The half dozen aspects of social intelligence that I’ve been discussing over the last few weeks may seem daunting. After all, few among us possess all of the qualities of empathy, attunement, social cognition, synchrony, self-presentation, influence, and concern.
And this leads to an interesting question: can social intelligence be learned? or taught?
The answer is yes. Humans learn most of their social skills in their formative years. Grown-ups who missed some of that “socialization” — whether because they were shy or weren’t given adequate opportunities to spend time with others — can have deficits in both their ability to recognize others’ emotions and respond skillfully.
But that doesn’t mean they’re doomed to a life of loneliness, missed connections, and social gaffes.
Help can be found in books, therapy, and classes (look for “social skills” groups or classes) and, of course, this Business EQ blog. But the very first step is to become aware of what your own strengths and weaknesses might be. To that end: sit down with a notebook and decide for yourself which of the aspects of social intelligence you have mastered — and which might need more work.