People who have high degrees of emotional intelligence have these three key skills: empathy, humility, and self-awareness.
It’s very apparent in the way they handle their emotions and engage others. Equally important is the way they use words to make someone feel seen, heard, and valued.
In this article, I’ll share some simple yet powerful phrases that emotionally intelligent people use to connect with others in meaningful ways.
If you’re looking to build people up, these expressions are a great place to start.
1) “I appreciate you.”
It’s also another way of saying “thank you.” These phrases sound so simple but they go a long way when it comes to expanding the good things around us.
Emotionally intelligent people don’t just express their gratitude because it’s polite — they get specific about what they’re thankful for and why.
They go further by saying “I appreciate you doing that because….” and put context around what makes the other person’s actions impactful.
Acknowledging the human being behind the good deed or work and expressing positive feedback are surefire ways to affirm people and build stronger connections with them.
2) “I’m sorry.”
These words can be among the most difficult to say, but emotionally intelligent people believe that the ability to apologize is a sign of courage and humility.
They admit when they’re wrong, and they express remorse for doing something that hurt another person or caused a breach of trust.
They offer a sincere apology by….
- Recognizing their mistakes. This means knowing that it’s not just about them, but about the other person who feels offended by them.
- Taking responsibility for their mistakes. They’re determined to correct the wrong behavior.
- Being genuine in their attitude and tone. They never offer a smug or forced apology.
3) “I hear you.”
Emotionally intelligent people never underestimate the power of telling someone that they’re listening.
Think about this for a minute: How would you feel if you were talking with someone who seemed very distracted? Or worse, someone who invalidated your thoughts and feelings?
You see, active listening and empathy are fundamental people skills. That’s why emotionally intelligent people do their best to understand how and why a person thinks and feels a certain way.
They’re very curious and attentive toward someone who’s sharing something personal, sensitive, or difficult.
You won’t find them interrupting or talking about their own feelings during the conversation.
This leads me to my next point….
4) “Could you tell me more about what you’re going through?”
During a conversation, does the person you’re talking with ask you follow-up questions that focus on how you’re feeling?
Do they assure you that they understand you correctly? If so, then this person may be highly emotionally intelligent.
It’s very encouraging to know that not only are we being listened to, but we are also being understood.
“Tell me more” is a very inviting phrase that comes from a place of curiosity and compassion.
It shows you that the other person is really invested in the conversation and has no hidden agenda behind their actions.
They want to gain clarity and become attuned to how you feel.
5) “I understand what you’re saying, but….”
The reality is, we won’t always see eye to eye with everyone. But how you express your disagreement with someone can make or break a strong bond.
So, how do you keep emotions in check when parties feel strongly about their opinions and tensions are running high?
Emotionally intelligent people avoid being defensive and remain open. They practice empathy by helping people see their side of things.
They turn difficult conversations into opportunities to start a dialogue and find common ground.
They’ll tell you that they have a different perspective in a calm, clear, and respectful manner and describe the reasons behind their thought processes.
6) “What are your thoughts? I’d love to get your input.”
Emotionally intelligent people are intentional and purposeful when it comes to feedback.
They are serious about fostering an inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable and safe to share their ideas.
They proactively create opportunities for people to be involved in meaningful discussions. They’ll never make you feel that it’s their way or the highway.
They know that it’s not always easy to give feedback, that’s why they go out of their way to acknowledge those who give their honest opinions.
They take a look at all sides of the story before reacting, and they never let any form of criticism get the best of them.
7) “Could you explain the problem?”
Here’s another example of how emotionally intelligent people never make assumptions based on hearsay or incomplete information.
You see, problem-solving and conflict management are also essential people skills.
And for people with a high level of emotional intelligence, the first step to dealing with a problem is by asking fact-based and exploratory questions.
They make sure that they understand the situation from the other person’s perspective.
They approach problem-solving by learning how a particular issue affects them and the people around them.
8) “What can we do to find a solution that works for both of us?”
Once emotionally intelligent people have defined the problem and recognized each other’s needs, they can easily propose solutions that work for everyone.
This is the part where they emphasize collaboration in problem-solving. They take the time to understand how different emotions can affect decision-making.
They keep a calm and clear focus on the issues at hand and they inspire and motivate others to act in ways that will achieve shared goals.
9) “This feels too overwhelming for me. Can we take a break and discuss this later?
This is also another way of saying, “Can we take a break to cool down and discuss this later?”
Emotionally intelligent people are very self-aware, which means they know the people, things, or situations that trigger them.
What do they do when stress starts to build up and mental and emotional exhaustion sets in? They take breaks or time-outs.
Simply put, they don’t let their stress levels get to the point where they feel out of control.
They can clearly communicate when they need to step back to diffuse tensions, calm down, and deepen their perspective.
This prevents them from having angry outbursts that will only worsen situations.
And it doesn’t stop there: They get back to the matter at hand once they know they can think clearly and have a successful do-over.
10) “I trust you.”
This is another phrase that sounds so simple yet very empowering.
Emotionally intelligent people go the extra mile to convey their trust in someone because they know it builds confidence and morale.
It shows support and belief in another person, which makes that person trust their decisions and capabilities more.
11) “I’m here for you.”
Speaking of support and reassurance, emotionally intelligent people mean it when they say “I’m here for you.”
They show up when they say they will, which means people can count on them for support during challenging times.
Doesn’t it feel very comforting to know that there’s someone you can turn to when you need help?
12) “How can I support you?”
Another way of saying this is “What can I do to help you feel better?”
Emotionally intelligent people know that it’s okay to ask a family member, friend, or any other person what they need from them if they’re unsure.
They believe that everyone deserves to be supported through their experiences. The key is to focus on validating people’s realities.
More often than not, offering a compassionate ear, sitting with people, and acknowledging their experiences are enough to make them feel supported.
By being closely in tune with emotions, emotionally intelligent people interact with others in ways that create positive outcomes for everyone.
They choose empathetic questions and responses to show that they genuinely care.