11 signs you’re dealing with someone who has high emotional intelligence

Have you ever met someone who always seems to know exactly what to say and do, no matter the situation?

It seems like they have a superpower, doesn’t it?

But, it’s not a superpower—it’s something called Emotional Intelligence.

Basically, Emotional Intelligence is all about understanding and managing feelings—both our own and others’.

It helps us communicate better, manage stress, understand others, and solve problems.

But how can you tell if someone has high Emotional Intelligence?

I’m going to share 11 signs that show you’re dealing with someone with high Emotional Intelligence.

Ready? Let’s get started!

1. They’re Really Good Listeners

Have you ever had a chat with someone and felt like they’re not just hearing, but really listening to you?

Like they’re genuinely interested in what you have to say?

That’s a pretty clear sign of someone with high Emotional Intelligence.

They don’t just wait for their turn to speak, but they engage with what you’re saying, asking questions and showing interest.

They make you feel heard and understood, and that’s because they are really trying to understand where you’re coming from.

Listening is a lot more than just being quiet while the other person talks, and emotionally intelligent people get that.

They know that good communication starts with good listening.

2. They Handle Criticism Well

We all know that criticism can be tough to swallow. It’s human nature to get defensive when we feel like we’re being attacked.

But here’s the thing: emotionally intelligent people have a superpower—they handle criticism like champs.

Instead of reacting impulsively or defensively, they take a moment to understand where the criticism is coming from.

They see it as a chance to learn and grow, rather than an attack on their character.

They’re able to separate themselves from their mistakes and don’t take criticism personally.

Instead, they ask themselves how they can improve and do better next time. 

3. They’re Incredibly Empathetic

One of the most telling signs of someone with high Emotional Intelligence is empathy.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, to put yourself in their shoes.

And let me tell you, it’s a trait that emotionally intelligent people have in spades.

I have a friend, let’s call her Sarah. Sarah always had this uncanny ability to sense when something was off with me, even when I hadn’t said a word about it.

One day, I was having a rough day but didn’t want to burden anyone with my problems.

But Sarah, she just knew. She looked at me and said, “You don’t seem like your usual self today. Want to talk about it?”

She didn’t just notice that something was wrong—she offered her support, showing that she understood and cared about my feelings.

That’s empathy in action. And it’s a powerful sign of high Emotional Intelligence.

4. They’re Self-Aware

Self-awareness is another hallmark of high Emotional Intelligence.

People with EI are acutely aware of their own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and how their actions affect others.

They spend time reflecting on their feelings instead of just reacting to them. They understand why they feel a certain way and how to handle these emotions effectively.

So if you meet someone who really understands themselves—their strengths, their weaknesses, how their moods and emotions affect their actions—and uses this knowledge to navigate life more effectively, you’ve likely met someone with high Emotional Intelligence.

It’s rare, but it’s a trait that makes a huge difference in how someone interacts with the world around them.

5. They Show Genuine Kindness and Respect

The world can be a tough place, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in our own worries and struggles.

But emotionally intelligent people somehow manage to rise above all that.

They make a conscious effort to show kindness and respect to everyone they meet, regardless of who they are or what they’re going through.

It’s not just about being polite or following social norms—it’s about truly believing in the value of every individual.

It’s about treating everyone with the same level of respect, whether it’s the CEO of a big corporation or a waiter at a local café.

It’s about understanding that everyone has their own battles, their own stories, and that everyone deserves kindness and consideration.

This heartfelt kindness and respect come from their ability to empathize and connect with others on a deeper level.

It shows a profound understanding of human emotions and an unwavering respect for the human experience.

If you ever encounter someone who radiates this kind of genuine warmth and respect, chances are you’re dealing with someone who has high Emotional Intelligence.

6. They Keep Their Cool Under Pressure

Emotionally intelligent people have a knack for keeping their cool when situations heat up.

They’re able to manage their emotions, stay calm, and think clearly—even in stressful situations.

