emotionally intelligent person

Emotional Intelligence is a term often used in the psychology field to define a person’s ability to understand emotions and feelings both, their own and others, as first popularised by Daniel Goleman [1]. There has been much research into the topic of emotional intelligence and the role it plays in happiness and success and whilst it has been assumed that people with a high IQ are more successful, research has actually found that people with a higher emotional intelligence are the top performers.

Whilst IQ tests can measure quantitive data and determine levels of intelligence, most emotional intelligence tests are subjective, and the user may be able to select options they think will make them more emotionally intelligent, rather than giving a true measurable result. That being said, there are a few scientifically-developed tests that determine a certain level of emotional intelligence, such as the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book,[2] which can be a lot of fun to read, even if it doesn’t change your life. Taking the most important parts of information from these tests, here are some of the main points in determining your level of emotional intelligence:

1. You Can Read Facial Expressions

Looking at an expression or even in some cases, a micro-expression and knowing the emotion that person is portraying is one of the greatest indicators of high emotional intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is linked very closely to empathy and compassion, and being able to recognise emotions through facial expressions helps develop these areas.

2. You Have a Strong Emotional Vocabulary

Detecting emotions accurately at the moment they occur is a very rare talent and research shows that only 36% of people can do this. Knowing exactly what you’re feeling can help you towards improving those feelings and if possible, preventing them in the future. Knowing the difference between feeling “down” and feeling “irritable” or “anxious” is a good sign of high emotional intelligence.

3. You Are Curious about Other People

Being naturally curious about other people, their behaviour and their stories is a good indicator of high emotional intelligence and wanting to understand how others tick and the way their emotions work is a way to cultivate empathy. “Curiosity expands our empathy when we talk to people outside our usual social circle, encountering lives and worldviews very different from our own,” Roman Krznaric.[3]

4. You Know What Upsets You

Emotionally intelligent people know what has upset them and how much so. They naturally search the environment, memories and everything around them to find out why they feel the way that they do and how they can improve it.

5. You’re a Good Judge of Character

Being able to identify others’ emotions, needs and intentions can come in handy when you want to determine a person’s character. Being able to read people and generally being socially aware is a trait of somebody who is highly emotionally intelligent, which is useful for knowing who people really are below the surface.

6. You Tend Not To Hold Grudges

Holding grudges means holding onto a lot of negative energy, something somebody with a high emotional intelligence knows very well. Being empathetic also means that it’s easier to forgive somebody and understand their motives behind their actions, knowing that everybody makes mistakes.

7. You’re A Great Leader

People with a high emotional intelligence often make good leaders, whether it is in social situations or in a job. Their ability to empathise, identify others’ emotions and control their own emotions makes them perfect leaders. In fact, when comparing star players with average ones in leadership positions, 90% of the difference was due to emotional intelligence rather than cognitive abilities.[4]

With plenty of tools to determine your level of emotional intelligence, it’s easy to know your EQ ability and whilst many people with high emotional intelligence are naturally born that way, many of the traits are learnable attributes, if you know how to do so. How emotionally intelligent do you think you are?


[1] http://www.danielgoleman.info/topics/emotional-intelligence/
[2] http://www.talentsmart.com/products/emotional-intelligence-2.0/
[3] http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/six_habits_of_highly_empathic_people1
[4] http://hbr.org/2004/01/what-makes-a-leader/ar/2

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I'm a psychology student with a passion for books, good food and movies. I can often be found reading self-help articles snuggled up in bed with a cup of coffee or writing about anything and everything in a quiet cafe somewhere.