While we’ve come a long way from thinking that IQ (the intelligence quotient) is an accurate marker of someone’s smarts, researchers have started to pay closer attention to EQ (the ‘Emotional Quotient’). EQ is used to describe a person’s emotional intelligence – or rather, how capable a person is of recognizing their emotions and the emotions of others, while responding in proportion to the situation.
Turns out, EQ has far more to do with how successful a person will become than many other factor, say researchers. While trauma and mental illness can add immeasurable complexity to the mix, here are fifteen clear signs of emotional intelligence to pay attention to.
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High EQ: You are self-aware
You are aware of your feelings, strengths and weaknesses, and can recognize them, think about them, and talk about them — even name them with a robust emotional vocabulary. You can also often peg their root causes.
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High EQ: You keep yourself in check
While nobody’s perfect, you strive not to let your emotions run away with you. You’re aware of your triggers, and do your best to control your emotional responses (such as swapping out negative self-talk for these 13 positive affirmations).
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High EQ: You have humility
You’re aware that you can be wrong sometimes, that you don’t know everything, still have lots to learn, and have a flexible enough mind-set to admit it when necessary. You show accountability for your mistakes, when appropriate, and apologize. This makes you open to constructive criticism, and your approach is to grow from it rather than resent it.
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High EQ: You are authentic and sincere
Understanding you’re not perfect and accepting this about yourself makes you open and sincere with your vulnerabilities. This means you aren’t afraid to let your guard down, and let others get close - flaws and all. No pretenses or overcompensating fragile egos here.
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High EQ: You have empathy towards others
Because of your own breadth of emotional understanding, you are aware of others’ emotional universes and are able to put yourself in other people’s shoes - something narcissists don’t do. You’re able to feel of others’ feelings — not just your own — and hold space for others to talk about what’s going on for them. You get that it’s not just about you.
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High EQ: You say what needs to be said constructively
You don’t shy away from difficult conversations, and are able to speak your mind honestly, but tactfully. You have integrity and honour your commitments, even when temptation pulls you the other way.
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High EQ: You set boundaries
You are able to say no to others as well as yourself, when a choice isn’t nourishing. You neutralize toxic people and don’t let others take advantage of your empathy or if they try to manipulate you. You get that people are complex and not everyone has the same intentions, so yes, you’re nice, but not naive.
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High EQ: You are able to let go of mistakes
You understand nobody is perfect, and you are capable of forgiving yourself as well as those who show sincere regret for offending you. You don’t hold grudges going forward.
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High EQ: You’re able to give pause
You recognize when something just isn’t working or isn’t meant for you, and you’re willing to stop, take stock, and pivot, if needed. You're also able to delay gratification, knowing a bigger payoff is on the horizon.
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High EQ: You seek to support others for nothing in return
You recognize the inherent value of community, friendships and connectedness to something greater than yourself. You strive to help others because you wish to see them succeed. No other reason required.
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Low EQ: You look for drama
You are the common denominator in all your friendship drama. You are often argumentative or constantly have a bone to pick. You manipulate and try to control others with the things you say and do, even resorting to duplicity, lying and scheming.
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Low EQ: You are clueless to other people’s feelings
While you may be (vaguely) aware of your emotional needs, you have no idea (on a deeper level) what others may be going through. Nor do you necessarily care. You’re too preoccupied with yourself to bother understanding others' feelings, beyond what it can get you. The buck starts and ends with you, and you are the centre of the universe (and often expect others to recognize you as such). You show this by constantly redirecting conversations back to yourself. Yep. You’re THAT person.
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Low EQ: You blame others and play victim
Simply put, you don’t hold yourself to the same standard that you expect of others. When assigning blame, you tend to look out, not in. You often guilt-trip others for somehow wronging you, rather than taking stock and reflecting on how your own actions may have contributed to the situation. Double standards are rampant, and there’s that point about accountability again.
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Low EQ: Your emotional responses don’t match the situation
You have emotional outbursts and they often come out of nowhere, catching others by surprise. Simply put, these responses are out of proportion to the situation, and sometimes by design (because you get off on emotional drama). You have a hard time keeping perspective, and often inflate your own sense of importance in these situations. On the flip side, you aren’t able to cope and are impatient when others bring important issues to your attention.
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Low EQ: You have a hard time maintaining friendships
All these characteristics make you a difficult person to be around in the long haul, and as such, your relationships are constantly volatile. It’s no wonder that when your friends Marie Kondo their friendship circles, you frequently find yourself on the outs. When it comes down to it, you have trouble holding on to life-long friends because the toxic terms of your relationships are simply too corrosive for others (and at a deeper level — yourself).