Social skills are the tools we use while interacting with others. We learn and develop social skills as we move through different stages of life. People will naturally evolve different social skills depending on their base personality type. For example, someone with an ENFP personality type is usually well-attuned to social graces and enjoys interacting with others. Conversely, INFP personalities are compassionate and empathetic but often lack the social skills to interact with large groups of people.
Social skills are not static parts of our personality. It is possible to improve your social skills regardless of your base characteristics and personality type. The following ten tips will help you improve your social skills and develop healthy relationships.
- Interact with others
- Take small steps
- Encourage others to talk
- Set clear objectives
- Give compliments
- Read social skills books
- Learn about body language
- Practice good manners
- Practice making eye contact
- Practice listening
Below we take a deeper look at ten ways to improve your social skills.
1. Interact with others
Interacting with others is the most straightforward way to improve your social skills. This method requires regular socialization. Personalities with a dominant extroversion function will have an easier time interacting with others than those with a dominant introversion function. For example, an ENFP will find day-to-day socialization more natural to their personality type than an INTJ. Both personalities may want to improve their social skills, but ENFPs will find this method easier than INTJs due to their innate extroversion. That said, interaction is a crucial aspect of socialization and goes beyond merely engaging in conversation. Interaction includes everything from a handshake to non-verbal participation in a discussion. If you want to improve your social skills, you have to engage with others.
2. Begin with little steps
Improving your social skills is best done if you begin with little steps. Introvert personality types will benefit most from this method as they find socialization to be a draining experience. Additionally, breaking down interaction into little steps lessens any fears of socializing and turns it into a manageable process. For example, an INTJ looking to improve their social skills will likely be uncomfortable going to a party or a club. A trip to the grocery store or the park with a friend would be much more manageable for a shy INTJ. Personality types that are naturally introverted will shut down if social events become too intense, so beginning with little steps is a great way to improve social skills without being overwhelmed.
3. Encourage Others to Talk About Their Own Experiences
Encouraging others to talk about their own experiences is a great way to improve your social skills. Socialization is about dialogue and rapport. Encouraging others to talk about their interests or hobbies will help ease you into socializing and nurture bonds. Try speaking to a confident acquaintance. Confident people love talking about their experiences. Interacting with a confident personality type also removes the pressure to be instantly open about your feelings. For example, ISTJs struggle with emotions By encouraging others to talk about their experiences, those with an ISTJ personality can improve their social skills without opening up emotionally. Additionally, talking to others about their experiences helps improve social skills because it establishes a dialogue flow.
4. Set objectives for yourself
Set objectives for yourself if you’re trying to improve your social skills. Change doesn’t happen overnight and the best way for you to manage your socialization journey is by setting milestones and objectives for yourself. Objectives are an essential part of improving social skills because they help you focus on the end goal. You should also set smaller goals because they’re more obtainable and will increase your motivation. Major objectives will help improve innate social skills on a larger scale. For example, ESTJs are naturally outgoing but may want to improve their social skills on an interpersonal level. A socially adept INFP may similarly wish to work on their confidence in larger groups and be more assertive. Both of these objectives are grand in hindsight but feasible if they’re broken down into smaller goals. Setting objectives help mark out the road ahead and ensure progress is both attainable and measurable.
5. Give Generous Compliments
Giving generous compliments is a great way to improve your social skills as they act as a gateway to new relationships. Compliments naturally lead to conversations and a two-way dialogue flow. Some personality types struggle with close interpersonal connections, so giving a compliment is an excellent way to build a stronger connection. Compliments are ideal for an INTJ personality type. INTJs often struggle with compliments, so practicing this skill will help them feel more comfortable receiving compliments in return.
