Navigating the social world requires a certain degree of social awareness. Developing social skills does not end when you are an adult. You are always learning and adapting, even on a subliminal level, no matter what your age.
Children on the other hand, do not have the experiences that adults have had and quite often do not understand why they have to see, do and say certain things that they don't want to.
Even as adults, with all our worldliness and maturity, do not fully appreciate how social etiquettes have changed over the last few years. For example, are there are certain times and places to use your phone? or how to converse in the multi media world.
However, 3 things are certain when developing and maintaining your social skills.
Seeing entails finding your social cues. Notice the context of your situation. Is it casual or formal? Are the people around you acquaintances, strangers of casual friends? Different situations call for different kinds of behavior. Good judgment is necessary when you are 'social seeing'. Notice how people around you conduct themselves and monitor their reactions to various situations. Basically, by 'social seeing' you are subliminally avoiding inappropriate actions or reactions.
The second of these social skill basics involves interpreting other peoples' behavior and understanding why they are doing what they are doing. It also involves predicting possible responses and coming up with effective ways of dealing with a situation or person.
If you struggle socially, it is quite indicative when you misinterpret other's intentions and are not able to immediately come up with constructive ways to resolve any social difficulty.
This is about interacting with people in a positive way. Quite often we know what we should do, but experience difficulty in actually doing it. We might want to join a discussion group, for example, but freeze up and feel anxious in the social context of the situation. We either find ourselves being very self-conscious or totally embarrassed. If you are not socially aware, you might also speak impulsively. It is important to at least hold a conversation or join into one.
These 3 social skill basics are essential in creating and maintaining all the different social skills.
Being enthusiastic and loud might not be the best way to handle a situation that requires quiet decorum. Social skills are about having the ability to adjust your behavior and be flexible in any situation.
Social skills are defined in various ways, but is a necessary ability to get along with people and maintain fulfilling relationships.