It’s only natural for humans to exhibit traits of being socially skilled because man is a social creature. However, while some people tend to show effective social skills, others often struggle to socialize and are usually referred to as socially inept. Many a time, being socially inept will not only be a limitation to the person affected but might also communicate the wrong ideas about their personality. Curious to know whether you are socially inept, or if there are possible ways out of such social incompetence? Find out below.
What Does It Mean To Be Socially Inept?
In a layman’s language, being socially inept means not being familiar with social rules for interaction. This also means that you face great difficulty socializing and this can eventually lead to people who are socially inept feeling inferior.
Other terms that socially inept relate to are socially awkward and social incompetence as they all deal with human interactions. Social awkwardness in relation to social ineptitude means the failure to recognize and understand social norms and the inability of having meaningful conversations with others. More so, social incompetence as it relates to social ineptitude means difficulty interacting with others and this shows a person’s poor social skills. Thus, a person with social ineptitude tends to exhibit traits of both social incompetence and awkwardness.
Research also shows that a lot of people who are socially inept might have inherited it. Neuron psychiatrists tagged it as a game of the mind, most of them say; the mind has power over the body, and the state of your mental health has a lot of impact on the body.
Does Being Socially Inept Mean You Have Social Anxiety Disorder Or Shyness?
Although being socially inept can led to a situation of social anxiety, it does not necessarily mean that every socially inept person has a social anxiety problem. This is because, having a social anxiety disorder is a mental condition and it comes with severe physical challenges like increased heartbeat, nausea, and excessive fear of being judged by people when you speak. In most cases, people with anxiety disorder need medical treatment to help them get over their extreme reactions.
More so, a socially inept person might exhibit tendencies of withdrawing from a conversation but that does not necessarily mean that they are shy. A good explanation for this is the fact that a shy person is naturally a reserved person who is subtle in their manner of approach. To be socially inept on the other hand means you lack appropriate communication skills and most times in the bid to speak with caution, a socially inept person can be labeled as shy but that is not so.
Signs That Show You Are Socially Inept
In some cases, socially inept persons may be unaware of their poor communication skills and often question why everyone tends to avoid them. Well, you might be exhibiting one or more socially inept traits that may have been hindering your socialization skills.
Here are few signs that can help you identify whether you are socially inept or not:
1. You Are Usually Ignored In A Group Setting
If you have experienced moments when you had this gut feeling that your presence was being ignored intentionally in a conversation, it is a red flag signaling your poor social skills. A perfect picture of such a situation might be when you are at a table with a group of persons and everyone seems to be having a great time chit-chatting while you just watch them. This is a major sign to show that you have very poor communication skills as it is obvious that no one seems to have noticed your lack of contribution.
2. You Have The Tendency Of Saying The Wrong Things
You are socially inept if you exhibit a trait of making the wrong kind of contributions whenever you are in a social gathering. You might not actually say such things intentionally but someone usually ends up hurt or angry by your remarks. Well, this could be a result of your poor social communication skills and if you lack the mastery of social interactions, you will always make mistakes in your manner of saying things.
3. Your Contributions Are Usually Followed By Long Awkward Silences
If you’ve noticed that during your conversation with people, there is always an awkward silence whenever you make a remark, then you are probably socially inept. When you consistently experience such awkward silences, what it signifies is your inability to hold a meaningful and interesting conversation. You basically lack proper conversation skills to sustain your social interactions.
4. You Don’t Captivate People When You Speak
While engaging in casual conversations or when new friendships are at a budding stage, one key determinant of how well your ideas will be received by those present is based on how passionate you present them. If you do so recklessly, you won’t get the kind of attention you desire. If you have noticed this, quit blaming people for being inattentive rather, improve your social skills.
5. Socialization Wears You Out
Man is a social being and socializing should be an activity people engage in very often. However, when the idea of meeting people or spending time with a group becomes a boring and tedious task, then your social skills are very poor and the bottom line is, you are socially inept. Many a time, if a friend or colleague forces you to go out and socialize, you might find yourself drifting to a corner all by yourself or being distracted by your mobile phone or anything to take your attention off the people around you.
Is Being Socially Inept Really A Bad Trait?
Even the most eloquent person we admire can attest to the fact that he/she must have experienced some awkward moments – whether it is starting a conversation, meeting old or new friends, or even giving a speech. Its hereby safe to say that experiencing such complex, self-conscious and uncomfortable feelings is normal, given that they do not occur on a regular basis. Researchers have also proven that being socially inept or awkward has some upsides which can be beneficial when harnessed.
