If someone displays these 7 behaviors, they have low social intelligence

We’ve all met someone whose radar is a little off when it comes to social situations. 

You might say they just don’t get the “vibe” of the room but how can we really tell if someone is a bit low on the social intelligence scale?

Some signs are obvious; others less so. 

And the truth is we are all guilty of some of them from time to time (see point 5!). 

Let’s dive in.

1) They overshare

Have you ever been in a situation where someone started divulging deeply personal details, and you thought, “This is awkward”?

There’s a fine line between honest and inappropriate, sometimes. People who lack social intelligence often miss this distinction. 

This is especially true in professional settings where this line between being genuine and revealing too much can be particularly blurry. 

You’ve probably been in a meeting or at the coffee machine when someone started detailing their recent breakup or delving into personal health issues. 

It’s uncomfortable, right?

Many would say so. In a 2021 survey by Zippia, 15% of people said this was one of the most annoying things a co-worker could do. 

If someone you know does every now and again, it’s probably best to be lenient. 

Think about it; if they feel the need to overshare with you, they may not have many people in their lives to lean on. 

If it’s constant, it may be a good idea to politely let them know that it’s not appropriate. They may not even know they are doing it. 

Speaking of being unaware, this next one also falls into this category. 

2) They invade personal space

It may sound obvious that we should not be right up in someone’s face, but often, people with lower social intelligence are unaware of the awkwardness they’re causing by standing too close. 

Maybe they misinterpret it as a way to connect or show interest, not realizing that it comes off as invasive or even intimidating. 

There is a catch here, though. 

If the person who stands a little too close, or indeed a little too far from you, is from elsewhere, it may be a cultural thing. As I mentioned in a previous post, different cultures have varying ideas of personal space. 

Regardless, if someone is always getting a little too close for comfort, a polite word might be in order. 

Don’t let it get to the point when you are ready to straight up say, “Get out of my face”. Remember, they probably don’t know they are doing it. 

While these first two points are pretty obvious behaviors of those lacking social intelligence, we have all done this next one. 

And it’s something we need to quit.

3) They gossip 

It might seem like harmless chit-chat on the surface, but it is a telltale sign of low social intelligence.

Think about it. By engaging in gossip, we risk damaging trust, spreading misinformation, and creating an atmosphere of negativity. 

Any behavior that risks such things is not socially intelligent. 

And despite how commonplace it is, people really don’t like it. 

In the Zippia survey, I mentioned earlier in this post, a whopping 92% of respondents said that gossiping was one of the most annoying behaviors in co-workers. 

This makes total sense. After all, if someone is willing to gossip with you, who’s to say they won’t gossip about you?

We’ve all been guilty of it. It’s time we all cut it out. 

4) They struggle to pick up on non-verbal cues

pic1456 1 If someone displays these 7 behaviors, they have low social intelligence

Have you ever had a conversation where the words spoken didn’t align with the person’s body language

Maybe their words said, “I’m fine,” but their crossed arms, averted gaze, and terse tone suggested otherwise.

Much of social intelligence revolves around the ability to pick up on and interpret non-verbal cues. These cues, which include facial expressions, body posture, and tone of voice, often communicate more about a person’s feelings and intentions than their actual words.

Most of us do this naturally, but individuals with lower social intelligence often miss the subtle signals that people send through their body language. 

They might not notice when someone’s interest is waning, indicated by frequent glances at the clock, or when someone is feeling defensive, suggested by crossed arms and a closed-off posture.

The inability to read these cues can lead to misunderstandings and missed opportunities to adjust one’s approach in a conversation. 

The next one is another that we should all take note of. 

5) They allow themselves to be distracted by their phone mid-conversation

Picture this: You’re sharing something you’re passionate about, and the person you’re talking to suddenly pulls out their phone in response to a ping. 

The immediate feeling? 

You’re not their priority. 

In our digitally-driven age, it’s more common than it should be. We’ve probably all caught ourselves doing it without thinking. 

That’s not an excuse, though. 

Frequently checking a phone during face-to-face interactions sends a clear message, whether intentional or not: “Whatever’s on my phone is more important than this conversation.”

Showing high social intelligence means being present in the moment, actively listening, and showing genuine interest in the conversation. 

It’s a matter of respect. Those with social intelligence recognize the value of giving their full attention during interactions. 

6) They make inappropriate or ill-timed jokes

Ever been in a situation where the mood is somber or serious, and someone cracks a joke that’s utterly out of place? 

Social intelligence is a lot about understanding the mood and context of a situation and adjusting one’s behavior accordingly. 

Having a sense of humor can be wonderful for building rapport and lightening the mood, but it’s crucial to gauge the appropriateness of the content and timing.

Individuals with lower social intelligence tend to misjudge these situations more often. They make light of subjects that others find distressing or offensive. 

They might assume that humor is a universal ice-breaker, failing to consider cultural, personal, or situational sensitivities. These misplaced jokes can alienate others and damage relationships. 

Keep in mind their intention isn’t usually to hurt or offend. 

Hence, like many of the other behaviors on this list, taking them aside and politely letting them know that their jokes make people uncomfortable might be the best way forward. 

7) They give advice, whether it’s wanted or not

You know the type. You’re venting about a challenging day at work or a minor disagreement with a friend, and before you’ve even finished your story, they’re already offering solutions or telling you what you “should” have done. 

Often, they genuinely believe they’re helping.

But as most of us know, there’s a subtle art to knowing when to give advice and when to simply listen.

While their heart might be in the right place, this behavior can come across as dismissive or even arrogant, as it assumes the other person hasn’t already considered these solutions or is incapable of handling their own challenges.

The bottom line 

While it is sometimes overlooked, social intelligence plays a crucial role in our professional and personal lives. 

Some people have it in spades, while others are sorely lacking, but the truth is most of us are somewhere between the two. 

We can all get better. 

So, it may be wise to go easy on those who behave in the ways described above. 

As always, I hope you found this post enjoyable to read and that it has given you some food for thought. 

Until next time. 

Picture of Mal James

Mal James

Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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