What is Social Intelligence?
Social intelligence was first defined by Thorndike in 1920 as “Understanding men and women by acting wisely/skillfully in human relationships”.
Over time, the definition of the concept of social intelligence has been expanded and examined with sub-dimensions.
Goleman initially examined social intelligence, which is one of our universal character forces, which is located below humanity, which is the dimension of virtue associated with the effective conduct of interpersonal relationships by centering on human value and Decency, within the emotional intelligence model of which he is the creator. The reason for this is that it is not clear which human abilities are social and which are emotional, which is attributed to the fact that these two areas mix together, as if the social and emotional centers in the brain coincide. He cites Richard Davidson's observation as a guide to his explanation: “All emotions are social. You can't separate the cause of an emotion from the world of relationships; our emotions are governed by our social interactions." Thus, social intelligence initially appears as the “social skills” component of the emotional intelligence model. In this model, social skills are considered as one of the important elements of emotional intelligence and are defined as our social abilities that enable us to establish effective, healthy relationships with people. These abilities enable a person to shape their relationships with their environment, maintain close relationships, and create a social network where they can receive support, especially in difficult life events. However, Goleman realized over time that being content with presenting social intelligence within emotional intelligence blunts the development of new thoughts related to human-specific relationship ability, and what is happening during interaction is overlooked. In his own words, he expresses this determination as follows: “This myopia leaves out the ‘social’ part of intelligence. Thus, in 2006, he defined social intelligence, which he called the ”new science of human relations“, as ”understanding people and acting skillfully in human relations" and examined it in two dimensions. These are the dimensions of ”social awareness“ and ”social skills".
Social awareness defines a spectrum that ranges from instantly sensing the inner lives of other people to understanding their feelings and thoughts, to comprehending complex social behaviors. There are four sub-dimensions, they are:
1. Basic Empathy: To be able to share the feelings of other individuals, to be able to read emotional indicators that are not expressed verbally.
2. Harmony: Listening effectively, being able to adapt to the individual in front of us.
3. Empathic Hit: Being able to correctly understand the thoughts, feelings and goals of others in their actions.
4. Social Cognition: Understanding how the social world works.
Social skill is defined as the ability to communicate effectively. It has four sub-dimensions, which are:
1. Synchronicity: Effectiveness in nonverbal communication.
2. Self-Presentation: To be able to present oneself effectively and correctly.
3. Influence: To be able to direct the results of social interactions.
4. Interest: Acting appropriately, caring about the needs of other people.
Social awareness is our intuition about others, while social skill is related to what we do with this awareness. While making progress in social intelligence, sensing what the other person feels or knowing what they are thinking and planning is the first step, but it does not guarantee a productive interaction. Social skills, which are based on the social awareness dimension that expresses these abilities, are the step that leads to perfect and effective relationships.
I would like to share with you the story that Daniel Goleman told at the beginning of the chapter of his book about social intelligence: “Three twelve-year-old children are heading to the football field for a physical education lesson. One of the two athletic-bodied boys walking behind them said with a sarcastic expression, ‘So you're going to try playing football, huh?' he makes fun of the boy who is a little chubby,' she says. Due to the social rules of middle school students, this is a situation that can easily turn into a fight. The chubby boy closes his eyes for a moment and takes a deep breath, as if he wants to gather his fortitude for the confrontation that awaits him. Then he turns to his two friends next to him and says in a calm voice, ‘Yes, I will try, but I can't play well’. After a little pause, he said, 'But I'm very good at painting. If you show me anything I will make a perfect picture of you,’ he October adds. Then, turning to the boy who was abusing him, he said, ‘As for you... you really play great football! I would like to play as well as you one day, but I just can't do it right now. Maybe if I keep trying I can play a little better,’ he replies her. Thereupon, the boy, whose condescending attitude had now completely changed, said in a friendly tone, ‘My dear, you are not so bad. Maybe I can show you a few things,’ he responds." This short interaction story, which tells how skillfully a situation that could easily turn into a fight is managed, is an example of how social intelligence works in practice. Instead of succumbing to his anger with the advantage of his high social intelligence, the child who was made fun of himself attracted the other person to the positive emotion field he created.
Many studies have shown that a low level of social intelligence has a negative impact on academic, professional and social success, and that the interpersonal relationship patterns of these individuals are more complex and their social adaptations are more difficult. It has been found that individuals with above average social intelligence are able to predict where and how they will react with accurate interpretations of the behavior of the people they are communicating with, and their nonverbal communication is stronger. It is another finding that social skills, which are one of the main dimensions of social intelligence, are the most connected component with happiness. In a study conducted on university students; It was found that there is a decrease in social awareness and social skill levels in students with a high level of depression.
In the light of all this information, it is clear that individuals with low social Decency will create social environments in which even everyday simple interpersonal disputes turn into unsolvable problems. This, in turn, will bring social isolation over time.
According to the theory of multiple intelligences, each area of intelligence can be learned and developed up to a certain point. In that case, psychological well-being, endanger our conflict, to steer clear of the loneliness that can bring you to roll up your sleeves; active listener, being others ' feelings, needs and rights and to consider the feelings and thoughts of the individuals in front of us to take action by making an accurate estimate of, to be open to cooperation, risk assessment, crisis management in order to do, solution-oriented decisions, as well as learning about the social features, and developing social intelligence you need to begin to exercise.
Each Person is Unique and Special
Relationships are one of the most important social skills to achieve mastery level; to be able to start, maintain and end the relationship when necessary. Friendships are one of the most beautiful interactions of life's journey and require effort. If we want deep and sustainable relationships in our lives, we must remember that each person is unique and special. We should take care of people sincerely, smile often, and not withhold our honest and sincere compliments. We should pay attention to the language we use and be aware that a single word can open deep wounds. We have to be good listeners. We should be interested in the stories of others, encourage them, support them. We must be understanding and patient and pay attention to people's sensitivities. We have to learn to manage our emotions. We should be able to sincerely admit our mistakes and apologize if necessary. We should accept disagreements and differences positively and respect them. Most importantly, we must be generous in love.
Yes, love smells, but when evaluated from the point of view of our topic, I think Nazım Hikmet made a witty tribute to social intelligence, saying, “Loneliness teaches a lot to a person. But don't go, I'll stay ignorant” I understand from the lines; social intelligence is preferable to intellectual intelligence, at least it will help to keep the lover.