What are Social Interactions?

Our lives are shaped by social interactions. The societies around us form complex and dynamic systems that require and foster individuals to interact frequently. Social interactions are those events wherein individuals attach meaning to situations, interpret what others convey and respond accordingly. Throughout our lives, our social interactions are dependent on a variety of roles we take on when connecting with different individuals and various situations.

Why do we need to socially interact?

It is not possible for individuals to stay disconnected or not communicate as all individuals have a profound desire or the need to stay connected and gain acceptance in social groups, for example, circle of friends, colleagues, family etc. Individuals readily form bonds and organize their behaviours, as social interactions highly seem like an everyday occurrence.

When socially interacting, individuals achieve a wide repertoire of social skills or sometimes referred to as interpersonal or communication competence. Social skills can be understood as the ability to interact and communicate with others in a way that is both appropriate and effective.

Individuals with good social skills often experience positive outcomes along with the benefits of efficiently detecting the presence of others in the environment, make inference about feelings, beliefs and emotions and use this knowledge effectively for guiding and enhancing one’s social interactions. Additionally, it also contributes to the development of wider social networks.

 With whom and how do we socially interact?

We build our social network by interacting with our families, friends, colleagues and so on via face-to-face contact. Face-to-face social interaction would mean meeting together for lunch/dinner, going for trips, playing games etc. With the technology at our fingertips, the majority of the individuals tend to interact by chatting and video-calling via social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and the list goes on.

 What happens if we do not socially interact?

Not engaging in social interactions can lead individuals to possess poor social skills which can later affect their psychological well-being. Specifically, it leads them to experience various psychosocial problems like loneliness, schizophrenia, depression etc.

Individuals with poor social skills often negatively evaluate their social skills which lead to socially inappropriate and ineffective ways of behaving. Additionally, they also found to speak hesitantly or speak less at a slower rate, exhibit more negative verbal content, show negative facial expressions, avoid gaze during the speech, give less feedback and often engage in nodding gestures and so on.

 What are the benefits of social interaction?

The best way to let individuals know the importance of social interaction is by giving light to the benefits gained from it. The following are a few benefits:

  • Social interactions cultivate our social life and help us stay positive
  • Socially active individuals prioritize social goals and are marked with higher life-satisfaction
  • Social interaction is viewed as a tool for happiness and longevity along with gaining fresh insights into the surroundings
  • Social interactions help develop social motivation that improves memory formation, maintain emotional stability and prevent mental decline
  • Social interactions are linked to physical health benefits and encourage living a healthy lifestyle
  • Moreover, social interactions help in feeling connected and belonged

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