Curious if you're emotionally intelligent? Uncover 11 signs of emotional intelligence that can help you understand your emotional strengths and achieve success.

Top 10 Signs of Emotional Intelligence That Set You Apart

Jun 21, 2024

By Will Moore

Emotional intelligence has been shown to be a potent predictor of success in life, even more so than IQ in some cases. A study conducted by the Carnegie Institute of Technology found that 85% of financial success is due to skills in "human engineering," like self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills – the core components of emotional intelligence.

When I started my first food delivery restaurant, Doorstep Delivery, our first year was riddled with challenges. We faced unexpected cash flow issues and were betrayed by trusted partners, leaving us on the brink of collapse. It was during this tumultuous time that I realized the true power of emotional intelligence. Staying calm under pressure, managing my emotions constructively, and resolving conflicts effectively were crucial skills that enabled me to navigate these obstacles. These skills not only helped us survive but also thrive, eventually leading to the successful sale of the company for $320 million.

With emotional intelligence playing such a crucial role in both personal and professional growth, understanding the signs that indicate a high emotional quotient (EQ) becomes essential. Let's explore 10 key signs that distinguish emotionally intelligent individuals from the rest.

What You'll Gain From This Blog:

  1. Understand the key signs of emotional intelligence.

  2. Learn practical, science-backed tips to improve your emotional smarts.

  3. Discover habits to easily apply these tips daily.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

First, let's explain what emotional intelligence really means. It's the ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own emotions, as well as recognize, understand, and influence others' emotions. The main parts are self-awareness, controlling yourself, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

Now get ready as we reveal the 10 signs that separate emotionally intelligent people from the rest.

1. You Are a Self-Aware Person

You understand your own feelings and how they affect your thoughts and behavior. For instance, when you feel stressed, you can pinpoint the exact triggers and take proactive steps to manage your stress levels. This awareness allows you to navigate complex situations with a clear mind. Imagine recognizing your frustration during a tough project at work and deciding to take a short walk to clear your head. That’s self-awareness in action.

If you find this challenging, here’s how you can improve:

  • Start a daily journal to capture your emotions and the situations that triggered them. For example, after you brush your teeth at night, jot down three emotions you felt during the day.

  • Reflect on these entries weekly to notice patterns and triggers. Ask yourself questions like, “What made me feel this way?” or “How did I react to this emotion?”

  • Use this insight to anticipate and manage your emotions better in the future.

A study aimed to understand the effects of self-reflection on emotional awareness. The researchers asked participants to keep a daily journal of their emotions and the events that triggered them over a period of six weeks. The results showed that those who regularly engaged in self-reflection were better at identifying their emotional patterns and triggers, leading to improved self-awareness and emotional regulation.

Read More: What is the pattern of behavior that you often repeat

2. You Can Self-Regulate

You can manage emotions healthily and constructively. For example, when you’re angry, you take a moment to cool down before reacting. This ability to self-regulate allows you to respond to situations in a calm and measured way rather than being overwhelmed by your emotions.

If this is an area for improvement:

  • Practice deep breathing exercises to help manage your emotions. After your morning coffee, spend five minutes doing deep breathing exercises.

  • Develop a routine to pause and reflect before reacting to emotionally charged situations. Count to ten, take a few deep breaths, and then respond.

  • Use positive self-talk to reframe negative emotions. For instance, instead of thinking, “I’m so angry about this,” try, “I can handle this calmly and find a solution.”

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor E. Frankl

3. You Stay Motivated Even When Things Get Tough

Emotionally intelligent people stay driven to achieve their goals, even when things get challenging. You pursue your passions and stay focused on your objectives, even when faced with obstacles.

This internal motivation keeps you committed to your long-term goals. This internal motivation is a hallmark of strong emotional intelligence.

If staying motivated feels tough sometimes, here’s how you can help yourself:

  • Set personal goals that truly matter to you and remind yourself why they’re important. Write these goals down and revisit them regularly.

  • Break your goals into smaller, manageable tasks. This way, they feel less overwhelming, and you can celebrate small wins along the way.

