If someone uses these 9 phrases, they have low emotional intelligence

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It’s important to understand the difference between having a conversation and communicating effectively. Often, the latter involves a significant amount of emotional intelligence, or the ability to understand and manage your own emotions while also empathizing with others.

Unfortunately, not everyone possesses high levels of emotional intelligence and this can sometimes be evident in the language they use. Certain phrases may reveal a lack of emotional insight and understanding.

In this article, we’ll delve into nine specific phrases that may indicate someone has low emotional intelligence. If you hear these phrases often, it might be a red flag.

This isn’t about judging or shaming anyone – it’s about understanding how our words reflect our emotional awareness, or lack thereof.

Now, let’s dive in!

1) “I know how you feel”

In any conversation, empathy goes a long way. However, there’s a fine line between empathizing and assuming you understand someone else’s feelings completely.

The phrase “I know how you feel” can often be a red flag that indicates low emotional intelligence. This phrase assumes that we have the same emotional responses as others, which isn’t always the case.

What one person finds exciting, another might find nerve-wracking. While you might be trying to connect with the other person, using this phrase can often make them feel like their individual experience isn’t being acknowledged or understood.

This isn’t to say that sharing similar experiences is a bad thing – it’s all about how you phrase it. Rather than saying “I know how you feel”, try saying “I’ve gone through something similar, and this is how I felt”. This acknowledges your own experience without assuming you know exactly what the other person is going through.

Emotional intelligence is all about understanding our own emotions as well as those of others – and acknowledging that we can’t always know what someone else is feeling is a big part of that.

2) “It’s not that big of a deal”

Here’s a phrase I’ve heard many times, and I must admit, I’ve used it myself on occasion: “It’s not that big of a deal.”

Once, a friend shared with me her anxiety about a presentation she had to give at work. Instead of listening and providing support, I responded with, “Don’t worry so much, it’s not that big of a deal.”

At the time, I thought I was helping her by minimizing her worries. But looking back, I realize my response was dismissive. I failed to validate her feelings or offer any real support.

The phrase “It’s not that big of a deal” minimizes the other person’s feelings and experiences. It can make them feel unheard and undervalued.

Emotional intelligence involves understanding and validating other people’s emotions, even if we don’t fully understand why they’re feeling that way.

Instead of brushing off their concerns, try saying something like, “I can see this is really causing you stress. How can I support you?” This opens up a conversation and acknowledges their feelings, which is a much more emotionally intelligent response.

3) “I’m sorry you feel that way”

“I’m sorry you feel that way” is a phrase that can often be a sign of low emotional intelligence. While it may seem like an apology, it actually shifts the blame onto the person feeling upset, rather than taking responsibility for one’s own actions.

Effective apologies need to include an acknowledgement of responsibility. This phrase fails to do that.

A more emotionally intelligent response might be, “I’m sorry for my actions, I didn’t mean to upset you.” This not only validates the other person’s feelings, but also acknowledges your own role in causing them. It’s a small change in phrasing, but one that can make a big difference in how your words are perceived.

4) “You always…”

Using absolutes like “always” or “never” in a conversation is a common sign of low emotional intelligence. When someone says, “You always do this” or “You never do that”, it can come across as accusatory and dismissive of the other person’s perspective.

These statements tend to oversimplify situations and don’t leave room for nuance or understanding. They can create a communication barrier and cause the other person to become defensive, rather than facilitating a healthy and constructive conversation.

Instead of using absolutes, try expressing your feelings without blaming the other person. For example, instead of saying, “You always ignore me”, you could say, “I feel ignored when you don’t respond to my messages.” This approach expresses your feelings in a non-confrontational way and opens the door for understanding and resolution.

5) “Can’t you take a joke?”

Emotionally intelligent people understand that humor can be subjective. What one person finds funny, another might find hurtful or offensive. The phrase “Can’t you take a joke?” is often used to dismiss someone’s feelings after they’ve been offended or upset by a comment or joke.

