Seldom-Taught But Essential Social Skills

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Most of us are taught to tell the truth, show up on time, and a handful of other skills that are deemed essential for success and being a good citizen. But there are other social skills which many of us are not taught growing up. Learning them can open up many doors for us that might have remained closed otherwise.


Learn How to Say and Hear the Word “No”

Many people are never taught that it is okay to say “no” to others. When you do this, you’re not in control of your life. You are simply reacting to stimuli in the environment- be it other people’s requests, invitations, or situations that you find yourself in.

Say no to unreasonable and unfair requests. Say no to people and situations that drain you or stress you out. Don’t feel guilty for turning down an invitation because you’re just not up for it. Sometimes, you owe another person something. But a lot of times when we feel this way, it’s not really true.

The other side of this coin is learning how to deal with other people saying no to us. Sometimes others just don’t want the same things we want, and sometimes we just can’t get what we want. Learning to accept rejection and the fact that we cannot always have our way is an essential part of becoming a mature, functional person.


“Enlightened Selfishness”

Perhaps some explanation is in order. Most of us have very negative association with the world “selfishness”, and rightly so. Being selfish conflicts with a lot of the rules of civilized behavior. We instinctively dislike selfishness when we see it exhibited by others.

That’s why it is important to make the distinction between this negative selfishness and the “enlightened” variety we’re talking about here. Enlightened Selfishness is simply taking care of yourself: Getting your own needs met in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone else.

When it’s necessary, you put meeting those needs ahead of other things. The fact is that you’re not of much value to the world when you don’t take care of yourself. Think about it this way: If you’re completely selfless all the time and you never take care of yourself, someone else is going to have to take care of you. That’s now a burden on them.

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