  • Try habit stacking to build motivation; here is how you can do it in 4 easy steps:

    1. Cue: Identify an existing habit you already do every day. For example, "After I have my morning coffee..."

    2. New Habit: Choose a new habit you want to start. For example, "I will write down three things I’m grateful for."

    3. Stack: Combine them into a single routine. For example, "After I have my morning coffee, I will write down three things I’m grateful for."

    4. Reward: Reinforce the new habit with a positive reward. For example, "After I write down three things I’m grateful for, I will enjoy a piece of my favorite fruit or a healthy snack."

According to research people who pursue goals that align with their personal values and interests (intrinsic motivation) are more persistent, perform better, and feel more satisfied compared to those motivated by external rewards (extrinsic motivation). This shows how important it is to connect your goals with what you genuinely care about to stay motivated.

4. You Understand and Share the Feelings of Others

You have the emotional skills to understand and share the feelings of others. When a friend is going through a tough time, you can sense their emotions and offer genuine support. This empathy helps you build deeper and more meaningful relationships.

If you struggle with empathy, here’s how you can improve:

  • Practice active listening. When someone is talking to you, give them your full attention and avoid interrupting.

  • Try to see things from their perspective. Ask yourself, “How would I feel if I were in their situation?”

  • Show that you care. A simple gesture like a comforting word or a supportive text can make a big difference.

A study found that empathy is a key component of strong social bonds. Researchers discovered that people who are more empathetic tend to have better relationships and are more likely to support others in times of need.

5. You Build and Maintain Strong Relationships

You excel at building and maintaining meaningful relationships, a key aspect of emotional and social skills. Whether it’s with friends, family, or colleagues, you invest time and effort into nurturing these connections. You understand that strong relationships are a cornerstone of a happy and fulfilling life.

If maintaining strong relationships is challenging for you, here’s how you can improve:

  • Schedule regular catch-ups with friends or family. Consistency helps keep relationships strong.

  • Be present during interactions. Put away distractions like your phone and focus on the person you’re with.

  • Show appreciation. A simple thank you, or a compliment can go a long way in making others feel valued.

According to science, people who have strong relationships are happier, healthier, and live longer compared to those who are less socially connected.

6. You Stay Calm Under Pressure

You have the ability to manage emotions and stay calm and composed, even in stressful situations. When things get tough at work or in your personal life, you don’t let your emotions take over. Instead, you approach problems with a clear mind and a steady hand.

Read an interesting article on How can managing your personal life help with reaching your goals.

If staying calm under pressure is difficult for you, here’s how you can improve:

  • Practice mindfulness or meditation to help you stay grounded. Just a few minutes a day can make a big difference.

  • Develop a routine to pause and breathe deeply when you start to feel stressed.

  • Visualize positive outcomes. Imagine yourself successfully handling the situation to boost your confidence.

As the famous quote by Marcus Aurelius goes,

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

7. You Resolve Conflicts Effectively

You have a knack for resolving conflicts in a way that leaves everyone feeling heard and respected. When disagreements arise, you approach them with an open mind and a calm demeanor, aiming for solutions that benefit all parties involved.

If conflict resolution is a challenge for you, here’s how you can improve:

  • Practice active listening. Make sure you fully understand the other person’s perspective before responding.

  • Use “I” statements to express your feelings without blaming others. For example, “I feel upset when…”

  • Focus on finding a win-win solution that addresses everyone’s needs.

According to a study, effective conflict resolution skills are associated with better mental health and stronger relationships. Participants who use these skills report lower stress levels and more satisfying relationships compared to those who avoid conflicts or handle them poorly.

8. You Maintain a Positive Outlook

You tend to see the bright side of things, even when faced with challenges. Your positive attitude not only helps you cope with difficult situations but also inspires those around you. This optimistic perspective keeps you motivated and resilient.

If maintaining a positive outlook is difficult for you, here’s how you can improve:

  • Practice gratitude daily. Each morning or evening, write down three things you are grateful for.

  • Surround yourself with positive influences, whether it’s people, books, or activities that uplift your mood.

  • Reframe negative thoughts by focusing on solutions rather than problems.

9. You Are Adaptable

You can adjust your behavior and mindset to fit changing circumstances. Whether it’s a shift at work or a sudden change in personal plans, you stay flexible and open to new solutions. Adaptability is a key trait of an emotionally intelligent person.

