7 Rare Signs You Have High Social Intelligence

You don’t make the person in front fight for your attention with your devices.

two women comforting sad friend Pintau Studio / Shutterstock

Developing social intelligence is super difficult.


One simple reason: ego.

It’s a huge universe. An individual doesn’t really matter all that much on a cosmic scale. However, we’re all at the center of our own universes. We’re constantly thinking about our own selves. Our own lives.

And that’s why social intelligence is tricky. It requires us to consider that other people exist too. It requires us to think beyond our own egos. And realize that while others may not be at the center of our universe, they are at the center of their own.


Here are 7 rare signs of high social intelligence:

1. You follow unstated yet obvious social rules

I was at a concert recently.

We were standing pretty close to the stage to watch Cigarettes After Sex. It was pretty crowded. Some girl from behind me tried to worm her way in and get ahead of us.


The person beside me confronted her immediately. He said, “You do realize that that’s wrong, right? I mean, if everyone started doing it, there’ll be a ruckus.”

And it seemed pretty obvious. Of course, there was no rule on the concert ticket saying that you cannot get ahead of others. But it’s understandable. The person standing in front of you at a concert has earned the right to do so — by getting there before you.

Trying to worm your way in and get ahead when everyone wants that just conveys that you think you’re above others. That’s not nice. And that should be understandable.

If you understand such unstated social rules, it’s a sign you have high social intelligence.


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2. You don’t force your opinion onto others

I’m not religious. I have a friend who is.

While I respect her decision to be religious, she doesn’t respect my decision not to. And that bothers me a little.

Every once in a while, the topic of religion inevitably sneaks into our conversations. And slowly, she starts forcing her opinions on me. It’s clear that my not believing in God pisses her off. One time, she even said that she pities me for not being religious. That stunned me. It was very off-putting.

I believe that we all retain the fundamental right to have our own opinions. Right or wrong is secondary. And hence, forcing your opinion onto others is a sign of low social intelligence.


If you don’t do that — if you genuinely respect people’s opinions especially if they’re the exact opposite of yours — it’s a sign of high social intelligence.

3. You’re okay with lending your things — even expensive or delicate things

I live on a college campus with several people. Naturally, there are times when I need to lend something from someone and vice versa.

Here’s what I’ve noticed.

Some people are too hesitant to lend their stuff. Even if they do so, they don’t do it wholeheartedly. You can sense the friction. And that’s kind of unpleasant — because it sends a message that this ‘thing’ is more important than another human — many times, a friend.


On the other hand, there are people who are generous with lending their things. For instance, I have a friend who owns an expensive bike — but never says no if someone wants to use it.

He told me one time, “I used to have an instinct to not lend it because the bike’s expensive and I felt this need to protect it. But I fought that instinct. Now I believe that the worst that’ll happen is I’ll have to pay some extra money for maintenance — and that’s okay, I guess. Humans must always be more important than things.”

Of course, you should not share your personal and private stuff. However, if you don’t hesitate while lending your other stuff to people — it’s a sign of high social intelligence.

RELATED: 4 Bad Micro-Habits That Drain Your Cognitive Battery


4. You don’t make the person in front fight for your attention with your devices

This one may seem obvious, but it’s not.

We’re so used to being on our tech all the time that we don’t find it wrong to do it even with people around. We don’t hesitate to use our phones even if we’re meeting a friend in a cafe.

But some people realize the importance of this. If they have people around, they give their 100% attention to the person in front. They don’t make others fight for their attention. They keep their f***ing phone down.

5. You’re punctual — obsessively so

I have a friend who I keep meeting from time to time. We don’t meet at either of our places. We meet in a cafe we like. And we have a ritual that she started and it’s become a part of our process these days.


Whenever we leave our place, we give each other an estimated time of arrival. Every single time. This is because we both respect each other’s time a lot, and don’t think that we have the right to waste someone else’s time.

Naturally, there are times when one of us is late — because well, life’s imperfect. However, even then, we apologize because we believe in punctuality — obsessively so.

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6. You offer to pay the bill

People try to hide who they are. But they can’t. Your actions reveal your character sooner or later.

One place this is highly apparent is when it comes to paying the bill when you’re with a bunch of people.


Certain people, I’ve observed, always try to get out of paying the bill. They don’t think others notice it — but they do. People aren’t stupid — even if someone thinks they are.

On the other hand, there are people who seek out the opportunity to pay the bill. They offer to pay the bill almost always. Of course, we’re talking about small bills here. If the bill is huge, you’re going to split it — no doubt about it.

But the lack of friction when it comes to opening your wallets in social situations is a sign of high social intelligence.


7. You know when not to have difficult conversations

Every once in while, we need to have difficult conversations with the people around us. Mostly, it’s someone we’re close to.

Some people don’t understand that timing matters a lot in such situations.

If you confront someone on a day when they’re already irritated due to some reason — like a bad day at their job, or they haven’t had a chance to eat something for a long time — you’re doing it wrong.

Socially intelligent people understand the importance of timing when it comes to difficult conversations. They make sure that the person they have to confront has not had a bad day — and that they’re in the right mind space to absorb their confrontation.


Here’s a quick recap of signs of high social intelligence:

  • You follow the unstated social rules.
  • You respect people’s opinions even if they’re diagonally opposite to yours.
  • You’re okay with lending your stuff. People are always more important to you than things.
  • You don’t make people fight for your attention with your devices.
  • You’re punctual. You respect other people’s time as much as — or even more — than you do yours.
  • There’s no friction when it comes to opening your wallets in social situations.
  • You know when it’s not the right time to have a difficult conversation.

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Akshad Singi, M.D. has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, and more.