People with high emotional intelligence often show these 12 character traits

Navigating the confusing world of emotions is no easy feat, but it’s key to living a happier, more balanced, and more fulfilling life.

How do you know if a person is in full control of his or her emotions? Do they always stay calm and collected in a crisis? Do they know how to make people feel better and inspire them?

Here are some of the most common character traits that people with high emotional intelligence often possess. 

1) Self-awareness

People with high emotional intelligence know themselves at a very deep level. Their confidence comes from having a solid understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and limitations.

They focus on taking an honest look at themselves, harnessing their strengths, and working on areas they need to improve on. 

They’re not afraid to seek and receive feedback because they believe it supports their growth.

They’re also always in tune with their emotions, which means they can identify how they’re feeling and how those feelings influence their choices and behavior at any given moment. 

They take a step back to recognize where their emotions are coming from and why they feel upset.

2) Authenticity

When you know yourself well, you can act on your truth. That’s why highly emotionally intelligent people stay true to their values and principles no matter what.

They know they can make the right decisions — big and small — because they stay grounded in who they are and who they can become. Their integrity comes from being consistent in applying their core values in everyday life.

Their sense of ownership and inner power gives them the courage to accept themselves fully  — the good, the bad, and everything in between.

They can connect with other people because they express their thoughts and emotions genuinely and respectfully. 

3) Self-regulation

People with high emotional intelligence are masters of their emotions.

Do you know what it feels like to unpack all of who you are — from the happy and joyous to the sad, angry, and unpleasant feelings?

You see, emotionally intelligent people are fully aware of what’s going on inside of them. More importantly, they stay in control of their emotions.

Picture this: You’re dealing with a difficult person — say a family member or a friend. Do you immediately berate them for everything they’ve done wrong? Or do you slow down, ask yourself what you’re feeling, and come up with a healthier, more skillful response?

Highly emotionally intelligent people always do the latter. They take time to process their emotions before they act. They never let their emotions get the best of them. 

4) Effective Communication

Have you ever wondered why some people are just so easy to get along with?

People with a high level of emotional intelligence build and maintain strong relationships because they have great communication and social skills.

Anyone would love to have conversations with them because they’re active listeners and they’re curious about other people. 

They listen without judgment, ask questions when necessary, and pay attention to nonverbal cues to better understand the other person. 

Plus, they can manage disputes and resolve them with care.

Simply put: They practice the art of making an emotional connection through communication. 

5) Empathy

Think about this for a minute: When was the last time you truly tried to be kinder? You know, that time when you went the extra mile to say hello to a stranger or comfort someone going through a rough time?

For highly emotionally intelligent people, stepping into another person’s shoes is never a problem. They’re compassionate and empathetic even when they don’t completely understand all that is going on.

They acknowledge and validate feelings, not just words. They observe social and emotional cues and see things from the other person’s point of view. Empathy helps them….

  • Stay emotionally connected to others
  • Be less judgmental
  • Challenge stereotypes and unfair assumptions
  • Handle conflicts peacefully
  • Be more considerate of others

6) Self-motivation

People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are often top performers because they always go back to the “why” of everything they do. 

They’re ambitious and hard-working, and they focus their energy and resources on pursuing their goals. 

And it doesn’t stop there: They can sustain a commitment to succeed. They don’t mind delaying gratification and immediate results for long-term success.

They have a strong drive to achieve and enjoy the process of overcoming challenges to grow and better themselves. 

7) Assertiveness

When you’re emotionally intelligent, you’re capable of setting and enforcing healthy boundaries

In other words, people with high emotional intelligence are comfortable saying “no” to people and things that they don’t have the time and energy for. 

They know that people-pleasing only leads to stress and burnout.

They speak up and maintain their boundaries in a firm but kind way. They can advocate for themselves but they never do so aggressively. 

They assert themselves without disrespecting or disregarding the rights of others. 

8) Open-mindedness

It takes a lot of deep introspection and humility to know and accept that there are many things you don’t know.

That’s why emotionally intelligent people expose themselves to a range of ideas and perspectives. 

They broaden their horizons by not focusing on only one side of an argument or view. This openness to diversity enables them to be more accepting and appreciative of the truth that everyone is different.

And it gets better: They’re more than willing to change their outdated opinions and beliefs. 

9) Curiosity

This one’s connected to my earlier point about how people with high emotional intelligence are open-minded.

That’s because they possess the power of childlike curiosity. They’re genuinely interested in learning more about others and the world.

They have a knack for expanding their social circles and encountering lives and worldviews very different from their own.

If you find yourself always asking lots of questions when you meet someone for the first time or you find yourself always wanting to understand why people act the way they do, then you most likely have this trait.

10) Flexibility

As they say, change is the only constant thing in this world, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to accept or navigate.

Emotionally intelligent people, however, embrace change. They don’t fear new situations or changing circumstances because they have a fixed sense of self.

They play to their strengths, but they also know that they need to push themselves and be flexible in their thinking and behavior. That’s how they continue to evolve and reinvent themselves. 

11) Optimism

People with high emotional intelligence reap all the benefits of having a positive outlook on life.

They can see the good in people and situations, even when everything isn’t exactly on the sunny side.

Instead of dreading everything that goes wrong, they look for opportunities to grow and learn.

Again, this goes back to how emotionally intelligent people are self-aware and confident, which means they believe in their ability to control and change their life.

They can keep a positive attitude while also keeping themselves grounded in reality.

This brings me to my next point ….

12) Resilience

I believe that one of the most extraordinary skills of people with high emotional intelligence is their ability to get right back up after every tragedy that befalls them. 

Here’s the deal: Everyone experiences setbacks and failures. The question is, how do you handle those things when they happen? Do you allow them to break you down or build you up?

Highly emotionally intelligent people always muster the courage to keep moving forward after every hardship.

They always acknowledge the negative emotions but they don’t get stuck in them. They work through their pain, learn from the challenges, and cope. 

Picture of Maria Fatima Reyes

Maria Fatima Reyes

Fat Niebres is a freelance writer who loves to chase stories that matter. She finds meaning and inspiration in the mundane. When she's not writing, she's probably reading, eating, traveling, or having deep conversations with her husband. She brings her experience in broadcast, print, and NGO communications, and has been published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and

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