9 signs you’re not as emotionally intelligent as you think you are

Emotional Intelligence – it’s the hot term that’s been buzzing around. It involves being aware of, understanding, and managing our emotions, along with those of others.

We all like to think we are emotionally intelligent, but are we really?

There are some telltale signs that might suggest otherwise. You may be missing these signs and overestimating your emotional intelligence.

Let’s dive into these indicators. I’ll be shedding light on “9 signs you’re not as emotionally intelligent as you think you are.”

This might be a bit of a reality check, but hey, knowledge is power, right?

1) Difficulty in recognizing your own emotions

One of the primary signs of emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand our own emotions. It’s not always the easiest task.

Sometimes, we’re so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we neglect to tune into our feelings.

Or perhaps we’ve learned to suppress them over time, brushing them under the carpet instead of addressing them head-on.

If you consistently find yourself at a loss when it comes to identifying how you’re truly feeling, this could be a sign that your emotional intelligence isn’t as high as you think.

It’s not about being overly emotional. It’s about acknowledging your emotions, understanding their triggers, and knowing how they impact your behaviors. This self-awareness is the cornerstone of 


2) Struggling with empathy

There was a time when I thought I had empathy down pat.

I mean, I cared about people and their feelings, right?

But then, a friend of mine went through a tough breakup. As she shared her feelings, I found myself offering solutions instead of just listening and validating her emotions.

That’s when it hit me: empathy isn’t just about caring or offering solutions.

It’s about truly understanding and sharing someone else’s feelings, even if you haven’t been in their shoes.

If you often have difficulties understanding others’ perspectives or jumping to offer advice before truly listening – just like I used to – it could be a sign that your emotional intelligence needs some work.

3) Poor emotional control

Emotions are normal, and they’re a big part of our lives. But when they start to control us, rather than us controlling them, it can create problems.

According to research from Yale University, individuals with high emotional intelligence can control and manage their emotions effectively.

They can keep their emotions in check, even in stressful situations, which allows them to respond rather than react.

If you frequently spot your emotions spiraling out of control or if your reactions seem disproportionate to the situation at hand, this may be an indication of lower emotional intelligence.

4) Difficulty in forming and maintaining relationships

It’s true that relationships are a fundamental part of our lives, be it personal or professional.

But forming and maintaining them requires a certain level of emotional intelligence.

That’s why if there is a pattern of brief or unstable relationships in your life, it might be worth to consider your emotional intelligence as a potential factor.

This could be due to an inability to manage conflicts, understand others’ emotions, or effectively communicate your own feelings.

On the other hand, emotionally intelligent people tend to have strong, stable relationships because they are better equipped to navigate the emotional complexities that relationships often involve.

5) Difficulty handling criticism

Criticism, constructive or otherwise, is a part of life. How we respond to it says a lot about our emotional intelligence.

If you find yourself reacting defensively or negatively to criticism, it might be a sign that your emotional intelligence needs some fine-tuning.

Emotionally intelligent people, on the other hand, can take criticism on board, see it as an opportunity for growth, and not let it affect their self-worth.

Simply put, they understand that criticism isn’t a personal attack, but rather feedback that can help them improve.

6) Neglecting the emotional needs of others

The truth is:

We all have our own emotional needs, and acknowledging them is important.

But at the same time, it’s equally important to recognize and respect the emotional needs of those around us.

Being emotionally present for others enriches our relationships and adds depth to our understanding of human emotions.

It’s a heartfelt sign of emotional intelligence that can make a world of difference to someone else’s day.

If you find yourself frequently overlooking or disregarding the feelings of others, it could suggest a lower level of emotional intelligence.

7) Ignoring the impact of non-verbal cues

There was a moment during a meeting at work when I realized I was completely missing the mark.

A colleague was presenting an idea, and I was so focused on the words he was saying that I completely overlooked his body language.

His crossed arms, furrowed brow, and lack of eye contact screamed discomfort and uncertainty, but I missed it.

And that missed opportunity made me realize how much non-verbal cues play into emotional intelligence.

If you, too, are someone who mostly focuses on what is being said while missing the unspoken emotions conveyed through body language, it may indicate that your emotional intelligence isn’t as high as you think.

8) Difficulty adapting to changes

Change is a constant part of life.

This is an undeniable fact, but:

Sometimes it’s exciting, other times it’s scary, but it’s always inevitable. How we handle these changes is a reflection of our emotional intelligence.

If you find yourself resisting change or having difficulty adapting to new situations, it could be a sign that your emotional intelligence needs some work.

On the opposite, emotionally intelligent people are typically able to navigate changes with more ease.

In other words, they understand and manage their emotions during transitions and can empathize with others going through the same experiences.

9) Lack of self-reflection

Self-reflection is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence.

It’s the process of understanding our emotions, our reactions, and how we interact with others.

If you’re not regularly taking time to reflect on these aspects, it could be a sign that your emotional intelligence isn’t as high as you think.

Final thoughts: A journey of self-awareness

The complexities of emotional intelligence are deeply intertwined with our self-awareness and understanding of others.

Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, known for his work on emotional intelligence, once said:

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

Recognizing these signs in ourselves is not about self-criticism or judgment.

Instead, it’s an invitation to embark on a journey of emotional exploration and growth.

Whether it’s understanding our own emotions better, empathizing with others more deeply, or managing our reactions more effectively – it all starts with self-reflection.

Keep in mind that emotional intelligence is not a fixed trait.

It’s something that can be nurtured and developed over time. So take the time to understand your emotional landscape. It might be a more rewarding journey than you think.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

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

If someone asks these 9 questions, they probably lack emotional intelligence

10 signs you’re dealing with a low-key narcissist, according to psychology