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Vanishing Social Skills We Need to Bring Back

Handshake between men in suits

In my last article I wrote about skills that the millennial generation (and others) have forgotten or simply were never taught. I limited those skills to physical things like reading a map, operating a chainsaw, and changing a flat tire. But as I look around at our country, I personally see an increasing lack of social skills ... not only among those far younger than me (I'm 56) but also even in my own generation!

Studies have shown that social media has undermined social skills. I know we'll never achieve a paradise here on earth, but I thought of two basic categories of vanishing social skills that we need to make an effort to bring back.

1. Verbal skills.

When I read letters from 18th or 19th century America, I am struck by the amazing command of vocabulary and grammar so many common Americans once had. I know we've always had slang and people using poor grammar, but is it getting worse?

It's almost to the point where I wonder if I can even understand some people who are talking to me. Are you tired of people trying to speak but loading each sentence with "and um, like, ya know"? I hear sentences like this: "And then, um, like, I was like, ya know, literally dying laughing and um, like, ya know, everyone was literally, like, looking at me, ya know?"

Please learn the meaning of "literally," stop misusing the word, and please get rid of "verbal pauses." The word "like" does not need to be every other word. If you make these corrections you will make your point, finish the sentence faster, and sound more intelligent.

Listen to people. Even if you think their story is boring or their argument is ridiculous, listen to them. It's just being polite. If you simply can't stand the conversation, find a good reason to politely break it off and leave. But rolling your eyes or looking at your phone is simply selfish and rude. (Please get your face OUT of your phone! If you do, you'll actually find that there is a world to explore and enjoy beyond a silly phone.)

If someone is trying to convince you that their argument is valid, they will fail miserably if they do not show common courtesy. You want people to listen to you in a conversation? Then be quiet for a few minutes and listen to them. The good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.

Erase vulgarity from your vocabulary. Yeah, I know I sound like a prude here, don't I? How many of us really enjoyed Ashley Judd and her rant at the March for Women last year? Even if you agree with her politically, her vocabulary was nothing to emulate. Filthy toilets in a men's bathroom in a truck stop are cleaner than her mouth.