Guidelines for Speaking Socially

There are a few things to observe when speaking socially. These are as follows:

1. Be polite.

As always, in most communication settings, politeness is very crucial. The only possible communication setting where politeness may have less importance is between very good friends who are at ease in teasing or commenting negatively about each other. Yet, even among very close friends, a level of politeness must still be maintained. In most settings, showing courtesy and politeness strengthens social bonds and lessens any existing disagreement. Give the politeness you expect from others.

2. Be humble.

People do not appreciate a boastful or arrogant attitude. They do not like it when you keep on talking about how great you are. They especially do not like it when you seem to despise people particularly the ones you talk to. That is why your speech must not sound as if you are showing a condescending attitude toward others. Your tone of voice, loudness and softness, and rhythm of speech must all show humility. In addition, nonverbal language plays an important part in being humble. Your gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact must also show humility.

3. Avoid questions or comments that may embarrass your listener.

You need to understand that some questions can cause embarrassment on the part of your listener. Before asking questions or making comments, evaluate whether or not they will put your listener in an embarrassing situation. Avoid questions that may be too personal. Also, be sensitive if your question or comment has put your listener on the spot. If so, you need to change your question or qualify your comment so that its impact is lessened. Sometimes, because you feel that you need to say something, you end up saying something embarrassing such as a comment on their weight (“You’re gaining weight.“) or marital status (“Why are you still single?“). You need to resist such temptation by thinking of other things to comment on.

4. Understand that some questions or comments require a level of closeness.

Some questions may not be asked unless you are at a level of intimacy for such a question or comment. This is determined by the culture of the participants in the conversation. Usually, questions about personal or family problems may not be asked by mere acquaintances. Sometimes, people who have a terminal or critical illness do not appreciate being asked about it because it only reminds them of their situation. This idea comes from the fact that many people do not like their private lives being scrutinized by people who are not that close to them.

5. Do not talk negatively about others.

This is called backbiting. Backbiting does not really develop relationships. Instead, when the people you talk with regularly hear you talking negatively about others, they will wonder what you say about them when they are not around. Backbiting highlights the negative traits of other people and also affects your mood making it negative. The worst result of backbiting is when people feel a sense of exhilaration talking about the negative characteristics or actions of people. Doing so merely creates a drug-like dependence on negativism causing people to seek more. Instead of building relationships, back-biting merely creates division and cultivates ill-feelings toward others.

6. Be patient.

Sometimes, you experience difficulty in relating to others because they do not behave the way you expect them to. Some may show dullness, arrogance, or any other attitude you dislike. In such cases, you need to be patient because they may simply be experiencing something negative in their lives. You need to realize that others have also shown patience toward you when you were not at your best. Realizing that no one is indeed perfect, we must give some allowance for each other’s faults. Soon, you will realize that the other person is actually good to relate to after all.