Are There Classes to Help with Social Skills?
Are you looking for a way to learn how to interact with people? Do you want tips on dealing with social situations, or are you trying to find out if there are classes that teach social skills? If so, then this blog post is for you. I will discuss what types of classes are available and provide some advice on how to get started learning about social skills.
There are many classes available that teach social skills. These range from classes that are taught in person by psychologists or coaches to online classes that you can complete at home.
While there is research supporting the effectiveness of social skills training for people with social anxiety, most of these people won’t ever see the benefit because their anxiety prevents them from seeking out this type of help.
Unfortunately, continued isolation and lack of chances to practice your social skills only make the situation worse. When you don’t spend as much time talking to people, you don’t have the same opportunities to learn what works and what doesn’t.
But don’t fret! I’m going to talk about where you can go to find help on your own in this post.
Are There Classes That Teach Social Skills?
There are many ways to learn about social skills. We are living in the age of technology, and there are tons of online resources that can help you with learning about social skills. There are online courses, in-person seminars and retreats, books, videos, DVDs…the list goes on!
Classes are often more structured and typically include activities that help solidify what is being taught. Many social skills experts believe that practicing new techniques in a small group setting will accelerate the learning process as you learn new concepts. However, if you have social anxiety you might prefer to learn on your own at first.
As I mentioned earlier, social skills classes can range anywhere from a structured program delivered by psychologists to a class developed by a social skills expert that you complete on your own schedule.
Some examples of social skills classes that I know about include People School by Vanessa Van Edwards and the free training offered by Social Pro Now, There are also a number of courses on Udemy, Skillshare, and Coursera that you can find simply by searching those platforms.
What Are Social Skills Classes?
Social skills classes are an effective way to learn important skills that sometimes don’t come naturally (especially for those with social anxiety). Often, these classes are taught by an expert who has worked closely with individuals with social anxiety.
These are not group therapy sessions or support groups but are instead focused on teaching specific skills that are proven to help people become more socially competent and confident in their lives.
As mentioned earlier, these can be taught by psychologists through traditional courses given at universities/colleges (sometimes even high schools) as well as offered online by social skills coaches.
Below are some common topics that might be covered in a social skills course:
- conversation skills (both in group and one on one settings)
- body language training
- public speaking/presentation skills
- assertiveness training (how to say no, how not to be walked all over by others)
- anger management (great for people who are too passive or are quick to lash out when emotional)
What Is the Best Way to Learn Social Skills?
There are a number of different ways to learn social skills. Below is a list of things you might try to learn social skills:
- taking an in-person course
- taking an online class
- watching videos (e.g., on Youtube)
- joining an organization like Toastmasters to practice public speaking
- reading a social skills self-help book
- hiring a mentor or coach
- working with a professional like a speech-lanugage pathologist or psychologist
Your choice of method will depend on the level of support you are looking for. The more intensive you want your social skills training to be, the more likely it is that you will want to be working with someone 1:1.
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For example, if you are looking for feedback on your social communication skills, then it might be best for you to find someone that can give you personalized attention.
On the other hand, if your goal is simply to increase your awareness of how to manage your body language in social situations, then watching videos on Youtube might be a simple way to learn this type of information.
How Can I Practice Social Skills Alone?
The best way to learn social skills will always be with other people. Learning social skills is no different than learning any new skill; it’s best to learn in a group setting with others who are interested and invested in the process alongside you.
However, there are some instances where practicing on your own is beneficial or necessary; whether due to financial constraints (in which case reading books will often be your best option) or because you have social anxiety and are struggling to build up the courage to speak with others.
In such cases, it’s important that you are aware of what practicing on your own lacks in comparison to an actual group experience. The natural ebb and flow of conversation cannot be replicated when speaking alone; without any interlocutors to help you gauge the effectiveness of your statements, you are unable to pick up on important nonverbal clues that help you understand what other people are thinking or feeling.
That being said, it is possible to practice social skills alone. Below are some tips on how to do this:
How to practice social skills alone:
- First, you need to think about the social interaction that you are going to practice. This could be something like a job interview, where the other person is your potential employer; it may also be asking for directions in public or talking with someone at a bar.
