I have met people that are extremely intelligent in my life but have had absolutely no social or relational skills. The emotion most often and easily displayed by this person was anger and even then it didn’t always make sense. Being around this person involved constant mixed signals and wondering where I stood in the relationship. It was like pulling teeth to have a normal conversation unless I hit on a subject he was really passionate about. When you spend a lot of time with a person who is low on the emotional intelligence scale it can actually start to make you feel like maybe something is wrong with you. In a nutshell, communication sucks and you start guessing at what the other person is thinking because you get tired of asking. Of course when communication is lacking and it is left up to us to assume because asking starts to feel intrusive, then it leaves a person feeling insecure in a relationship.
So what happens when you finally move on and take time away from someone with low EI and then you encounter someone with incredibly high EI? The dynamic is actually really life changing. I realize by this point in my life that I need to communicate regularly in order to feel happy in my relationships. It doesn’t have to be long drawn out and significantly deep conversations all the time. A simple check in with my adult daughter throughout the week and a loving text to from the man in my world to let me know he misses me while he is out of town on business is enough. My love language is words of affirmation. I love to hear how I am doing, where I stand, and what is going on with others in my life. I cannot express enough how important it is to learn what the top love languages are for the people in your life. My second is quality time and my third is physical touch. Knowing this about myself and letting others in my life know how I express and feel loved is helpful in keeping strong relationships.
You can be the smartest person in the room but if you cannot walk up to a person and have a normal give and take conversation you will not get as far as someone of average intelligence that can make everyone laugh and feel at ease. If I had to give young people advice moving forward in any career field it would be to work on their emotional intelligence and communication skills. To be able to communicate effectively and relate to people is useful in any aspect of life and taking the time to develop those skills through public speaking, writing, or even learning to just be a better listener are all keys to greater success. Dale Carnegie and Tony Robbins are great references for how to better develop emotional intelligence and communication skills but there are many other greats as well.
Emotional intelligence is not something you just have or don’t have. Yes some may come by it more naturally just like anything but it is a skill that can be developed. Just like learning and becoming better in any field, music, math, computer technology, or writing, practice makes you better. The art of learning to express yourself effectively and not being afraid to allow yourself to get a little vulnerable with others is life changing. If you have time to invest into going to the gym or learn to play the piano, then you can practice your social skills easily. Talking to others is something you do everyday so why not learn to do it well? I can say from experience my eyes have been opened to what it is like to date a man with limited emotional to intelligence to what is like to date one with very high emotional intelligence and the experience is night and day. As they often say, communication is key.
With love, health, and happiness