Turns out you no longer have to worry just about being intelligently intelligent – there’s also emotional intelligence on the cards.
Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ for ‘emotional quotient’) is defined as a person’s ability to identify and understand emotions both within themselves and within others.
The more emotionally intelligent a person, the more capable they are of controlling their own emotions and the better they tend to be at interacting with others.
And obviously, the better a person can navigate their relationships – both in their personal and professional lives – the more likely they are to build long-lasting connections and soar to greater heights in their career.
Sounds nifty, right?
Being emotionally intelligent is such a blessing.
But what happens when someone isn’t quite so tuned into the emotions of the people around them?
Well, having a low emotional intelligence can run you into a myriad of issues.
These can include struggling to read a room and coming across as incredibly insensitive, or being unable to cope with the emotional ups and downs of life.
Ready to learn about the top 10 signs should you be looking out for that suggest someone has a low EQ?
And are you maybe the person who needs to work on their emotional intelligence?
1) They get very easily stressed
All of us juggle different priorities, a lot of which can be incredibly stressful.
Different people also have different capacities with which they deal with this stress.
For some, they can work a 100-hour work week, juggle a brood of youngsters, run the local neighborhood community and still manage to wake up with a smile on their face.
Others will crumble like a petal at even the slightest inconvenience.
Having low emotional intelligence often leads to issues in learning stress management techniques.
Owing to an inability to identify or address their own emotions, these individuals can quickly find their stress escalating until they approach meltdown.
This can be over something as simple as waking up unintentionally late or getting the wrong order served up to them at dinner, both of which can lead them to spiral.
2) They’re prone to big outbursts
Maybe not in your presence.
In fact, you might be surprised the first time you see someone with lower emotional intelligence blow up.
But blow up they do.
As soon as this stress-ometer overflows, it’s game over.
Unable to regulate their emotional responses, they can be prone to lashing out and shouting over even minor issues.
Half the time they don’t even understand why they’re angry or why they’re feeling so stressed.
But chances are, someone close to them gets used as a punching bag and is subjected to a barrage of shouting, rage, or even tears when their emotions get too much to handle.
Or, they might go the opposite end…
3) They don’t show any emotion at all
There are two sides of the scale.
One where those with a low EQ are quick to anger and suffer from terrible tantrums.
The other, where they seem emotionless and unmoved.
A bit like a blank puppet in a box, certain people with a lower EQ will err into showing no emotion at all – even in situations that call for anger, for happiness, for frustration.
They mask them up and tidy them away as they can’t even really decode them in their own minds, let alone think about how to project these emotions to the outside world.
4) They are very close-minded
For those who lack emotional intelligence, the world seems very black and white.
My way or the highway.
They’re not the type to listen eagerly to a new perspective or concept – most certainly not if their own views oppose it.
They’re unlikely to be adventurous and will probably refrain from exploring new cultures or cuisines.
Instead, they tend to form subjective and biased opinions very quickly, so good luck trying to change their mind!
5) They’re prideful
People with a lower EQ get stuck in close-minded views and cover their ears should someone try to teach or show them otherwise partially because of their larger-than-life ego and inability to see their own flaws.
Because let’s face it, we all are a little broken, a little burned, a little sharp around the edges.
Yet those with a lower EQ lack this self-awareness.
This black and white thinking they extend to themselves (sometimes putting rose-tinted glasses on in the process), and they will often be unable to see any fault or flaw within themselves.
Obviously, this can make communicating with them or trying to provide constructive feedback a hell-bent mission as they take everything very personally.
6) They can’t keep their fingers out of the cookie jar
…the cookie jar representing life’s many temptations.
It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg, who-came-first situation as the lower your impulse control, the more likely you are to jump to certain emotional responses.
Equally, the lower your emotional intelligence, the lower your ability to control your impulses and refrain from doing things you shouldn’t.
So don’t be surprised if those with a low EQ jump at the chance of smoking, drinking, reaching for a fourth slice of cake or dabbling in troublesome behavior.
