How Are Your Social Skills?
We’ve all got them, some more than others. But, none of us have enough of them.
We’re never too old, too smart, too experienced, or too capable to develop new ones
What are we talking about?
Every week, your 4Retirees community will be bringing you information about a specific skill, challenging you to improve or add to your existing skill set. We will be posting about one skill each week we think you may want to learn more about it.
If you have some ideas or are keen to learn a specific skill, please let us know firstname.lastname@example.org
Given this is the first skills post we thought it would best to start with the basics.
What is the number one skill that every retiree should cultivate and master to ensure that their retirement is the best that it can be?
Why people skills?
The number one complaint among retirees is that they have periods of loneliness.
So, brushing up on your people/social skills can help you to prevent this while making the interactions you do have, more interesting, entertaining and rewarding.
Also, retirement can be a time for downsizing, moving, or otherwise changing your living situation. Whether you’re moving into a granny flat in your children’s neighbourhood, that coastal home you’ve had your eye on or into that assisted living community, you may well be faced with the need to make new social connections, new friends, or even brush up your social skills as you embrace that part time job.
Let’s unpack what we mean by good people or social skills.
The ability to trust others. Great interactions and strong relationships have a fundamental component of trust. Does your natural trust indicator fall on the positive or negative side of the trust equation? Blind trust is never recommended, but neither is complete mistrust for everyone or everything. There’s a healthy balance of trust required for good social skills.
Honesty. The saying, “honesty is the best policy” is not only true, so it’s essential in building trust and therefore, building relationships, especially new ones.
Knowing how and when to show empathy. Having the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes is a key people skill. It shows others that you understand them and their situation. Sometimes that’s all people need is for someone to show them some understanding and empathy.
Active listening. Hearing someone compared to actively listening to them are two different things. While active listening takes more time, it can produce better results. In addition to that, it involves listening without interruption and then taking the time to process what you’ve heard before forming a response before replying.
Genuine interest in others. People know when you’re truly interested in them. You’re probably asking thoughtful questions and actively listening to their answers and sharing your similar experiences. Therefore, even learning and remembering things like names, dates and important life events can have an incredible impact on the relationship.
Good judgment. Good judgment is a key people skill that comes directly from learning, listening to others and observing the world around you. If there’s anything that can be said for being around for more than a few decades, it’s that you’ve seen a lot, done a lot and exercised your judgement muscles. That intuitive sense in your gut often offers some valuable insights. Listen to them.
The ability to persuade others. There’s a good chance that at some point you’ll have to sell others on your ideas. Whether jockeying for your choice in restaurant, or picking the movie, or a vacation spot, the ability to “sell” your idea to others is an important skill that can well make your interactions that much more enjoyable.
Negotiation skills. Good negotiating skills are beneficial. A savvy negotiator can usually find a way for each party to gain something from the negotiation, so no one fees left out or overlooked.
The ability to keep an open mind. To create trust and respect in others, people need to know that their point of view and feedback will be at the very least, considered. As we get older and more set in our ways, views and values, it’s key to try to keep an open mind. But with the pace of change today, this is a wonderful component of good people skills.
Good manners. For instance, “Using the traditional ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ go a long way. In forming and growing relationships, good manners never go out of style.
The ability to be supportive and motivate others. People need people. And, people need others to believe in them. So by showing support in the form of encouragement, you can make a huge difference in someone’s outlook and/or confidence. And that’s a gift we can all appreciate.
And finally, good people or social skills must include:
A great sense of humour. Laughter is the best medicine and it’s also ‘the great diffuser’ of tension and conflict. And don’t we all want more of the former and less of the latter when it comes to our interactions?
Where do your social skills need some work? There you have it. So which of these components of good social skills do you do well? Which could you spend a little more effort on?
We challenge you!
Spend some time and effort on those areas where you feel you’re coming up short.
The payoff in forming new and better relationships can be monumental. These relationships can add incredible value to your retirement years and to your life as a whole.
And, isn’t that what we all want?
We are social animals after all.
Share our stories!
P.S. Start practicing your social skills now. Start by taking our free flexible jobs match. Participate in senior employment opportunities, meet people and practice your skills. Get out and about.