If someone asks these 10 questions, they probably lack emotional intelligence

Ever had someone ask you something and you just think, “Did they really just say that?”

It might not be them trying to be rude; it could be a sign of low emotional intelligence (EQ).

So, what’s EQ? It’s about understanding our feelings and those of others. High EQ means better connections with people. Low EQ? Sometimes it means asking awkward questions.

Let’s dive into those questions and see what they reveal. 

1. “Why are you always so emotional?”

I remember a time when a close friend of mine was asked this during a challenging period in her life.

It’s like asking someone why they’re breathing. Emotions are a natural part of being human, and questioning them can make someone feel invalidated or misunderstood.

Before posing such a question, it’s worth reflecting on why someone’s emotions might make you uncomfortable, and remember that everyone processes feelings in their own unique way.

We all have our moments, and a bit of understanding can go a long way.

2. “Don’t you think you’re overreacting?”

Haven’t we all heard this one before?

It’s one of those questions that, even if meant with the best intentions, can feel dismissive.

Everyone has their reasons for feeling a certain way, and what might seem like an overreaction to one person could be a perfectly valid emotional response for another.

Instead of jumping to conclusions, it’s always better to listen and try to understand where they’re coming from.

Remember, what’s trivial to you might be monumental to someone else.

3. “Why can’t you just let it go?”

Ah, the classic “move on” prompt.

While it might be tempting to ask this, especially if you see someone stuck in a loop of distress, it’s essential to remember that healing and processing don’t have a universal timeline.

Some wounds or troubles take longer to heal than others.

Asking someone to “just let it go” can inadvertently communicate that their feelings or experiences aren’t valid.

Instead of pushing for quick fixes, a better approach might be to offer support and patience as they work through their feelings at their own pace.

4. “Are you okay? You seem quiet.”

Now, this might seem like a caring, considerate question at first glance.

After all, we’re trained to believe that checking in on someone’s well-being is a good thing, right?

But here’s the twist: sometimes, especially for introverted or naturally reserved people, being quiet is just their default state.

When you repeatedly ask if they’re okay simply because they’re not as talkative, it can feel as though their natural behavior is being pathologized.

Instead of assuming something’s amiss, recognize that silence doesn’t always signal distress.

Sometimes, it’s just a person enjoying their own headspace.

5. “Have you tried just being happy?”

This one hits close to home. I recall a time when a family member, battling depression, was confronted with this question.

As if happiness is a switch you can just flick on.

Emotions, especially complex ones like sadness or anxiety, can’t be simply “turned off” at will.

It’s not about lacking the desire to be happy; sometimes it’s genuinely beyond immediate control.

Asking this oversimplifies a person’s experience and can make them feel even more isolated. Instead, it’s crucial to provide a listening ear and genuine empathy, understanding that emotions are multifaceted and deeply personal.

6. “Why aren’t you more like [someone else]?”

I can’t help but remember a friend who constantly found himself being compared to his overachieving sibling.

This question, while sometimes posed out of genuine curiosity or concern, can really sting.

It subtly conveys the message that the person is not good enough as they are, and that they should emulate someone else’s characteristics or achievements.

Everyone’s journey is unique, and comparing one person’s path to another’s rarely results in positive feelings.

Instead of comparing, it’s healthier and more productive to celebrate individual strengths and qualities.

7. “Is it that time of the month?”

This question, often directed at women, is not only intrusive but it’s also a crude way of invalidating genuine emotions or concerns.

It suggests that any display of emotion or irritability must be hormonally-driven, and not a valid response to external events or internal feelings.

Such a remark can be deeply belittling, reducing a person’s experience to just a biological process.

Emotions are valid, regardless of their source, and should be met with understanding, not reductionist assumptions.

Instead of searching for reasons to dismiss someone’s feelings, it’s more compassionate and respectful to take them at face value and offer support.

8. “Why don’t you have kids yet?”

A cousin of mine faced this question for years after her marriage.

While it might seem like casual small talk to some, it’s a deeply personal and often painful topic for others.

Whether it’s by choice, medical reasons, or circumstances, the decision or ability to have children is intimate.

This question can unintentionally pry open wounds of loss, struggles with fertility, or personal choices one might not be ready to discuss openly.

It’s essential to understand that not every life path follows the same timeline or pattern.

Always approach topics of family and personal milestones with sensitivity and care.

9. “Did you actually earn that, or was it just a diversity hire?”

I vividly remember a colleague sharing her experience after landing her dream job.

Such a question undermines someone’s qualifications, skills, and achievements by suggesting that they got where they are based solely on their gender, ethnicity, or other personal attributes.

It diminishes their hard work and casts a shadow of doubt over their abilities.

In a world that’s striving for inclusivity and fairness, it’s essential to recognize and respect individual achievements for what they are.

Instead of casting aspersions, let’s celebrate the diverse talents and pathways that make our communities richer and more vibrant.

10. “Don’t you think it’s time you moved on from that job/hobby/relationship?”

A friend once confided in me after numerous people prodded her about her decade-long job at the same company.

Just because someone sticks with something for a long time doesn’t mean they’re stagnant or unambitious.

It might be a source of deep passion, contentment, or personal growth.

Pushing someone to “move on” based on societal expectations or personal timelines can be both presumptuous and hurtful.

Each person has their own rhythm in life, and what might seem like complacency to one could be profound dedication to another.

Let’s champion everyone’s unique journey rather than measuring it by arbitrary milestones.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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