Emotional intelligence is linked to a host of positive outcomes in life—improved mental health, greater success at work and school and possibly even higher IQ scores. EQ is the new IQ, and, in many ways, serves as a greater predictor of success. However, schools often fail to implement enough social and emotional learning programs to help students succeed.
While IQ can be measured through a battery of tests that analyze all aspects of cognitive abilities, an individual’s EQ is a little more difficult to determine. Emotional intelligence assessments have become increasingly popular as a means to gauge emotional responses, self regulation skills and other key components that are so integral to emotional intelligence. These tests are often administered for pre-employment screenings but are not significantly prominent in the academic sphere, although some graduate programs have integrated EQ tests into their admissions process.
So how do you know if you’re one of the many individuals who naturally possess a high EQ? There are a few traits that are indicative of a strong emotional intelligence and, thus, a high EQ. Here are five signs that may mean that you possess a high EQ:
1. You can handle constructive criticism.
Having a job performance, school paper or even a class project critiqued negatively is a sobering experience. But according to Forbes, individuals who can face criticism without “denial, blame, excuses or anxiety” demonstrate a strong emotional intelligence. Those who choose to see constructive criticism as feedback for further improvement can learn from the experience instead of viewing criticism as a negative experience.
2. You’re socially aware
Every individual is guided by their morals and personal judgment—this is our character. Those with emotional intelligence are able to read other people and understand them, easily. This makes conflict easier to avoid. Social awareness is an essential survival skill for kids, which is a reason that when kids are more socially aware they are less likely to be at-risk for violence at schools.
3. You don’t overextend yourself.
Self management is a hallmark trait of high EQ. Those with high EQ, however, know what they can handle—and what they can’t. This means they know when to say no to a request…and they likely don’t feel guilty.
4. You’re grateful.
Emotional intelligence embraces the positive. And many with high emotional intelligence are happy positive individuals who recognize the blessings in their lives and can appreciate small gains as well as big wins. Even criticism is taken as a positive (see above!).
5. You can empathize with others.
According to Marcel Schwantes in an article for Inc., empathy is one of four major traits that signal emotional intelligence. EQ involves social awareness, and empathy is a huge factor in relating to others. Schwantes notes that empathetic individuals (and those with a high EQ) will “think about their colleagues’ circumstances, understand their challenges and frustrations, and know that those emotions are every bit as real as their own.”
These five attributes are in no way an exhaustive list of traits for individuals with high EQ. Remember that emotional intelligence incorporates many positive emotional traits within several core competencies including self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills and good decision making. Like IQ, emotional intelligence is very much a spectrum. Those with high EQ exhibit emotional aptitude across all the core competencies, but every individual has unique emotional strengths and weaknesses. No one is perfect—and those with high EQ would likely agree!