A co-worker and I walked out of a meeting. She said, “Well that administrator didn’t know how to read the room! He was totally out of touch with the problems we face. And he didn’t show any empathy for what we all have been going through.”

Clearly on display was a lack of emotional intelligence. The administrator was not perceptive. He didn’t pick up on the frustration of his workers, nor did he address their concerns. And his lack of awareness resulted in people feeling frustrated and discouraged. Some wanted to quit.

That same lack of awareness can happen in intimate relationships. A family member, spouse or friend doesn’t understand your feelings or the feelings of others. They don’t seem empathetic to the problems around them and are out of touch. This lack of “emotional intelligence” makes relationships more difficult.

Emotional intelligence is about being able to understand yourself and the perspective of others. It is that ability to respond to your own needs while also taking care of others. It is a type of intelligence that leads to trust and connection.

People with low emotional intelligence tend to blame others for their feelings. They numb or escape feelings with drugs or alcohol. When they are upset, they isolate. And they have little empathy.

To find someone with emotional intelligence, look for these 7 characteristics:

  1. The person has regulated emotions.This means they don’t respond in extreme ways–lose control or keep feelings stuffed inside. Instead, they tell you what they think and feel in ways that are regulated. No temper tantrums, no over the top outbursts or melt downs. No emotional hiding. They can identify their feelings and manage them.
  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 make decisions based on their emotions. This results in being ruled by the emotion of the moment rather than making decisions by a thoughtful process. Emotional reasoning is rampant in our culture as we see more and more people impulsively react to news and events. This reacting doesn’t bode well for relationships because emotions change and are not reliable. And they don’t always reflect reality.
  3. The person doesn’t act impulsively. Instead, the person takes time to think through an action and its consequences. They understand the importance of thinking before acting. For example, emotionally intelligent people don’t send you an angry text or lash out when upset. They pause, think and then act in a regulated way.
  4. The person listens to constructive feedback. An emotionally intelligent person understands that feedback is needed for any relationship to grow. Thus, listening to feedback is important. And doing so, does not make the person feel defensive. Rather, feedback is used to reflect on how their actions affect other people. Feedback is a positive process. The information is used to be a better person.
  5. The person is able to say sorry and to readily forgive. 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. They know the importance of not holding on to hurts in order to avoid resentment. Their goal is to always to try and reconcile relationships because relationships are valued.
  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 serves.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 attend 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. Consider this, do they help other people, ask about their well-being and show empathy? If so, those are signs of emotional intelligence.

The end result of emotional intelligence in an intimate relationship is feeling safe and secure. You can be vulnerable and honest about what you feel and think and know your partner will hear you. You can count on the other person to empathize with you and think through solutions. Conflict doesn’t result in relationship fracture.

Because emotionally intelligent people are perceptive. They recognize their own emotional states as well as those of others. As a result, friendships and a respect for others develops. Therefore, do what you can to raise your emotional intelligence. Don’t be that disconnected boss or partner who only frustrates those around them.



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