I encounter so many people from different walks of life. Very, very few of them really understand what empathy is. Even fewer actually listen to what the other has to say. Maybe a handful understand how their actions or words can affect another person. Many think that the world begins and ends with them.

This is what constitutes a tremendous lack of emotional intelligence. Now, when it comes to emotional intelligence it is rarely learnt. You either have it or you don’t. But you can check yourself. 

Rule #1- when someone is telling you that something is making them sad, do not immediately jump in with what is making you sad. It is not helpful and it is incredibly selfish. And it makes the other person feel completely alone. Take it in turns or speak to someone else about your problem.

Rule #2- if you are going to bother to help someone, make sure to help them in the way they need, rather than in the way you think they need. When you do this, you may feel good and with a clear conscience because you ‘helped’ but really all you did was help yourself feel good, probably with minimal effort because you did not take the time to listen to what the other person actually needed. And probably, you put the person in a worse predicament because they don’t want to seem ungrateful for your non-help.

Rule #3- emotionally unintelligent people take everything at face value. They will take anything you say literally. By doing that, they avoid really understanding your point and thus avoiding any responsibility because if they understand your point it may mean having to take action, or worse still for them, admit defeat. Be brave. Take on the challenge to truly understand another person.

Rule #4- don’t be ashamed of defeat. When you concede that another person is right, it gives you a connection and it means that you really understood where they were coming from. Emotionally intelligent people understand that there is no winning or losing, only growing and learning.

Rule #5- if you are an emotionally unintelligent person, recognise it and admit it. But that takes emotional intelligence, so you probably won’t. They will never associate themselves with bad qualities like selfishness, superficiality or plain stupidity. They are very unaware of themselves and the unfavorable qualities they may harbour. And even if you tell them they will never accept it. And that is why such people remain emotionally unintelligent, because they never learn and grow because they think they are just perfect just the way they are.

Can such a thing ever be overcome? Really and truly, I don’t really think so. But I do believe that even if one is not emotionally intelligent in every possible way, if we just make an effort to be kinder to each other, it’s a foot in the door.