10 Subtle Signs Someone Has Low Emotional Intelligence — Be Aware

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All around us, our intelligence is tested in our everyday lives — and not just our book smarts. You may have heard of the term emotional intelligence (EQ), but what is EQ, exactly?

Emotional intelligence helps us to further react and understand the world. And it doesn’t have anything to do with knowing math equations or remembering something that happened so long ago. 

Like intellectual intelligence, we all are not on the same level of emotional intelligence. Here is a look into what EQ is and ways to know if someone has low emotional intelligence. 

RELATED: 12 Self-Care Practices That Can Boost Your Emotional Intelligence 

What is EQ?

Emotional Intelligence or EQ is the level of your ability to understand others and what motivates them along with learning how to cooperate with them. Empathy is associated with emotional intelligence as it relates to one connecting their personal experiences with others.

Your overall EQ is comprised of five factors: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. 

According to counselor Audrey Tait, “Your EQ affects every aspect of your life, from your basic human emotions to the way you relate with others.” Because the extent to which you know how to read people defines your extent on any peace, love, joy, or chaos that you might experience. 

Tait also explains that the environment you grew up in affects your EQ.

“If you grew up in a fairly healthy emotional environment, you're like to have a fairly healthy EQ as a result. If you don't tend to experience much in the way of emotions, however, you may have been so traumatized by past experiences that your unconscious mind shut down your emotional capacity. In such instances, you may generally go about life feeling frozen or numb.”

What are the signs of low emotional intelligence?

Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with high emotional intelligence. So how can you tell when someone's EQ is low?

News anchor and influencer Raquel Olsson shared a TikTok video with tips on how to spot the signs of low emotional intelligence.

1. Holding grudges

This is an initial response to stress and in a way is a wall against any threats. 

2. Inability to control emotions

This might lead them to lash out without understanding their emotions or even why they are upset. 

3. Poker face

Just like the previous sign, they are unaware of their emotions and don’t want people to know how they are feeling.

4. Jumping to conclusions

They have a distorted view of situations, which causes them to automatically think of answers even when there wasn’t a question. 

RELATED: The Smartest People Possess These 4 Traits Of Emotional Intelligence

5. Easily offended

Those who have high emotional intelligence don’t let things pierce their thick skin. But those who have low levels might let things get to them easier than normal.

6. Offending others unknowingly

Someone with a low EQ doesn’t hold themself accountable and this leads to saying things without thinking. Other people might get hurt in the process while the person doesn’t understand what they said that was so offensive. 

7. Unmoved by sad movies

This is a response to a lack of empathy, as they don’t put themselves in the situation. To them, it’s just a movie and separates from reality. 

8. Inability to keep friendships

People with low EQ have a hard time keeping up with friends as they are guilty of misunderstandings and constant conflicts. They come off as abrasive as a result of lacking empathy. 

9. Tone-deaf

Often out-of-touch, they only think about themselves and don't put themselves in other people’s shoes. And when they are told they are being rude, they don’t see anything wrong with it. 

10. Thinks everyone thinks the same

Playing into being tone-deaf, these people assume everyone is on the same page as them even when that couldn't be further from the truth.

How to improve emotional intelligence

Just as you can read books to increase your intellectual intelligence, EQ is also a learned skill. 

Relationship coach Jordan Gray suggests mindfulness as a strong way to improve your EQ. "Raising your emotional intelligence is predicated on you slowing down, and gradually becoming more aware of yourself and others," he explains.

In practice, this includes slowing down to feel your feelings, fully processing your negative emotions, communicating your emotions to people you trust, observing your reactions to others (both internal and external, and learning to trust yourself. 

RELATED: 5 Smart Ways To Boost Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) - And Learn To Control Your Emotions

Isabell Tenorio is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture, love, and relationship topics.