Humans are naturally social beings. And social awareness provides us with the necessary skills needed to “fit in.”
It’s not so much being like The Office’s Michael Scott, who is awkwardly unaware that he often says the wrong thing at the wrong time. It’s more like being Pam Beesly, always aware of what’s happening around him and reacting appropriately within the social norms (well, as appropriate as one can be working in Dunder Mifflin Paper Company).
In any kind of situation, whether professional or personal, success and well-being largely depend upon how we manage and communicate with people. And all this comes down to one single skill — having a robust social awareness.
What Is Social Awareness?
The social awareness definition is simply about being able to know and feel the people around you, as well as interact with them in the most efficient and proper manner. In a nutshell, it’s the ability to “read the room.”
With higher levels of social awareness, you have an in-depth understanding of societal and communal set-ups, environments, problems, struggles, norms, and cultures. It is as if you can feel the pulse and vibes of the society you live in.
A research article in a 1993 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggests that people who are brought up in a nurturing environment are more likely to “adopt the perspective of another.” On the other hand, those who are raised in a high-dominant environment tend not to do so.
So social awareness skills give you the one-up and help you perceive and solve social and interpersonal problems much better. This, in turn, results in having great relationships, reputation, and professional success.
That’s why it is often equated with emotional intelligence.
Why Is Social Awareness Important?
Being socially aware comes with a number of benefits. For starters, it helps build positive relationships, improve communication skills, and maintain our own emotional well-being.
From a young age, we’re inclined to be social. However, according to Márianna Csóti, author of Social Awareness Skills for Children, those who don’t develop this skill often suffer from social rejection and isolation.
This puts them at a greater risk of emotional disorders (such as depression or panic attacks) and behavioral disorders (such as being socially awkward or delinquent).
However, it goes beyond getting along with others in a public setting. When it comes to the self and social awareness, you’ll be able to:
- Understand and communicate with people in a far better way
- Feel what others are feeling and say the words that are the best fit for the situation
- Sense pain in others and take steps to alleviate it
- Feel the vibe of the group and be a champion in communication and problem-solving
- Be valued and respected for having above-the-average interpersonal skills
- Contribute toward solving your society’s problems in the most effective way.
It’s really important to learn how to focus on what connects you to others rather than what disconnects you, according to Marisa Peer, world-renowned Rapid Transformational Therapy®️ trainer, at the 2022 Mindvalley University in Tallinn, Estonia. And improving your social awareness can help you do so.
Forms & Examples of Social Awareness
Some people have a natural flair for being good-natured. To better understand, let’s explore some main social awareness skills with examples:
- Emotional awareness: When you can understand what the other person is feeling and consider the circumstances and emotions of other people. This gives way to empathy and compassion.
Example: If a friend’s dog dies, you’re conscious of the feelings that go with death — sadness, grief, loneliness, etc.
- Self-regulation. Being socially aware takes a level of self-awareness. Part of that awareness is knowing how to regulate your responses.
Example: If your child is throwing a tantrum, you keep calm, validate their feelings, and respond in an empathetic way.
- Listening actively. It’s important to be able to “listen to understand” instead of “listen to respond.” It’s about observing verbal and nonverbal cues, showing attentiveness, and providing appropriate feedback.
Example: If your partner got the pink slip, you sit with them, stay present, and listen to their concerns without judgment, as well as help them reflect.
- Respect and kindness. When you regard other people’s feelings, wishes, and rights, it shows friendliness, generosity, and consideration. It builds feelings of trust, safety, and well-being.
Example: If someone has a different political alliance than you, you can respect their views and show kindness by having an open mind, listening closely, keeping your emotions in check, and looking for common ground.
- Cooperation. This process requires making compromises, assuming shared responsibility and accountability, and valuing each person’s opinions and contributions.
Example: When it comes to household chores, you and your spouse help each other with the chores so it’s not a burden on one person.
You may feel you could improve in some areas with these social awareness examples. In doing so, you’ll understand how you fit into and better contribute to society.
How to Improve Social Awareness
What can you do to nurture empathy, organizational awareness, and service orientation? Sure, you can Google “social awareness quotes,” but let’s be honest, the impact on your personal growth will be like a drop of water in a vast ocean.
Instead, here are five steps you can take with insights from Marisa Peer, who is also the trainer of Mindvalley’s Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy for Abundance Quest.
1. Develop self-awareness
How you treat yourself is how you end up treating others. In the Quest, Marisa explains, “You make your beliefs, and then, your beliefs make you.”
Expanding your self-awareness will also allow you to work on your response mechanism. This means you’ll know how you are currently responding to various social environments and how you can improve.
The more you dive deep within yourself, the easier you level up in the stages of consciousness. So “know thyself” is the first step toward knowing others.
2. Observe others
Knowing yourself helps to observe other people, especially their reactions to your comments and different external events. It’ll give you a glimpse into people’s emotional states when you socialize with them.
The key is not to try to belong or try to fit in, according to Marisa, but to…
- Feel comfortable enough in ourselves,
- Feel good about being around other people, and
- Radiate that out to others.
For this, try to be more focused and listen to others actively and carefully. Additionally, ask for feedback from the people closest to you on how they feel about your social skills.
3. Cultivate mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation and other practices for inducing calmness help a lot on your way to become connected with other people and your environment.
“Form a partnership with your brain,” Marisa advises. “Communicate with it better.”
The more calm and mindful you are, the better you’ll become at observing yourself, others, and various situations.
4. Practice forgiveness
“Every thought you think and every word you say forms a blueprint, and your mind must work to make that blueprint real,” says Marisa. This applies to forgiveness, too.
It can make a lot of difference in improving your quality of life and changing the quality of your consciousness.
So if you’re able to forgive others wholeheartedly, you’ll become less likely to get overpowered by difficult social occurrences. In turn, you’ll be able to deal with people much better.
5. Use affirmations, lofty questions, and hypnotherapy
Your subconscious beliefs and perceptions may be blocking the way to connect meaningfully with the world around you. Regular affirmation practices, lofty questions, and self-hypnosis are useful in removing these blocks and empowering you with skills to improve social awareness.
As Marisa says, “Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.”
Great Change Starts Here
Cultivating your social awareness isn’t just for you, but it’s for society as a whole. It helps create more positive friendships and relationships without the awkward silence of someone (like Michael Scott from The Office) saying the wrong thing.
If you’re unsure of where to start or need a little help on how to get there, Mindvalley can help you. When you unlock the FREE access, you’ll be able to sample classes of each quest (including Marisa’s Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy for Abundance). Additionally, there’s a vast library of guided meditations to listen to anytime you want.
So let your change do the talking. Welcome in.