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Beyond The Feed: Social Skills For Teens

How many times have you seen the memes of young people sitting together all on their phones? Pretty funny, if it wasn’t so damn real! But wouldn’t it be great if there were some way to teach social skills for teens without them relying on social media apps for their social engagement? Wow! What a great idea!

Read this aloud in your best movie trailer narrator voice:

In a world dominated by likes, shares, and emojis, it’s time to take a step back from the digital realm and discover new and different ways for teens to polish their social skills. Discover life beyond social media! It’s time to look at some fun and unconventional methods to help young people thrive in face-to-face interactions. With actual human beings! Creating meaningful connections. Coming this July! Only in theatres!”

A bit much? Well anyway, let’s explore some ideas for getting your young ones into the social habit of being social.

Embrace the Art of Conversation

In the endless world of social media, social skills for teens often get buried beneath the barrage of likes and hashtags. But the art of face-to-face conversation is far from obsolete. And so it’s time to peel those eyes away from the screens and embark on the journey of meaningful connections through real-life chats. You know, the ones with people, not bots…

Starting a conversation need not be as intimidating as deciphering your daughter’s text abbreviations on your phone. I mean, do people really use “DFTBA“?

Begin with a friendly greeting, a simple “hello,” or better yet, an audacious “Greetings, fellow traveler!” Remember, humor is your ally, not just another reaction button.

Now, sustaining that chat requires a bit more finesse. Let the conversation flow naturally, like a meandering river in a forest. Listen actively to what the other person says and respond thoughtfully. Note that I said listen. Don’t just be thinking up a clever response. Really LISTEN. Engage them with a genuine interest in their thoughts and ideas, not just nodding your head and repeating “I know!”

Know That GIF by TV Land - Find & Share on GIPHY
He knows!

And when you encounter awkward pauses, don’t just reach for your phone like it’s a lifeboat. Embrace the silence like a confident Jedi, allowing it to fill the space while maintaining eye contact. It might feel peculiar at first, but remember, you’re a master conversationalist in training.

Mastering the Art of Body Language

Yes, the subtle dance of non-verbal communication, where words take a backseat, and our body language reigns supreme. I mean, if conversation is the melody, then body language is the Kevin Bacon dance moves that keep everyone mesmerized.

Kevin Bacon Dancing GIF by STARZ - Find & Share on GIPHY

Let’s start with the windows to the soul – the eyes. Eye contact is your secret weapon in any conversation. A well-timed gaze can convey sincerity, interest, or a sudden urge to escape. But remember, a gaze is not a stare. Don’t just stare blankly at your conversation partner. They’ll think you’re not all there, if you know what I mean. So this is where the next part comes in…

That’s right, the canvas of our emotions – the face. Your facial expressions are like Picasso’s brushstrokes, painting a vivid picture of your inner thoughts. From the quirky eyebrow raise to the subtle smirk, each expression adds flavor to your interaction. Some of the best screen actors can deliver an Oscar worthy performance with just their facial expressions. But just remember not to switch from a grin to a grimace – it might be a little disconcerting.

Grip Of Steel, Or Wet Noodle

Now, let’s talk about the grand finale – the handshake. A firm handshake exudes confidence, while a limp one leaves your acquaintances wondering if you’ve been handling jelly all day. To me, there’s something very unsettling shaking an overly limp hand. But conversely, beware the vise grip, as turning someone’s hand into a pancake won’t win you many friends. It just comes across as domineering and, maybe overcompensating for something…

Also, when shaking someone’s hand, be sure to have your body facing theirs, check that their hands aren’t full, look them in the eye, and for goodness sake, stand up!

Remember, human feelings aren’t always easy to decipher, but a keen eye for body language can turn you into a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. So, practice those moves, read between the lines, and soon, you’ll be the conductor of non-verbal symphonies in every conversation.

The Great Outdoors: Socializing Beyond Screens

Ah, the sweet, earthy aroma of being in the great outdoors, where digital chains are left behind, and true connections are forged amidst nature’s wonders. Time to break free from the pixelated shackles and embark on an adventure by exploring nature with friends!

