How to deal with someone with low emotional intelligence

Years ago, psychology put on the spotlight a new kind of intelligence, a reasoning that used to contradict with the mind and its logic, an intelligence based on emotions. Emotional intelligence was defined as the ability to control and harness our emotions, channelling them into positive results like solving problems or managing interpersonal conflicts.

low emotional intelligence

It also includes the skill of regulating one’s own emotions and those of others. For instance, some people can benefit from feelings that can be extremely destructive such as melancholy, loneliness, and sadness to generate a constructive analysis of their problems or what’s weighing them down.

High emotional intelligence has a lot of positive influence on different areas of one’s life. For example, emotional intelligence helps your performance at school/work. Furthermore, your awareness and management of your own feelings are now considered to be more important than your IQ.

It can also help your physical and mental health, basically because if you are unable to control your emotions the end result is a lot of stress, high blood pressure, and risk of heart attack, in addition to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Finally, emotional intelligence also has a huge impact on your relationships. If you are unable to understand and manage your own emotions, it will block you from creating strong bonds, because you can not express how you feel and understand how others are feeling.

When you encounter a friend, a lover or a relative whose reactions are really difficult to understand or you seem unable to see what he is going through, that is probable because he has low emotional intelligence. Then we find ourselves faced with helplessness, just at the mercy of his apparently illogical and desproportionate reactions.

However, we are not that helpless. Here are some tips on how to deal with someone with low emotional intelligence.

  • Help him develop emotional awareness: some people lack this ability as a result of not feeling understood in their early life emotional experiences. Also, because some people think their feelings are confusing, threatening or painful, they distance themselves from everyone else in order to avoid being misunderstood or judged. Let him know you are not going to judge his feelings. Your role here is to make them feel comfortable enough to speak to us about how they are feeling without judging them. Usually, the key is just listening.


  • People sometimes might project their confused feelings from us, even threatening the relationship between that person and us. In this case, you need to be fully aware of how these people can sometimes be deliberately pushing you away out of terror or feelings of intimidation.


  • Another key point to deal with people with low emotional intelligence is trying to communicate with them how we are feeling, and show them our ability to analyze how certain things make us feel. You must understand that this is not a weakness. Try also to push them a little bit out of their comfort zone, go out more often, buy a dog (seriously, it has been demonstrated to raise our emotional intelligence!) or have a serious honest conversation of how the things they do because of their low emotional intelligence are hurting other’s feelings.

3 thoughts on “How to deal with someone with low emotional intelligence

  1. I am in a long-term relationship with a very generous man who came into my life after my husband of 30 years died. I have discovered over the past 7.5 years that he must have a low EQ…since he can never empathize or understand my feelings–or even acknowledges them–or his own. He is very generous with him time and his talent, and helps me do so many projects around my house–I know that he cares about me. But this lack of emotional awareness is so draining. I have to make a decision whether to continue this relationship and employ some of your strategies, or just call it quits and ‘just be friends’. We are older adults, and even though I had thought he would be my ‘second marriage’ I don’t think so anymore. Do you have any other strategies for coping with someone who really doesn’t share his emotions nor understands that I have them! Thanks…

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