10 Social Skills Activities to Get Good With People

group of women

Are you looking for social skills activities that will help you get better with people?

You have found the right article.

By the end of this article you will know exactly:

  1. Which activities will improve your social skills
  2. In which way
  3. How you can prioritize them.

Social Skills Activities

The following are social skills activities that help people become more socially effective and confident.

#1. Martial Arts

You cannot get good with people if you are afraid of them.

And albeit this is not the most common issue for people with underdeveloped social skills, it’s common enough to warrant your attention.
Ask yourself:

  • Are you afraid of others?
  • Do you fear enforcing your boundaries?
  • Are you always giving way to others?
  • Does the fear of other people’s judgement paralyze you from doing what you want?
  • Do you avoid picking up the phone in public places?
  • Are you afraid that someone might get angry or violent because of a negative feedback or complaint?

The above are all indicators that you might be physically afraid of people.

Now don’t get me wrong: at times being physically afraid does make sense. And most people do feel physically afraid at least some of the times. But it’s unhealthy when it’s too much, when it happens too often and when it happens in social settings where there is very little to fear.

What you will learn:

  • Getting hit is not the end of the world
  • You can defend yourself (even as a smaller, weaker and slower person)
  • Most people, even fighters, don’t wanna fight
  • Finally, you will remove your fear of people

Note: if you are not physically afraid, then you can skip this one and read more at how to overcome social anxiety with martial arts. And of course, I shouldn’t need to say this, but violence sucks. The goal not to be afraid, not to become a meathead.

#2. Toastmasters (Public Speaking)

Public speaking is one of the most common fears in the world.

Indeed, someone famously said that most people would rather be in a funeral’s casket than delivering the eulogy.

But this is a very limiting fear for someone who wants to enjoy an enriching life full of social activities.
The fear of public speaking is not just stopping you from speaking on a stage indeed. The fear of public speaking is stopping you from speaking to any group of people.

Why do we fear public speaking so much?
It probably stems from our fear of being judged by the group, which might then lead to ostracism and isolation. And eventually, to death.

However, that’s a highly maladaptive trait and you shouldn’t accept it.
Delivering a bad speech, saying something everyone disagrees with, or even collapsing and fainting on stage will not lead to any terrible consequences today.

And I can guarantee you this: taking up toastmaster as a social skill activity will be a huge, huge improvement not only in your social life but also on your overall confidence and happiness.

What you will learn:

  • Introducing yourself to groups
  • Speaking confidently to groups
  • Asking questions and contributing at your company’s meetings
  • Cracking a joke in the presence of some strangers

#3. Eye Contact Experiment

Bottom line:

you cannot improve your social skills if you are afraid of looking at people in the eyes.
And even if you are not afraid of looking staring at people’s eyes, this is an awesome social skills activity to push the boundaries of your comfort zone.

The eye contact experiment has become a popular social skill activity in many cities, with both meetups and Facebook groups.
Check your local meetup and sign up to one.

And if it’s not there?
Well, go ahead and create one.

What You Will Learn:

  • How eye contact affects people
  • Holding eye contact with strangers
  • Remove the fear of prolonged eye contact
  • It can be very helpful in your romantic relationship too

activity for social skills

#4. Bar Hopping (Solo)

There is comfort in numbers.

Going out in groups is like having a base camp.

You feel observed? A girl shoots you down? A guy you like is with another girl?
Well, At least you got  your friends to retreat to and regroup.

But going out alone?
Nope, you’re alone pal.
If there are no places to sit, you’re standing all by yourself.
If a girl rejects you, you got nobody to go back to.
And of course… The fear of being a wallflower that people will laugh at. Will you even find someone to talk to or will you look like a loner the whole time?

Indeed the first times I started going out by myself I felt obliged to talk to someone. Because being by myself, I would look weird, I thought.
So in the beginning I forced myself to be social, to talk to people.
And I learned that the more you do it, the more social you become and the easier it gets in the evening. Which is quite a revelation if you’re an introvert.

However, with time, my biggest conquest was that of overcoming the need of talking to anyone.
Now I can enjoy an evening out without talking to anyone.
It’s a freeing sensation, trust me.

To start going out by yourself I recommend you go to clubs first.
It’s easier as fewer people are talking and sitting and there is always the dance floor to dance (or look at).

Bars are a bit more difficult as people are more “expected” to talk, mingle, and be with friends, so tackle them later or be prepared to being a bit trickier.

