From the time we are very young we begin to learn the basics in social skills, which are, learning how to live with, communicate with, and get along with the people around you. If you have siblings, those basic skills come into play quite quickly; sharing of toys and sharing a room with a brother or sister. As we grow older and begin school, those skills become even more important as you must now share your space with many more people. Children whom have not been properly prepared for such an event may find it difficult to adjust to this new society that they have become a part of.
To define the meaning of proper social skills you would have to consider the environment or society you are living in. What works in one society does not need to work in another; none-the-less, basic social skills are imperative to live a happy and enjoyable life among others in your community, workplace, and home life. It is, in a nut shell, the manner at which we participate and conduct ourselves within society; what is right and what is wrong relating to the society in which you live.
In order to fit into society, society expects each person to act in a manner that does not go against the social norms. Being rude to another person, cursing in public, disrespectful behavior are all negative aspects of not having proper social skills. The greater part of most societies learn these skills early in life and they are transported over into their adult life; however, there are some who tend to go against the grain of society and lack the social skills that most of us do not even have to think about; we just know how to act properly. There are also people who have a basic understanding of this concept, but are not sure how to become better at practicing their social skills in public situations.
When employers interview people, they are not just looking at their credentials; they are evaluating how they interact with the employer. They look for signs and ask questions relating to certain topics requiring a social interaction to see if the one being interviewed has a good understanding of social skills as to how they would handle a delicate situation. The lack of such skills could mean the difference in getting the job or not getting the job; one must be able to conduct themselves properly and respectfully in the work place and among others in society.
An excellent way to fine tune your social skills is to go to a public place and sit quietly as people mingle about. Examine how they communicate with each other in a social setting. In doing this exercise it will seem very routine until someone shows a behavior that is socially unacceptable; they will be acting outside the norms of society.
Having good social skills gives you an advantage in society; people are attracted to those who display proper social behavior and do not feel uncomfortable in engaging in conversation with you. Having proper social skills is simply knowing how to be respectful, courteous, and understanding what society considers as the norm.