- Once you’ve identified an appropriate situation, think of ways in which this should be carried out and what the typical conversation would consist of.
- Next, in order to practice , you should try to carry out this conversation in front of a mirror. This will help you identify where your body language may be causing problems, and what facial expressions are appropriate for the situation.
- You can also practice social skills with friends or family members who are willing to play along. If these are not an option, then simply imagining having conversations with other people will help you to improve your language and body language. Practicing with a friend may be more effective, as it allows for an actual response from the other person which can then allow you to adjust accordingly and respond in kind.
How Do You Know If You Lack Social Skills?
How do you know if you lack social skills? Below are some signs that you might benefit from a social skills class:
- You are constantly misunderstood by others, and you are not sure why.
- You don’t know how to start a conversation with a stranger.
- You feel awkward in social settings because you’re not sure what to do or say.
- When you do make conversation, you often feel like an outsider and not really part of the group.
- You are not sure how to make friends, and you don’t know what makes people like each other.
- You don’t know when to start or stop talking.
- You interrupt people when they are speaking.
- You talk too quietly or are too loud.
- You are not sure how to get people’s attention or stay on topic when you are speaking.
What Are Examples of Social Skills?
Social skills can be broken down into two main categories: verbal or nonverbal.
Verbal skills are the ability to speak clearly and express your feelings appropriately with words.
Non-verbal social skills are more physical aspects of communication such as maintaining eye contact or engaging in appropriate physical contact.
Verbal Communication Skills
Verbal communication skills refer to knowing how to speak in a way that is appropriate to the audience and purpose. Verbal communication skills are important for everyone but are especially critical for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Individuals who are on the autistic spectrum are often faced with challenges when it comes to communicating effectively because of social differences in how they relate to other people. Many are unable to understand or produce facial expressions, body language, and other non-verbal cues. This makes it difficult for them to know how to respond appropriately in a given situation.
At the same time, they are often very knowledgeable about specific topics that interest them but are not always able to transfer that information into an effective way of communicating their knowledge. For this reason, learning verbal communication skills can be a key part of social skills classes for autistic people.
Below are some examples of verbal communication skills that can be learned:
- Using appropriate words
- Speaking clearly and confidently
- Listening well & showing interest in what others are saying
- Knowing how to transtions between topics
- How to start a conversation, keep a conversation going, and end a conversation
- Sincerely expressing feelings in an appropriate way
Nonverbal Communication Skills
Non-verbal communication skills are more physical aspects of communication such as maintaining eye contact or engaging in appropriate physical contact. Some studies have shown that up to 60% of our meaning is communicated through body language and tone of voice rather than the words themselves. People with social anxiety may struggle with nonverbal communication skills because their anxiety naturally makes them appear more closed off and aloof.
Non-verbals are broken down into two categories: proxemics (the distance between you and other people) and kinesics (your body movements, facial expressions, eye contact).
Examples of proxemics involve the distance you put between yourself and other people.
- If you are sitting, are your legs crossed or uncrossed?
- Are your arms open and relaxed across the chair in which you are sitting or do they shift about constantly as if nervous energy is building up inside of them?
- How close do you stand to other people?
- Do you invade other people’s space or are you the type of person who always stands at least an arms length away from everyone else?
The second half of non-verbals is kinesics, which are body movements and facial expressions.
- How often do your smile?
- Is it genuine or are there times when you fake a smile?
- Do you lean your head to one side while listening?
- Do you nod in agreement with someone during a conversation?
- Does your voice become louder or softer depending on whom are are speaking to?
- How about you?
Are there particular social skills that you would like to work on or social interactions that you find the hardest? Feel free to share in the comments.
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Are There Classes That Teach Social Skills?
Here are some of my favorite social anxiety tools
Thanks for reading! I hope you found some helpful tips. Since this site is about social anxiety, I wanted to also share some tools I use that I hope you’ll find helpful. Some of these are affiliate links, so if you decide to try them, I’ll earn a commission. However, I only recommend things I have used myself and would recommend to a friend or family member.
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