What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Home/  Blog/ What Is Emotional Intelligence?

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to the ability to recognize, communicate, understand, and respond to emotions, both your own and those of others. As our society is shifting toward prioritizing wellness, having emotional intelligence is becoming increasingly important.


In this blog post, you’ll learn about emotional intelligence, its importance in your relationships, and how to spot the warning signs of low emotional intelligence.




Table of Contents

(click on a question to be directed quickly)

What Is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

How Does Being More Emotionally Intelligent Help You Have A Better Relationship?

How Do I Improve My Emotional Intelligence?

What Does A Relationship Low In Emotional Intelligence Look Like?

What Type Of Therapy Helps Improve Emotional Intelligence?






What Is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?


Peter Salovey and John Mayer first proposed the concept of emotional intelligence. It was later popularized in 1995 by Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. According to Goleman, emotional intelligence can be broken down into five components: self-awareness, self-regulation, internal motivation, empathy, and social skills.


Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to effectively understand, utilize, and regulate emotions. A high EQ is beneficial for managing stress, communicating effectively, empathizing with others, overcoming challenges, and resolving conflict. Research has shown that people with a higher EQ have a greater sense of well-being and enhanced quality of life.




How Does Being More Emotionally Intelligent Help You Have A Better Relationship?


In the context of a relationship, emotional intelligence refers to the ability to be attuned to both your and your partner’s emotions. The ability to empathize and communicate effectively are key factors of emotional intelligence and are necessary for a long-lasting and healthy relationship.


Relationships take a lot of work to maintain. There will be times when conflicts arise, and it can be easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment. But if you have high emotional intelligence, you are better equipped to manage your emotions and respond to your partner in a productive and respectful way.



How Do I Improve My Emotional Intelligence?


Emotional intelligence is a skill, and every skill can be developed and improved. Although some people naturally have a high EQ, you can learn to become more of an emotionally intelligent person.


The following are five ways to improve your EQ.

  • Develop strong communication skills: Emotionally intelligent people know how to communicate effectively. One of the first steps to improving your EQ is learning how to communicate with your partner effectively.
  • Practice active listening: To improve your emotional intelligence, you need to be a good listener. Practice active listening by focusing on what your partner is saying and reassuring them of your interest by nodding your head or asking questions.
  • Pay attention to how others feel: An important aspect of improving emotional intelligence is paying close attention to your partner’s nonverbal cues to understand how your words and actions make them feel and adjust accordingly.
  • Put yourself in their shoes: Part of being emotionally intelligent includes being able to respond with empathy. Try putting yourself in your partner’s position and ask yourself how you might feel in their situation.
  • Ask for feedback: Sometimes, having an objective opinion on your behavior can be difficult. Ask your partner to provide you with feedback on the areas where you struggle most to help you improve. For example, you could ask them to rate how adaptable you are, your response to difficult situations, and your ability to resolve conflict.





What Does A Relationship Low In Emotional Intelligence Look Like?



Emotionally intelligent people are typically better romantic partners. A relationship where one or both partners have low emotional intelligence can be really difficult and stressful. Often, you may not even realize that this is the source of your relationship issues.


Here are six telltale signs of low emotional intelligence.

  • Very Few Close Friends: If someone has very few or no close friends or struggles with forming relationships, this could be an indication that they have low EQ. Relationships require sharing emotions, being compassionate, and providing emotional support, which can be difficult for someone with low emotional intelligence.
  • Inability to Control Their Emotions: Emotionally intelligent people are able to practice emotional regulation. If someone often lashes out in anger or suddenly becomes overly excited over the smallest things, that’s a clear sign that they’re unable to control their emotions.
  • They Always Have to Be Right: Someone with low emotional intelligence will argue their point without listening to what anyone else says. They often find themselves in arguments and find it difficult to ‘agree to disagree.’
  • Struggle to Read Nonverbal Cues: The ability to read and correctly interpret others’ nonverbal emotional cues is a sign of emotional intelligence. If someone can’t read obvious happiness or anger, this is an indication of low EQ.
  • They’re Insensitive: If someone constantly fails to read the room and appropriately respond to the emotional tone of their environment, it could be an indication of low emotional intelligence— for example, someone who makes jokes at a funeral or immediately after a tragic event.
  • They Blame Others For Their Problems: People who are incapable of holding themselves accountable for their actions and whose first reaction is to find someone to blame might have low EQ. People with emotional intelligence have insight into how their emotional expressions and actions can lead to issues.




What Type Of Therapy Helps Improve Emotional Intelligence?


Low EQ can cause a lot of relationship issues. Fortunately, therapy is an excellent option for help with improving emotional intelligence. One of the most effective forms of psychological treatment for low emotional intelligence is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).


Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of talk therapy that aims to change how you think to help you manage your problems. The goal of CBT is to help you manage overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable parts. Unlike other forms of talk therapy, CBT focuses on current issues rather than delving into the past and provides practical, daily solutions to help improve your mindset.


Through CBT, people can identify and change their negative thought patterns, reduce negative emotions, and improve emotional intelligence.


In conclusion, emotional intelligence is about understanding and responding to emotions. By becoming a more emotionally intelligent person, you can better communicate, empathize, and improve your relationship and overall well-being.






“The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral group therapy training on improving emotional intelligence and general health of adolescents.” NCBI, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319290/. Accessed 21 December 2023.

“How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence – Professional Development | Harvard DCE.” Harvard Professional Development, 26 August 2019, https://professional.dce.harvard.edu/blog/how-to-improve-your-emotional-intelligence/. Accessed 21 December 2023.

“Overview – Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).” NHS, https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/talking-therapies-medicine-treatments/talking-therapies-and-counselling/cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt/overview/. Accessed 21 December 2023.

Xu, Richard Huan, et al. “Promoting Well-Being: The Contribution of Emotional Intelligence.” Frontiers, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01182/full? Accessed 21 December 2023.



Written By: Sharelle Timothy

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, LMFT

Published : 12/27/2023


Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives. We do this through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. Inspired by this, we write content for your own education. Also, our content is researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals.  However, the information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Additionally, it should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

Written and reviewed by

Dr Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, ACS, LMFT

Dr. Kyle Zrenchik is the Co-Founder of ALL IN, the Creator of the Couples Erotic Flow model for treating sexual issues in individuals and couples, Designer of the Deep Dive programs at ALL IN, and is one of the most well-respected couples counselors in the Twin Cities.

Need Help ?