Skip to content

16 Signs Of Low Emotional Intelligence

signs of low emotional intelligence

Low emotional intelligence is when one cannot perceive emotions accurately. It’s a serious issue that can affect your relationships, career and quality of life. Emotional intelligence might be more impactful than IQ when it comes to succeeding in life.

What Is Low Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is our ability to read, understand and work with the emotions of ourselves and others. Individuals with high emotional intelligence are more likely to enjoy higher psychological well-being and have satisfying professional and personal relationships. Seth J. Gillihan, PhD, licensed psychologist and author, explainsIntelligence isn’t just about being book smart. In recent decades, psychological research has revealed that emotional intelligence can also have important effects on our lives.”

16 Signs Of Low Emotional Intelligence

Individuals who lack or have low emotional intelligence are often unable to identify the emotions of others and are barely capable of recognizing their own emotions. This makes them incapable of connecting with others and building deep, meaningful relationships. Author and entrepreneur Kerry Goyette, LCSW writes in CNBC “The most emotionally intelligent people know that in addition to understanding their own emotions, it’s important to perceive the emotions of others and the way that their environment impacts those emotions.

So how can you know if you have low emotional intelligence?

Signs of low emotional intelligence

An individual’s level of emotional intelligence is often referred to as his or her emotional intelligence quotient, or EQ,” explains author and educational consultant Kendra Cherry, MS.

Here Are A Few Common Signs Of Low Emotional Intelligence That You Need To Look Out For:

signs of low emotional intelligence info

1. You can’t read others

Emotional intelligence enables us to recognize and understand the emotions of other people. It helps us realize when someone we love is upset, stressed or happy. When we are unable to read others’ emotions effectively, it can not only hamper our ability to connect with others, but also damage our existing relationships.People who have weak emotional intelligence skills have a lack of awareness and are often completely oblivious to the feelings of other people,” adds Kendra.

Seth J. Gillihan, PhD, writes “Correctly reading others’ emotions makes it easier to respond effectively, like making amends with your partner who’s upset at you or saying a kind word to someone who’s feeling overwhelmed.

2. You lack empathy

Empathy is our ability to sense and share feelings and experiences of other people. It depends on our ability to think or imagine what it feels like to be the other person. When we have low emotional intelligence, we tend to lack empathy. Seth adds “Maybe you know yourself that empathy isn’t your strong suit.” 

People might even see you as a narcissist as you are incapable of showing empathy. Kendra adds that people with low emotional intelligence “do not get what others are feeling, so it is impossible for them to place themselves in another person’s shoes.”

Related: Empathy Is A Choice And We’re Choosing To Avoid It, Says Science

3. You think others are over sensitive

Insensitive behavior is one of the common traits of people who lack emotional intelligence. When you have low EQ, you might end up making jokes in tragic situations like a funeral and think that others are highly sensitive. This might make you seem insensitive to others. As people with low emotional quotient “have difficulty understanding the emotions of others, it’s no surprise that they are unable to interpret the emotional tone after such events” explains Kendra Cherry, MS.

4. You don’t understand your own emotions

Our emotions often drive our thoughts, behavior and actions. When you can’t recognize your own emotions, it can lead to unproductive actions and passive-aggressive behavior.When you lack emotional intelligence, you’ll wonder why you or someone else feels the way they do,” writes psychologist Seth J. Gillihan, PhD. This makes it difficult for you to make sense of emotions in general.

Related: 12 Warning Signs Someone Is Emotionally Unstable

5. You’re incapable of managing emotions

Emotional intelligence is primarily about managing your own emotional state. It helps you determine when you need to calm down, when you need to express love and gratitude, and when you defend your emotions. “The ability to regulate emotions is one of the five critical components of emotional intelligence,” says Kendra.

When you have low emotional intelligence you will likely struggle with controlling your own emotions. Kendra adds that people with a low EQ often “have unexpected emotional outbursts that seem overblown and uncontrollable.” You might adversely react and lash out at someone without realizing what they are going through emotionally.

Seth J. Gillihan writes “If emotional intelligence isn’t your strength, you may be prone to losing your temper or not being able to recover when you get upset. Emotions that aren’t managed effectively will likely lead to problems in your relationships.

6. You have difficulty with relationships

Low emotional intelligence can adversely affect your relationships significantly. Not only you will experience constant misunderstandings and conflict in your relationships, but you will also face problems with romantic attachments. Low EQ will lead to multiple breakups with romantic partners and friends. Moreover, your relationship with your family, coworkers and other social relationships might also be strained.

Kendra writes “Because low EQ people often come off as abrasive and unfeeling, they have difficulty maintaining friendships. Close friendships require a mutual give-and-take, sharing of emotions, compassion, and emotional support, all of which low EQ individuals struggle with.”

