We’ve all met people that are hard to get along with.
But there’s a certain type of person who’s hard to get along with thanks to their lack of social and emotional intelligence. And even if you’ve never thought of it in exactly those terms before, I’m sure you know exactly the kind of person I’m talking about.
The problem with these irritating people isn’t just their obnoxious behavior, although that is certainly part of it.
In many ways, the most frustrating thing is that they are unaware of how others perceive them.
You see, when you lack emotional intelligence, sometimes called EI or EQ, you are basically unable to put yourself in the position of others. That means people who lack EQ are often completely unaware of that fact.
Take a look at the signs of people who lack emotional intelligence. While I hope you don’t recognize them in anyone you know, I’m almost certain that you will.
1) They don’t know how others perceive them
As I mentioned, one of the most annoying traits of people lacking emotional intelligence is that they don’t even know it.
Often, these people are completely blind to how others perceive them. They have no idea how annoying they are to be around, and will assume everyone else must think they are as great as they do themselves.
Having low emotional intelligence means a basic inability to imagine how others feel. Lacking that ability, people with low emotional intelligence can’t see themselves from the outside or imagine the way others feel about them.
This often leads to them making the same mistakes in personal relationships over and over again. They will learn nothing from their mistakes because they can’t understand how irritating they are to other people.
2) They get angry
Unlike some other psychological disorders, people with low emotional intelligence don’t fail to understand other people’s emotions because they don’t have any of their own.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. People with low EQ have plenty of emotions – and they have no problem letting everybody else know about it.
“The ability to regulate emotions is one of the components of emotional intelligence,” writes psychologist Kendra Cherry. “People with low EQ often struggle to understand and control their emotions. They might lash out reactively without understanding what they are really feeling or why they are so upset.”
We all lose control of our emotions from time to time.
But if you know someone who is prone to lashing out in anger or other impulsive emotions on a regular basis without even considering how it makes other people feel, it’s a good sign they could use a little more social and emotional intelligence.
3) They argue
Ever met one of those people who always has to be right?
The inability to appreciate the point of view of others – along with a willingness to argue strenuously with anyone and everyone – is another sign of low EQ.
“People with low emotional intelligence are often more rigid and will fight efforts to shift or evolve,” writes psychologist Cortney Warren.
This prevents them from ever admitting that anybody else is right. And it means that they can keep arguing even after all the evidence is against them, and even long after they’ve made everything awkward for those around them.
4) They put their emotions first
As I said earlier, these are people with almost no emotional control. And that leads them to prioritize their own feelings over those of anybody else.
You see, people with low EQ tend to believe that their emotions are more real and more important than anyone else’s. They may not say this out loud or even put it that way in their own minds, but they certainly act like it’s true.
That means if they don’t like something, it’s the end of the world. And if they do, everyone else should like it, and must be an idiot if they don’t.
5) They minimize the emotions of others
Along with centering their own emotions, these people often minimize the emotions of others.
That can take lots of different forms, but it often shows itself in a total disregard for the people’s feelings.
Complain to someone like this about their behavior or inappropriate comments, and they may well say something like, “you’re being too sensitive.”
It might seem strange that these people can pay so much attention to their own emotions while disregarding others. But it’s exactly that selfish behavior that makes them so hard to be around.
Unfortunately, having low EQ means they may never recognize this. They genuinely believe that other people are overly emotional, while their own emotional reactions are completely justified and appropriate.
6) They are judgmental
Because they can’t put themselves in the place of other people, a person with low EQ will often be highly judgmental.
You see, they can’t see the other side of the story. They can’t appreciate that if they were in somebody else’s position, they might look or act the same way that they judge other people for.
“Due to limited social awareness, people with low EI have a reduced ability to empathize and feel compassion toward others,” writes psychologist Sara Viezzer. “In addition to being unresponsive to other people’s emotions, they might also be extremely judgemental and criticize the experiences of others in an insensitive way.”
7) They hold grudges
Another negative trait of people with low EQ is that they often hold grudges.
Because they see every situation through the filter of their own emotions, they take almost everything personally. Therefore, when somebody does something they don’t like, they will often see it as a personal attack rather than just being something that happens sometimes.
Then, they will nurture a grudge for the person they feel has wronged them, even if their perception of the incident is completely incorrect.
8) They see themselves as victims
As you’ve probably noticed if you read this far, part of having emotional and social intelligence means being completely blind to your failings.
That means people will often see themselves as victims, and may even develop a victim complex.
The thing is, people lacking in emotional intelligence are extremely difficult to be around. They often have conflicts with other people, and struggle to form healthy and long-lasting relationships.
But do you think they can see that for themselves?
Of course not.
If people don’t like them, it must be a problem with others, not them. If they are always getting into fights with other people, it must be because everybody else is wrong, not them.
9) They feel misunderstood
The inability to see things as other people see them can also contribute to people with low EQ always feeling misunderstood.
They can’t understand why others are put off by their behavior. To them, they are the hero of the story, and the only reason other people might not like them is because they don’t know them.
Often, they never realize that the real reason other people avoid them is because of their obnoxious behavior.
10) They are unaware of their triggers
Many different things can trigger an emotional outburst from someone lacking EQ. After all, these are people who follow their own emotions no matter what and lack the ability to ask themselves why they feel the way they do or whether their emotions truly reflect reality.
Often, they are also completely unaware of what will set them off.
Being an emotionally mature person means knowing your limits and understanding your triggers. That way, you can avoid stressful situations that may make you feel in a negative way.
People without emotional intelligence are completely unable to do this. The result is that they will often put themselves in stressful or triggering situations over and over again, and then constantly be surprised when they once again lose control and make things worse for themselves.
11) They are blind to their weaknesses
By now, you’ve probably noticed a constant thread in these behaviors, and it’s probably the most annoying aspect of a person who lacks emotional and social intelligence.
Most of the time, these people will have absolutely no idea that they are the way they are.
If they did, they might start to understand that in many ways, they are their own worst enemy. They would start to see how others perceive them and understand that their emotions and opinions are no more valuable and no more important than those of anybody else.
And if they were able to do that, they would soon find that they no longer lacked emotional intelligence.
Unfortunately, some people never get to that stage.
Being emotionally unintelligent
At first glance, it may seem that a lack of emotional intelligence is harder on the people around the person who lacks it than it is on they themselves.
But over time, this lack of emotional intelligence can have some real damaging effects on a person’s life.
After all, no one wants to be around someone who is selfish, judgmental, and overly emotional. So a lack of emotional intelligence often shows itself in a person’s inability to maintain long-term relationships or advance in their career.
Fortunately, there are ways to improve emotional intelligence. But a person has to recognize they have a problem in the first place.
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