Building good relationships with other people can greatly reduce stress and anxiety in your life. As humans, we are hardwired for connection. Connecting with others is associated with improved mental health, since having friends can act as a “safeguard” for feelings of loneliness and isolation. This is especially true if you are socially anxious and desperately want to make friends but are either too fearful or are unsure about how to reach out to others. As a result of these anxious feelings, you may begin avoiding social situations. It is important practice interacting with others in a way that would increase the chance for successful relationships.
Social Skills Training Should:
- Focus on facilitating the desirable behavior as well as eliminating the undesirable behavior.
- Emphasize the learning, performance, generalization, and maintenance of appropriate behaviors through modeling, coaching, and role-playing. It is also crucial to provide immediate performance feedback.
- Employ primarily positive strategies and add punitive strategies only if the positive approach is unsuccessful and the behavior is of a serious and/or dangerous nature.
- Provide training and practice opportunities in a wide range of settings with different groups and individuals in order to encourage students to generalize new skills to multiple, real life situations.
- Draw on assessment strategies, including functional assessments of behavior, to identify those children in need of more intensive interventions as well as target skills for instruction.
- Look to enhance social skills by increasing the frequency of an appropriate behavior in a particular situation. This should take place in "normal" environments to address the naturally occurring causes and consequences.
"The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood."
Helpful Links For Social Skills
- NASP Center - Information on improving social skills to help promote positive behavior, academic success, and school safety.
- VeryWell - Great overview of social skills training to help adults who suffer from social anxiety disorder.
- HelpGuide.org - A trusted guide to mental, emotional & social health that deals with social anxiety disorder and social phobia.