It might seem fun at the time, but a lack of impulse control can be very worrisome when it comes to practicing delayed gratification and bettering your future.
Or just looking out for yourself or others.
7) They do not get why you’re crying
Thrown around just as much as emotional intelligence nowadays.
To be empathetic is to be able to feel the emotions of those around you as if they were your own.
To be honest, it’s a pillar in what constitutes a person’s emotional intelligence.
If a friend tells you that their venus flytrap died, you might well never have felt sadness or mourned a plant.
But the empathetic amongst us will feel the pain of losing something sentimental and will share in your suffering.
On the other hand, a person of low emotional intelligence will probably raise an eyebrow and tell you to get over it.
It’s just a plant.
There are plenty of others outside to choose from.
This inability to share in the suffering of others, even if it’s not directly relatable, can make forming and maintaining healthy relationships very difficult.
Let’s face it: if your plant dies, you want a shoulder to cry on, not to be told to go outside and pick a substitute blade of grass.
8) They tend to blindly offend those around them
Those with an open mind and a wide heart are careful with their words.
Not to say that they lack emotion or repress it; they do however know how to navigate certain sensitive subjects and are skilled in avoiding ways in which they might offend someone.
Not those who struggle with a lower emotional intelligence.
Yes, they are probably the type to exclaim to strangers in the grocery store, “Congratulations! When’s it due?”
Or they continue to badger a mixed-race acquaintance at a party about where they actually came from…
Or they begin certain sentences with “no offense, but…”
(You know what follows next).
Having a lower EQ leads people into all sorts of tricky situations and blindfolds them when it comes to understanding how certain statements might come across as insensitive or offensive.
9) They can and will not take accountability for their actions
Oh, you’re upset that this person with a lower EQ said something mean to you?
You’re not going to get an apology.
Those with a lower emotional intelligence are at odds with taking responsibility with their actions and words.
If they do lapse into the above and offend someone, the chances of you getting an apology out of them are slim.
They have this adamant belief that everyone thinks in the same way they do (or should at least), so any deviations from this will be met with harsh apathy.
And as we’ve covered their close-mindedness, forget any learning curve in trying to see a new perspective or repair old friendships.
They’re not going to take responsibility, even if it means the dissolution of a solid relationship.
10) They bear grudges like nobody’s business
They’re not going to apologize easily, but they sure will badger and pester you for one if you do ever slip up and offend them in some way.
Human relationships are complex.
We hurt each other a lot in the process of opening up, getting vulnerable, and loving one another.
A big part of successful relationships (which those with a low EQ lack) is the ability to resolve conflict and move on without constantly returning to old wounds and reopening them.
Those with a lower EQ will lug around a huge suitcase filled with past arguments and points of conflict.
They won’t let you forget about that one time you wronged them so easily.
Instead, they cling to the emotional stress and turmoil these encounters of conflict caused them.
Most of the time, they don’t even really understand why they hold on to grudges.
They just know that at some point, they were wronged, this caused them stress, and in turn triggered a fight-or-flight type of response within them.
And their undeveloped emotional nature prevents them from getting to the bottom of such arguments, resolving them, or moving on.
Can you cure a lack of emotional intelligence?
Well, luckily for you, I have a magic potion…
But the good news is that emotional intelligence is a skill which can be improved.
Like intelligence in the way we more typically think about it, some people are extremely emotionally intelligent by nature.
They fall out of the womb able to process and empathize with the emotions of the world to an astounding degree.
For others, it takes a little learning, a little trial and error to get there.
In the same way that you would seek to improve upon your intelligence by reading books or attending classes, you (or someone else) can work on your EQ by educating yourself and putting those skills into practice.
This involves a great deal of self-reflection and education.
Most importantly, it requires a desire to improve.
So if you’re reading this list and thinking shucks, my partner/friend/colleague really does struggle with a lower EQ, you’re not going to be able to make the change for them.
Nor force them into it.
But if you resonate with these signs, this can be the start of your emotional intelligence journey.
After all, the first step is often enlightenment and coming to terms with how you currently are and wanting to improve.