10 things all emotionally intelligent people do naturally (without even realizing it)

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You’ve heard you’re an emotionally intelligent person — but sometimes you might wonder why.

It doesn’t feel like you do anything in particular on purpose.

And the truth is, you don’t have to. There are things emotionally intelligent people do completely naturally, without even realizing it. 

Let’s have a look at what they are.

1) They reflect on their emotions 

We all spend a large chunk of our day thinking. What do you spend most of your time thinking about?

Many of us get caught up in rehashing arguments, picking apart our anxieties, or perhaps daydreaming about things we wish would come true.

Emotionally intelligent people might also think about all the above, but with a different angle: their emotions. 

When you reflect on past events, you analyze why you felt the way you did, and whether or not it helped you in that situation.

For your anxieties, you might dig deep to understand the root cause of your fear.

And as far as daydreaming goes, you try to understand what draws you to certain things, and the particular ways they make you feel. 

When you understand the root causes and triggers of your emotions, you’re better able to manage them. 

2) They maintain a positive outlook 

Obviously, being positive makes us much happier than being negative.

But many of us fall into a negativity cycle. We focus on the things that are going wrong, and the small inconveniences that happen to us every day.

In part, this is natural. Nature needs us to focus on the negative, so that we pay attention to dangers and threats. We can’t improve our lives if we don’t notice what’s wrong in them.

However, do this too much and you’ll find yourself miserable. People with high emotional intelligence learn to focus on solutions rather than problems.

They radiate optimism, brightening not only their lives, but those of everyone around them. 

3) They adapt their communication style 

Do you feel like you become somewhat of a different person around certain people?

If you do, this could be a sign of emotional intelligence. People with high levels of it tend to adapt their communication style depending on who they’re speaking to.

This doesn’t mean you lose your values or do things that make you feel uneasy. Rather, it’s about the small details.

You might notice a person needs a bit more time to think, and allow for longer pauses to let them collect their thoughts.

Or, you might see that someone tends to avoid certain words, and do the same to help them feel more comfortable. 

You probably won’t even realize you do this — in fact, I only realized I was doing it when someone else pointed it out to me. 

But whether it’s purposeful or not, this kind of approach helps everyone around you feel more comfortable,

4) They recognize their own biases 

Everyone has biases — and emotionally intelligent people are no exception.

However, they do try to recognize and manage these biases more than the average person.

I still have a long way to go and I’m constantly trying to grow more as a person. But I was very happy to realize that I was doing this the other day, without even realizing it. 

A friend of mine wanted my help reviewing an application to an art gallery. I read through the cover letter, and found it very strong overall. However, a couple passages struck me as odd.

Before I called her to discuss the application, I took a moment to consider what exactly I found strange, so that I could give her more helpful feedback. 

And during the call, I expressly told her that this may be my subjective opinion, but that she could take it into account if she feels it is helpful. 

This is a pretty small example, but I felt proud of it nonetheless. It shows me that I recognize my perspective is just one of many — a sign of high emotional intelligence. 

5) They read nonverbal cues 

Reading nonverbal cues is a huge part of emotional intelligence.

This includes body language and posture, such as when someone stands hunched over and with their hands in their pocket.

It also includes facial expressions of course, and physical gestures.

But with higher emotional intelligence, you can begin to pick up on the subtler aspects of nonverbal communication — for example, speaking speed, changes in vocabulary, eye contact, and so on. 

That’s a ton of things to focus on — and this is why it’s incredibly hard to build up this skill through practice, or by concentrating hard. Rather, it’s something that has to be done naturally, without even realizing it.  

6) They practice active listening 

When someone else is speaking, how often do you REALLY listen to them?

Not plan out what you’re going to say next, wonder what that mark on their face is, or let your mind wander to something in your own life. But fully engage with what they’re saying with all your attention.

This is something that emotionally intelligent people do naturally, and all their relationships benefit from it immensely.

People can always tell when you’re not really present in the conversation. Even if you maintain eye contact and nod your head, your expressions will not be responsive and your reactions may seem a little off. 

Emotional intelligence pushes you to approach conversations with a genuine desire to hear the person out. 

7) They show empathy and compassion 

Empathy and compassion are things we all want to embrace. But there are moments when we all struggle with it.

Something triggers us, or it seems like the person is being extremely entitled. Suddenly, empathy flies out the window and in comes indignation.

Even emotionally intelligent people go through this from time to time. But they have a tendency to steer themselves back towards kindness. 

Everyone has a different experience, and you never fully know everything that’s going on in someone’s life. You could be missing key pieces of information. 

When you embrace empathy, you open your mind up to curiosity to find out more and dig deeper into what the person is truly experiencing. 

8) They practice self-care 

How often do you do something to take care of yourself?

Not because it will help you be more successful, or works on one of your goals, or helps someone else. Purely just for your own wellbeing and relaxation.

Today, we are so hyper focused on always getting better, anything that doesn’t work towards some sort of goal seems pointless.

The danger in this thinking is that we keep depleting our energy without filling it back up — leading to exhaustion and burnout.

Emotional intelligence helps us see the value in rejuvenating. This can take on many different forms depending on your preferences:

  • Meditating
  • Painting
  • Daydreaming
  • Taking a warm bath
  • Listening to music

The important thing is, it’s something you truly enjoy, and doesn’t drain your energy. 

9) Seek feedback and learn from it 

Another thing all emotionally intelligent people do naturally is to seek feedback.

Most people might think they do this — but in reality, they don’t seek feedback but rather praise.

It’s always nice to hear some encouragement, admiration, or kind words. 

The negative feedback, though, is where growing really happens. Emotionally intelligent people are committed to getting better, and so they’re compelled to seek out feedback no matter what it is. 

It takes a bit of confidence in yourself to do this. You can’t let yourself feel attacked by constructive criticism, and remember that anything a person says to you is still just their opinion.

You can get a lot of value from it by considering whether there is any truth to it, and whether or not you agree with it. You can find a useful lesson in it, or if not then simply let it go. 

When you adopt this perspective, you realize that there is no reason to be afraid of getting feedback, and that it can only lead to positive things. 

10) Build and nurture relationships 

Finally, people with high emotional intelligence love building and nurturing relationships.

If you’re one of these people, that means you invest time and effort into getting to know other people and understanding them on a deeper level.

You listen to their opinions with an open mind, ask follow up questions, and stretch your mind to embrace new ways of thinking. 

You spend quality time with people without distractions like social media, and build trust by opening up to them yourself. 

This is something that should happen naturally, as you cannot force a friendship to develop. Emotionally intelligent people find themselves doing it without even realizing it. 

Final thoughts

Here you learned 10 things that all emotionally intelligent people do. 

Maybe you’ve realized that you do several — or perhaps even most — of these things yourself, without even realizing it. That’s a great sign that you’re more emotionally intelligent than you think.

But even if you didn’t, no worries! You can always begin to develop any skills and traits you want, as long as you put your mind to it. 

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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

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