If someone displays these 10 subtle behaviors, they’re not an emotionally intelligent person

Do you know someone with a really low EQ?

That’s the emotional quotient of their emotional intelligence compared to the average. And there are different reasons why it might be low.

Some people may have been socialized differently as kids. Others didn’t learn from their parents how important emotions and empathy are for success in this world.

Some people also have personality disorders or other conditions that limit their empathy and access to their own emotions.

So what are these people like?

If someone displays these ten subtle behaviors, they’re not an emotionally intelligent person, and you’ll be able to tell very quickly and easily.

1) They don’t follow dramas.

You know those people who have to say, “What’s happening?” or “Why’d she say that?” every few minutes when you’re watching a movie?

This subtle behavior can show that they either have a tough time following the plot or that they aren’t picking up on the subtext of the scenes they’re shown.

They may very well have low emotional intelligence, which makes them miss out on some of the cues and non-verbal communication going on between the actors.

On top of that, they may also be missing out on the fact that you and all the other people in the movie theater are trying to immerse yourselves in the story. You don’t want to be disturbed, and yet they keep talking through the whole thing despite lots of angry shushing.

People who can’t follow TV and movie dramas and don’t think it’s inappropriate to speak through films are probably lacking in the EQ department!

2) They say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

In English, we say you put your foot in your mouth.

In French, they say “mettre des pieds dans le plat,” which means put your feet in your plate.

Either way, this is when you say something that you shouldn’t have. And they’re both gross.

Only, these expressions apply only to people who realize what they’ve said is wrong. You feel like you’ve put your foot in your mouth when you see the other person’s face, and you know you’ve made a boo-boo.

But when people don’t have a lot of emotional intelligence, they don’t pick up on the signals that their listener is giving off.

They might tell someone they look really tired and receive a glare in return, but it slides right off of them. 

It’s not that they don’t care. It’s just that they don’t know that what they’ve said is hurtful, offensive, or otherwise inappropriate.

3) They behave inappropriately.

I’ve lived and worked in four different countries, and so I’ve seen first-hand how emotional intelligence can be an asset in cross-cultural communication.

We’re bound to make many faux pas when we interact with people from other cultures, but people with a lot of emotional intelligence quickly realize the effect of their behavior and change. They’re able to thrive in intercultural situations.

People with low emotional intelligence aren’t.

They’ll repeatedly break protocols, do things that offend, and dress inappropriately without learning from people’s reactions.

I’ve actually seen a guy reach out for a handshake and thumb a bowing Korean right in the eye. I know for a fact that he’d lived in Korea for ten years, yet he still made this kind of blunder!

It might be clearer to see in these cross-cultural situations, but of course, this happens within the same culture just as much.

Someone telling jokes at a funeral or telling an angry story about bad service during a happy wedding reception is usually either drunk or not very emotionally intelligent.

Or both!

4) They call instead of texting.

I love a good phone call.

While I can type really quickly, I think calls are just way more efficient and friendly, too.

But I also know that the rules for who you can call, when, and under which circumstances are truly complex.

We have so many subtle rules about calling and texting you’d think we’d been doing it for millennia, not just a couple of decades or so.

When people have low emotional intelligence, they often find themselves lost in these webs of social rules, and they break them without even realizing it.

Look, I can call my mom anytime. I can call my friends when I have something important to talk about, but not with just a “What’s up?”, and I can only call people about work if it’s urgent.

But an emotionally unintelligent person might call people when they’re busy and not even take the hint to get off the line when the conversation is clearly over.

You can say, “Uh, my ear is getting pretty hot, so…” but they won’t get it.

5) They overreact.

A lot of people with low EQs also have poor emotional regulation.

This essentially means that they don’t keep their emotions in check very well.

Their reactions to situations are very often far more intense than they should be.

This happens to everyone sometimes, especially when we’re tired and stressed.

Just the other day, I threw a hissy fit because I was interrupted halfway through cooking dinner and when I came back to the cutting board, someone had thrown my veggies in the garbage!

I’ll chalk that up to a dreadful night’s sleep.

However, these kinds of overreactions are common for people with poor emotional intelligence and can even be the norm. This can make them pretty hard to put up with at times.

6) They don’t know what you need.

seemingly innocent phrases that are actually quite manipulative If someone displays these 10 subtle behaviors, they’re not an emotionally intelligent person

Some people are truly gifted at reading other’s emotions and can spot in an instant whether something is wrong.

These people have really high levels of empathy and are often even called empaths, though they’re not quite reading your feelings, just taking really smart guesses.

Well, it should be no surprise that someone with low emotional intelligence is not going to pick up on your feelings and know when something is wrong.

They can’t normally just look at your behavior and know if you’re happy, sad, frustrated, or furious.

Even if you tell them, they may fail to see how your emotional state even relates to them!

It can be very hard for highly emotional people to deal with people with low EQ, especially if they’re in relationships together. They’ll often feel like their emotional needs aren’t being met or even recognized, and they’ll usually be right!

7) They’re kinda scared of emotions.

Since they find other people’s emotions confusing and often frustrating, people with low EQ can actually dread encountering them.

Nobody likes to have to deal with negative emotions, but if you have a high EQ, you can at least understand what’s going on and try to help or moderate things.

People with low EQ can’t.

They’ll feel overwhelmed by emotions, especially because they didn’t see them coming or how they themselves may have helped trigger them.

They’ll say things like, “You’re being overly emotional,” or “Don’t you think you’re overreacting?” because they won’t understand that your emotional expression is actually appropriate to the situation.

And ooooooh, those aren’t the kinds of phrases that will normally help the situation, are they?

8) They won’t hand out many compliments.

The purpose of complimenting a person is to make them feel good.

The reasons why you’d do that are to cement positive relations with them or get into their good books, right?

Most complements, thankfully, are in the former category.

You know, you see someone you haven’t met in a while, and you tell them they’re looking well.

They say the same to you, and you feel good about each other.

While people with low emotional intelligence might easily pick up on the logic of this setup, they hardly ever do it in practice.

They just don’t seem interested enough in giving other people an emotional boost.

9) They complain.

Hey, I know we all do.

But people who have low EQs often complain excessively or at the wrong places and times.

Imagine you were waiting at a restaurant for a date, and they came in and complained to you for ten minutes about how bad the traffic was.

Swell, huh?

They might get overly focused on the details of their situation and how it seems to be unfair that they fail to notice how this complaining is making you feel.

10) They don’t take responsibility for how they make you feel.

I wholeheartedly feel that adults are ultimately responsible for their own emotions.

But if you’re sitting around minding your own business and I come up and yell at you, surely I’ll be playing a part in you feeling disturbed, right?

Some people with low EQs don’t see it that way. They have a lot of trouble making the connections between their behavior and other’s emotional responses.

They simply think, “You’re upset? That’s your business.”

So, if someone displays these ten subtle behaviors, they’re not an emotionally intelligent person. 

That can be easy to spot but not very easy to deal with!

Marcel Deer

Marcel Deer

Marcel is a journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur. When not obsessing over his man cave or the latest tech, he’s failing helplessly at training his obnoxious rescue dog ‘Boogies’.

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