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The Importance of Social Cues


The world of social cues is not as complex as you think. There are various scenarios that can demonstrate how they play out, but for the sake of keeping things short and sweet, I will be focusing on my top two scenarios that truly stress the importance of social cues: 

  1. Face-to-face conversations

  2. Text & phone call conversations

Scenario #1:

Without a doubt, we have all experienced some sort of conversation that felt as if it shouldn’t have happened. Yet, there are still those memories that haunt us when we think back to those painfully cringe moments of dull and dry conversations, which just so happened to be all because we’ve failed to pick up on someone’s social cues! Although for some it may be difficult to completely receive another person’s social cues — because they’re just that mysterious — there are still ones that are easily disguisable and even go along with something we already have etched in our brains. The real secret ingredient to understanding social cues — well, in my opinion and experience — all boils down to nothing but observation. From observing things such as someone’s eye contact, body language, tone of voice and overall presence is what social cues are all about. There is nothing secretive about trying to figure out if someone is interested in having a conversation because you already have the tools to determine if so. When you are able to simultaneously observe someone and communicate with them, that will genuinely support the basic foundation on whether the conversation should continue or end. Thus, instead of trying to revive a dead conversation, take a moment to truly observe every aspect of a person, which will lead you to not only approach them better but also strengthen your conversation skills. In this sense it’s wise to “keep your eyes on the prize!”

Scenario #2


Now you may be wondering how in the world can we pick up on someone’s social cues without even seeing them, and this is where your brilliant observation skills will be tested the most. Take this illustration for example; the mood of text messages can suddenly go south when someone replies with a period instead of an exclamation point. This scenario is most common when we forget to formally start a conversation with the word ‘hello’ or ‘hey,’ ‘heyyy,’ ‘hi,’ ‘hiii,’ whatever tickles your fancy. Sometimes it’s immediately obvious when the person you’re texting all of a sudden stops using emojis or shortens their replies down to ‘K,’ but when you’re unsure about someone who’s not your bestie then it’s time to 1) prepare yourself for 2 routes that the conversation can go and 2) put yourself in their shoes — how would you want someone to text you? With that in mind, you will be able to avoid being left on read and also give the other person a chance to pick up what you’re putting down. When it comes to phone call conversations, the same recommendations can apply, however, now you get to observe someone’s tone of voice and immediately determine the appropriate way to communicate. 

Good luck, you got this!

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