Socially intelligent people are pleasant to be around. They know how to make people around them feel comfortable and at ease.
But just as important as the things they do are the things that they DON’T do, and people often overlook that.
If you want to know how to become more like them, here are 10 things socially intelligent people never do.
1. They never have the need to be treated like VIPs
To some degree, we all like feeling important or needed. Socially intelligent people stand out from the rest of us in that they don’t let that desire get to them.
They don’t go around acting like the world revolves around them, or that they need to be shown “respect” wherever they go—even if they do technically deserve it.
So it’s not an issue for them if someone they know fails to greet them on the way to work, or if they get unintentionally left out of the convo.
Instead they will just assume that people were simply engrossed in something else, or that they have a lot going on in their heads.
There’s a basic degree of respect that all humans are entitled to, of course, but they don’t ask any more than that.
2. They never make someone feel left out
While emotionally intelligent people try not to be too bothered when they get left out of a conversation, it’s still an unpleasant experience.
And the last thing they want is to see others around them feeling that way.
So they try to read the room and, when they see that someone seems to have been left out and is feeling uncomfortable, they try to reach out to them.
They’d smile at them and even start a convo. And if they’re in a group discussion, they’d lead the attention towards them by asking “What do you think about it?” or “Do you have suggestions?”
Not everyone has this skill. Some people just keep talking on and on without paying attention to others—but that’s simply because a lot of people aren’t exactly socially intelligent.
3. They never put the focus on themselves
Something that a lot of people do—and sometimes without meaning to—is to center themselves in the conversation.
That is to say, they would act like they’re the one being talked about or that the conversation is all about them.
Socially intelligent people don’t do that simply because they know that everyone deserves to have their turn in the spotlight, and sometimes it’s better to listen than to be heard.
In fact, they might even get uncomfortable and let others speak if they feel like they’ve been the center of attention for too long.
4. They never cut someone off
Socially intelligent people know how to be a good conversationalist, and that means not interrupting people when they’re speaking.
They know that doing so will frustrate their conversation partners and turn them off from sharing any further.
So even if they’re just dying to drop a comment in the middle of someone’s monologue, they will instead hold their thoughts and wait for them to finish speaking.
But of course every rule has an exception. If they feel that interrupting is genuinely justified—perhaps they can see that someone is clearly lying or about to say something bad—they will try to politely warn them and then cut in.
They’d say “Sorry, can I interrupt you for one second?” or “I don’t want to be rude by cutting you off but I have to say something.”
5. They don’t get snarky
It can be sometimes hard to resist being a bit snarky when someone is being obnoxious and annoying.
But socially intelligent people know how to remain calm and mature even when pressed.
They don’t roll their eyes, give sarcastic remarks or deliver backhanded compliments no matter how frustrated they become.
Instead, they will simply excuse themselves and cool down before deciding if it’s worth engaging again. And if they decide that yes, it’s worth it, then they’d plan in their heads on how they should go about it.
Lashing out will only work against them in the long term and might just turn an annoying situation into full-blown drama.
And if there’s anything that they don’t want in their life, it’s drama.
6. They never invalidate others feelings
A lot of people will just naturally dismiss or even mock those who feel upset over things that they personally don’t think are that big of a deal.
Socially intelligent people resist that, and instead try to keep an open mind.
They understand that we all live very different lives from one another, and that sometimes what might seem quite petty to one person might actually be a big deal to others.
So instead of saying things like “oh, you’re just being dramatic” or “you should go and see some REAL problems”, they will instead try to listen and understand.
7. They never find pleasure in putting down others
Way too many people are comfortable admitting that they find enjoyment in the misfortune of others.
Perhaps they might engage in bullying, or dropping offensive jokes, or even freely spreading malicious gossip.
Socially intelligent people don’t do any of that.
As a matter of fact, they do their best to avoid associating with people who like putting others down, and even try to defend those being attacked.
They are perfectly aware that every single one of us are human— that includes even the people they hate—and that nobody deserves to be subject to needless harassment.
8. They never ignore body language
Fifty percent of communication is nonverbal. Body language plays a big part in how we interact with one another, and for that reason, socially intelligent people know better than to ignore it.
If someone keeps checking their watch when they talk, they might ask if they were in a hurry or if there’s someplace they needed to get to.
And if someone’s always looking away or refusing to maintain eye contact, they might ask if they were being a bother.
Or perhaps they might notice that one of their friends is clearly teary-eyed or fidgeting nervously, and ask what is wrong.
It’s for this reason that emotionally intelligent people can seem almost extra caring—they pay attention to the feelings of those around them.
9. They don’t immediately assume malice
Socially intelligent people know better than to immediately assume that people are acting in bad faith or that they’re being malicious.
They know that people, broadly speaking, tend to be quite flawed and that we can all be simply ignorant, or even phrase things badly and be misunderstood.
So when someone says something that, to them, seems a little bit off, they don’t immediately assume that they mean ill and immediately go on the offense.
Instead they give that person the benefit of the doubt and give them plenty of opportunity to clarify what they meant—or, if they happen to be ignorant, to teach them how to be better.
10. They never have the need to impress anyone
Socially intelligent people aren’t concerned with being perceived as being particularly clever, deep, elegant, or even “nice”.
They don’t need it.
What they’re concerned about, instead, is being themselves. Because they know it’s only by being who they are that they can actually have real, genuine connections.
Everyone has a bit of an inner desire to impress others, of course.
But social intelligence comes hand in hand with self-confidence, and it’s this self-confidence that gives socially intelligent people the power to resist this drive to seek the validation of others.
There are a lot of things that socially intelligent people simply don’t do. Sometimes it’s because they simply aren’t driven to act a certain way in the first place, and sometimes it’s because they know restraint.
It can seem like they’re simply gifted with a special talent for patience, understanding, and social smarts.
But everything that I had just described is something that can be learned. Social intelligence is a skill that can be learned with time and experience.