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Navigating social situations can be challenging, even for those with well-developed social skills. However, some individuals may find it especially difficult to grasp and adhere to social norms, leading to awkward or uncomfortable interactions. Being aware of these norms and practicing social etiquette can significantly improve one’s ability to connect with others and navigate social situations successfully. In this article, we’ll explore 30 social norms that socially inept people often struggle with and provide some guidance on how to improve social skills.

1. Personal Space: Understanding and respecting personal space is crucial. Avoid standing or sitting too close to someone unless invited.

2. Eye Contact: Maintaining appropriate eye contact during a conversation shows attentiveness and interest.

3. Handshakes: Offer a firm and brief handshake when meeting someone new.

4. Interrupting: Avoid interrupting others while they are speaking. Wait for a natural pause to contribute to the conversation.

5. Active Listening: Show that you’re engaged in the conversation by nodding, asking questions, and offering affirmations.

6. Greetings: Greet people with a friendly smile and a simple “hello” or “hi” when appropriate.

7. Saying “Please” and “Thank You”: Express gratitude by using polite phrases when receiving assistance or favors.

8. Using Names: Address people by their names when possible. It shows respect and personalizes interactions.

9. Waiting Your Turn: In group discussions, wait for your turn to speak instead of dominating the conversation.

10. Holding Doors: Hold the door open for others, especially if they are close behind you.

11. Noticing Social Cues: Be attentive to non-verbal cues, such as body language and facial expressions, to gauge the other person’s comfort level.

12. Avoiding Offensive Topics: Steer clear of controversial or sensitive topics, such as religion or politics, unless the conversation naturally leads in that direction.

13. Proper Table Manners: Familiarize yourself with basic table manners when dining with others.

14. Noise Level: Keep your voice at an appropriate volume for the setting. Whispering or shouting can be disruptive.

15. RSVPing: Respond promptly to invitations, indicating whether you will attend or not.

16. Respecting Personal Belongings: Don’t touch or borrow someone’s personal belongings without permission.

17. Punctuality: Arrive on time for appointments and meetings to show respect for others’ time.

18. Apologizing When Necessary: Offer a sincere apology when you’ve made a mistake or caused harm to someone.

19. Giving Compliments: Give genuine compliments when appropriate, but avoid overdoing it.

20. Holding Conversations: Engage in conversations by asking open-ended questions and showing interest in the other person’s responses.

21. Responding to Texts and Calls: Respond to messages and calls in a timely manner, even if it’s just to acknowledge receipt.

22. Avoiding Offensive Jokes: Steer clear of humor that may be offensive or hurtful to others.

23. Exiting Conversations Gracefully: Learn how to gracefully exit a conversation when it’s appropriate.

24. Being a Good Guest: When invited to someone’s home, bring a small gift or offer to help with tasks.

25. Following Dress Codes: Dress appropriately for different social settings and events.

26. Handling Conflict Diplomatically: Address conflicts calmly and respectfully, avoiding aggression or passive-aggressiveness.

27. Thanking Hosts: Always thank your hosts before leaving an event or gathering.

28. Respecting Personal Boundaries: Respect personal boundaries and avoid prying or overly personal questions.

29. Avoiding Over-sharing: Be mindful of oversharing personal information with acquaintances or strangers.

30. Learning from Mistakes: If you make a social blunder, acknowledge it, apologize if necessary, and learn from the experience.


Understanding and adhering to social norms is essential for effective communication and building positive relationships. Socially inept individuals can improve their social skills by actively practicing these norms and seeking guidance when necessary. Remember that social skills are learned behaviors, and with time and effort, anyone can enhance their ability to navigate social situations gracefully and confidently.


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