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Where Social Skills Means Building Relationships



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A Relationship is not a Social Skill

According to, social skills are “skills you use to communicate and interact with an other person.  This is done both verbally and non-verbally, through gestures, body language and our personal appearance”.  All of these skills are very important as we interact, relate, and communicate with the world around us, and all of these skills help us towards developing a relationship.

Webster defines a relationship as “ when two or more people are connected or in the state of being connected.”  That means that being in any kind of relationship is an Emotional Experience, and that requires a different focus.  Things like meaning and trust are important in relationships, and the deep one’s even require us to be vulnerable.  But how do we go from using social skills to developing relationships?

The answer is “An Emotional Corrective Experience”.  This means that as we use the social skills defined above, we keep track of whether the experience was good or bad.  If it is good, we keep going and try again in order to deepen the connection, but if it is bad we have a tendency to withdraw and eventually lose the connection.

Countless studies show that the happiest people are the one’s who have great relationships, so it is fair to say that the happiest people are the one’s who have the most (and best) emotional corrective experiences.  My advice is to go out there and build better connections, rather than focusing on mastering a specific social skill.   

Armann Fenger, LAPC, NCC, MS
Executive Director, Learning on the Log
Atlanta Professional Counseling Associate
6000 Lake Forrest Drive, Suite 555
Atlanta, GA 30328