Swap the virtual likes for genuine, human experiences while sharing in thrilling outdoor activities with your pals. From hiking city trails to a week long , every step taken is a step closer to authentic friendships and memories to cherish.

What’s better than a funny cat video? How about unfiltered laughter shared under the open sky. Skip the “LOLs” and “ROFLs” for actual guffaws. Gather around a campfire, tell stupid dad jokes and terrible puns, and laugh until your stomach hurts. Who needs staged TikTok humour? Not me!

Embrace the simple pleasures of life, like watching a beautiful sunset with your best buds, or photographing constellations in the night sky. No need for filters here – Mother Nature provides her own enchanting beauty that’s better than any boring Instagram post.

Comfort Zones Are For Wussies

Step out of your comfort zone and head out on camping trips that test your survival skills and create bonds that last a lifetime. Or just go to a campground. Nothing says friendship like putting up a tent together and discovering you forgot the tent poles.

As the evening deepens, gather around the (propane. Campfire bans…) campfire for some scary stories. Just your imagination is required. Forget the jump scares of cheesy, overdone teen horror movies. The real thrill comes from the wind in the trees and distant hoots of owls.

Make the effort to put down the phones and immerse yourself in the wonders of the great outdoors. Socializing beyond screens is a breath of fresh air, offering moments of joy, camaraderie, and a reconnection with the world around you.

Extracurricular Activities

Imagine a place where teens transcend virtual realms and venture into the real world of fun, growth, and shared experiences. How many times have you reluctantly gone to some new activity or event, and thought, “Why didn’t I try this sooner?” That’s what can happen when you step away from your computer and live a little.

Step into the rhythm of life with a dance class. Beth-Rose has found a passion for dance, and she’s been doing it now for more than 11 years. She’s even teaching me some steps! So wave those hands in the air like you just don’t care, and who knows, you might even discover you’ve got the moves like Jagger. Just like me!

Dancing Dad GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Improvise!

Prepare to unleash your inner, spontaneous genius when you join an improv group. Improv is like the wild, untamed version of acting – no scripts, just your wit and willingness to get out of your comfort zone. Who needs Netflix and scripted dramas when you can create your own hilarious scenes in real-time, with like-minded people?

For the unapologetically geeky souls out there, nerdy gatherings like D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) await you. Dive into fantasy worlds where dragons roam, epic quests unfold, and the camaraderie is as tight-knit as chainmail armor. Who says being a nerd isn’t cool? People who aren’t nerds? What do they know!?

Extracurricular activities are more than just hobbies; they’re your path to finding your tribe. Zachary found his with D&D. Beth-Rose has hers with dance.

Embrace your passions, connect with like-minded individuals, and together, you’ll forge friendships that are stronger than the bond between Frodo and Sam. (Sorry! We are a family of nerds!)

The Art of Conflict Resolution

Alright, let’s talk about the wild rollercoaster ride of navigating teenage conflicts. Or, as Beth-Rose says, with a high pitched trill: “Drama!” We’ve all been there, whether it’s real-life fights over how many players can stand on first base at a time, (yes, that was me) or heated debates about the best movie franchise (clearly, it’s Star Wars). But fear not, young Jedi, for conflict resolution is the key to maintaining friendships and keeping your sanity intact.

social skills for teens-siblings in conflict
Stop picking on your little sister!

First and foremost, let’s embrace the art of empathy and understanding different perspectives. We might all have strong opinions, but stepping into someone else’s shoes can open up a whole new galaxy of insights.

When emotions run high, take a deep breath and remember to show some good old-fashioned compassion. Yelling “I’ll never join you!” might work in movies, but in real life, a kind and patient approach can defuse even the most explosive confrontations.

Forgiveness-The Big One

And here comes the big one – forgiveness. It’s not easy to let go of grudges, but holding on to them is like carrying a bag of rocks everywhere you go. So, release that baggage and watch your heart become as light as a lightsaber.