If adaptability is a challenge for you, here’s how you can improve:

  • Embrace change by trying something new each week. This could be a new route to work, a new hobby, or meeting new people.

  • Practice viewing changes as opportunities for growth rather than obstacles.

  • Develop a problem-solving mindset. When faced with a new situation, ask yourself, “How can I make the best of this?”

10. You Communicate Clearly and Respectfully

You can convey your thoughts and feelings in a way that others understand. You listen actively and ensure that your communication is clear and respectful, which helps you build strong relationships and avoid misunderstandings.

If clear communication is challenging for you, here’s how you can improve:

  • Before speaking, take a moment to organize your thoughts and ensure your message is clear.

  • Use a polite tone and considerate language to express your ideas and feedback.

  • Focus on truly understanding the speaker's message without interrupting or planning your response while they are talking.

Signs of Emotional Intelligence - Conclusion

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and control your own emotions as well as the emotions of others. Signs of high emotional intelligence include knowing yourself, controlling yourself, staying motivated, feeling for others, having good people skills, keeping calm under pressure, resolving conflicts well, being self-confident, having a positive attitude, being flexible, communicating clearly, showing empathy, having self-control, and building meaningful relationships.

Read More About Emotional Wellness Goals

By developing habits like journaling, deep breathing, feeling grateful, reframing negative thoughts, and listening carefully, people can improve their emotional intelligence skills. Growing emotional intelligence helps people handle life’s challenges better, build stronger connections, achieve goals more successfully, and live a more fulfilling life overall. As human beings, we are inherently imperfect, but developing emotional intelligence helps us navigate these imperfections.

🧠 Do You Want To Know Your EQ Score By Taking A Test?

Do you want to know your EQ score and take your emotional intelligence to the next level? Start your journey today by taking our CORE VALUES QUIZ. This quiz will help you assess your emotional intelligence and understand where you stand in the 5 Core Areas of Life.

By identifying your strengths and areas for growth, you can accelerate your personal development.

Our mission is to make your habit transformation journey so simple, fun, and rewarding that building momentum becomes inevitable.

Take the first step towards mastering your emotional intelligence and achieving holistic growth. Take the quiz now!

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What are the 5 characteristics of emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is defined by five key traits:

  • Self-awareness

  • Self-regulation

  • Motivation

  • Empathy

  • Social skills

Signs of emotional intelligence in a man

Emotionally intelligent men exhibit several distinct behaviors:

  • Strong self-awareness

  • Effective stress and emotion management

  • Ability to build and maintain relationships

  • Empathy

  • Effective communication

  • Positive influence on others

Signs of emotional intelligence in a woman

Emotionally intelligent women tend to display these qualities:

  • Strong empathy

  • Excellent social skills

  • Effective stress management

  • Self-regulation

  • Calm composure

  • Supportive relationships

What are the 7 signs of emotional intelligence?

Seven indicators show high emotional intelligence:

  • Self-awareness

  • Self-regulation

  • Motivation

  • Empathy

  • Social skills

  • Adaptability

  • Conflict resolution

What are Emotional intelligence examples?

Examples of emotional intelligence in action include remaining calm and composed under pressure, effectively managing stress and impulses, understanding and considering others' emotions and perspectives, building and maintaining strong relationships, and positively influencing the emotions of others. Other examples include adapting to changing situations, resolving conflicts effectively, and demonstrating empathy and social awareness.

How to Know If You Are Emotionally Intelligent?

You are emotionally intelligent if you are self-aware, can regulate your emotions, show empathy, communicate effectively, and manage relationships well. You handle stress and conflict constructively and maintain a positive outlook. Recognizing and understanding emotions in yourself and others indicates high emotional intelligence.

Which Is Not a Sign of High Emotional Intelligence?

A lack of empathy, inability to manage stress, poor communication skills, and difficulty controlling impulsive behaviors are not signs of high emotional intelligence. Additionally, being easily overwhelmed by emotions or unable to adapt to change indicates lower emotional intelligence.


Will Moore is a gamification, habits and happiness expert.

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