However, although being socially inept might not be a horrible vice, it serves as a limitation to both the person (who is yet to master proper social skills) and the people he/she relates with. It is also worthy to record that failure to improve on your ability to relate with people amicably can result in a lot of distress which may include:
- Experiencing resentment from people because of your wrong remarks
- Depression might creep in as you could be spending too much time analyzing everything you say
- Inability to make friends or
- Being overwhelmed with the feeling of rejection
Social gatherings might not be an area everyone thrives in but one can minimize the level of stress you face there if you take some basic steps to learn how to be less awkward around people.
7 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Social Skills and Be Less Awkward
If you realize that you exhibit all or any of the social inept traits above, you don’t need to worry because you are not the only one with such inadequacies and the good news is you can always improve your social skills. Although this might not just happen instantly, with dedication and consistency, you will be social savvy in no time!
Here are 7 quick tips to get you started:
1. Observe and Mimic Socially Savvy Persons
A very crucial key when it comes to adopting a new trait is mimicking those who exhibit the desired trait that you want. If you are socially inept, the initial step you can start from in polishing your social interactions is to observe and learn from people who are already socially savvy.
The popular Japanese saying, ‘Copy the master until you master the craft. When you do, that’s when you can develop your own style’ comes in handy here as you can only be an outstanding master if you have mastery of your craft. So, anytime you are around a person who is socially savvy, pay attention to things like:
• How did they craft their responses to captivate their audience?
• What kind of contributions did they make at every interval?
• The manner in which they ask every question
• The kind of enthusiasm they show as they speak and
• How well they interpreted the moods of the people and the topic being discussed
2. Show More Empathy In Conversations
A social skill that will always give you an edge in any type of conversation is the ability to be empathetic. Learn how to show concern for the ideas and feelings of others during a conversation – don’t just focus on what suits you.
Being empathic will help you know how and when to say things in other not to make people around you uncomfortable. However, this does not mean you cannot air your views, especially if they are not what might be accepted but endeavor to do so without being haughty or ‘rude’
3. See Socialization As Fun and Not A Task You Have To Do Cautiously
Most times, it’s only when you continually interact with people on a casual basis that you tend to develop your social skills. See every form of socialization – be it in the workplace, schools, or streets as a practice ground for you to improve your social skills.
More so, what usually keeps people from enjoying social gatherings is when they are too cautious of what to do when they are around others and in these situations, socialization now becomes a duty rather than fun. It is hereby important that you always endeavor to be as calm as possible whenever you are around people. Do not be afraid to start or join in conversations and if you make mistakes, simply apologize, learn from them and flow with the conversation. Just have an upbeat spirit and all the pressure will drain!
4. To Become Socially Savvy, Be A Good Listener
A communication trait that cannot be over-emphasized is the ability to be a good listener. A good listener will never fumble in their response as they are abreast with the entire communication process. More so, their remarks might give better insight into the topic and get others hooked on the conversation. This is a skill socially savvy people possess as they can concentrate fully on what is being said in a conversation and spot all the areas that need to be covered and those which should be avoided if need be.
Being a good listener also shows you are interested in what the other person is saying and you actually care. More so, it helps you know when to make contributions like:
- A head nod and intermittent ‘ok’, ‘wow’, e.t.c where appropriate
- When to ask related questions
- Give your own opinion or advice
5. Maintain Eye Contact During A Conversation
Many people were trained by their folks that staring at someone in the eye is disrespectful and this idea sticks with many people into adulthood and they eventually tend to struggle with maintaining eye contact during conversations. However, contrary to what had been thought in the past, it has been proven that the way you look at someone during a conversation is a key form of non-verbal communication.
Good eye contact will generally show that you are interested in what the person is saying whereas you staring off in another direction is an indication of disinterest and boredom. It is hereby advised that you maintain strong eye contact with people as you speak. Practice it often in small groups or one-on-one interactions to build your level of concentration.
6. Practice Smiling
Many people who have been marked off as socially inept also come off as people who are less friendly because of their gloomy countenance. While some have mastered the art of maintaining a blank face, others are literally frowning most of the time. However, it has been proven that people who smile a lot attract the attention of others and tend to ease the tension in any awkward situation they might find themselves in.
You can hereby practice smiling a lot at everyone you meet in order to build a whole new aura of positivity around you. To help you achieve this, you can compel yourself to smile by reflecting on past moments that had been fun-filled!