If someone displays these 7 habits, they’re an emotionally intelligent person

We hear so much about IQ that we often forget about perhaps a more important type of intelligence: the emotional type. 

Many people believe emotional intelligence is a gift granted to a select few and something we can’t readily identify.

However, there are habits that suggest someone is emotionally intelligent. 

Cultivating these in your life can also help you to increase your own emotional prowess. 

Whether you know it or not, you probably practice some of them already. But how many?

Let’s find out. 

1) Listening to understand, not just to respond

Often, when speaking to others, it becomes apparent that they aren’t really listening to us. 

We can sense that they are simply thinking of their response rather than trying to fully understand what we are saying. 

Not with emotionally intelligent people. 

They have developed the habit of listening to people to understand rather than just thinking of a response. 

This is a core social skill covered in countless books on how to be a better communicator, but perhaps most famously in Dale Carnegie’s classic, How To Win Friends And Influence People, in which one of the core principles is:

 “Be a good listener. Let others do a great deal of the talking”. 

If you want to increase your EQ, it might be time to foster a deep listening habit. 

2) Maintaining composure

Emotionally intelligent people know that emotional outbursts rarely do any good.

As I wrote in a previous post,  blowing things out of proportion is a clear sign of emotional immaturity. 

In the heat of almost any moment, emotionally intelligent resist the temptation to lose their cool. This applies to personal situations as well as professional ones. 

Because of this, they are better able to de-escalate tense situations. They also don’t feel guilty after an outburst like many of us do because they never have these outbursts in the first place. 

Most people aren’t born with this natural sense of calm. Like most habits on this list, it is something we can all develop with practice. 

3) Putting themselves in others’ shoes 

We’ve all had people who just seem to get us.

It doesn’t happen too often, but on occasion, there will come somebody who, despite not knowing us very well, seems to be able to completely understand how we feel and almost predict what we are going to say. 

Is it a superpower? Well, kind of, actually. 

All too often, we are only thinking about ourselves and stuck in our own view. We forget to truly consider situations from another’s perspective. 

Emotionally intelligent people don’t. They know that everyone’s circumstances are different, and to truly comprehend them, they have honed the skill of empathy. 

Not only does this allow them to foster understanding and avoid conflicts, but it can also help them to get what they want more easily. 

If you struggle with this, you might find our full post on how to develop this habit helpful. 

While practicing empathy is a cornerstone habit of emotionally intelligent people, it is almost impossible to do without this next habit. 

4) Taking a genuine interest in others 

This is a big one. 

Principle number nine in Dale Carnegie’s bestseller is as follows:

“Make the other person feel important – and do so sincerely.”

This is excellent advice, and emotionally intelligent people know there is only one way to do this: to take a genuine interest in others. 

They show this interest through their interactions by listening intently, responding thoughtfully, and asking considered questions.

The next habit may seem odd on this list, but it is possibly the most important. 

5) Taking care of their mental and physical health

If someone displays these 7 habits theyre an emotionally intelligent person 2 If someone displays these 7 habits, they're an emotionally intelligent person

Emotionally intelligent people know that to be able to take care of others, they first must take care of themselves. 

As noted by the National Institute of Mental Health, self-care can help “manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy”.

While self-care activities vary from person to person, emotionally intelligent make time for them. 

For some, it is going to the gym; for others, it might be taking a long walk or pursuing a hobby. 

If you have a friend who prioritizes activities like these, it is a sign that they take care of their emotional health. 

This is actually something that I neglected in the past. 

I used to think I could work like crazy, maintain relationships, not take a day off, and do it all on 5 hours of sleep. 

I couldn’t, and it wasn’t long before my relationships, work quality, and general mental state began to take a hit. 

I now make sure to:

  • Take a 30-minute walk every afternoon
  •  Swim a few times a week.  
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep. 
  • Take one full day off every week. 

These activities work for me, but as I said, they will be different for everyone. 

I am not saying I am a shining example of emotional intelligence. However, I have noticed a significant improvement in my mood, relationships, and work quality. 

Sometimes, this habit can go unnoticed, but you can be sure emotionally intelligent people do this. 

This next habit is even more challenging to catch but is almost as crucial. 

6) Practicing self-reflection

Being emotionally intelligent is as much about understanding ourselves as it is about understanding others. 

Emotionally intelligent people take the time to have heart-to-heart conversations with themselves instead of suppressing emotions only for them to come back and bite them in the ass at an inconvenient moment.

Many do this naturally and somewhat subconsciously, but some take it to the next level and put pen to paper. That is, they practice journaling

I’ll be honest. When I first read about journaling some years ago, I dismissed it as some new-age trend with little value. 

That was until I discovered that the mentally strong have been practicing this habit for centuries. So, I decided to give it a shot. 

As Plato told us “… the unexamined life is not worth living.”

I can’t disagree; it is hands down one of the best habits I have adopted. 

Initially, it felt a little silly, and it wasn’t always easy to think of things to write, but I found my rhythm. 

I started writing in the third person, which, as strange as it might be, allows me to examine my life more objectively. 

If you desire to become more emotionally intelligent and know yourself better, I highly recommend starting with this habit. 

7) Constant learning 

As I mentioned earlier, emotional intelligence is something that is learned and developed. 

And emotionally intelligent people know that there is always more to learn. 

They take advantage of the almost unlimited amount of information that we all have access to today. 

They read fiction and nonfiction and, of course, are regular visitors to sites like this one.  They embrace meeting new people and taking on new viewpoints all in the name of progression. 

If you have gotten this far, you are well on the way to becoming more emotionally intelligent. 

The bottom line 

While it’s easy to think that emotional intelligence is something natural and difficult to identify, habits are a great indicator. 

Fostering the habits on this list is also a great way to become more emotionally intelligent

As noted, many of these habits have helped me and can benefit you, too. 

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

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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