CEMM Virtual Library

The Caregiver's Journey

Social Skills

Social skills are all of the things we do and say in order to fit in, get along with others, and read and understand the people and situations around us.

Social skills form the foundation for relationships with others. They include: 

  • Thinking of topics for a conversation
  • Listening to the other person without interruption
  • Keeping the conversation going
  • Reading the facial and verbal cues that the other person sends and responding to them
  • Knowing when and how to end a conversation

What you might see:

  • Lack of awareness of personal space and boundaries (e.g., talking about private family matters, asking questions that are too personal, flirting with a married person)
  • Reduced sensitivity for the feelings of others 
  • Possible disregard for acceptable standards of conduct at home or out in public 
  • Use of vulgar language or behavior

How you can help:

  • React calmly.
  • Role play or rehearse responses to social situations.
  • Use an agreed-upon signal to let your service member/veteran know that he/she may be saying something inappropriate.
  • Use redirection (i.e., try to change the topic or focus of interest to something else).
  • Praise and reinforce appropriate behavior.

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