Social Intelligence: 7 Ways to Develop Social Intelligence as Introvert

Social Intelligence is often confused with social skills. Social skills are narrow version of social intelligence. For instance, a narrow version of leadership is good public speaking. Social intelligence is a broad category that includes everything needed to present ourselves and act better socially.

Social intelligence is defined as knowing oneself and others. It is acting by understanding other people’s emotions.

Mental state of a person is not directly observable. A socially intelligent person acts by reading emotional and mental state of a person. 

7 ways to develop social intelligence

So, it’s clear that one can become socially intelligent by recognizing emotions and acting according to the culture of a person.

Cultural understanding is an important part of communication. Western culture is different from eastern culture, so is the way of communication. A basic understanding of culture and values will add much weight to your social intelligence.

Let’s discuss key characteristics of a socially intelligent person.

Related Post: 7 Best Interpersonal Communication Skills in The Workplace

Characteristics of Socially Intelligent Person

Concerned with the impression they make on others

It is important to make a good impression on others and socially intelligent people are great at it. We make good impressions intentionally. Our impressions are responsible for lasting relationships, so thinking about it makes sense.

These people are aware about building inner confidence. Making positive impression on people brings this confidence. They work on themselves [intentionally] to make great impressions.

They are Good Listeners

Being a good listener has to be the primary skill to become an effective leader. Socially intelligent people know it and use it effectively.

Listening feels at times like a lost skill, maybe because we are communicating so much more on social media. That’s disheartening, because being a good listener can help you in every aspect of your life – with family and friends, and with your colleagues at work.

Socially intelligent person is also emotionally intelligent

As we discussed, social intelligence is an addition of emotional intelligence as well. How can we act properly or make a good impression without understanding other people’s emotions? That’s not really possible. To make an effective impression you have to learn to connect with other people’s emotions.

Have you noticed someone who sometimes throws dozens of solutions to make your situation better? Yes, everyone of us would have. In some of those moments we just needed another person to listen and not necessarily throw solutions. This indicates, that person was not emotionally intelligent.

Often found in Leadership positions

Socially intelligent people often can be observed in leadership positions. For example, Team head, group leader, etc. it’s because they know how to bring people together. And bringing together people is possible when one is socially intelligent.

Emotional intelligence allows them to speak confidently and ideas of culture help how to put thoughts – two primary roles of a leader.

Conscious about self awareness

One can’t gain emotional stability without understanding oneself. Self awareness is actually needed so that we can control our negative emotions and bring awareness back to primary state.

We can learn way more things by observing ourselves than reading books or observing others. Because we have a lot of similarities. So how we act in a specific situation, maybe other person would do the same.

Socially intelligent people are self-aware. They practice to strengthen their own understanding.

7 Ways to Become Socially Intelligent

It is said that introverts are weak at making strong social connections. And becoming socially intelligent is the first step to start making strong connections.

Following practices will help you in strengthening your social intelligence.

Become self-conscious

Key component to becoming socially intelligent is to develop self-awareness. Having understanding of our own emotional & mental state will help in recognizing behaviors of other peoples. 

Self-awareness has shown effective results in making better decisions and building self-confidence. As a result we communicate with clarity and intention. It allows us to view ideas from multiple perspectives.

Join gatherings

Social intelligence is empty without people. Be around people, if you’re socially anxious because you are an introvert, push yourself, with practice your anxiety will fade away.

Gatherings and events are an opportunity to test your social skills, try making few lasting relationships from these events. 

Alternative for introverts could be to join similar online communities. Joining online communities is the best way to learn and make friends from any part of the world.

Put yourself in other person’s shoes

Putting yourself in another person’s shoes means viewing the situation from their perspective. 

When we view situation from another person’s viewpoint we induce empathy, which reduces chances of being judgmental and making great relationships.

Read connections of social circles

Social intelligence is also about making connections that might be favorable to you in future. Yes, you have to make a few connections, being a little selfish. That’s not bad, if fact that’s why networking events exist.

You should read connections and circle of people you meet to see if you can connect with their for eg. millionaire, best selling authors, experienced public speaker friends, to make connections with them.

This skill doesn’t have to be selfish every time. In fact, you can use it to build a circle of good people by understanding the social circle of people you meet.

Be an active listener

People tend to share deep talks with people who are active listeners. Listening makes them feel heard. And the feeling of being heard is the best way to influence a human. 

“If you want to be an effective conversationalist, be an attentive listener.“

Dale Carnegie

You can start practicing by listening to podcasts, interviews or without any complexity bias, just be active in listening to other people, rather than waiting to reply.

Answer to influence

Answering is also a skill. Sometimes answers have to be intentional with expectation to leave influence. How are you?…Fine!! That’s not influencing, the person will forget you in next moment. 

We need to change sentences to even answer simple questions. Learn how to turn self talk into interesting conversation. Read The Fine Art of Small Talk.

It doesn’t mean answers have to be long, sometimes even a word will leave a great presence. 

Avoid being judgemental

This is an underrated idea in building good social intelligence. When we put forward our judgemental mode we are not learning anything, we are just searching for mistakes in conversation. Which kills the motive of the entire idea of social intelligence.

Stay unbiased in conversation, accept when your idea doesn’t fit in, and try to put yourself in another person’s shoes for better understanding.


Social intelligence is a broad version of social skills, it includes emotional and cultural understanding to get better at it. 

It is needed to become effective at making both professional and personal relationships.

It will save you from making toxic relationships and help you build great relationships with amazing people.

Socially intelligent people are mostly in the spotlight; they have few characteristics that make this difference, such people can often be observed in leadership roles.

Becoming socially intelligent is a skill, you don’t have to be an extrovert to learn this skill. Unlike any skill you can learn and become master at it with practice.

Best wishes to you for 2023, live it the way you wish. Make a few tough decisions, they often lead to good places (*sometimes)…Have great experiences this year.

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