Have you ever walked away from a conversation and thought, “That person didn’t read the room very well. He just wasn’t picking up the cues or in tune with what was going on in that conversation.”

The reason you thought this has to do with emotional intelligence. When you lack this type of intelligence, relationships struggle. You don’t pick up on feelings, show empathy and basically don’t connect well with others.

Emotional intelligence is about being able to understand yourself and the perspective of others. It is that ability to respond to your own needs while also taking care of others. It is a type of intelligence that leads to trust and connection.

These are seven characteristics of emotional intelligence important to healthy relationships:

  1. Regulated emotions: This means you don’t respond in extreme ways–lose control or keep feelings stuffed inside. Instead, you express what you think and feel in ways that are regulated. No temper tantrums, no over the top outbursts or melt downs. No emotional hiding. You can identify your feelings and manage them.
  2. Feelings do not lead: Yes, feelings are important, but being aware of feelings is not the same as allowing those feelings to run your life. Too many people make decisions based on their emotions. This results in being ruled by the emotion of the moment rather than making decisions by a thoughtful process. Emotional reasoning is rampant in our culture as we see more and more people impulsively react to news and events. This reacting doesn’t bode well for relationships because emotions change and are not reliable. And they don’t always reflect reality.
  3. Impulsivity is checked: You take time to think through an action and its consequences. You understand the importance of thinking before acting. For example, emotionally intelligent people don’t send you an angry text or lash out when upset. They pause, think and then act in a regulated way.
  4. Listens to constructive feedback: An emotionally intelligent person understands that feedback is needed for any relationship to grow. Thus, listening to feedback is important. And doing so, does not make the person feel defensive. Rather, feedback is used to reflect on how their actions affect other people. Feedback is a positive process. The information is used to be a better person.
  5. Apologize and readily forgive: Emotionally intelligent people are aware of problems, know they make mistakes and don’t always do the right thing. But when they do falter, they see it, admit it and apologize. If they are the one who has been hurt, they forgive. They know the importance of not holding on to hurts in order to avoid resentment. Their goal is to try and reconcile relationships because relationships are valued.
  6. Reads the room: Emotionally intelligent people recognize manipulators and those who try to control others. They see the signs of inauthenticity and can tell when they are being played. Consequently, they know who not to trust and who to avoid.
  7. Interested in the needs of others and serves: If your relationship is always about the other person, you do not have an emotionally intelligent partner. Someone who demands constant attention and doesn’t attend to what you need, is egocentric, meaning it is all about them. The self-absorbed person doesn’t make a good relationship partner because eventually you feel resentful. Instead, look for someone who is interested in your needs and will serve others. Consider this, do they help other people, ask about their well-being and show empathy? If so, those are signs of emotional intelligence.

A consequence of emotional intelligence in an intimate relationship is feeling safe and secure. You can be vulnerable and honest about what you feel and think and know your partner will hear you. You can count on the other person to empathize with you and think through solutions. Conflict doesn’t result in relationship fracture.

Finally, because emotionally intelligent people are perceptive, they recognize their own emotional states as well as those of others. As a result, friendships and a respect for others develops. Therefore, do what you can to raise your emotional intelligence. Don’t be that disconnected boss or partner who only frustrates those around them.

Are you emotionally intelligent?