Here's one big thing you can focus on that can improve your social health: communication.
It might seem like an obvious answer, but the truth is that a majority of our problems at work, in relationships, and with our loved ones and friends stem from miscommunications. Here are some tips you can use to improve the way you relate to others, even over a zoom call!
1. Don't Expect Anything Without An Agreement:
We tend to think that people can read our minds. We set up these expectations, like wanting the dishes to be done the moment they reach the sink or expecting our partners to wake up and go running with us every morning. Then, when these expectations aren't met, we get disappointed or even frustrated and angry. The problem is that we never had a conversation about what we wanted in the first place - so of course we're going to be let down when our expectations aren't met.
The key is to MAKE AGREEMENTS before having expectations - talk about when you want the dishes done and what days you want to go running before work.
2. Understand That Priorities are Always Changing:
Whether it's your partner or your friend, a family member or a coworker, remember that their priorities can change just as often as yours. Yesterday, watching a movie with your family might have been at the very top of your to-do list. Today, working on a project after receiving a last-minute deadline at work might take its place.
The key here is to TALK about what's happening in your life and why your priorities are changing to prevent those close to you from thinking that you're blowing them off or that you don't care. Chances are, if they're good people to have in your life, they'll understand.
3. Learn How to De-Escalate:
Everyone has had a moment in which they've said something out of anger and regretted it later. In order to avoid situations like these and preserve your friends' and loved ones' feelings, it's important to learn how to de-escalate arguments and heated situations. Keeping your feelings in check when you're upset is hard, and it takes practice, but some good ways to start practicing are:
- Learn to let go of the need to be right - you'd rather preserve your relationship than be "the winner" or have the last word
- Do not interrupt the other person or cut them off - this will just make them more upset
- Give options and choices, not demands - ask the other person how they're feeling and provide multiple ways to resolve the issue. People who feel trapped by needing to make a single yes/no decision tend to lash out.
- Remember that anger is often a defense mechanism against fear - try to be empathetic and show compassion - try to understand what the other person is scared of.
Your social health isn't just about spending time with people and getting out in the world and doing fun activities together - it's about how you relate to others, how you interact and understand each other, and how you can help each other through tough situations. Learn how to be there for your friends and family in ways that aren't all fun and games - learn to listen and be compassionate. Learn to help others through your social skills, and watch your social skills flourish in return.
To learn more about our Social Health Pillar, Click Here!