Social Intelligence | Character Strength | VIA Institute

Become Aware Of Your Strength

Understand what social intelligence is all about so you can begin recognizing it in yourself and others.
What is Social Intelligence?

When a person knows what makes other people tick, he or she is displaying social intelligence. They’re aware of the motives and feelings of themselves and others, and how to fit into different social situations. They can feel comfortable and say the right thing whether they’re in the boardroom or the janitorial room, in a school setting or at a construction site. Social intelligence involves two general components:

  • Social awareness: what we sense about others
  • Social facility: what we do with our awareness
Which virtue is this strength?
Social Intelligence is a strength within the virtue category of humanity, one of six virtues that subcategorize the 24 strengths. Humanity describes strengths that manifest in caring relationships with others. These strengths are interpersonal and are mostly relevant in one-on-one relationships. The other strengths in Humanity are kindness , love , and social intelligence .
What the Science Says

Research findings on the benefits of the strength of Social Intelligence found Social Intelligence contributes to a high level of comfort across a variety of social situations, opening opportunities for meeting new people and participating in new experiences. The ability to recognize feelings both in yourself and in others has been connected with better mental and physical health, work performance, and social relationships. Social and emotional intelligence help in negotiating successful transactions with other people, whether in social or business situations.

Explore Your Strength

Reflect on how you’ve used social intelligence in the past, in everyday life and during special or critical times.

Questions to Help You Understand Your Strength Better
  • What are the social situations that have had the most positive outcomes for you, and how did you positively influence the interactions?
  • When has it been helpful for you to double-check your “read” on situations? How did you do the double-check?
  • When has your social intelligence use gotten in your way?
Examples of this Strength in Action

Wondering about times that you may be using this strength? Here are a few examples of social intelligence at work in the world.

  • When you find yourself in a relational argument that you have been in before, you attempt to find at least one positive element in the other person’s comments and opinions.
  • Making a to-do list for a neighborhood or community-oriented event, coming up with an action plan, and carrying it out.
  • Attending an uncomfortable community event as an active observer and commenting on it to the group without any judgments.

Apply Your Strength

How can you make the most of social intelligence in your everyday life? In the moments that matter most? Here are some ideas.
  • Practice noticing, labeling and expressing emotions. After you become aware of an emotion, label it, and if appropriate, express it to another.
  • Write five personal feelings daily for four weeks and monitor patterns.
  • Watch a favorite TV program or film muted and write feelings observed.