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10 Things High EQ People Don’t Do

10 Things High EQ People Don’t Do

Many people hang their success in life on their IQ level. Yet, there is something that can be an even stronger predictor of success. We all know really smart people who are limited in their lives because they just don’t play well with others. They have high IQs, but horribly low EQs. The good news is that while your IQ may be a bit harder to change, anyone can work on developing a better EQ.

Why should you care about enhancing your EQ? Because people who have developed their emotional intelligence enjoy more success in every area of life: social, emotional, physical, and financial. This is because life almost always involves interacting in some way with other people, and high EQ people just make each interaction more rewarding for everyone.

While EQ isn’t always easy to change quickly, with a bit of effort, most people can improve their emotional intelligence with coaching, self-introspection, and feedback from others. The other good news is that EQ naturally increases with age, even if you don’t conscientiously work on furthering it.

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    There are four main pillars that support a healthy emotional intellect.

    • High EQ people are self aware. Instead of just feeling without understanding the source, they can trace their emotions back to their origins and see them logically. They also have a realistic grasp of their strengths and weaknesses.
    • High EQ people conduct self management. They can rein themselves in, delay gratification, account for the needs of others, and balance their desires accordingly. They can also walk the middle ground between initiative and patience. They handle change well and follow through with commitments.
    • High EQ people are socially aware. They understand and tune into other people’s emotions and can adapt to unspoken social cues. They can also see the interpersonal interactions within groups and larger organizations.
    • High EQ people excel at relationship management. They just play well with others, inspire and influence people positively, communicate well, and manage conflict proactively.

    In short, high EQ people draw you in and make you want to stay in their circles. How do you know if you have a high EQ? One way is to look at what emotional intellectuals don’t do.

    1. They don’t react rashly.

    Instead of reacting, high EQ people craft calculated responses. Life is full of stressors. Everyone has their own battles. However, people with high EQ learn to manage their responses to triggers in a proactive way. They learn how to calm down and relax in situations where low EQ people revert to panic and fear. They manage their more basic tendencies to react emotionally and filter that through their reasoning abilities to default to stress management activities.

    High EQ people learn to not make decisions when angry, hurt, or scared. Instead, they self manage, get to a better mental state, and then make better decisions after reviewing the situation from their happy place.

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    2. They don’t avoid new experiences, ideas, or people.

    I’m not saying that people with high EQ don’t have strong beliefs or ideas. They do. However, they are not afraid of learning more about other perspectives or having their beliefs challenged. They are open in their thinking vs. closed. They are intellectually curious. They often have friends from every walk of life and faith. They always seek new possibilities. They understand that they can’t always be right, and have the humility to embrace the fact that there is always more that they can learn.

    Even when they do disagree with a concept, they consider why their first initial response was to dislike the idea and self analyze why this occurs. They refrain from reacting solely emotionally, and instead respond intelligently.

    High EQ individuals see the best in other people. They aren’t afraid to accept help from others, as they realize their own limits and lean on trusted mentors when necessary.

    High EQ people are not afraid of change and don’t need rules and structure to feel secure. They don’t remain emotionally unavailable to others or withhold intimacy from their loved ones. They aren’t afraid to have their beliefs or ideas challenged. They also don’t stubbornly cling to concepts and refuse to even entertain new facts that are presented to them.

    3. They don’t focus only on self.

    This is not to say that high EQ individuals don’t take time for themselves when needed. In fact, going into martyrdom mode is also not healthy. However, high EQ people are empathetic towards others. When it comes to people, they focus more externally vs. being self-absorbed. Instead of seeing life through the lens of their own needs and wants, they have the ability to look at the world from a bigger perspective and walk a mile in another person’s shoes. They are also more forgiving of themselves and others.

    High EQ people don’t attack, judge, interrupt, invalidate, criticize, command, lecture, or blame people. They also don’t try to analyze others when they try to share their feelings. They aren’t jealous over loved one’s successes, but celebrate their victories.

    4. They don’t become bitter.

    Many people don’t take responsibility for their feelings; instead, they blame outside sources for them. However, if you think about it, this is a very basic way to behave. What happens if you take a toy from a child before they are ready to give it up? They cry and throw a tantrum.

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    You may have met people who still react like a two-year-old child when they are challenged. It’s so much more healthy for people to grow up emotionally as they grow up physically, but this doesn’t always occur. We can all usually “see” what’s wrong in a situation, but most low EQ people don’t move past that step of identifying the problem to finding a solution for it. Instead, they follow the predicable negative chain reaction that can lead to implosion.

    High EQ individuals are also not afraid of a challenge, and don’t throw in the towel when they realize that they are not on the correct course. They make adjustments and keep working on solutions to their obstacles.

    High EQ individuals don’t go through life feeling like the world owes them. They look within to determine why they do what they do, so they aren’t doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over.

    5. They don’t stay ignorant about inner motives.

    Ultimately, it comes down to what Socrates proclaimed so long ago. To have high EQ, you must “Know Thyself.”

    High EQ individuals understand the chain reaction that occurs that brings about their emotions. They also can explain why they are experiencing certain feelings without blaming someone else. High EQ people are never emotionally dishonest and don’t withhold information, or downright lie, about what they are feeling. They also don’t minimize or exaggerate their emotions, nor do they let things build up until they blow up.

    Being self aware helps you understand why you react as you do and if needed, to take steps to change it. You must learn who you are, and more importantly, not let others define you with their self-imposed expectations. As you become more self aware and manage your emotions more effectively, you also are able to subsequently better understand the reactions of others. This ultimately creates better personal relationships and overall happiness.

