How To Be Socially Aware Using Social Radar

With the holiday season approaching, there is the possibility of many more social interactions. It's about this time of year that we look at our calendar and start adding some of these opportunities. Sometimes, it can be almost like creating a master plan right up until January 2nd.

Hopefully, your goal is to include the events and time with special people in your life  that will be most meaningful and fun for you. The bottom line is that you want to be able to enjoy these next six weeks.

There is an important skill set in Emotional Intelligence that I refer to as "Social Radar" which can help you reach this goal. Social Radar makes you more socially aware just like a radar system picks up whatever it is set up to track. In this case, your radar system is focusing on Social Awareness.

When you are trying to be more socially aware, there are two areas to focus on to sharpen your personal and professional effectiveness:

  1. Empathy

  2. Service


Empathy is a critical skill because it creates understanding which is necessary to get along with others, especially those from different backgrounds and cultures. Without empathy it is difficult to develop trust and make intelligent decisions.

When there is empathy, there is a blending of emotional states between two people which can create a feeling of connection referred to as "resonance" or harmony.  During this time, feelings and ideas are thoughtfully considered and expressed appropriately. Each person will feel understood. 

Empathy includes good listening skills which tune into both the verbal and non-verbal messages. This means you need to understand what people are thinking and feeling, not just focusing on the words or what they are saying. Also, it includes being able to understand why they think or feel that way.

Individuals with a high level of empathy are:

  • Attentive and listen well.
  • Sensitive and understand others' perspectives.
  • Able to help out based on understanding people's needs and feelings.

Once people feel understood, they are more willing to be open minded and flexible.This mindset helps when you need to discover solutions.

To be more empathetic, practice listening for the idea(s) as well as how the person feels about the topic when you are in a conversation with someone. It is not necessary for you to agree with the points that are made. You are listening to understand what is being discussed and the feelings about the subject.


Service means being willing to carefully monitor the level of satisfaction of friends and family or customers/clients in a work setting. You need to be able to determine whether or not they are getting what they need. If they are not, they are likely to look elsewhere to get their needs met.

Service means you need to be thinking ahead for innovative ways you can meet the needs of others in addition to taking care of your own needs. You may need to come up with ideas that will improve a situation if others are unhappy.

When you are service oriented in your communication interactions, you:

  • Are willing to be available when necessary to increase satisfaction.
  • Anticipate, recognize and meet others' needs as much as possible.
  • Act as a trusted adviser.
  • Seek ways to maintain and increase loyalty.

It is important to understand the dynamics in social situations and key relationships. This is something that is learned over time by noticing what goes on around you and by carefully asking questions.

To demonstrate Social Awareness, you need to:

  • Be a good listener in order to understand the feelings and perspectives of others.
  • Be tolerant and cultivate opportunities with diverse people.
  • Read the political and social currents in an environment.
  • Happily offer appropriate assistance to others.

Using these suggestions will help you discover ways to improve your Social Radar and your personal effectiveness. Once you consistently do, you will build trusting and positive relationships.

Until next time,


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