How To Know If Someone Has Emotional Intelligence
Success Quarterly is a tech and business blog that focuses on the intersection of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, including technology, business, mobile, entertainment, media, and related topics.
Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (“EI”) has become one of the most popular psychology theories. Some even call it the “newest big thing in psychology.” But what does this mean? And more importantly, how can you tell whether someone is strong in emotions?
It seems like every celebrity or public figure has been discussed as having high levels of emotional intelligence. This includes people such as Justin Timberlake, Oprah Winfrey, and Miley Cyrus. Even President Obama has received praise for his ability to relate to others and use emotion to motivate himself and others.
However, there are also many examples of over-the-top comments and behaviors that suggest low EI. These include stories about Steve Jobs being insensitive and inconsiderate towards colleagues and superiors. Or reports about Donald Trump acting with rage and aggression when crossed.
Overall, these cases show that although high EQ is desirable, not everyone has enough control over their own emotions. In fact, some feel emotionally detached from other people and things due to their limited empathy.
This article will talk about five traits related to emotional intelligence. You will learn what each trait means, along with some tips on how to identify them in yourself and others.
Disclaimer: The content below was written based on research studies and interviews conducted by the author. It was adapted and edited for clarity and brevity.
Look at their behavior
One of the most important things you can look for when trying to determine whether or not someone has emotional intelligence is looking at how they behave. Are they able to contain their emotions? Can they show feelings towards others, and are those feelings positive or negative?
It’s easy to tell whether someone is emotionally intelligent by observing them in action. Obviously, people who have high levels of emotional intelligence will be very different from normal ones.
But what about people with middle-level EI? You may know some people like this — sometimes they go a little overboard with all the emojis, but other than that they seem pretty okay.
Does anyone around them seem worried or concerned about something they said or done? Do they get along with everyone well, or is there always an undercurrent of tension? If so, it could indicate low EQ.
Experts agree that having strong social skills and understanding relationships are markers of higher EQ.
Ask them about their emotional intelligence
One of the most important things you can do to evaluate someone’s emotional intelligence is to ask them about it. If they refer to it as something else, run away!
Most people understand what ‘emotional literacy’ means, but few have ever been formally tested on their ability to identify and manage emotions. Therefore, asking whether or not someone considers themselves able to deal with their own feelings goes a lot deeper than just knowing if they’re self-aware.
So, how would you test for emotional intelligence?
By asking directly if someone is capable of regulating their own emotions. Most good candidates will tell you that they are, or at least believe that they are.
That isn’t necessarily true though – in fact, there’s some evidence that suggests that being aware of your own feelings is actually a risk factor in developing mental health issues.
If you feel that someone doesn’t seem quite honest when talking about their emotional skills, then don’t take their word for it. Instead, look up their answers on Google or talk to other people who know them well.
Look for signs of emotional intelligence
A lot of people think that having emotional intelligence means you are good at showing emotions, or being able to put on a showy front when needed.
That’s not what emotional intelligence is actually about.
Emotional intelligence is actually about how well you understand your own feelings and those of other people, and how well you use these insights in making smart decisions.
It’s also about how well you manage your mental and physical reactions to situations so that you can keep working and living harmoniously.
Some tips for having emotional intelligence
In addition to using emotions for motivation, there are some ways to know whether you have more of it than others. Certain behaviors and actions can indicate if you have low EQ or high EQ.
People who display irritability, anger, hostility, and/or aggression towards other people may lack empathy.
Likewise, individuals who show little sympathy, compassion, or concern for others’ feelings are often described as not being emotionally intelligent.
On the contrary, someone with strong social skills is likely to be considered highly empathic.
Reflect on your own emotional intelligence
A lot of people have mentioned that they could not understand why someone would be so angry with you for doing something wrong, or why someone would get upset about what you said or done. They say it makes no sense to them.
This is because most people do not know how to deal with their emotions.
If you cannot control your feelings, then this will cause problems in your life and relationships. You may feel bad yourself for acting irrationally, or may try to make things better by going out and talking to others, but it may just push them away.
Furthermore, when you are not aware of your own feelings, it can be hard to tell whether these changes are due to you or to something else causing you to become unhappy. This can hurt trust between you and person, or even lead to divorce.
Develop your emotional intelligence
A lot of people think that having emotional intelligence means being able to control your emotions, which is only half of it. The other part is using your emotions to motivate yourself to do things, understand what motivates you, and influence others through your own emotions.
The first step in developing your emotional intelligence is understanding how you feel about things. Once you have identified those feelings, you can work on them or add new ones in different areas of your life – for example, by learning why someone else may make you feel a certain way.
You can also use your emotions to help you achieve your goals. For instance, if you want to play soccer well, then before practices begin you could be thinking about all the reasons why you will fail. But at the same time you could be looking forward to getting some exercise and improving your skills, so when you are actually playing you’ll be more focused instead.
Practice having emotional intelligence
So, how do you know if someone has high EQ? Simply practicing self-awareness and management of emotions is a good place to start.
As we've discussed before, being able to identify your own feelings and behaviors is a key part in developing your EQ.
You can also watch yourself interact with others to determine if they have higher or lower EQ than you. For example, people who are very friendly and likeable probably have more EQ than those that aren't as warm.
People with higher EQ understand that making friends takes time and effort, so they're willing to put in the work.
Be honest with your emotions
Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell whether someone has good emotional intelligence or not. This is because people show different levels of emotion depending on their situation. For example, when you are with friends, they may call you “lumpy” for getting excited about something, but once you are together at a party, they will appreciate your energy more.
At that point, they may even praise you for how well you controlled yourself. So, it really depends on what type of person you are and what kind of reactions you get in each scenario.
However, there are some things you can look for to determine if someone has high EQ or not. The first thing is to be honest with your own emotions.
If you notice that someone seems happier than you do after they have done something great, then ask them why they seem so happy. Does this make sense? Is this person aware of the effect his/her actions had on you?
You could also try asking these individuals about their feelings, but only if you are close to them. According to research, people with higher EQs are less likely to deny their feelings.