Social Skills: Impressions and Altruism
I speak to my students often about altruism. I give them two reasons they should be altruistic: first, being kind to people and animals is the right thing to do, and second, it’s in their self-interest. I tell them they will benefit from being kind. It will give others a good impression of them, which can lead to friendships, romantic relationships, comfortable interactions with acquaintances and strangers, and professional connections and promotions. The Impressions and Altruism activity goes a step further than Attaining Targeted Impressions because it also considers the other person’s feelings in various situations. Given five straightforward social interactions, students take turns rolling a die to find out with whom they are interacting. They then answer five questions involving what they can say or do so that both they and the other person in the interaction can benefit. Note that in some situations what can benefit the other person is of less importance, such as when interacting with a job interviewer or a doctor.