Wise Up to Emotional Intelligence

10 Signs You Have High EQ

By now we’ve all heard about how people with high emotional intelligence (EQ) are often better equipped for high performance and success than those with a high intelligence quotient (IQ) or extensive experience. And there’s plenty of proof to back this up. When you scan biographies of great leaders, captains of industry, and visionaries in arts, humanities, technology, etc., it’s common to find just as many, if not more, figures with modest academic backgrounds than those blessed with Ivy League degrees and other educational advantages.

But while we may personally believe that we have some level of emotional and social awareness, what are the specific qualities that indicate high EQ? What are the ingredients of that special sauce that enable certain individuals to do or say the right thing and make good decisions in just about any situation or environment?

Here are 10 qualities that people with strong EQ possess:

A natural curiosity about others

People who are emotionally intelligent are curious, in a healthy way, about everyone around them. The more you are genuinely interested in others, the more you want to know about their lives, have empathy for them, and develop positive relationships.

The ability to clearly understand one’s own emotions

Almost all of us are aware enough of ourselves to know the various emotions we feel. At the same time, though, most of us experience mixed or uncertain emotions at times that often result in unproductive choices and actions. Those with high EQs can break down these less clearly defined emotions into more granular and distinct reactions. By doing so, they have better insight into how they are truly feeling and what they need to do about it.

Highly developed character judgment

This is all about being able to accurately read people, including new acquaintances. A high EQ enables you to quickly understand what kind of motivations people have in various situations, and to be able to react accordingly. Over the long term, it helps you identify others that you can trust, collaborate with, turn to for help, etc.

Comfort with change

High EQ individuals tend to naturally conform to different environments and be receptive to change. They understand that resisting change can often be a barrier to better things and are flexible to alternative approaches and solutions.

A thick skin

When you are secure in knowing who you are, petty criticisms and potshots slide right off you. You don’t get offended easily and have the self-confidence and emotional steadiness to not take yourself too seriously.

Strong self-control

Studies have shown that the more trouble you have resisting temptation or refusing others, the greater the likelihood that you will eventually experience stress and even depression. Emotionally intelligent individuals understand the downside of instant gratification and spreading yourself too thin. They stick to established commitments and goals—thus setting the stage for greater success.


If you have a high EQ, you tend to have a balanced relationship with failure. You don’t dwell on and despair continually over every mistake, yet you don’t completely develop amnesia over them either. You turn them into learning experiences, which provide further motivation for rebounding quickly when you fall short again.


When you think about others, you often want to give or do something for them without any expectation of payment or reciprocation. You appreciate it when someone does this for you and look for opportunities to spread this goodwill as much as possible.

Lack of an obsession with perfection

If you constantly set perfection as your goal in your endeavors, you will inevitably be frustrated and disheartened. This often leads to longstanding disappointment with yourself that stands in the way of looking ahead, celebrating the things you have achieved, and finding new opportunities.

An appreciation for what you have

When you consciously take stock of the good things you’ve experienced in your life and career, you help set yourself up for more good to come. Research has shown that people who develop a grateful outlook every day often have health and energy benefits, as well as significantly lower levels of stress—and are in a much better state of wellbeing to navigate any challenges ahead.

To learn more about traits of people with high emotional intelligence, check out this Hubspot article.