Have you ever heard the term cancel culture? Of course you have. What a silly way to deal with people! While it’s tempting to press that “cancel” button on someone we disagree with, let’s remember that healthy conflict resolution isn’t about erasing people. Instead, it’s about finding common ground and learning from each other’s experiences.

So remember, navigating teenage conflicts is all about embracing empathy, showing compassion, and practicing the fine art of forgiveness. So, next time you encounter a death star-sized disagreement, channel your inner Jedi and let the force of conflict resolution guide you to a harmonious outcome. May the peace be with you! Okay, no more cheesy Star Wars references…

Work Experience and Networking

I’m sure there are young people who may like nothing more than living the rest of their lives in their parent’s basements, eating pizza pockets and buying and selling video game cheat codes. But that’s not going to get them ahead in social situations.

It’s important for teens to step into the world of part-time jobs, where they can truly explore the art of networking on the job, and learn to navigate boss-employee dynamics. A part time job is not just about earning pocket money; it’s laying the foundation for crucial life skills that will serve them well beyond their teenage years.

Committing to the job is the first step in this new adventure. Teens learn the significance of showing up on time and delivering quality work – essential traits in both personal and professional realms. They begin to grasp the profound value of developing a strong work ethic, which can only be cultivated through real-life experiences and responsibilities.

Zach on a forklift-my kid's life path

Teens engaged in the part time workforce have the opportunity to make real human connections that transcend the digital realm. These connections can lead to invaluable mentorships and friendships, shaping their worldview and expanding their horizons.

Instead of seeking validation through likes and shares, young people learn to derive satisfaction from their achievements, their growth, and the relationships they build with colleagues and customers alike. In addition, the art of face-to-face communication hones their ability to articulate thoughts and ideas, transforming them into confident individuals.

Stepping out from behind their devices ensures they’re better equipped to navigate the challenges of adulthood with humor, grace, and deeper connection with people.

Etiquette 101: Navigating Social Situations with Finesse

Thank You Notes

Yes, the lost art of expressing gratitude beyond “Thx” in a text message. It’s like learning a secret language that only a few chosen ones can decipher. Mostly us old people… But fear not, for in the realm of etiquette, thank you notes are your golden ticket to social success. Find yourself a real pen, grab some fancy paper from your Mom’s stationery drawer, and let your gratitude flow like a fountain pen on a vintage parchment.

Table Manners

Picture this: You’re at a fancy dinner, surrounded by the crème de la crème, and then it happens – the moment when you realize you have no clue how to use cutlery without a YouTube tutorial. A sticky situation no doubt, but with a touch of finesse, you can conquer any table setting. From the perplexing array of forks to the mysterious soup spoon, wield your utensils like a seasoned samurai and dine with dignity. But I’m not going to tell you which fork does what. Because I also have no idea!

Dress Code Decoded

Now when the invitation says “Black Tie,” do you find yourself frantically searching for appropriate attire, all while Googling what to do? It’s time to demystify the dress code enigma. Remember, “Black Tie” means formal elegance, not a James Bond cosplay convention. And “Business Casual” means polished, not “I just rolled out of bed chic.” Crack the dress code, and you’ll be a style icon at every event.

Showers Are Good for You and Your Friends

Baby Shower? Wedding Shower? No, I’m talking about the classic pre-get together ritual that involves soap and water. Trust me, personal hygiene is the ultimate social lubricant. Moreover, your friends will thank you when you show up fresh as a daisy, and you’ll be the life of the party with your newfound confidence.

By no means a complete list, these simple steps should help get you off your damn devices and out into the world. It’s time to live a little, to discover a world just waiting for you to seize it by its lapels and shake the living sh*t out of it.

Ultimately social skills are not acquired through virtual interactions but by engaging in real-life experiences. So just trust me on this; go forth, be bold, and create meaningful connections that last a lifetime. And remember, it’s not about the number of followers you have, but the depth of the relationships you build. Happy socializing!

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Ean
Ean
6 months ago

Ummm… you realize anyone reading your post is on their devise, right?

Jane
Jane
6 months ago

Well said; real live conversation, what a concept!

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