People with high emotional intelligence do these 12 things differently

It’s often said that Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is more vital to success than IQ.

The reason is simple: Life isn’t a mere test, it’s a soap opera with pop quizzes! Those equipped with a high EQ navigate this drama with grace and resilience.

But how exactly do they differ in their approach?

Well, fasten your seat belts as we embark on this emotional roller-coaster ride to explore twelve distinct ways people with high EQ do things differently.

1) They embrace the full spectrum of emotions

Humans come with an extensive palette of emotions, much like a rainbow, but with more tears and occasional bouts of inexplicable joy over puppy videos.

High EQ individuals embrace this spectrum with open arms.

Rather than seeing emotions as “good” or “bad”, they recognize each emotion as an integral part of their human experience, akin to different weather patterns in their emotional landscape.

They might not love the emotional thunderstorms, but they know it’s necessary for their personal growth, much like actual storms are necessary for the ecosystem.

2) They’re curious about other people

Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it certainly makes high EQ people thrive!

They’re like emotional detectives, observing, connecting, and empathizing with others. They are genuinely interested in other people’s stories, feelings, and experiences.

This isn’t to be confused with being nosy; they don’t need to know what you ate for breakfast unless it impacts your mood (spoiler: it often does).

Their curiosity is rooted in understanding the complexities of human nature and building deep connections.

A study by Harvard Business Review corroborates this, linking curiosity with empathy, a crucial aspect of emotional intelligence.

3) They practice empathy, not sympathy

Imagine you’re in a deep emotional hole (no, not the one where you rewatch “Friends” and eat ice cream at 2 a.m., but a metaphorical one).

Sympathy is when people look into the hole and say, “Oh, that looks tough, good luck down there!”

But empathy is when someone climbs into the hole with you, saying, “Hey, I’m here with you, let’s figure this out.”

People with high emotional intelligence choose empathy over sympathy. They don’t just recognize or understand another person’s emotions; they can feel them.

Look at this insight from a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology:

It says that empathetic responses promote social functioning and are more effective in managing interpersonal relationships.

So, the next time you’re in an emotional hole, you know who to call (Hint: It’s not Ghostbusters).

4) They set healthy boundaries

People with high EQ are like the best bouncers at the club of their emotional health.

They have the astute ability to set and maintain healthy boundaries, ensuring that negativity or toxicity doesn’t infiltrate their mental space.

They understand that saying “no” isn’t rude or uncaring, but often necessary for their emotional well-being.

After all, you wouldn’t let just anyone into your house, right? Unless they come bearing pizza, of course.

But joking aside, the American Psychological Association states that setting boundaries is key to maintaining healthy relationships and, ultimately, a healthy life.

5) They use a rich emotional vocabulary

For high EQ individuals, “I’m fine” doesn’t cut it.

They possess a richer emotional vocabulary, understanding and identifying nuanced emotions instead of sticking to the basics.

Imagine emotions as different kinds of pasta.

While many might just see spaghetti and macaroni, they recognize fusilli, rigatoni, fettuccine, and the oh-so-subtle difference between linguine and tagliatelle.

Just like your favorite pasta dish tastes better with the right noodle, being able to accurately label your feelings helps in dealing with them more effectively.

6) They’re not afraid of change

Life loves throwing curveballs, and those with high EQ are expert catchers.

They accept and adapt to change because they know it’s the one constant in life (well, that and the inexplicably long queues at the DMV).

They understand that fear of change often stems from the fear of uncertainty and unfamiliarity.

They tackle this fear head-on, understanding that change often brings growth, opportunity, and, yes, sometimes a bit of discomfort too.

But remember: Oysters need an irritating grain of sand to create a pearl.

People with a growth mindset, often those with high EQ, perceive challenges and changes as opportunities to learn and grow.

So next time life throws you a curveball, channel your inner Derek Jeter, grab your mitt, and get ready to catch.

7) They know the difference between being reactive and responsive

High EQ individuals understand that life is not just an action movie where they react to every explosion—sometimes it’s a thoughtful indie film that requires response and reflection.

Reacting is instinctual and often driven by our emotions, whereas responding involves thoughtful consideration of the situation.

While reactions can lead to regrettable Hulk-like smash moments, responses are more like Professor Hulk—balanced, thought-through, yet effective.

