We hear a lot about emotionally intelligent people Who are they and how can we find them?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to be aware of your own feelings and those of another person. It allows you to understand your feelings and to use your understanding as a guide for decisions and actions. It involves self-management, self-awareness, empathy, cultural competency and more.

Emotionally intelligent people know what pushes the hot buttons in their relationships. Yet they stay calm under fire and try to work through differences. They manage emotional reactions, are empathetic and are good listeners. This is because their rational brain talks to their emotional brain; makes for a good balance.

One reason EI is so important is that it keeps a relationship optimistic rather than driven by fear. And it lets your partner know you are attuned to their emotional life which is both validating and affirming. Who doesn’t want that?

So what do you look for when you choose a friend or partner? How do you know if someone is emotionally intelligent? Here is a list to help you recognize the signs:

  1. The person is regulated in their emotions. This means they don’t lose control or keep feelings stuffed inside. It is clear to you what they feel and think because they say it and show it in regulated ways. No temper tantrums, no over the top outbursts or melt downs. No emotional hiding.
  2. The person is not run by their feelings. Yes, feelings are important. But being aware of feelings is not the same as allowing those feelings to run your life. Too many people use emotions in attempts to reason and make decisions. Emotional reasoning  means you will be ruled by the emotion of the moment rather than a thoughtful process. It’s rampant in our culture and doesn’t bode well for relationships. Why? Because emotions change and are not reliable.
  3. The person doesn’t act impulsively. Instead, the person takes time to think through an action and its consequences. Think before you act. Emotionally intelligent people don’t send you an angry text or lash out when upset. They pause, think and then act.
  4. The person listens to constructive feedback. Feedback is not received in a defensive manner. Rather, feedback is used to grow and reflect on how their actions affect other people.
  5. The person is able to say sorry and to forgive readily. Emotionally intelligent people are aware of problems, know they make mistakes and don’t always do the right thing. But when they do falter, they see it, admit it and apologize. If they are the one who has been hurt, they forgive. The goal is reconciliation. They know the importance of not holding on to hurts in order to avoid resentment.
  6. The person reads the room. Emotionally intelligent people recognize manipulators and those who try to control others. They see the signs of inauthenticity and can tell when they are being played. Consequently, they know who not to trust and who to avoid.
  7. The person is interested in the needs of others and serving. If your relationship is always about the other person, you do not have an emotionally intelligent partner. Someone who demands constant attention and doesn’t attune to what you need, is egocentric, meaning it is all about them. The self-absorbed person doesn’t make a good relationship partner because eventually you feel resentful. Instead, look for someone who is interested in your needs and will serve others. A good question is, do they help other people, ask about their well-being and show empathy?



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