Do You Have A High EQ: 5 Ways to Tell If You Are Emotionally Intelligent

What attributes do you ascribe to someone who you think of as intelligent? Do you think of them as really smart? Do they have to know a lot? Do they have to have a great memory? Understand math? Speak more than one language?

Intelligence is the capacity for reasoning, learning and understanding. A person with good intellect or intelligence quotient (IQ) is one who can look at things, assess them and make reasoned judgments about them.

Some years ago we realized that there were many people who had good intellect (IQ) but were lacking in their overall ability because they had poor emotional intelligence (EQ).

In other words, people with poor emotional intelligence are often unable to use their intellect to full capacity because their own emotions and their inability to understand other’s emotions get in the way.

Someone could be smart in one way but dumb in another. In fact, people with higher emotional intelligence (EQ) are often better prepared for stressful events than those with a higher IQ.

It is therefore important to learn how to increase your emotional intelligence because it will likely help you to succeed, especially under pressure.


Jeff is smart, educated, and attractive.

Jeff is also frustrated.

After a string of relationships, he is at a loss as to why his partners kept breaking things off.

He wants his current relationship to last. But things aren’t looking good. Couples counseling is his partner’s latest suggestion and Jeff is seriously considering it.

Again and again (even at the office), Jeff had been told to work on his “people skills.” He is often accused of never listening or paying attention. But he still wonders what they meant. What exactly is holding him back socially?

What about you?

• Have you sensed or heard from others that your interactions with people or partners are difficult or not what they should be?

• Do you feel like, regardless of how smart or talented you are, your relationships just feel off?

• What does it take to get a handle on your own feelings, let alone grasp what’s going on inside other people?

It may be that you are wrestling with your emotional quotient (EQ).

What is EQ?

Well, just as your IQ measures your level of intellectual intelligence, the EQ is defined as a person’s emotional intelligence. If you have a strong ability to notice, identify and respond appropriately to the emotions of others, you likely have a high EQ.

Understanding your level of emotional intelligence matters because head knowledge and physical skill will only take you so far. A disconnect between what you know in your head and how you interact emotionally makes it difficult to engage life and people fully.

Want to know where you fall on the EQ continuum?

According to well-known American psychologist Daniel Goleman, there are actually five recognized components of emotional intelligence. People with a high EQ generally have high levels of the following characteristics.

Five Qualities of Emotional Intelligent People

1. A high degree of self-awareness

If you are emotionally intelligent, you’ll have a knack for recognizing emotions as they happen. This is a crucial skill as it supports your ability to check-in with yourself for the sake of effective emotional management. Basically, this quality breaks down into two components:

• Emotional awareness: the ability to recognize your own feelings, thought patterns, and their effect

• Self-confidence: the trust you have in your worth and abilities

Self-awareness is the EQ foundation. It allows for effective boundary setting and a healthy ability to say no when necessary. Thus, overwhelm, burn out, and high degrees of stress are less likely. To improve in this area, routine reflection on your experiences, triggers, and values is crucial.

2. A strong ability to self-regulate

Emotional intelligence is directly related to emotional regulation. Any number of emotions will strike at any time. Having the ability to slow down, assess, and regulate how you deal with those emotions is key. Strong self-regulators decide how long and how strongly they feel their emotions. Self-soothing is employed well to cope

You can self-regulate through a variety of means:

• Self-control. You have disruptive urges in check
• Conscientiousness. You willingly take responsibility for your actions
• Adaptability. You are capable of being emotionally flexible
• Innovation. You are fine to consider new concepts and ideas
• Trustworthiness. You believe in upholding clear standards of integrity and honesty

Self-regulation supports balanced perspective. If you find yourself to be overly demanding, anxious, prone to perfectionism, or resistant to change, this aspect of your EQ may need some attention.

Also, to become more receptive to others’ feedback, consider time in an individual or couples counseling setting.

3. Ability to self-motivate

People with high emotional intelligence also tend to be highly motivated and positive. Does your partner seem frustrated with your behavior in this regard?

When it comes to relationships having a clear sense of purpose, goals and a positive attitude considerably boost your EQ. It’s important to be able to identify your negative thoughts then re frame them so that you are able to cooperate well and reach your relationship goals.

What does emotionally intelligent motivation look like?

• A desire for excellence in relationships
• A willingness to firmly commit and align yourself with others
• An optimistic attitude and desire to move forward positively regardless of obstacles
• The ability to take the initiative to connect positively as opportunities arise

Motivated people know their strengths and weakness. High EQ is reflected in your ability to pursue what is best for you and those you care about with a high degree of positivity and consistency.

4. Expressing empathy

Improving emotional intelligence is nearly impossible without increasing your ability to be empathetic. Recognizing people’s feelings matters. Success with people at home and at work hinge on how well you do the following:

• Anticipate and meet the needs of others
• Help others to develop their own potential

Fielding emotional signals and sending back the appropriate feedback in a comforting and understanding manner is a large part of a high EQ.

5. A higher level of social skills

Without strong interpersonal skills, satisfying romantic and career interaction may be tough to secure. “People skills” support your life with others. Are these high EQ people skills easy or difficult for you?

• Influence. Are you persuasive, does your partner trust your point of view?
• Communication. Can you communicate clearly?
• Leadership. Can you inspire and guide without force or intimidation?
• Care. Do you nurture your relationships?
• Cooperation. Do you work well with others?
• Conflict management. Do you willingly engage, negotiate and reach mutual resolutions?

Essentially, an emotionally intelligent person hears, validates and responds effectively.

Need help boosting your emotional brain?

Emotional intelligence is an important element of healthy love. Couples counseling can be a part of developing your own EQ and getting the most out of your relationship or marriage.

Click here to learn more about couples counseling and how to have a successful relationship.

About the Author

Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach in private practice in Miami, Florida. He works with couples struggling with powerful issues such as infidelity, careers, intimacy, and communication. He also specializes in treating addictions, anger, anxiety, stress, depression and work-life balance.