What you will learn:

  • Personal confidence
  • Social resilience
  • Overcome fear of judgement
  • Ultimately, you gain huge personal freedom

#5. Dance Classes

To get good with people you have to overcome your discomfort for physical proximity.

It’s a rather common discomfort for many, and you can notice it when people step away from others or when they refuse to come close.
It’s particularly common when people have less clothes on, and indeed it often overlaps with a discomfort for sexuality.

And dance classes will get you more comfortable with physical proximity and sexual vibe.

What you will learn:

  • To be comfortable with physical proximity
  • Not to step away from people
  • Hold your own and stand your ground
  • Physically defending your space from possible intruders
  • Sexual comfort

Unless you’re playing a sexual cat and mouse game like in this video from The Goodfellas you should always avoid walking backwards.

#6. Improv Classes

I am a Toastmasters guy.
At the time of writing actually I am the president of the largest and most successful Toastmaster club in Berlin.

I am not as afraid anymore of public speaking.
However, I am still afraid of going on stage with zero preparation to talk about something I have no idea of.

Improv classes will not only remove the last stage fright in you, but it will also make you an overall more confident communicator.

You’re afraid of approaching a girl? Well, after some improv classes you know that you can come up with something on the fly. And even if you can’t come up with anything, you’ve probably experienced that it’s not the end of the world.

Improv comedy can get really weird, so if you’re not into comedy, you might want to mix it with non-comedy improv (Toastmasters has those too):

What you will learn:

#7. Acting Classes

This is a great social skill activity to improve one of the very basics of communication: nonverbal communication.

Many people who are not good at socializing indeed are poor at understanding how people feel. And that’s because they don’t pick up on major non-verbal cues.

Acting classes will teach you to read facial expressions and to use your facial expressions better.

What you will learn:

  • Read other people’s nonverbal language
  • Use your body language to support your communication
  • Make your communication congruent and stronger
  • Increase your self-awareness

Overall, you will become a more holistic communicator and you’ll learn to better read social dynamics on the fly.

balls nonverbal expressions

#8. Action, Action, Action: Any Social Activity

Once you have removed your major fears and you have laser focused on your biggest areas of improvements, it’s time to broaden your social horizons.

Feel to go to all the social events you actually enjoy.
But make sure they are varied so you get the benefits of different social environments (Leil Lowndes calls it scramble therapy).

Two or three times a week do some of the following:

  • Meetup groups of topics you like
  • After work drinks
  • Bars / clubs
  • Speed dating
  • Sport activities
  • Networking events
  • Concerts

What You Will Learn

  • Enjoy all different kinds of social gathering
  • Socialize for socialization’s pleasure
  • You will shift your identity from loner / socially challenged to an apt social person

#9. TV and People Watching

You probably know the recommendation of watching TV with the sound off.

It’s a valid one, but I don’t actually think you necessarily need the sound off.
I have learned hugely with the sound on, and I think the audio can often give more value anyway. After all, tonality is huge to understand people.

I would personally start paying particular attention to difficult social settings.
Like dating TV series where people pick or reject others, or games with winner and losers.
Or arguments.

As you learn the more extreme versions of facial expressions and body language, you can then move to the more subdued daily ones.

For the daily ones, I find bars to be particularly useful.
Watch how people approach others, how they are introduce, and try to guess what they’re feeling (nervous, annoyed, excited?).

What You Will Learn

  • Take the acting classes lessons to daily life
  • Learn the nuances of human expressions
  • Improve your empathy and emotional intelligence
  • Predict how people feel and how they will react
cat spying
i’m watching you pal

#10. Throw a Party

Finally, it’s time to go from attendee to organizer.

It will require a whole new level of social skills. Indeed, as you move from socializer to organizer, leadership qualities are needed.

You are now the host and not only need to speak to people, but you need to make sure that people are having a good time and everyone is enjoying. You will need to step in to get the wallflower talking, and you might need to make introductions and to help groups out of sticky social situations.

This is your final crowning though.
Once you can be a good host, chances are that you are well on your way to becoming a social master.

What You Will Learn:

SUMMARY

To learn social skills, focus on your major weaknesses and fears first (The Talent Code).
If you are really afraid of something, the best technique is usually to expose yourself to it little bit little, small step after small step.

As you remove the major fears you are not socially challenged anymore but simply move to the “not socially skilled stage”, which where the majority lays.

From there on, you can focus on honing your sills until you become  a social master.

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