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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How to Quit

“No one likes a quitter”. Those words are drilled into your head since childhood. Most of us are taught that if we make a commitment, we need to stick with it. Why? Because we made a commitment, that’s why. To do otherwise would show weak character.

But is this really necessary? Does it really apply to ALL situations?

No one is saying you should just nonchalantly duck out of a commitment like a marriage, a job, or dinner with family you rarely see, but what about lesser commitments like piano practice, tennis or some activity you’ve lost interest in? Do you really have to keep doing it? Is sticking with that commitment really taking you closer to where you want to be in life?

Maybe you’re following a particular strategy for achieving a goal or completing a project. If it’s not working, or there is a more efficient way to do it, what should you do? The answer is going to be highly dependent on the situation, but generally speaking you shouldn’t just stubbornly stick with a plan when there is a better option available.

This goes contrary to how many of us are taught to think, but it could be just the solution you need to solve your problems and reduce the number of things stressing you out in your life.


Learn How to Accept and Appreciate Things The Way They Are

Many of us are taught to be very goal oriented and always strive for something. Make more money. Set a goal, and go after it. Do this, do that. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Achieving things is good, and boosts one’s self-esteem.

But sometimes there can be a lot of satisfaction and pleasure in just taking things in, and appreciating things as they are. When we spend our lives always working toward some future goal, or dwelling on the past, we never really experience the present. We become just like the people in the Dalai Lama’s famous quote:

“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”


READ ALSO: Top Warning Signs You Need to Change Your Life


It isn’t always necessary to be striving for something. Take some time to appreciate what you already have and your life the way it is, and you may experience a satisfaction some people never know.