    Some great questions to help you discover more about your inner workings are, “Why do I act like that?” “Why do I believe this way?” “Why am I afraid of having that concept challenged?”

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    6. They don’t clam up or blow up.

    High EQ individuals are communication masters. They have excellent verbal and non-verbal communication and listening skills. They manage conflict better, have stronger relationships, and are able to convey thoughts in a non-threatening, respectful manner. Good communication also increases their ability to influence others in a positive way.

    High EQ people, in addition to being more aware of their feelings, are also not afraid to share those feelings with others. And, they check their ego in at the door when it comes to gaining wisdom, insight, and feedback from trusted sources.

    High EQ people often use phrases such as “I feel..” to express their emotions. However, they don’t use “I feel that…” This phrasing is often a tip off to a thought disguised as a feeling. For example, “I feel like you…” While the true “I feel” messages give necessary information in a non-threatening manner, the “you” messages usually do not reveal the person’s actual feelings, but can be thinly-veiled accusations.

    High EQ individuals also don’t lay guilt trips on others. Instead, they always tell them where they honestly stand in the relationship. Instead of acting out their feelings by resorting to negative actions like door slams, moodiness, passive aggression, or silence, they talk about them calmly.

    High EQ people also never resort to playing emotional games and manipulating others. They are excellent listeners, and do not interrupt or invalidate. They are open to other opinions and won’t try to “win” an argument by focusing on facts over feelings. They also don’t act superior or use intellect to judge and criticize others without considering the impact of their actions.

    7. They don’t forget about balance.

    High EQ people look at life from a balanced, positive viewpoint. They aren’t overly pessimistic or unrealistically optimistic. They tend to be happy and successful. They recognize the good in others and in themselves. They are forgiving of flaws. They make the best out of difficult situations, embracing hardships to help fuel their personal development and improvement. They also keep their sense of humor and find the light side of their trials. High EQ people understand what is within their control, and what is not. They don’t beat themselves up for things that they have no ability to influence.

    8. They don’t embrace negativity.

    High EQ people are not dominated by fear, worry, guilt, shame, embarrassment, obligation, disappointment, hopelessness, powerlessness, dependency, victimization, or discouragement. They do not give or receive manipulation.

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    High EQ people let their own personal goals and desires motivate them—not power, wealth, status, fame, or approval. They don’t do things because of a false sense of duty, guilt, force, or obligation. They balance out their feelings with reality checks of logic when needed. They are independent, intrinsically motivated, and self reliant. They also aren’t afraid to push out of their comfort zone to reach new heights.

    9. They don’t let others get to them.

    Do you know people who cause others to walk on eggshells? If you are unlucky enough to inadvertently make them upset, do they carry grudges? This is a sign of very low EQ.

    People who have matured emotionally are resilient, able to agree to disagree, and do not internalize failure. Even if they have had a difficult life, they have managed to learn from the pain and become an even more amazing individual. They don’t dwell on the past, but learn from it. They realize that the past is out of their control, so they choose to live in the present and shape it into a better future.

    Individuals with high EQ never hold onto self-destructive belief systems and negative self talk. They refuse to feel inadequate, bitter, disappointed, resentful, or victimized. If they have a pity party, it ends quickly and they certainly don’t send out invites. Instead of focusing on their weaknesses, high EQ people target their strengths.

    High EQ people refuse to entertain insecurities or cling to negative experiences. They will not be defensive and freely admit when they make a mistake and apologize. They never avoid responsibility by saying things like, “I had no choice!” They never allow other people to make decisions for them, but take the steering wheel of their lives. They are patient people and can roll with the punches when life doesn’t go as planned.

    High EQ people never shut out others. While they realize relationships can be painful, they understand the value far exceeds the hurt. They will never seek out substitute relationships with less threatening and more controllable subjects like pets or imaginary people to replace the real thing.

    10. They don’t fight with their head and heart.

    High EQ people are able to get in touch with what they are feeling, are interested in other people’s feelings, and are comfortable talking about their emotions. However, they also can recognize that feelings don’t equal fact. They tend to look at situations logically, understand why they feel a certain way, and then work through it proactively.

    Emotional intelligence is certainly not easy to obtain and requires a lot of introspection and work; which is why it is so rarely found. However, once you have mastered this skill you will stand out from the crowd, and will soon discover better interpersonal relationships, career success, happiness, and peace. That will bring about a lot more inner satisfaction than bumping up your IQ score any day!

    Featured photo credit: Young woman with guitar in forest in early autumn via shutterstock.com

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    Sarah Hansen

    A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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    Last Updated on October 22, 2020

    8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

    8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

    How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

    Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

    When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

    Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

    What Makes People Poor Listeners?

    Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

    1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

    Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

    Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

    It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

    2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

    This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

    Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

    3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

    It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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    I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

    If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

    4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

    While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

    To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

    My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

    Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

    Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

    How To Be a Better Listener

    For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

    1. Pay Attention

    A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

    According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

    As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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    I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

    2. Use Positive Body Language

    You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

    A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

    People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

    But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

    According to Alan Gurney,[2]

    “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

    Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

    3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

    I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

    Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

    Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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    Be polite and wait your turn!

    4. Ask Questions

    Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

    5. Just Listen

    This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

    I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

    I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

    6. Remember and Follow Up

    Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

    For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

    According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

    It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

    7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

    If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

    Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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    Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

    Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

    NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

    1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
    2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

    8. Maintain Eye Contact

    When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

    Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

    By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

    Final Thoughts

    Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

    You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

    And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

    More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
    [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
    [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
    [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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