When we talk about intelligence, it isn’t necessarily limited to being book-smart or having academic abilities.
There are many forms of intelligence. High social intelligence is the ability to navigate social situations with relative ease and perceptiveness.
Like any life skill, having social intelligence pays off! With social intelligence, you can read others and interact with them successfully, allowing you to have healthy, flourishing connections in your work, social, and even romantic life!
Do you feel you have high social intelligence? Well, here are 10 key traits. Let’s get it on!
1) You’re empathetic
When you have empathy, you’re generally in tune with other people. You have a sense of how they’re feeling and even thinking so you can react accordingly, often with understanding and kindness.
This is also known as having high EQ or emotional intelligence.
In layman’s terms, empathy is the capability to understand and share the feelings of others and put yourself in their shoes. You can practice empathy in little ways through your daily interactions.
Let’s say you have a friend that has a demanding job. You text them a hilarious meme on Monday morning, but they don’t reply for hours.
As an empathetic person, you understand that Monday morning is typically the busiest time of the week for working people.
You don’t take it personally or barrage them with irritating follow-up texts… you understand the situation: it’s Monday, things are hectic and you carry on with your day.
And when you do finally get to chat, you listen…
2) You know how to listen and be present
Have you noticed that it’s fun being around people that actually listen and take you seriously?
Listening doesn’t just mean letting the other person talk as you nod your head and give generic responses.
Mindful listening means really paying attention, being mentally present, and making perceptive and thoughtful comments or questions.
It may sound like a lot, but trust me, this isn’t that hard. Like a muscle, the more you practice being an active listener, the easier it gets.
As I said, people with the ability to be present and listen tend to stand out from the rest because they make others feel heard and valued. It’s a core people skill that will take you far!
3) You’re pretty cool
Let’s face it, ‘cool’ is one of the most widely used words in the English-speaking world.
But when I refer to cool being a sign of social intelligence, I mean you’re able to manage your emotions and respond rationally and collected, even when faced with something you might not agree with.
Your mom may have once told you to always think before reacting. And you know what? She’s absolutely right!
When we are motivated to act by pure emotion, we tend to regret it later. Remember, mother knows best!
Think about the ugly fight with your spouse or the heated argument with your relatives last Thanksgiving. By overreacting or losing your cool, you’re letting others get the best of you, making a bad situation worse.
So, take a deep breath and process things instead of blurting something out. People with high social intelligence can calmly collect their thoughts and respond with grace and well…coolness.
4) Your actions speak louder than words
Here’s the thing: people with high social intelligence have a talent for reading people, and can easily pick up non-verbal cues.
It’s widely established that most of the messages we communicate with others are non-verbal AKA through our body language.
People with high social intelligence are aware of that. They have an amazing knack for feeling people out and thus are able to respond in kind.
It’s almost like they have a sixth sense for these things, like a young Hailey Joel Osment.
Being able to communicate and read body language is like another language in itself–putting high social intelligence individuals lightyears ahead of the game!
And reading emotional cues is a sign of adaptability. Speaking of which…
5) You’re flexible
No, we don’t mean flexible like your yoga instructor (though that probably won’t hurt either!)
Being flexible or adaptable involves the capability to adjust your communication style and attitude to match different people and different scenarios.
Be like a chameleon, in a good way. Catch my drift?
The ease of adaptability is a real talent in its own right, making you an asset in life.
Whether it’s new employers or the in-laws you’re trying to impress, being able to quickly adjust to new conditions and having this social flexibility is a valuable trait in many ways.
Let’s make a quick detour and talk about conflict resolution…
6) You’re able to squash conflict
Let’s face it: people tend to hold grudges. Sometimes these grudges drag out for years or never really end. In a way, it’s human nature.
But not for you. When faced with conflict, your nature is to find a diplomatic solution that can be mutually beneficial for everyone.
You don’t let your pride get in the way. You’re too big for that.
Instead, you always try to negotiate common ground and a workable resolution. And in the end, everybody wins!
But for things like effective conflict resolution, you’ll need an open mind…
7) You maintain open-mindedness
To have genuine social intelligence is to have an open mind, free of prejudices and personal bias.
One of the main reasons people with social intelligence are so flexible is that they consistently maintain an open mind.
This generally involves being openly interested and welcoming of foreign ideas and perspectives.
You’re also the furthest thing from judgmental. You’re not afraid of differences; in fact, you embrace them, viewing this diversity as an opportunity for learning, accepting, and growth!
And with positive traits like open-mindedness, you tend to influence others…
8) You have the power to influence
When you’re truly able to influence people, you have a superpower. No, not the kind in Marvel movies.
But still, it’s a trait very few people possess: the ability to persuade others and change their behavior for the better.
Now, as a person with high social intelligence, you can use this to simultaneously benefit yourself and others.
You’re not just charismatic; any snake oil salesman can be charismatic. What sets you apart is your authenticity and credibility, and people can sense this.
Let me tell you a brief story. About a decade ago, my teenage brother worked his butt off to get into a particular college.
When the letter from the school came around, he was devastated to find out that his application was denied. But as a family, we persisted.
Somehow, our grandmother managed to score a one-on-one appointment with the dean of admissions.
In that meeting, she pleaded with him to let my brother in–highlighting his work ethic, his good nature, his extracurricular activities, and so forth.
A week later, my brother got a call from the university saying that they had reconsidered their decision and he would be accepted into the college!
Months later, now on campus, my brother ran into the dean and thanked him. The dean offered a simple admission: “your grandmother is an influential woman!”
The dean wasn’t referring to her status or money. My grandma has always had the knack, the genuine ability to influence and persuade others towards things and ideas she believes in.
But having said that, a bit of networking won’t hurt either. This leads me to my next point…
9) You’re an expert networker
Let’s be honest: no person is an island. To fulfill your potential in this world, you’ll probably need the help of others. People with high social intelligence are acutely aware of this.
Networking involves creating and maintaining connections with other people.
You don’t need to be the life of the party but as a person with high social intelligence, you know the value of expanding your networking and meeting new people from different walks of life.
Networking opportunities can come in countless forms from LinkedIn groups to media events to the gym to (believe it or not) sitting in the bar and striking up a conversation with your seatmate.
When it comes to networking, you know the possibilities are endless and you’re creative about opening new doors.
10) You’re a real leader
Take a moment to think about the most effective leaders in the world like your favorite CEO or a politician you admire…
I’m willing to bet that the qualities they have in common are high social intelligence and relatability.
Their emotional connection to others allows them to be successful leaders and movers and shakers. So as a high social intelligence individual, you have leadership potential in your own right.
You’re able to motivate others, armed with the knowledge of what collectively makes them tick. Once you gain that trust from others, you can inspire and lead and produce some pretty terrific results.
In short, having high social intelligence automatically puts you in a different class altogether! If life is a race, then you have quite a lengthy head start. The ability to feel people out, empathize and get along with them appropriately is an absolute asset, so use it often and wisely!