8 Phrases People With High Emotional Intelligence Use Every Day, According To A Harvard Psychologist

Anyone has the potential to rise above their egocentric tendencies and become emotionally intelligent.

women talk and laugh at a cafe Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Someone who is emotionally intelligent knows how to be aware and considerate of the thoughts and feelings of those around them. They know how to regulate their emotions, empathize with others, and navigate social complexities with a high level of maturity.

It can be difficult to not instantly react to situations emotionally, but learning how to stay level-headed and exhibit compassion and understanding in your conversations will take you far in your social relationships.


According to Harvard psychologist Dr. Cortney Warren, PhD, there are certain phrases that people with high emotional intelligence use daily. 

Here are 8 phrases people with high emotional intelligence use every day, according to a Harvard psychologist.

1. 'I'm feeling uncomfortable.'

While some may believe that expressing discomfort comes across as rude or inconsiderate, having the strength to convey how you feel in a mature way is a sign that you respect yourself and are emotionally intelligent.

It shows that you are aware of your emotions, aren’t ashamed of them, and aren’t afraid to communicate them.


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2. 'I'm going to work on that.'

Let's be real, it's hard to hear criticism from others. But rather than sulking in self-pity or shame, experiment with being open to hearing negative feedback, and view it as an opportunity to grow.

This response is common in people with high emotional intelligence. According to Dr. Warren, they will “actively try to change when they see an unideal aspect of themselves.”



While it can feel uncomfortable to hear what your flaws are, the only way to grow is to work on what might be holding you back. 


3. 'I'm sorry that you’re hurting.'

Having the ability to step outside your shoes and demonstrate compassion and understanding for someone else’s experience is a sign of high emotional intelligence.

8 Phrases People With High Emotional Intelligence Use Every Day, According To A Harvard Psychologist Photo: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

By showing your support and sympathy, you are showing that you care about others’ emotions and are willing to listen to them. This helps form strong, long-lasting connections with others. 


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4. 'It's okay to feel upset.'

It’s not uncommon for people to resent feeling sad, hurt, angry, or generally upset, so it helps to let others know that their feelings are valid. 

“Emotional intelligence means recognizing that feelings are not good or bad — they are a part of life,” Dr. Warren said. “In fact, life is often hard, and all of us are going to feel upset sometimes.”

5. 'I'm responsible for myself.'

To be emotionally intelligent is to understand that no one is responsible for your feelings but yourself. The emotions you experience are a reflection of your own perception of the world, and how you choose to respond to situations is your responsibility.




Emotionally intelligent people are also aware that everyone experiences their own inner world of thoughts and feelings, so even if someone intentionally tries to upset you, taking offense is a personal choice. Choosing to not take offense exemplifies mental strength and self-awareness. 

6. 'I am over here, you are over there.'

Emotionally intelligent people understand it’s necessary to set healthy boundaries with family, friends, and loved ones for the sake of their individual identity. If they experience conflict, they demonstrate the ability to think clearly and independently regardless of others’ behaviors.



RELATED: 7 Phrases People With Low Emotional Intelligence Use Every Day, According To A Harvard Psychologist


“They can see that they are one individual person who interacts with others but is not the same or enmeshed with the experiences of other people,” Dr. Warren explained. 

7. 'It's not personal.'

Those with high emotional intelligence are open and willing to listen to others’ perspectives without taking things personally.

Because they know they are responsible for their own feelings, they don’t take others' words as a personal attack. Rather, they welcome their unique experiences and perceptions. 

8. 'I forgive you.'

Choosing to be the bigger person and forgive others for their mistakes exemplifies emotional intelligence. When you are willing to be empathetic to others’ experiences, not only are you showing compassion to them, but to yourself as well. 




It takes a lot of resentment to hold situations against others, and you owe it to yourself to release this toxic energy to grow and heal. 

Anyone has the potential to rise above their egocentric tendencies and choose compassion.

Emotional intelligence is a gradual process that facilitates personal growth development. Practicing phrases like these in your conversations will promote well-being and bonding in your relationships, according to Dr. Warren. 

Take heed of others’ personal experiences, and hear to listen rather than hear to respond. We’re only here for a short time, so why waste it intentionally misunderstanding those around us? 


You have the beautiful opportunity to grow and evolve in your lifetime, and choosing to communicate emotions with others in a way that elicits empathy and understanding is a great way to start.

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Francesca Duarte is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team based in Orlando, FL. She covers lifestyle, human-interest, and spirituality topics.