Have you ever had a weird chat with someone and wondered why?
Sometimes, it’s because they might be missing a key skill – social intelligence.
This is all about how good we are at understanding people and working well in social situations.
But how do you spot when someone might not be so good at this?
Well, we’ve got 11 questions that might just give the game away.
1. “What do you do?”
Right off the bat, this might seem like a harmless question – and it can be, in the right context.
But when it’s the first thing someone asks you, it could indicate a lack of social intelligence.
Well, it suggests the person is more interested in sizing up your socioeconomic status or professional prestige than getting to know you as an individual.
Instead of diving straight into job talk, a socially intelligent person might ask about your interests, hobbies or how you’ve been finding the day or event you’re both at.
A little small talk can go a long way in making a connection!
2. “Why aren’t you drinking?”
This question can be a big red flag. It’s intrusive and makes assumptions about social norms and personal choices.
Someone with strong social intelligence understands that everyone has different comfort levels and personal reasons for their choices, including whether or not to drink.
Pressuring someone or making them feel out of place for not drinking shows a lack of understanding and respect for personal boundaries.
A better approach might be to simply ask if they’d like a drink, without pressing further if they decline.
3. “Why are you still single?”
Oh boy, let me tell you about a time when I was asked this question.
I was at a family gathering, catching up with relatives I hadn’t seen in a while.
Out of nowhere, my aunt looked at me and asked, “Why are you still single?” I was taken aback.
It felt like she was implying that being single was a problem to be fixed or something was wrong with me.
It’s important to remember that everyone has their own journey and timeline.
Some people choose to be single, others might be waiting for the right person, or maybe they’re just enjoying life as it is, without needing a partner to validate their happiness.
Asking this question can be pretty tactless and shows a lack of social intelligence.
It’s always better to let people share personal details on their own terms.
4. “Did you really eat all that?”
This question is not only rude, but it also shows a lack of understanding of personal space and sensitivities.
Commenting on someone’s eating habits can make them uncomfortable and self-conscious.
A socially intelligent person knows it’s important to respect others’ choices without judgment.
So, next time, instead of commenting on someone’s plate, maybe comment on how delicious the food looks or smells.
It’s a small change that can make a big difference!
5. “When are you two going to have kids?”
This question might come from a place of curiosity or excitement, but it can cut deeper than expected.
It’s presumptuous and can be extremely painful for couples who are struggling with infertility, choosing not to have kids, or simply aren’t ready yet.
Remember, behind every question there’s a person with feelings and experiences you may not know about.
A question like this can inadvertently bring up deep-seated pain or pressure.
The beauty of social intelligence lies in understanding that personal matters should be left for individuals to share when they’re ready, not pried open through intrusive questions.
So let’s stick to asking about their latest Netflix binge or favorite vacation spot instead, shall we?
6. “Don’t you think it’s time for a real job?”
This one hit me hard when I was first starting out as a freelance writer.
A family friend asked me this at a dinner party, and it felt like a punch in the gut.
Working from home, pursuing a passion, or having a non-traditional job doesn’t make anyone’s work any less ‘real’.
A socially intelligent person understands that everyone has their own path and passions.
Just because a job doesn’t fit into the 9-5 office mold, doesn’t mean it lacks legitimacy or value.
So, whether you’re an artist, entrepreneur, freelancer, or anything in-between, your work is ‘real’ and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
7. “Why don’t you work out more?”
This one’s a doozy. It’s not just rude – it’s a deeply personal attack.
Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and everyone has unique relationships with their own bodies.
Some people might be dealing with health conditions, some might be battling body image issues, and some might simply not be interested in working out. And guess what? All of that is okay.
A socially intelligent person knows better than to comment on someone else’s body or lifestyle choices.
They understand that every person’s body is their own business.
So the next time you’re tempted to ask anyone this question, just don’t!
Let’s focus on building each other up rather than tearing each other down.
8. “Don’t you think you’re too old for that?”
Age is just a number, and it shouldn’t dictate our interests or capabilities.
Asking someone if they’re ‘too old’ for something is not only disrespectful, but it also reveals a lack of social intelligence.
Instead of questioning someone’s age in relation to their interests, we should be celebrating their zest for life!
9. “Don’t you think it’s time to settle down?”
I remember a time when a friend of mine, visibly frustrated, shared how often she was asked this question.
Being a free-spirited traveler, she loved her nomadic lifestyle.
She was content with her life, but others seemed to constantly imply that her lifestyle was just a ‘phase’.
Social intelligence is about accepting and respecting everyone’s life choices.
We all have our own definitions of what it means to ‘settle down’.
For some, it might mean starting a family, for others, it could be buying a house, or for people like my friend, simply finding a beautiful place to pitch her tent.
It’s important to remember that we all have different paths and different timelines, and that’s perfectly okay!
10. “Why don’t you look happier?”
This question is a classic example of a lack of social intelligence.
Happiness looks different for everyone, and it’s not always about having a constant smile on your face.
Some people naturally have a more serious or neutral facial expression, and that’s okay.
It doesn’t mean they’re unhappy or unapproachable.
Telling someone to “look happier” can be hurtful.
It suggests that they should mask their true feelings to make others comfortable.
A socially intelligent person understands that everyone has their own way of expressing emotions and respects that.
11. “Why are you so quiet?”
Just because someone is quiet, it doesn’t mean they’re rude, bored, or uninterested.
They might be introverted, deep in thought, or simply prefer listening over talking.
Asking them why they’re so quiet can make them feel self-conscious about their natural temperament.
A socially intelligent person appreciates the balance between extroverts and introverts.
They don’t pressure someone to speak more than they’re comfortable with but make sure they feel included in the conversation.
Remember, social intelligence is all about understanding and respecting others’ feelings and boundaries.
So next time you’re about to ask someone one of these questions, stop and think: Is this respectful? Is this kind? And most importantly—how would I feel if someone asked me this?