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12 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Don’t Do

12 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Don’t Do

One of the most important skills for being successful in life at work and at home, is not just being intelligent (meaning having a high IQ) but also being emotionally intelligent (EQ), which is the ability to understand, manage, and monitor your emotions constructively. We have all met people that seem to have the innate ability to stay calm and to be emotionally mature.

So what is the difference between someone who is emotionally intelligent and someone who is not? Here are 12 things that emotionally intelligent people don’t do, ever:

1.They don’t have temper tantrums.

They don’t do this because they have control over their emotions, and they know that when they have a temper tantrum, the people around them will shut down. They have learned it is more effective to stay calm and logical in order to communicate. When their flight is cancelled or delayed at the airport, they remain calm and try to work with the airline agent to find a solution. Because they are perceived as nice, the airline people want to help them.

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2. They don’t behave insensitively.

Emotionally intelligent people are keenly aware of other people’s emotions and feelings. Because of this awareness, they make sure to be sensitive to how other people are feeling. When in a store, they may say to the cashier “how is your day going?” They show true concern about other human beings and how their approach to interactions affects others. This can also be described as empathy, which is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

3. They don’t have drama in their life.

They are not involved in gossip, or in constantly getting caught up in conflicts with friends, family and coworkers. They do not enjoy talking negatively about others, and generally avoid it. When they meet a person who has a lot of drama in their life, they generally tend to not make friends with them and avoid associating with them.They know that people who are overly dramatic can be an emotional drain on their life.

4. They don’t blame others for their problems.

People who are emotionally intelligent don’t blame other people for their problems. They would rather take ownership and responsibility for their own lives. They never say phrases like “well, it’s not our fault, it’s the marketing department’s fault.” They don’t make excuses and point fingers at other people. They take ownership. They don’t say “well, I could be doing better if it wasn’t for the stupid _________.” (fill in one of the following: government/company/customers/traffic/products/person).

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5. They don’t say “I can’t help it – I’m just wired that way.”

They say instead, “I realize I got upset about the situation and I shouldn’t have. I’m working on having better control of my emotional responses, because I realize my behavior currently is not helping me.” Unlike people who have road rage, the emotionally intelligent person has “road calm” and maintains their ability to stay calm while driving because they realize it is a complete waste of time to get upset about things that they cannot control. What is the point?

6. They don’t guess why someone is upset or angry.

When faced with someone they think is upset, people who are emotionally unintelligent automatically think that the person is angry or upset with them, and don’t ask the person why they are upset. Emotionally intelligent people ask questions and often find that the other person is not upset at them, but that something else happened that morning on their way to work etc. Emotionally intelligent people don’t assume that they are the source of someone’s anger, but make an effort to determine what is going on.

7. They don’t ignore the situations make them upset.

People who are not emotionally intelligent, often get upset, but when you ask them why they don’t really know. People with emotional intelligence have taken a good look at their emotions and understand exactly the circumstances or situations that are emotional triggers for them and know how to handle them when they happen. Then when they experience a circumstance which is an emotional trigger, they don’t experience an unpleasant surprise. They also have a better response in mind that they’ve developed in advance.

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8. They don’t have friends who are emotionally unintelligent.

People who are emotionally intelligent realize the quality of their life is in direct correlation to the quality of the people that they associate with. One of their criteria for who they associate with is someone who is emotionally intelligent. This by default also means they’re probably a more optimistic and proactive person. If someone is emotionally unintelligent, they decide not to maintain the friendship with that person, because they know they may drag them down with them into an emotional abyss.

9. They don’t avoid topics because they are uncomfortable or difficult.

Unemotionally intelligent people will avoid a topic when it comes up because it is difficult or uncomfortable to discuss. They will say “let’s talk about that later.” Emotionally intelligent people realize it is much better to address the topic sooner rather than later, because situations don’t get better, they get worse unless they are addressed. Besides, it feels better to address things that are difficult sooner and get them out of the way.

10. They don’t ignore the importance of being sensitive when discussing sensitive topics

People who lack emotional intelligence do not know what to say when sensitive topics arise, and don’t know how to address sensitive situations. For example if someone mentions that one of their relatives is critically ill and in the hospital, they will say something inappropriate and something that is not comforting. Someone with emotional intelligence knows how to be sensitive and say the right thing in these circumstances.

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11. They don’t avoid asking themselves how they are feeling.

People who lack emotional intelligence often don’t ask other people how they are feeling, and they almost never ask themselves how they are feeling. People with emotional intelligence are constantly monitoring their own feelings, and thinking about how they feel about each circumstance. The way they do that is by asking themselves internally how they are feeling at that particular time. This self-monitoring creates more self-awareness about their true feelings throughout the day.

12. They don’t ignore the importance of body language

People with emotional intelligence are always monitoring their own body language to see how their body is reacting to life around them. If they are driving to work each morning feeling very tense, they think about what it means and if they are in the right job or right career. Body language is a great litmus test to learn more about how they are really feeling.

As Daniel Goleman once said, “Emotional self-control– delaying gratification and stifling impulsiveness- underlies accomplishment of every sort.”

Featured photo credit: Alone with his thoughts/ Viktor Hanacek via viktorhanacek.com

More by this author

Shawn Doyle

Shawn is a certified professional speaker, author and an Executive and Life Coach.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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