This phrase shifts the blame onto the person who is feeling hurt, instead of acknowledging that the joke may have been inappropriate or hurtful. It invalidates their feelings and can make them feel guilty for expressing their emotions.

A more emotionally intelligent response would be to apologize and clarify that no harm was intended. For example, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you. I’ll be more mindful of my comments in the future.” This shows an understanding and respect for the other person’s feelings, which is key to emotional intelligence.

6) “It could be worse”

While the intention behind the phrase “It could be worse” might be to provide comfort or perspective, it often does the opposite. Instead of offering comfort, it dismisses the person’s feelings and experiences.

Imagine a grieving friend being told “it could be worse”. The phrase does little to alleviate their pain. Rather, it negates their right to feel sorrow and grieve.

Emotionally intelligent individuals understand that everyone’s pain is valid, regardless of how it compares to others. It’s not a competition.

Instead of dismissing someone’s feelings, try saying something like, “I’m really sorry you’re going through this. I’m here for you.” This simple statement acknowledges their pain and offers comfort and support without minimizing their feelings. It shows empathy and understanding – two crucial components of emotional intelligence.

7) “I don’t have time for this”

In the hustle and bustle of life, I once found myself saying, “I don’t have time for this,” when a friend wanted to talk about a problem she was facing. While it’s true that we all have busy lives, this phrase can come off as dismissive and uncaring.

The underlying message this phrase sends is that the other person’s problems or feelings are not important enough for our time. This can hurt their feelings, make them feel unimportant and can damage relationships.

A more emotionally intelligent response might be, “I’m really swamped right now, but let’s set aside some time to talk later. Your concerns are important to me.” This acknowledges the other person’s need for conversation and reassures them that they matter to you, even when you’re busy.

8) “Get over it”

Telling someone to “get over it” is a clear indicator of low emotional intelligence. This phrase is dismissive and invalidates the other person’s feelings or experiences.

It implies that the person should simply stop feeling upset or hurt without taking into account that everyone processes emotions at their own pace. It fails to offer understanding, empathy, or support.

Instead of saying “get over it”, try offering words of comfort or support, such as “I’m here for you” or “Take all the time you need.” This allows the person to feel understood and accepted, which are important elements of emotionally intelligent communication.

9) “You’re too sensitive”

The phrase “You’re too sensitive” is perhaps one of the most damaging expressions when it comes to emotional intelligence. This phrase is often used as a defense mechanism to deflect responsibility and belittle the other person’s feelings.

Labeling someone as “too sensitive” is an attempt to invalidate their feelings and dismiss their perspective. It suggests that their emotional response is a problem, rather than acknowledging that the issue might lie in our actions or words.

The truth is, there’s no such thing as being “too sensitive”. Everyone has a right to their feelings, and it’s important to respect and validate those feelings rather than criticizing them. Instead of calling someone “too sensitive”, try saying, “I can see you’re really upset by this. Let’s talk about it.” This acknowledges their feelings and opens up a dialogue – which is a clear sign of high emotional intelligence.

Final thoughts: It’s all about understanding

Emotional intelligence is a crucial aspect of our interactions with others. It’s the ability to understand and manage our own emotions while also empathizing with the emotions of others.

These nine phrases provide a window into situations where emotional intelligence may be lacking, but it’s important to remember that we all have the potential for growth. Emotional intelligence isn’t innate, it’s learned.

Being aware of the language we use, and how it can affect others, is an important step towards becoming more emotionally intelligent. The next time you hear yourself about to say one of these phrases, take a moment to consider how it might be received.

Remember, it’s not about being perfect, but about striving for understanding and empathy in our interactions with others. It’s about recognizing and validating emotions – both ours and those of the people around us.

As Daniel Goleman, the author of “Emotional Intelligence”, once said, “In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels.” And it’s when these two minds work in harmony that we are truly at our best.

So let’s strive for that harmony – in our words, in our actions, and in our understanding of one another.

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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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