19 often overlooked traits of people with high emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) has become a buzzword lately, hasn’t it?

It’s a trendy topic with a lot of the conversation focused on the common traits of people with high emotional intelligence.

But what about the specific, lesser-known characteristics?

In this article, we will zoom in on those underrecognized and unexplored traits, giving you a better idea of what it really means to be emotionally intelligent.

Let’s dive in on the 19 often overlooked traits of people with high emotional intelligence:

1) They’re open

People with high emotional intelligence understand that their opinions aren’t always sound, and their ideas may not always be the best. 

This makes them open to trying new things and listening to different points of view. 

They don’t immediately shut you off when you offer a new perspective, and they will consider every input before agreeing or disagreeing with any of these.

2) They’re non-judgmental

They also aren’t quick to categorize people as good or bad. 

Thanks to their highly empathetic nature, they can put themselves in other’s shoes. And once they’re standing on those and seeing things from that viewpoint, they understand why people behave and feel like they do. 

Even then, instead of judging, they try to be more caring, helpful, and understanding of others.

3) They’re humble

While they have a high emotional intelligence, they definitely don’t have a high ego. 

Here’s an example:

Despite winning first place in a statewide triathlon, an athlete with high emotional intelligence understands certain aspects of his performance need improvement, so he turns to his coach for help.

That’s the nature of people with high EI: 

They’re self-aware enough to know their limitations and humble enough to ask for help when needed. 

4) They’re modest 

The same athlete again nabbed first place in a triathlon, this time at the national level. 

But during an interview, the athlete highlighted the help of his coaches, supporters, family, and friends, with little mention of his own skills.

That’s the highly emotional athlete displaying his modesty right there.

Did you notice the subtle difference between both traits?

While humility focuses on accepting one’s limitations, modesty focuses on the contributions of others to help eliminate or minimize those limitations, even if it means having to downplay their achievements.

Isn’t it impressive that people with high emotional intelligence carry both these traits?

5) They’re mindful

Individuals with high levels of EI are very good at observing what’s happening around them without getting caught up in it. 

They try to tune in to their feelings, thoughts, and surroundings without letting themselves get carried away with any of these.

Their mindfulness allows them to pause and take a moment to observe, giving them the time to think their responses through instead of impulsively reacting. 

6) They’re reflective

Their mindfulness keeps them in the present, but their reflectivity allows them to look back on their past. 

Emotionally savvy people evaluate their past not to beat themselves up for their mistakes,but rather to learn from them. 

They use reflection as a powerful tool to turn past experiences into opportunities for growth.

7) They’re insightful

Sometimes, emotionally intelligent people need more than just reflection, so they might need to put their insightful hat on.

What does this mean?

For example, you reflect on your past relationships and jobs and learn from all these as separate experiences. 

Your insightfulness kicks in when you dig deeper and suddenly realize that these past relationships broke down and you were unhappy in your previous jobs because you chose them based on societal expectations and not on what truly makes you happy.

You dated A and B because your parents approved of them, but you would have dated C if you had it your way. 

You took jobs 1 and 2 because the pay was in the higher tax bracket, but they didn’t give you any fulfillment.

In short, reflectivity focuses on individual experiences, while insightfulness looks at the patterns throughout various experiences.

8) They’re highly intuitive

Emotionally intelligent people are very good at tuning into their dependable instincts. 

They trust their gut, and their initial hunches often turn out to be true. 

People with high EI have intuitions backed by a good track record of accuracy.

9) They’re adaptable

They can adjust to social dynamics effortlessly thanks to their ability of reading and interpreting their emotions and that of others. 

They’re also skilled at embracing new challenges and facing change with a smile. 

And that’s not all:

Because of their heightened emotional awareness, they can also quickly assess what’s needed in a particular situation and adjust their responses accordingly.

10) They’re resilient

If you’re impressed at how swiftly they can come up with a thoughtful response, you should see how fast they bounce back after facing any challenges life throws at them. 

Emotionally intelligent people overcome setbacks gracefully, with newfound strength and a fresh perspective.

11) They’re balanced

They’re good at thinking straight while managing their feelings. 

They find a good balance between rational thinking and their emotional reactions to maintain objective responses, whatever the situation may be.

Highly emotionally intelligent individuals don’t let their emotions override reason. 

12) They’re patient

They’re experts at self-regulation, meaning they can modulate their reactions to various situations. 

This gives them patience, so they’re not easily angered or upset by things like trials, delays, or minor crises.

13) They’re forgiving

Emotionally intelligent people aren’t a fan of holding grudges, so they’re quick to forgive.

They would much rather live in peace instead of living with the stress brought on by holding on to anger and resentment.

14) They’re considerate

Individuals who have high emotional intelligence are really good at understanding how people feel and what they might need. 

They use this insight to be considerate and ensure no one feels left out and everyone feels important and cared for. 

15) They’re appreciative

Apart from being aware of what others feel, people with high EI are also great at recognizing the strengths of others. 

They show this through reinforcing positive behavior by saying “thank you” whenever they can and dishing out sincere compliments and praises.

By doing this, they make others feel better about themselves, creating positive connections with others.

16) They’re experts in expressing their feelings

It’s common knowledge that emotionally intelligent people are adept at identifying their emotions. 

But what a lot of people don’t realize is that people with high EI have specific words for whatever they’re feeling. 

We usually say we feel “bad” or “good”, but they’re able to describe their emotions  in more detail by saying things like, they feel “remorseful” or “blissful”.

17) They’re assertive without being aggressive

Emotionally intelligent people have the unique skill of navigating dialogues confidently without offending or alienating others. 

They’re good at standing up for themselves without stepping on others.

They can articulate their point clearly without resorting to rude or belittling language.

This makes them great communicators, both in personal and professional environments.

18) They’re creative

Because their empathy has trained their brains to see things from different angles, emotionally intelligent individuals are often more creative when it comes to problem-solving.

Their understanding of other people’s diverse thoughts and feelings helps them come up with out-of-the-box ideas that may not otherwise be obvious to everyone else.

19) They’re humorous

They’re not necessarily comedians, but people with high emotional intelligence can make people laugh when needed.

Here’s the thing:

Because they’re perceptive of emotions, they know what type of humor is appropriate to use in any situation. Hence, their jokes are rarely off. 

And here’s the best part:

They have excellent levels of self-awareness and self-esteem that they don’t mind being the butt of jokes, knowing that laughter, even at their own expense, can help bring people closer together.

People aren’t born emotionally intelligent… 

They become it. 

That means we can all be one should we wish to. 

On that note, allow me to end with one final question:

What would your life look like if you tapped into and developed these traits of people with high emotional intelligence?

Sarah Piluden-Natu-El

Sarah is a full-time mum, wife, and nurse on hiatus turned freelance writer. She is on a journey of diving deeper into life through life itself and uses her writing to share the lessons learned along the way. When not on her computer, she enjoys time with her family strolling along the Gold Coast's stunning beaches and captivating hinterland.

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