Intro: I'm originally a physicist, and I love programming since my childhood (primarily C++). After finishing my PhD in physics, I did a post-doctoral fellowship in a university for 2 years, where in that period I was deciding whether I want to continue in research or move to industry. Long story short, I searched for a job in industry, and within 2 months I was hired in a software company. During the first 3 months, I read 4 books on networking, multithreading, hacking and code-style. I work 8 hours at work every day, and I continue the rest programming in my own projects (including most of the weekends).
Why am I mentioning this? Because it may explain what happened later in my 3-months review meeting with my boss, which showed that I'm very good at what I do... but...
The 3 months review came up, and my boss put her right hand up and said "here's your technical skills", and the other hand down and said "here's your soft-skills". Honestly, at the time I didn't even know what "soft-skills" means, and given that I like resolving such issues directly, I asked "what are soft-skills?", and I got the answer "google it" (ouch!). They (boss + HR) also said that I shouldn't talk about work during brakes, and I should socialize more with other employees. That's all they said, and I failed at pulling any additional information from them.
Given that this is my first professional industry job, I am unable to assess the necessity of having soft-skills, and how much to care about this issue (is it just a formality and I shouldn't really care, or so important, even more than all my programming skills). I don't even know where to start, and that's why I'm asking this question. I'm a little scared! I don't want to fail in my career because of this... while I know that I've been kind of a loner my whole life (and I like it, and honestly some articles like this one give me some consolation, after having felt like a weirdo for a long part of my life).
There's a ritual in the company where I work, where they make a breakfast once a week, and people get together and talk and stuff (and I don't like being there, because I feel it's a waste of precious time). HR said that she'll take my hand to go in there from now on (she was half-joking, I assume, but I must go there)... and honestly speaking, I don't even know what to talk about there (other than work, which I can't talk about there, but all I do is work, and I'm happy and I love it!).
I like solving problems systematically... step by step... so what I'm doing now is that I got some books (e.g., this one) and I'm gonna start reading more about soft-skills... what else can I do? And how much should I care about this?
PS: I'm 31 now.