Improve social competence to be smarter in relationships

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Robert Maurer
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Improve social competence to be smarter in relationships

Last update: April 07, 2022

Does social competence affect how we feel? Answer yourself: how did you feel when you were able to communicate effectively with another person or when you handled an argument in order to avoid it hurting the relationship? And conversely, what emotions did you feel when the results were negative?

In fact this ability to establish and maintain good relationships with other people affects our emotional state and our well-being. The good thing is that this is not a rigid dimension and can be worked on to improve it. Read on to find out how to connect smarter with others!



"The single most important ingredient in the success formula is knowing how to get along with people"

-Theodore Roosevelt-

Human-social beings: the importance of social competence

In everyday life we have to communicate continuously with other people. To ask for a coffee, to talk to a colleague about a project, to tell our partner how much we care about him / her. The situations of social interaction in our daily life are many and very varied. Their degree of success depends on how smart or cunning we are in juggling that social environment.

In this way, we will mark the difference between winning and maintaining satisfying couple, family and friendship relationships. And that's not all. Enjoying good social competence will enable us to interact effectively with various professional figures and work in a more coordinated way with our colleagues. We will also be able to better resolve conflicts or speak in public in a pleasant and relaxed way.


"Friendship can only materialize through the development of mutual respect and with a spirit of sincerity"


-Dalai Lama-

Social competence will also allow us to help our children grow healthier. In summary, we will achieve total development on a personal level. Because? Because adequate social competence implies greater emotional well-being and better psychological adaptation, together with greater professional competence and greater social support networks.

Communication: the key to social competence

Communication skills - and their degree of development - largely determine our social competence. A key concept in this sense is assertiveness. It is a form of communication in which the person is able to express his thoughts and opinions taking into account those of others, in contexts that may not be the most suitable for them. In other words, it is an ingredient of communication that, if well managed, respects both the user and the others.

It is the balance between an aggressive communication (with which we would only try to protect our rights) and a passive one (with which we would only try to defend those of others). An essential part of all this is to take into account the possibility, both for us and for others, to be able to answer "no" to a request.

It is also very important to put into practice the various social skills, that is the different behaviors that allow us to respond effectively to interactions with other people. For this purpose, it is essential to listen and pay attention to what the other person is telling us, without assuming that his actions respond to reasons that we imagine as the most probable.


In this perspective it is equally necessary to express what we feel and think. Just like us, our interlocutors are also not fortune-tellers, so explaining our position will facilitate the relationship. Being able to initiate, maintain and end conversations when needed is one of the foundations of social competence.



“When people talk, listen carefully. Most people never listen "

-Ernest Hemingway-

Other factors affecting social competence

Communicating effectively is the ultimate goal when we want to improve our social competence. Furthermore, to achieve this purpose, we need to be skilled in other areas as well that will help us to have quality and satisfying relationships.

For example, we must have prosocial behavior and a willingness to cooperate. Practically being able to take action on behalf of others, even if we have not been asked. This does not mean that we must stop worrying about our problems or do it in a radical way, we simply have to find a balance between the two different interests so that, in the end, any action affects both us and those we care about.


On the other hand, it is important to be able to prevent and solve problems. Knowing how to effectively identify, anticipate and deal with conflicts will help us find a solution that best satisfies all parties involved in the most just and peaceful way possible. Work on all these skills and improve your social competence!

Image courtesy of Priscilla du Preez, Bryan Apen and Phil Coffman.

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