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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 January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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