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24 Character Strengths: Social Intelligence

We are all unique and we all have strengths which allow us to contribute to the world. In the early 2000’s, Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Christopher Peterson developed the VIA Character Strengths. Their research determined that there are 24 common character strengths that each of us possess to one degree or another, giving us a common language to use, but still recognizing that each of us is unique.

Each of these Character Strengths fall under one of six broad categories called Virtues. These Virtues and Character Strengths have proven to be universal across cultures and nations. Over the next few weeks, we will explore each of the 24 strengths that we all share, yet make you uniquely you!

Next we will look at the Virtue of Humanity, which brings together those strengths used in one-on-one relationships with others.

The Character Strength of Social Intelligence is that awareness of others and what you do with that awareness. Those with a signature strength of Social Intelligence are comfortable across most social situations because they are able to be relaxed and say just the right things. They understand intuitively what makes people 'tick' and use that understanding in all of their interactions with others.

When Social Intelligence is absent, someone can appear insensitive or slow to understand others. It's opposite is self-deception and choosing to believe something about someone regardless of evidence to the contrary. In excess it can show up as psychobabble where one uses jargon or buzzwords to create an impression of understanding. Understanding these opposites, absences and excesses can help us identify Social Intelligence in ourselves and in others.

There are lots of ways to build your Social Intelligence muscles and great reasons to do it. This strength has been shown to result in better health, higher performance and stronger relationships. You can start by looking at interactions with others in your life that were either positive or negative and look for the ways you influenced that interaction. In upcoming situations, notice your 'read' on it and the individuals participating. Afterwards, compare what your initial reactions were to how the situation unfolded and how you contributed to it. You'll be surprised at how quickly you improve this strength with awareness and practice!

If you would like to learn more about Social Intelligence and your individual strengths, you can visit the website below and complete the free VIA Character Strengths Questionnaire.


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