Do You Speak Social?

Alex Barrera
4 min readSep 25, 2017

Social interaction is something that has always fascinated me. Why can some people navigate social and others can’t? This is a question I’ve been asking myself during the past year.

The obvious answer from many would be the ever-recurrent its genetics!

But I don’t think genetics explains it at all. It’s a part of it, a piece of the human equation, but it doesn’t encompass all the mutations.

Navigating Social has always been like a language to me. You either speak it or not. Some people are fluent; some aren’t. Some people enjoy using it; some don’t.

There are two sides to the Social language. On one hand you need to be able to speak it, but to speak it, you must be able to read Social too.

If as a kid you aren’t exposed to Social, you will, undoubtedly, experience some Social language trauma.

And to be able to read, you need to be exposed to it. This is where I believe most problems arise. If as a kid you aren’t exposed to Social, you will, undoubtedly, experience some Social language trauma. The more you get exposed, the more there is a need to be able to master the reading.

Children isolation is critical here. I can see the difference between my twins and most other kids their age. Being twins means being in constant interaction with another human being. This forces you to explore a universal language that transcends common words.

I can’t detail here how many times we’ve seen the twins look at each other and just know what was going on between them. How they felt each other without the need for words.

Fuelled by the notion that more interactions are better, we decided to take them to Day Care very early on. We drop them in a classroom with eight other toddlers at the age of seven months.

With time, the difference in interaction, in body reading, in face analysis and overall assessment of people was evident.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

On top of that, the twins were born to two very chatty parents. One of them, myself, ranks high on the extroverted charts. We talked to them; we forced them to speak with us, we engaged, and we put them in touch with the outer world. Every time we saw a cop, there we went to talk to them. Every time we saw an ambulance, there we went to speak to the medical crew.

Dog owners, bar and shop owners, shepherds, tourists, you name it. We nudged the twins to interact with any human within reach.

And here is where genetics kicks in. The twins, being non-identical, are very different. One of them is shy; the other is more extroverted; one is easily frightened, the other less so. One is very caring; the other is more pragmatic.

I see and breath these differences in character every day. They both read social very good. One may be better than the other, but they’re both quite proficient. They do, nevertheless, speak Social differently. One is more fluent than the other. It’s a personal choice, and there isn’t anything wrong with it.

We never forced them to do things they don’t want to do. We respect their shyness, their fears, and we try to help them as much as we can.

Our capacity to read and speak to our peers gets defined when we’re still growing up.

Genetics shape their speaking desires, but it doesn’t hinder them in being able to read and navigate social complexities. They will build different relationships with others. They will value different aspects of the Social equation. But one thing I’m certain of is that they will never have problems steering through the people’s soup.

When I see people struggling with their relationships, having a hard time connecting, or even reading a social encounter, it baffles me. It gets me thinking about their upbringing, about their grasp of the Social language and what hindered their exposure to it.

Because for good or ill, our capacity to read and speak to our peers gets defined when we’re still growing up.

In our current interconnected world, in our limitless and blurry definition of society, you need to, at least, be able to read Social.

You might be shy; you might be reserved and introverted. Few people might hear you talking Social, but when in your haven, you should be able to speak loud and clear.



Alex Barrera

Chief Editor at The Aleph Report (@thealeph_report), CEO at, Cofounder & associated editor @tech_eu, former editor @KernelMag.