13 things a socially intelligent person will do at a party

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Socially intelligent people have a superpower.

They tend to be far more likable and charismatic. And that gives them a strong advantage in both their personal and professional lives.

They use their skills to perfectly navigate different social settings with ease.

Here are the things any socially intelligent person will do at a party…

1) Read the room

 First things first.

 When entering any kind of event, a socially intelligent person checks out the vibe.

 Because the context, energy levels, guest list, and many more subtle variables make a difference.

This dictates the way you’ll approach people, and to a certain degree, how you’ll choose to present yourself.

That’s not to say we ever need to show up insincerely.

But the truth is that we act differently around strangers than friends. We show a different side of ourselves at a work function than at a family party.

A socially intelligent person usually does all this without even consciously thinking. But behind the scenes, they’re picking up on silent social cues to dictate the tone. 

They’re constantly reading body language to gauge people’s moods and energy — and then adapting accordingly.

2) Smile and give good eye contact

It sounds like such an obvious thing. But the truth is that so many of us neglect these basics.

We may do so if we’re introverted and find it uncomfortable. Or we may not give it much conscious thought and accidentally come across as unapproachable.

Smiling is a useful social tool.

It signals to others that we have positive intentions, we’re trustworthy and compassionate. That’s why it helps to build relationships.

Meanwhile, eye contact is equally as valuable.

For starters, it helps both people focus on the conversation and interpret facial expressions. That’s going to help us better understand one another.

But it also helps to show we’re paying attention.

The more focused our eye contact, the more engaged the other person assumes we are.

3) Display open body language

Eye contact and smiling aren’t the only body cues that socially intelligent people take full advantage of.

Have you ever met someone who just comes off as warm and engaging?

You may not even be able to put your finger on it. That is probably because it’s their whole energy, which is coming across through their body language.

  • They avoid crossing their arms or legs
  • They have an upright body posture
  • They have responsive facial expressions to what you say
  • They avoid fidgeting
  • They keep their head up

In short, they let you know that they’re energetically open for business!

4) Avoid hogging the conversation

Whenever we meet new people we can have a tendency to talk too much about ourselves.

Research from Harvard University has noted this. But it also concluded this is the wrong approach.

We don’t really like it when someone takes over the conversation. It can quickly come across as conceited and self-absorbed.

That’s why you’re not going to find the most socially intelligent people hogging the limelight at a party.

They won’t fall into the misguided trap of bragging or boasting to try to impress others.

But that’s not to say they are total wallflowers who sit back and let others take the lead.

It’s all about striking a balance, as we’ll see next.

5) But they make sure they contribute to the conversation

Ok, we don’t like a chatterbox that never gives anyone else a chance to speak.

But, we are looking for someone who contributes in meaningful ways to a conversation.

Socially intelligent people are really good at gauging this “Goldilocks” just right sweet spot.

You tend to come across as painfully shy or slightly disinterested if you have nothing to offer to a conversation.

One of the very best ways to add input can be to make sure you’re asking lots of thoughtful questions.

6) Ask plenty of questions

One of the very best hacks to become more likable is so very easy to do:

Ask questions.

Remember that Harvard University study I mentioned above?

Well, the same research discovered that we like people more if they ask us questions.

And not just one question, but follow-up questions too.

That’s because in doing so, you are showing:

  • Natural curiosity
  • A genuine interest in someone
  • That you are listening to what they are saying and want to know more

It’s all about showing we care about others, and asking someone about themselves is a quick shortcut to that.

7) Give people their full attention

Of course, we can ask all the questions in the world, but it still fails to make a good impression without this next thing on our list.

Because it’s only going to come across as sincere if we take the care and attention to genuinely listen to the answers.

The reality is that a lot of us suck at listening.

In fact, research has highlighted we tend to vastly overestimate our listening skills.

The most socially intelligent people are active listeners.

That means they:

  • Give off verbal and body language cues to show they’re listening (like nodding their head or saying “umms and ahhs”
  • Allow for silences and pauses
  • Genuinely listen whilst someone is speaking, rather than get distracted thinking about what their response will be
  • Avoid general distractions and give the other person their full attention (not looking at your phone, or scanning around the room, etc.)

8) Respect boundaries

In a nutshell, boundaries are simply the limits of what is appropriate or not. And they begin way before we have developed any established relationship with someone.

Socially intelligent people are mindful of both physical and emotional boundaries.

In practice, that means they’re respectful of someone’s personal space at a party. They’re not going to lean in too far or reach out and touch someone who they don’t know so well.

They’re equally as clued up on social etiquette when it comes to minding their own business.

So you’re not going to find them asking inappropriate and prying questions.

They respect people’s privacy and understand the need to build relationships before crossing certain lines.

9) Find things in common

One of the reasons socially intelligent types are so popular is their ability to click with all different types of people.

They often come across as relatable. That’s because of their ability to look for what unites us.

The truth is that if we look hard enough, we can often find things in common with even the most different of characters.

Social butterflies are great at honing in on these unifying shared traits, interests, and experiences.

Of course, that wouldn’t be possible without the next skill on our list.

10) Keep an open mind

This one is powerful.

Because here’s the thing, when we cannot relate with others whenever judgment is present.

It’s like an invisible barrier that stops us from getting through to people.

Others can sense when someone is looking down on them or being condescending — and we understandably hate it.

When we show social intelligence we keep an open mind when it comes to other people’s ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and differences. 

That way we not only make it easier to connect, we also open ourselves up to learning something and gaining new perspectives we may not have considered.

11) Think before they speak

I’m sure most of us have been guilty of it:

Putting your foot in your mouth.

I know it’s happened to me more times than I would have liked. And it usually happens when we speak first and think later.

Because it takes a whole lot of social and self-awareness to consider how your words will land before you utter them. And we don’t always manage to get it right.

Socially intelligent people are far less likely to inadvertently push people’s buttons. They don’t intentionally rock the boat.

That’s because their communication skills are considered.

12) Offer sincere compliments

Compliments are sometimes seen as a way of buttering someone up. And for sure, they can be used as a manipulation technique by some people.

But sincere compliments are actually just a form of appreciation.

You signal to the other person that you recognize something positive in them and want them to know.

It takes keen observation to do this. And it, unsurprisingly, makes people warm to us.

Rather than throw out shallow flattery a socially intelligent person looks deeper.

They offer unique and personalized compliments that make others feel special. 

13) Avoid drama

Even if someone else attempts to bring the drama to them — they are far less likely to be triggered.

They don’t mix up someone else’s opinion of them for a fact. They aren’t ego led and feel the need to point out someone else’s flaws or errors.

They understand their own emotions and so it’s easier to keep a lid on them.

They don’t overly identify with a brief feeling that passes through them, so they’re not automatically carried away by it.

It’s much harder to antagonize a socially intelligent person. They see through it.

Socially intelligent people know how to make friends and influence people

It’s pretty easy to see why improving our social intelligence is worth investing our time in.

It helps us:

  • Be more aware of our own and other people’s emotions
  • Give a good impression to others
  • Become better communicators
  • Adapt to new and unfamiliar social settings
  • Improve our conflict management

Who amongst us doesn’t want to be more likable?! And honing our social intelligence is the best way to do that!

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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