A few years back, I was working on a project with a tight deadline. The stress was high and everyone on the team was feeling the heat. But there was one person, my colleague John, who seemed unfazed by the chaos.

Despite the ticking clock and mounting pressure, John stayed cool as a cucumber. He didn’t let the stress get to him.

Instead, he calmly prioritized tasks, made clear decisions, and kept the team focused.

His calmness had a ripple effect on the rest of us—helping us manage our own stress and stay on track.

That’s when I realized that John had something special—high Emotional Intelligence.

His ability to stay calm under pressure wasn’t just beneficial for him but for the entire team. 

7. They’re Not Afraid of Change

Change. It’s a six-letter word that can send shivers down many people’s spines.

Let’s be honest, change can be scary. It’s the unknown, the unfamiliar, and our brains are wired to view it as a potential threat.

But when you’re dealing with someone who has high Emotional Intelligence, you’ll notice they have a different take on change.

Instead of resisting it, they embrace it. They recognize that change is a part of life—a part of growth—and they’re not afraid to dive headfirst into it.

They don’t see change as something to fear but rather as an opportunity to adapt, learn, and grow.

They know that yeah, change can be uncomfortable and even downright scary at times.

But they also understand that staying stuck in the same routine, refusing to evolve, is even scarier. 

8. They Know How to Say No

It might sound strange, but knowing when and how to say ‘no’ is actually a sign of high Emotional Intelligence.

People with high EI understand their limits. They know that saying ‘yes’ to everything isn’t healthy or productive—it can lead to stress, burnout, and resentment.

The more difficulty you have in saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress and burnout.

So saying ‘no’ is not only good for emotional intelligence but for overall mental health as well.

Emotionally intelligent people understand this. They have the confidence and self-awareness to turn down requests or commitments that they can’t or don’t want to accommodate.

So if you know someone who knows how to set boundaries and isn’t afraid to say ‘no’ when necessary, you’re likely dealing with someone with high Emotional Intelligence.

9. They Make Others Feel Good About Themselves

One thing I’ve noticed about people with high Emotional Intelligence is that they have this amazing ability to make others feel good about themselves.

They’re the kind of people who leave you feeling better than before you started the conversation.

My neighbor, for example, is one of these people. Every time I run into her, she always has a genuine compliment or a kind word to say.

And here’s the thing, it’s never forced or fake. She takes the time to notice the good in others and isn’t shy about expressing it.

Whether it’s complimenting someone’s new haircut, acknowledging a job well done, or appreciating someone’s kindness, she always knows how to uplift others and make them feel valued.

And that is a clear sign of high Emotional Intelligence. They not only understand their own emotions but also acknowledge and validate the emotions of others as well.

10. They Own Their Mistakes

Let’s face it, nobody likes messing up. But in the grand scheme of things, mistakes are inevitable. We all make them. However, what sets emotionally intelligent people apart is how they handle these hiccups.

Instead of playing the blame game or making excuses, they own up to their mistakes.

They don’t let pride get in the way of acknowledging that they messed up. It’s a raw and honest acceptance of their own imperfection.

They understand that mistakes are less about failure and more about learning opportunities.

So if you see someone who’s not afraid to say, “I messed up, and I’m sorry,” you’re likely dealing with someone with high Emotional Intelligence.

11. They Don’t Hold Grudges

Holding onto anger, resentment, or grudges is like holding onto a hot coal and expecting the other person to get burned—it only hurts you in the end.

Emotionally intelligent people get this. They understand that holding onto grudges isn’t just emotionally draining but also harmful to their mental well-being.

They choose to let go—not because the other person necessarily deserves forgiveness, but because they deserve peace.

It’s a raw and honest approach to emotional wellness: understanding that forgiveness is less about the other person and more about freeing themselves from the burden of resentment.

So there you have it—if you know someone who can own up to their mistakes without hesitation and let go of grudges for their own peace of mind, chances are pretty high they’re packing some serious Emotional Intelligence.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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