If someone asks these 10 questions, they lack emotional intelligence

I’m sure you’ve experienced this scenario:

You’re upset about something, and the person you turn to for comfort makes you feel worse. 

Instead of feeling comforted and heard, you feel misunderstood, dismissed, and even hurt. 

They may not know it, but their lack of emotional intelligence shows in the way they respond to you displaying your emotions. 

One of the dead giveaways of their discomfort in the face of emotions is the questions they ask you. 

But keep in mind:

Most of these aren’t really questions, because they don’t want answers. They are hypothetical ‘questions’ that really serve to express their discomfort or lack of emotional intelligence.

So, I’ve written you a list of the 10 questions that people who lack emotional intelligence ask.

Let’s get right into it:

1) “Why are you so sensitive?”

Labeling someone as sensitive, overreacting, or other demeaning labels that imply their feelings are unnecessary is a big sign of a lack of emotional intelligence.

If you’re going through an emotional time, and someone asks, “Why are you so sensitive?”, or a question similar to this that labels you in a negative light…

Just know:

They most likely aren’t great at feeling their own emotions. 

Therefore, their emotional intelligence is not developed enough to accept or understand yours. 

Asking this question is a sign of someone who might feel shame around emotions in general and, therefore suppresses or dismisses their own feelings as excessive. 

This can be a common belief in a society where a lot of men and some women are raised with the belief that showing emotions is weak or unnecessary. 

So if someone asks you this question, try to remember their judgment is their lack of emotional intelligence talking. 

2) “Can’t we just forget this?”

The second question that shows a lack of emotional intelligence is, “Can’t we just forget/ move on from this?”

“Can’t you just get over it?” also comes under the same umbrella.


Because these are all attempts to bypass or gloss over the emotional needs of the other person, and move on to an interaction that feels more comfortable for them.

Instead of addressing the other person’s needs, someone lacking emotional intelligence would prefer to “forget”, or not discuss the dilemma to avoid their own discomfort.

3) “What’s the matter/wrong with you?”

Judgment is another common way of not addressing emotions. 

If someone is not capable of handling an emotional conversation, they can deflect what’s being shared with judgments directed at the person expressing their emotions. 

This is an attempt to identify them with their negative emotions, and therefore make them feel ashamed of themselves. 

Just like the person asking this question has probably been shamed for showing their feelings in the past.

It also implies that there is something inherently ‘wrong’ with emotions, feelings, or being upset – when there really isn’t. 

It’s a normal part of being human!

4) “What’s the big deal?”

pic1059 If someone asks these 10 questions, they lack emotional intelligence

Questions that minimize the importance of the situation, like:

“What’s the big deal?” or, “Why are you making a big deal out of this/nothing?” are big indicators of a lack of emotional intelligence. 

Downplaying the clear significance of the situation to the other person, and expecting them to react the way they would react, shows a real lack of understanding that each person has different values and priorities. 

We all hold different things as important to us, and one factor of emotional intelligence is being able to meet someone in what they hold as important, even if it’s not as important to us. 

This is the basis of empathy – putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes whether we relate to them or not. 

5) “What’s your problem?”

“What’s your problem?” is another common one, so keep an eye out for it.

This question often comes with an undertone of the person who is asking the question putting themselves in a ‘victim’ position, and placing the person who is upset as deliberately trying to create a ‘problem’ or conflict.

It shows a lack of empathy that the other person doesn’t necessarily want to create a problem. They’re just reacting to something that they either didn’t like or pushed their boundaries. 

This question rarely creates a productive discussion. 

In fact, it’s almost certain to create more animosity, because it’s a straight-up judgment thrown at the other person while dismissing their pain. 

All that they want in that moment is to feel understood and held in their pain. 

Labeling them as a villain, or aggressor, or deliberately sabotaging something is the least empathetic or effective thing someone can do emotionally.

6) “Why are you being such a child?” 

This one is similar to, “Why can’t you be an adult about this?”

They both seem to imply that emotions are childish and immature.

They also perpetuate an expectation for adults to be emotionless. 

Furthermore, this is simply an unhealthy and emotionally unintelligent belief to have.

Yes, although the person expressing their upset may not be doing it with calm communication skills, it’s equally emotionally unintelligent to respond with a question like this.

You’ve heard this saying before:

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

In a situation like this, it’s far more effective to acknowledge the other person’s emotions to help them feel seen, and heard, and therefore calm them down to get to a point of effective communication.

7) “Why are you so upset?” 

“Why are you so upset?”

Actually, this question can sometimes be asked in a genuine way, which is usually a subtle difference: “Why are you upset?” 

By adding the “so”, it can often turn into a condescending question.

This little word can change the intention from genuine curiosity to implying there is an appropriate level of upset that should be shown in the situation.

So if someone phrases the question this way, they’re probably aware of why someone is upset – they’re just trying to diminish the importance of it. 

But of course, try to listen to the tonality of the person asking as well before making a conclusion!

8) “Why are you so emotional all the time?” 

hate small talk If someone asks these 10 questions, they lack emotional intelligence

This question suggests that the person’s emotions are a constant annoyance or burden – which speaks for itself.

It demonstrates an unwillingness to show compassion for someone else’s emotions. 

Watch out for similar variations of questions like these, such as, “Why are you so emotional/ dramatic/ difficult”.

Whatever the judgment, it’s still a judgment. 

What it’s really saying is: “Your emotions make me uncomfortable, please adjust your emotions to my level of comfort.”

A more emotionally intelligent approach is trusting that the other person is emotional for a reason, and trying to meet with patience and understanding in that space.

9) “Why can’t you be more like [someone else]?”

Comparing people, in general, is an emotionally unintelligent thing to do.

Simply put, it just never goes well! 

It seldom works to inspire someone to be better – it mostly serves to make them feel bad. 

This question can be very hurtful as it implies that the person should suppress their emotions in order to be more like someone else.

10) “Why can’t you control yourself?”

“Controlling ourselves” when it comes to emotions is something we’ve often been taught we need to do, whether by our parents, society, or school system. 

But we also know that taking this to the extreme is highly detrimental to one’s well-being.

Many people suffer quietly every day because they believe that emotions are a source of shame and something to be “controlled”. 

In actuality, human connection is vital to our emotional well-being. Feeling supported and validated in our emotions by people we trust is highly beneficial to our mental health. 

So the next time someone says this, keep this in mind and if possible, you could try to educate them on the importance of allowing permission to feel, rather than controlling and suppressing. 

Final thoughts

What do all of these questions have in common?

They all come from some level of internalized shame around emotional expression. 

However someone treats you emotionally is how they treat themselves, or how they’ve been taught to treat themselves by someone else. 

So keep in mind that someone lacking emotional intelligence is usually equally in need of emotional support and acceptance, and try to have empathy

This can be difficult when they’re not offering it to you in return.

But since you’re now aware of these questions someone lacking emotional intelligence would ask, you can lead the way to changing their outlook and paving a more emotionally healthy world. 

Picture of Shela Riva

Shela Riva

Shela Riva is a Thai-Swiss freelance writer, artist, energy mentor and co-creator of Jaiyen Eco Resort, a creative retreat space in Thailand. She is deeply passionate about our incredible ability to transform and is dedicated to helping each person realize the power within themselves, whether through her writing, empowering custom art pieces, one-on-one work or in-person retreats.

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