Related: 3 Tips For Men To Increase Their Emotional Intelligence in Relationships

Here are some other signs of low emotional intelligence as explained by author and entrepreneur Muriel Maignan Wilkins in Harvard Business Review article:

  • You feel frustrated and impatient most of the time as you think others don’t understand you.
  • You believe others often overreact to your jokes and comments and that is surprising to you.
  • You believe that being liked by others is unimportant and overrated.
  • You are always prompt with your beliefs & assumptions and you don’t hesitate to defend them strongly.
  • You hold yourself to very high standards and expect the same from others as well.
  • Your first instinct and initial response when something goes wrong is to blame others. You fail to take any responsibility for your own mistakes.
  • You become irritated and frustrated when your friends and family expect you to understand how they feel.
  • You often end up offending and hurting people and you don’t exactly understand why and how.
  • Your emotions often prevent you working productively and looking for probable solutions.
  • You are incapable of coping with situations that are emotionally driven.
16 Signs Of Low Emotional Intelligence

Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence

Can you identify with some or all of these signs of low emotional intelligence? Or do you recognize someone with these traits? If you wish to improve your emotional quotient, then the first thing you need to do is be aware of your own emotional intelligence. By taking a close, honest look at yourself you will immediately show emotional maturity. This is the first step towards strengthening your emotional intelligence. 

Author Kerry Goyette, LCSW concludes “Our emotional intelligence exists within an ecosystem. And in order to achieve growth, we need to understand the individual motivators and perspectives of the people around us, as well as how the environment we’re in affects us altogether.With time, effort, discipline and commitment you will be better able to manage your own emotions and connect with others. 

Related: 13 Signs You Have Emotionally Intelligent Friendships

Here is an interesting video that you may find helpful:

Signs Low Emotional Intelligence Pin

signs of low emotional intelligence pinop
signs of low emotional intelligence pin

Theo Harrison

Hey there! I am just someone trying to find my way through life. I am a reader, writer, traveler, fighter, philosopher, artist and all around nice guy. I am outdoor person but heavily into technology, science, psychology, spiritualism, Buddhism, martial arts and horror films. I believe in positive action more than positive thinking.View Author posts

Leave a Reply

Up Next

13 Habits Of Highly Intelligent People That Make Them Truly Unique

Things Highly Intelligent People Do Differently

What do you think of when you imagine a highly intelligent person? Someone who is super smart and knows a lot about everything. Right? But being highly intelligent has nothing to do with having a high IQ.

Intelligence comes in many forms and most highly intelligent individuals don’t even know how smart they actually are.

Highly intelligent people think, act and behave differently. They approach the world differently and possess certain qualities and habits that make them truly unique.

Do you think you are highly intelligent? Let’s find out.

Here are 13 things highly intelligent people do differently

1. They are always

Up Next

How To Identify A Delta Male? 30 Signs Of The Common Man

Delta Male Signs

Life can be challenging as a man. And for women in relationships, not understanding their male partners well can make things more complicated. As all men are not created equal, it is crucial to know where a man stands in the socio sexual hierarchy. Enter the delta male.

As alpha, beta and sigma male personalities are already popular, today we are going to explore the lesser known, yet extremely common, delta male personality.

What is a delta male?

The delta male is the common, everyday man who can be f

Up Next

How To Improve Your Relationship With Yourself

Improve Relationship With Yourself

Having a healthy relationship with yourself is extremely important when it comes to living a happy and content life. Let's find out what you can do to improve your relationship with yourself.

Key Points:

Many people would be glad to work on self-improvement but believe they don't have enough time for it.

A change in mindset can help them take advantage of the time they already spend transitioning between locations or tasks.

These transition times can be used to check in with themselves and gain a better understanding of how they're feeling.

The thought of adding or removing a habit fr

Up Next

Feeling Down? 5 Reasons Why You Feel Like Shit And What To Do About It

Feelings that make you feel like shit

Feeling down? Me too, buddy. The keyword here is ‘feeling’. Feelings are weird, if you ask me. Emotions make life complicated. It ruins relationships, families and even careers. It makes you feel like shit and like hitting your head against the wall. But that’s not completely true, is it? 

Not all emotions pull you down. After all, who would we be if we didn’t feel anything? Emotions make us who we are and it adds meaning to our lives. The secret lies in identifying which negative emotions make you feel like shit and knowing how to deal with them.

Dear negative feelings, thanks for making me feel like shit 

Yes, I know we should experience the whole spectrum of human emotions

Up Next

How to Tame and Silence Your Inner Critic: 5 Ways

Ways Tame And Silence Your Inner Critic

“Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take it’s place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it. Equally important, don’t allow anyone else to dwell on your mistakes or shortcomings or to expect perfection from you.” ― Beverly Engel. This one quote perfectly shows why it's important to silence your inner critic.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with your inner monologue? You know, the voice that can motivate you to press on or stop you dead in your tracks and make you feel a few inches tall.

It is the same voice that attempts to protect you from shame, embarrassment, or making a mistake. If not tamed and regulated, this voice morphs into an intense critic, one that can sabotage and stagnate if it gains too much power.