6. Read Social Skills Books
Reading social skills books is another way you can improve your social skills. Self-help books instill a stronger understanding of social skills and nurture healthier interpersonal relationships. Naturally introverted individuals that struggle in social situations will benefit from reading social skills books that provide tips and insights on bolstering confidence. INFP types struggle with vulnerability and therefore would benefit from reading social skills books about opening up about their feelings and trusting others. Reading will also help personality types such as INFPs build self-confidence in a private setting before they try interacting with others.
7. Take Notice of Your Body Language
Taking notice of your body language is crucial to improving your social skills. Body language is the conscious and subconscious movements through which we convey our attitudes and feelings. By understanding the impression your body language gives off, you can make minor adjustments to appear more friendly during social interactions. Personality types such as the ISTJ may struggle to read or understand their body language. They may therefore appear standoffish or cold to others. An ISTJ looking to improve their social skills can appear more welcoming by taking notice of their body language and relaxing their posture. Body language gives subtle indicators that words may not fully capture. Someone attuned to the nuances of body language will demonstrate better social skills as they can adjust to different interactions.
8. Good manners must be practiced
Good manners must be practiced in order to improve your social skills. Manners are the cornerstone of all social skills and practicing politeness will help ensure interactions start off on the right foot. Additionally, good manners set the tone for the entire conversation. Being polite will ensure conversations go smoothly, whether it’s a one-on-one discussion or group meeting. Personalities such as ESTJs are intense characters who view the world in a black and white manner. Therefore, they may be impolite while interacting with others. Practicing good manners is an excellent way for ESTJs to improve their social skills.Good manners will also help people feel at ease. Approaching someone with good manners is always the best option, whether it’s a fun, awkward, or difficult conversation.
9. Maintaining eye contact should be practiced
Maintaining eye contact should be practiced to improve your social skills. Maintaining eye contact helps create an authentic connection between you and another person. Maintaining eye contact also shows your interest in the discussion and that you are listening attentively. Shy personality types such as INFJs should practice maintaining eye contact to not only improve their social skills but bolster their confidence
10. Improve your listening abilities
Improving your listening abilities is a vital part of improving your social skills. Listening is of great importance because it helps ensure healthy communication. Good social skills not only require that share your thoughts but also that you listen and be receptive to others’ ideas. ENTJs are poor listeners who tend to jump to conclusions, making them the ideal personality type who should improve their listening abilities. Listening helps with socializing because it ensures everybody involved is an active participant. Listening can even be more important than talking in some instances.
How could personality types improve their socialization abilities?
Each of the 16 personality types can improve their socialization abilities by working on their personal weaknesses. For example, ENTJs often struggle with listening, so practicing that active social skill would benefit them. In contrast, INFJs are effective listeners, but they struggle with engaging with a broader group of people. Therefore, INFJs would benefit from beginning with little steps and encouraging others to talk about their own experiences. All personality types can improve their social skills as long as they focus on their personal weaknesses.
How could INTJs improve in socialization?
The best way an INTJ personality could improve in socialization is to put themselves in a position to meet new people. INTJs are naturally introverted and highly logical thinkers, which makes them somewhat socially awkward. By using the ten ways to improve social skills listed in this article, INTJs can start small, interacting with others one on one and talking about shared interests. INTJs pair best with a natural extrovert who is likely to help them out of their social comfort zone. An ENTJ or ENFJ would be suitable conversational cohorts.
Additionally, INTJs are perfectionists, which can impinge on their social skills. A key learning point for an INTJ is to let go of being perfect in a social setting. Socialization is not a competition. By letting go of the need to be perfect in everything, INTJs can improve their social skills, enjoy being around others more, and expand their social circles.
What are some good social skills books?
Below are three great books that will help you develop your social skills.
- Improve Your Social Skills: How to Talk to Anyone – The Ultimate Guide to Improve Your Conversations and Your People Skills by Roy Briggs (2019)
- Improve Your Social Skills by Daniel Wendler (2014)
- How to Talk to Anyone About Anything: Improve Your Social Skills, Master Small Talk, Connect Effortlessly, and Make Real Friends by James W. Williams (2021)