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Quick Tips on Social Skills: Banish the Four B’s

Posted May 15 2013 12:00am

When it comes to conversational styles, do you or someone you love tend to blurt or bore? How about boss or even bleed (oversharing a litany of woes)? In this guest post, Seattle therapist Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti summarizes these four “Bs” as social bloopers we all want to avoid.

Given my profession as a therapist, I talk with very many people; or rather I listen to very many people.  I’ve noticed that folks with ADHD diagnoses, as well as folks with anxiety and/or depression, often suffer from social isolation.  Social isolation compounds mental-health issues by removing the normalizing effect of being in the company of other imperfect beings who are, like us, doing the best they can.  This loss of beneficial feedback further reinforces the sense of shame of imperfection that many mental-health issues share as a root fallacy. So it’s my passion to talk about social skills because I think they are both simple and transformative.

Good c onversations, like a good relationships, require both an intersection of interest as well as a departure from familiarity because what use is there in having someone in your life who thinks and acts exactly like you?  As such, we never need to worry about not having enough in common with another person.  Our differences are flavoring and our similarities are the underlying basic ingredients we are all made from.

For now, let’s focus on Conversation Killers, which all involve failing to think about the other person. I like to summarize them as four Bs: Boring, Bleeding, Blurting and Bossy.

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