8 signs you have exceptional social skills, according to psychology

Have you ever met someone who just seems to ‘get’ people?

This magical ability is known as solid social skills.

But what if I told you that this skill set involves much more than just gathering a crowd?

It isn’t about having gazillions of friends and followers on social media, either.

It’s a learned skill that involves reading the room, genuine interest in others, and choosing meaningful conversations over surface-level chatter.

Could you be one of the socially gifted ones who have this skill?

Let’s uncover the answer by jumping right into the traits of a person with high social skills, according to psychology:

1) You’re in control of your emotions

Being the boss of your emotions is a skill known as emotional regulation, which is a component of having high social skills.

In fact, a study published in 2020 highlights the correlation between increased social skills and decreased emotionality.

They found that subjects with better control of their emotions had fewer problems with their peers and increased social skills.

Their findings suggest that emotional regulation is a sign of strong social skills.

But don’t get the wrong idea.

It’s not about suppressing your feelings.

It’s about getting a handle on your emotions and managing them effectively, without stepping on anyone’s toes.

2) You wear your heart on your sleeve

Speaking of emotions, here’s a pop quiz:

Are you an animated storyteller?

Do you genuinely smile and laugh at the good times and frown in genuine concern during the bad times?

Are gentle hand touches and warm hugs your love language for expressing support and empathy to people?

If you answered yes to any of these, you most likely have high emotional expressivity, or the ability to effectively express your emotions.

And how does this relate to your social skills?

A lot, apparently.

In a 2012 study, American psychologists found a strong link between emotional expressivity and social skills.

Essentially, they found that people who are good at emotional expressivity tend to connect well with others.

This could be because their emotional transparency makes them easier to understand and more approachable.

Or it could also be because they’re willingness to be emotionally vulnerable encourages others to do the same, allowing enriching interactions and therefore, deeper connections.

Either way, your emotional expressivity enhances your social interactions by making them more meaningful, engaging, and supportive.

3) You’re a highly sensitive person

Not only do you nail expressing yourself, but you’re also super sharp at sensing others’ moods.

And that empathy of yours is part of what makes you a highly socially skilled individual.

Psychologist Dr Chivonna Child explains that someone with emotional sensitivity tends to pick up on the needs of others.

This gives a good impression of you being a supportive friend and is also apparently responsible for your deep bonds with the people in your life.

But here’s the kicker:

Dr Child says there is also a downside to this.

She says your knack for empathizing with others can also lead to compassion fatigue if you don’t limit your time and set boundaries for your interaction with people.

But let’s focus on the positive:

Overall, she affirms that being emotionally sensitive is a winning trait. It helps you have deep and meaningful relationships with others and makes you a highly effective leader.

To quote Dr Child, “a highly sensitive person can lead a rich life.”

4) You’re a conversation starter

I always find it awkward having to initiate conversations in social settings, but my husband does this flawlessly.

To this day, his knack of starting conversations even with strangers continues to impress me.

And according to experts, this charisma is a sign of my husband’s impeccable social skills.

Here’s a quick dive into this:

Early works by psychologists point to social expressivity – or the ability to verbally express yourself, including initiating conversations – as one of the main components of having powerful social skills.

So, if, like my husband, you can easily break the ice and keep a conversation flowing, you’re showing off classic social skills.

5) You’re an active listener

Active listener 8 signs you have exceptional social skills, according to psychology

Social skills aren’t just about doing the talking.

A lot of it is being on the listening end, too.

Clinical psychologists agree with this, emphasizing that active listening is an important skill set for various social circumstances, from everyday interactions to those important business deals.

They say that if we’re not listening actively, we risk failing to understand the real message.

You know you’re an active listener if you:

  • Allow the speaker to finish their thoughts uninterrupted.
  • Listen without making judgments.
  • Truly focus your attention on the speaker and the message.
  • Asking relevant questions.

Words hold power, but so does saying nothing and simply listening.

Take it from Shane Johnston, in his book on how introverts can improve their social skills:

“If nаturе іntеndеd uѕ to tаlk mоrе than lіѕtеn, ѕhе would have gіvеn us twо mоuthѕ and оnе еаr.”

6) You have a constructive confrontation style

One of the hallmarks of your high social skills is your ability to confront people in a respectful and empathetic manner – one that is focused on finding a solution rather than attacking the person.

What does constructive confrontation look like in your everyday life?

It could involve organizing a meeting to review project roles that bother a team member.

It could also be when you address a misunderstanding directly with a friend, taking the time to understand their perspective rather than going straight on the offensive.

Experts explain that approaching conflicts through positive engagement requires clear communication, emotional intelligence, and a solid commitment to strengthening and maintaining relationships – all crucial components of effective social interaction.

So, if you’re good at turning confrontations into constructive conversations, take that as a sign of your top-notch social skills.

7) Your relationships and interactions are more about quality than quantity

The common misconception is that the more popular people are the ones who have really good social skills.

But the truth is more complicated than that.

In one of his works, author and psychologist Dr John B. Nezlek notes the significant positive correlation between an individual’s social skills and the quality of their social interactions.

His findings suggest that those who have higher social skills tend to have deeper and more meaningful interactions.

But here’s where it gets interesting:

Apparently, how socially active a person is or how much social interaction they have has nothing to do with their social skills.

This essentially debunks the myth we mentioned earlier that more friends = greater social skills.

In short, what defines the level of your social skills is not your number of friends or frequency of social engagements.

What really counts is the value and depth present in every interaction you engage in.

8) You ease your way into social situations

Another telltale sign of your high social skills is your ability to interact in social situations.

Organizational and social psychology expert Professor Ronald Riggio explains that there are two psychological constructs involved with this skill, each with its own downfalls and merits.

Let’s dive into these two constructs:

The first is self-monitoring, which Prof Riggio describes as the ability to read social cues and modify one’s behavior to make one “fit in” to a particular social situation.

The problem he sees with this first construct is that it forces people to change their attitudes and opinions just to be “accepted.”

The second construct is social control, which basically refers to one’s ability to stand out positively without letting the social situation change them just for the sake of blending in.

But then again, the negative he sees in too much social control is that it could lead to arrogance or extreme self-confidence.

That said, Prof Riggio says that the true measure of your good social skills is your ability to balance these two constructs.

Put simply, the key to high social skills is balancing the art of fitting in and standing out.

Practice makes perfect

How many signs in this list have you ticked?

If your answer is none, don’t sweat it.

Here’s why:

Go back to the introduction and find where we said it’s a “learned” skill. That word is not just there for the word count.

It’s to emphasize that social skill is one of the life skills we can learn and/or improve.

Like any skill, it’s about taking small steps to make big improvements.

It’s not easy, and you’re not alone.

I know, because I’m working on my social skills myself.

But is this social learning path worth it?

Guess we’ll find out – one awkward handshake at a time.

“Social skills are like any other skill. They are learned through trial and error. Practice and patience will improve them greatly.” – Unknown.

Sarah Piluden-Natu-El

Sarah Piluden-Natu-El

Sarah is a full-time mum, wife, and nurse on hiatus turned freelance writer. She is on a journey of diving deeper into life through life itself and uses her writing to share the lessons learned along the way. When not on her computer, she enjoys time with her family strolling along the Gold Coast's stunning beaches and captivating hinterland.

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