Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is all about understanding your feelings and the feelings of those around you.
It’s as important as being book-smart, maybe even more!
Want better relationships and more success at work? Boosting your EQ can help.
But first, you’ll need to ditch a few bad habits.
Let’s get started by looking at the 8 things you might need to give up to be more emotionally smart.
1. Not listening to understand
We’ve all been there: nodding along while someone is talking, but really just waiting for our turn to speak. I
t’s easy to get caught up in what we want to say next.
However, if you’re truly aiming to boost your EQ, you’ve got to start actively listening. This means fully engaging with what the other person is saying, asking questions, and trying to understand their perspective.
It’s not about planning your next response; it’s about connecting with the speaker.
By being present in conversations, you’ll not only gain more insight but also show that you genuinely care about what others have to say.
2. Avoiding difficult conversations
I remember a time when I’d go out of my way to avoid any conversation that seemed even slightly uncomfortable.
Whether it was addressing a friend’s hurtful comment or discussing a mistake at work, I’d find myself tiptoeing around the issue, hoping it would magically disappear.
But here’s what I learned: avoiding doesn’t solve anything. In fact, it often makes things worse.
To increase your EQ, it’s vital to face these tough chats head-on.
It’s not always easy, I know. But by addressing issues directly and openly, you build trust and strengthen relationships.
Each difficult conversation is an opportunity for growth – both for you and for the relationship.
3. Always being the “peacekeeper”
Now, this might sound counter-intuitive, but stick with me.
While it’s great to want harmony, being the perpetual “peacekeeper” can actually dent your EQ.
I used to think that avoiding conflict at all costs was the hallmark of emotional intelligence. I’d suppress my feelings, go along with things I didn’t agree with, all in the name of keeping the peace.
But over time, I realized that always being the peacekeeper can mean sacrificing authenticity.
It can also prevent genuine conversations and resolutions.
By all means, don’t seek out conflict, but don’t shy away from expressing genuine feelings or opinions.
Sometimes, a little constructive friction is necessary to ignite understanding and growth.
4. Assuming instead of asking
Did you know that humans are naturally inclined to fill in the blanks?
Psychologists call this the “need for closure” – our brains despise uncertainty and, in turn, make assumptions to create a clear picture.
But while this instinct served us well in the past (like helping our ancestors spot dangers), in the realm of emotional IQ, it can be a hindrance.
Instead of making assumptions about what someone might be feeling or thinking, take the time to ask them directly. You’ll often find that what you assumed was way off the mark.
By seeking clarity, not only do you make fewer mistakes in understanding, but you also demonstrate respect and care for the feelings and thoughts of others.
It’s a simple switch from assuming to asking, but it can make a world of difference in your relationships.
5. Being quick to judge
I used to have a habit of quickly labeling situations or people.
If someone was late to a meeting, I’d instantly think they were careless. If a friend didn’t text back promptly, I’d assume they were ignoring me.
Over time, I realized that I was jumping to conclusions without knowing the whole story.
Life is messy, and everyone has their reasons for doing things – reasons that often have nothing to do with us.
To truly elevate your EQ, it’s essential to pause and consider alternative explanations.
When I started doing this, I found that not only was I wrong a lot of the time, but I also started to cultivate a deeper sense of empathy and understanding.
By slowing down and resisting the urge to judge instantly, we allow ourselves to see the bigger picture and connect more deeply with those around us.
6. Ignoring your own feelings
It might sound strange, but a significant part of understanding others is first understanding yourself.
Emotional intelligence isn’t just about tuning into the emotions of those around you; it’s also about being in touch with your own feelings.
Many of us have been conditioned to push our emotions aside, especially when they’re negative or inconvenient.
But emotions, even the challenging ones, serve as indicators, giving us clues about what’s going on internally and how we truly feel about situations.
By acknowledging and processing your emotions – whether it’s sadness, joy, frustration, or excitement – you pave the way for genuine connections with others.
After all, understanding yourself is the first step in understanding others around you.
7. Neglecting non-verbal cues
According to various studies, a whopping 55% of our communication comes from body language, 38% from tone of voice, and only 7% from the actual words spoken.
That’s right, over half of our communication isn’t even verbal!
Given this, it’s clear that to truly understand someone, you have to look beyond their words.
It’s easy to hear someone say “I’m fine” and take it at face value, but their clenched fists, averted gaze, or anxious tone might be telling a different story.
To boost your EQ, make it a practice to pay attention to these non-verbal cues. They often reveal deeper emotions and feelings that words might not capture.
So, the next time you’re chatting with someone, be sure to “listen” with your eyes and ears, picking up on those subtle signals that offer a more comprehensive insight into their emotional state.
8. Not asking for feedback
You might think, “What? Ask someone to tell me what they think of me?” It sounds a bit scary, but it’s super helpful.
Feedback is like a mirror for your actions and words.
Sometimes, we don’t see how we come off to others. Maybe you thought you were being helpful, but someone else felt you were bossy. Or perhaps you tried to be funny, but it didn’t quite land right.
To really get better at understanding emotions and people, it’s good to know how you’re doing.
So, every now and then, ask someone you trust, “Hey, how do I come off when I say this?” or “Did I handle that situation okay?”
Their answers might surprise you, but it’ll help you grow and get even better at connecting with others.