Why do we call them soft skills?

Interpersonal people skills which are also referred to as social-emotional skills such as communication and listening, leadership, coping/problem solving, teamwork, and empathy among others are what are referred to as soft skills.

In our score-obsessed, overly standardized-tested educational system, soft skills have been squeezed out by “core subjects” and degraded like they are fluffy little extras like a bows on a package. In home economics, I learned to sew on a button, budget for food for a week, write a check, buy a car, and rent a place to live. In shop, I learned to work with a team, how to plan ahead and outline the steps to a finished project. Are these not skills essential to living?

Just calling these soft skills demotes the importance of these proficiencies and I think one of the reasons we are seeing an increase in addiction and suicide is because our kids don’t have the problem solving skills needed to manage life. Drugs and alcohol have become so normalized as coping mechanisms in our culture, kids are using these substances instead.

It’s time we changed the name of soft skills to essential skills because these are strengths people need to manage life and relationships.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked mental health speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational mental health keynotes, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, anxiety, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

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