit, which in turn fosters deeper connections.

6) You praise others

One of the greatest social skills superpowers is the ability to make others feel good about themselves

People like being around people who acknowledge their triumphs and achievements.

And even if it’s someone you don’t know personally—in a business context, for instance, you’ll do a little sleuthing to discover what their latest wins are so you can compliment them on it to help break the ice during your first interaction. 

Afraid you’ll sound like a suck-up? Don’t sweat it. What might sound over the top to the speaker is generally received as an unadulterated fact to the person you’re talking to, anyway.

7) Excellent emotional regulation

people who have high emotional intelligence often had these transformative experiences growing up 11 signs you have exceptional social skills, according to psychology

Having control over your emotions is known as emotional regulation, which is an important element of having excellent social skills.

Research studies highlight the link between above-average social skills and emotional restraint. The subjects with better emotional control had fewer problems with their peers and more satisfying social interactions all around.

But keep in mind that controlling your emotions doesn’t mean you have to suppress your feelings. It’s about managing your emotions effectively, not acting like a phony.

8) Tactful confrontation 

One of the most enviable hallmarks of advanced social skills is the ability to confront others when necessary, but in a wholly respectful manner by focusing on the issues and possible solutions instead of attacking the other person.

So, how would this constructive confrontation manifest in day-to-day life?

It could arise during a misunderstanding with a friend when you take the time to actively listen to their point of view instead of immediately going for the throat.  

A good offense isn’t always the best defense. 

Psychological experts agree that approaching confrontation through positive interaction also requires good communication skills, a healthy dose of emotional intelligence, and the sincere desire to build and strengthen your relationships.

9) You’re willing to compromise

If you have exceptional people skills, you probably have the reputation of being a caring, considerate person who’s willing to compromise.

You’re not obstinate by nature. You’d rather be a team player than focus on your own self-centered wants. 

A people person is truly happy when everyone else is happy. 

You have a knack for putting the shoe on the other foot and easily grasping how the other party may see the issue at hand.

Compromise comes naturally to you. 

10) Relationship quality over quantity

At first glance, it would appear that the most popular people would have really good social skills.

But that’s not always the truth. Psychologist and author Dr John B. Nezlek describes the correlation between someone’s social skills and how good their social interactions are.

His findings conclude that people with more advanced social skills usually make deeper and more meaningful interactions with others.

What defines how good your social skills are isn’t the size of your social circle or how often you go out. 

It’s the quality, not the quantity.

11) You’re empathic 

Not only are you unusually self-aware, you’re also amazingly accurate at sensing others’ moods because you’re so emotionally sensitive.

According to psychologists, that empathy of yours is a huge factor in why you’re a highly socially skilled individual. 

And because of this, the bonds you form with your people are deep.

But here’s the catch.

Your natural tendency to empathize with others can result in compassion fatigue if you fail to set appropriate boundaries to protect your mental health.

But overall, being emotionally sensitive is a definite plus. It increases your chances of forming and maintaining meaningful relationships with others.

What’s not to love? 

Final thoughts

There’s a way to keep this really simple. Just treat other people the way you’d like to be treated. 

It’s pretty much foolproof.

That’s because everyone wants to be heard, understood and respected. Not judged. And with your exceptional social skills, you bring that energy in spades.

Picture of Kathy Copeland Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden lives in a New England forest paradise with her cats, kid, and trusty laptop. She has been writing since age 8 and is such a pack rat she can back that up with physical evidence. Music is her solace and words are her drug, so her house is strewn with records and books. Watch your step.

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