They take a moment to process their emotions, understand the situation, and then respond appropriately.

This not only prevents regrettable outbursts but also ensures better communication and understanding.

8) They continually strive for self-improvement

People with high EQ never rest on their laurels. They’re like emotional bodybuilders, always looking for ways to flex and improve their emotional muscles.

They recognize the importance of continuous learning and personal growth.

They seek feedback, not just to pat themselves on the back, but to understand their areas of improvement.

They’re their own harshest critics, but also their biggest cheerleaders.

They view mistakes not as failures, but as opportunities for learning and improvement, much like how every fall in the gym leads to a stronger lift next time.

9) They practice mindfulness

Mindfulness isn’t just for Zen masters or yoga enthusiasts, it’s also a secret weapon of high EQ individuals.

They understand the power of living in the present and focusing on the ‘here and now’. They’re like emotional time travelers who choose to stay in the present.

They don’t dwell on past mistakes or fret about future problems. They tune in to their thoughts and feelings without judgment, observing them like a calm and tranquil lake reflects the sky.

And the benefits are not just ‘in the moment’.

A research paper published in the American Journal of Psychiatry links mindfulness to reduced stress, improved focus, and better emotional well-being.

So, the next time you find yourself spiraling into a whirlwind of worry or regret, remember to take a deep breath, ground yourself in the present, and let your mind become your emotional TARDIS.

10) They accept constructive criticism gracefully

To someone with high EQ, criticism isn’t a sting, it’s a ladder for growth.

They know that feedback, when given constructively, serves as a vital tool for personal and professional development.

They don’t view criticism as an attack, but as a valuable insight into areas that need improvement.

Even when the critique is about their favorite pet project (or their pet, which would be a bit weird), they don’t let emotions cloud their judgment.

They listen, understand, and act upon the feedback, turning the stumbling blocks of criticism into stepping stones for success.

11) They value authenticity

For high EQ individuals, authenticity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a way of life.

They value their unique self and respect the individuality of others. They are not driven by societal pressures or expectations, but stay true to their values and beliefs.

They understand that the key to meaningful relationships and fulfilling life lies in being authentic.

After all, everyone else is already taken, so why not be the best ‘you’ you can be?

12) They possess a high level of self-awareness

Last, but certainly not least, individuals with high EQ have a profound understanding of their emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives.

They’re like emotional archaeologists, continuously digging deeper into their emotional landscape.

This self-awareness allows them to understand how their feelings can affect them, other people, and their job performance.

A study by Green Peak Partners and Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations shows that self-awareness is a key predictor of executive success.

So next time you’re on an emotional excavation, remember—the deeper you dig, the more treasures you’ll find.

Why high emotional intelligence is an edge

Remember when you wished you had superpowers?

Well, having high emotional intelligence is pretty much like that, minus the cape and the uncomfortable spandex.

High EQ is your X-factor in the game of life, a superpower that enables you to navigate the complicated labyrinth of human emotions and come out as a winner.

It’s the secret sauce that makes you a better leader, a better collaborator, and a more empathetic human being.

It’s the difference between just surviving the game of ‘humaning’ and absolutely bossing it.

You become like a skilled surfer, effortlessly riding the waves of emotions, instead of being toppled by them.

And the best part? Unlike the elusive Hogwarts letter, everyone can develop this superpower.

So, who needs a radioactive spider when you have emotional intelligence, right?

Plus, there’s a lot less web-cleaning to worry about. High EQ for the win!

Confused about what to do next?

A weird, new way to figure out what to do next is to get advice from the Psychic Love Robot.

This is a very sophisticated tool using advanced artificial intelligence and neural network modeling.

You ask a question and then share additional information about your situation.

The Psychic Robot then tells you exactly what to do.

It’s honestly mind-blowing. And it’s free for a limited time.

Check out the Psychic Love Robot here.

It may tell you exactly what you need to know.


Gershom Mabaquiao

Gershom Mabaquiao

Gershom Mabaquiao is a scholar of psychology, oral tradition, and interpersonal relationships. His creative works have been published in's Young Blood section, The Unconventional Courier, and Tint Journal. He lives in the Philippines with his best friend-turned-partner and their dog, Zuko. Gershom has plans of taking his master's degree in Clinical Psychology to help young adults heal the inner child in each of them.

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