7 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Don’t Do

A woman in a sweater stands against a yellow background with a paper cut out of a brain with a red heart inside it, against her head.

Have you ever heard of the term emotionally intelligent before but maybe you weren’t completely sure what it means? When I first started my self-love journey, I had heard of it, but I had just assumed it meant you are more self-aware of your own emotions

In some ways I was correct, but there is much more to emotional intelligence than that. 

In this post we will go into exactly what emotional intelligence is, what some benefits of emotional intelligence are, how to know if you are emotionally intelligent, 10 things emotionally intelligent people do, 7 things emotionally intelligent people don’t do, and how to improve your emotional intelligence.  

What is emotional intelligence? 

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand, use and manage your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others around you, in a positive way. 

We can use emotional intelligence to:

  • empathize with others 
  • decrease stress
  • reduce conflict
  • communicate effectively
  • solve problems
  • become a better leader
  • improve our relationships

And much more. 

What are some benefits of emotional intelligence? 

When we are more in touch with our own emotions, it enables us to become the best version of ourselves. We are more likely to know exactly what we want, to make better decisions, and to communicate our emotions in a healthy way.  

It will also help us build stronger personal and professional relationships, set and achieve our goals, and succeed in other aspects of our lives. 

How do you know if you are emotionally intelligent? 

Emotional intelligence sounds like a pretty useful tool to have in our toolbox. But how do you know if you are an emotionally intelligent person? 

The most common type of way to determine this is to take a self-reporting test. They are the easiest to take and to score. This involves you answering questions based on your own beliefs and behaviors.  

On the other hand, ability tests rate your reactions to situations and then assess your skills. For these tests, you need to demonstrate your abilities and then someone else scores them.  

Mental health professionals can also administer emotional intelligence tests such as the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test or the Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (ESCI) test.

There are also many more resources available online to test your emotional intelligence.  

You can also compare your behavior to the lists of things emotionally intelligent people do and don’t do below but be aware that this requires a good amount of self-awareness. 

10 things that emotionally intelligent people do

Emotionally intelligent people are able to do these ten things: 

1) Listen to others 

Listening to the people around them is an important skill for someone who is emotionally intelligent. It helps to build trust and understand the situations and emotions of others as well as their thoughts and feelings. 

2) Say no when needed 

Knowing when to say no and maintaining strong boundaries is a very important thing in life. Emotionally intelligent people are able to tell when something is not worth wasting their energy on, and voicing that objection without feeling guilty about it. 

3) Share their feelings 

Sharing their feelings helps emotionally intelligent people communicate their needs more effectively to those around them. It also helps to build communication which is important for healthy relationships. 

4) Have empathy for others 

Not only do emotionally intelligent people understand their own emotions, but they are able to understand how other people feel and put themselves in their position.  

5) Know why they do the things they do 

Self-awareness plays a big part in emotional intelligence. Considering how their emotions influence their behavior and decisions helps emotionally intelligent people to learn from their mistakes. 

6) Accept criticism 

Most people will agree that getting criticism is rarely a fun experience. However, emotionally intelligent people have learned how to use that criticism to their advantage so they are able to learn and improve from it instead of taking it as a personal attack. 

7) Accept responsibility 

Everybody makes mistakes, but if you have high emotional intelligence, you are able to accept fault and responsibility more easily. Accepting responsibility for a mistake, and then fixing things so that it does not happen again will help people to trust you and depend on you more easily. 

8) Be open-minded 

Emotionally intelligent people are able to listen to other people without passing judgment on them. Being overly critical of someone is never a good thing, and can lead to damaged relationships. 

9) Problem-solve by taking everyone’s feelings into account 

When you understand how the people around you feel, it is much easier to make them happy, instead of making selfish decisions. Emotionally intelligent people understand this and will use it to their advantage. 

For example, if a boss understands how her employees are feeling about something, she is able to make a decision that may not only benefit her company but also make her employees happier. 

10) Move on after making a mistake 

Emotionally intelligent people are so focused on the present and looking into the future, that they have neither the time nor the energy to think about the mistakes they made in the past. Mistakes often aren’t perceived as negative or embarrassing, but as a learning opportunity to improve. 

A graphic was created that is a list of the 10 things emotionally people do listed above in this article

7 things people with emotional intelligence don’t do

1) Give in to peer pressure 

Emotionally intelligent people are great at thinking for themselves, so they won’t do something just because everyone else is doing it. They are able to observe objectively and make their own decision based on what is best for them. 

2) Seek the approval of others 

Self-validation is something people with emotional intelligence are great at. While they will respectfully listen to other people’s opinions, they don’t need it for validation. If they want something, they go get it without consulting other people. 

3) Allow others to control their emotions 

People with a high level of emotional intelligence are able to always maintain control of their emotions. It doesn’t matter what other people might say to them. They simply don’t let other people influence their state of mind.  

4) Engage in unnecessary conflict 

There are times when conflict may be necessary, but most of the time conflict can be avoided. People that are emotionally intelligent know how important it is to focus on the things that are important to them rather than wasting energy on pointless conflict. 

5) Make assumptions 

People with low emotional intelligence can often form quick opinions based on assumptions.  

Emotionally intelligent people, on the other hand, think before they act and don’t make generalizations or assumptions about situations or other people. They think about things before rendering an opinion, and if needed will ask questions to better understand a situation or problem. 

6) Dwell on the past 

Emotionally intelligent people are able to learn from their own choices and mistakes, and then let them go. They don’t dwell, as that can stop you from moving forward. They are often too busy focusing on and achieving their goals that they don’t dwell on what didn’t work out for them in the past.  

8) Rely on others for their happiness 

Emotionally intelligent people create their own happiness for themselves. They don’t rely on other people to make themselves happier. They also find it easier to experience and appreciate joy.  

How to improve your emotional intelligence  

1) Improve your self-awareness 

Being more self-aware is at the core of loving yourself and becoming happier and more productive. It allows you to understand your own strengths, weaknesses, and emotions and how they affect you and your life.  

In order to become more emotionally intelligent, you have to reconnect to your emotions and accept them.  

Mindfulness is a great tool to become more self-aware. It means you focus on the present moment, which helps you appreciate that moment, instead of always focusing on the future. It can also help calm you, help you to become more focused, and improve your self-awareness. 

2) Learn to control your emotions 

When you have better control over your emotions, you can handle stressful and difficult situations much easier. When you become stressed and lose control of your emotions, you lose the ability to act thoughtfully and appropriately.  

Controlling your emotions also allows you to follow through with your commitments, take initiative, and better adapt to change. 

3) Observe those around you 

If you want to understand how the people around you are thinking or feeling, you need to pay attention. This means not only listening to other people when they speak but paying attention to their body language and facial expressions. When you start actively observing the people around you, you will be surprised at what you can learn about them.  

4) Practice empathizing with people 

For those of you that are reading this that may be empaths, this is something that comes naturally to you. But if you are not an empath, and are not able to easily imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes, it can be a good practice to imagine that you are living someone else’s life. How would you feel in that person’s position? Why are they feeling the way that they do?  

The next time you are struggling to see something from someone else’s point of view, take a moment to reflect on what is currently happening in that person’s life and brainstorm some reasons why they might be feeling that way.  

Do you consider yourself an emotionally intelligent person? 

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