What are characteristics of highly emotionally intelligent people? originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by , Electrical Engineer, Systems Designer and Analyst, on Quora:

High EQ people listen to and validate other people’s feelings without judgment.

While high IQ people can understand logical systems and interrelationships between them, high EQ people can understand people and social interrelationships.

The underlying ability to intuitively feel what another person is feeling is missing in most people with high IQs. This is the basis for the common definition of empathy. However, this does not necessarily mean someone who lacks the ability doesn’t have or can’t develop empathy. It just means the empathy will be different.

The foundation of compassion is determined by whether one cares. Most high IQ peopleI know care deeply about people, the human condition, cruelty, injustice, and animals. But usually, they are not good at expressing caring about an individual to that individual. This is usually because they cannot read the other person’s response and fear sets in.

However, someone with a high IQ but relatively little EQ can develop EQ, and even leverage their unique understanding of system relationships. It takes time and effort but is doable just like everything else, with commitment (and some feedback from trusted friends).

  1. Listen and acknowledge without judgment or distraction.
  2. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Hear what they hear. See what they see. Consider that the other person’s emotions are always valid in their context.So never judge the emotions, but instead, understand them as a reasonable response to that person’s life experiences and current situation.
  3. Ask thoughtful questions, like about how they feel when a particular situation happens. Don’t try to fix the problem yet and don’t color their responses with your emotions. Don’t make statements that you were in a similar situation – you weren’t.
  4. Think what pieces of missing information might help the other person. For example, “Did you know that [the person you’re mad at] said that they regretted…” Or, “I read this study that this condition [causing pain] is more common than previously thought.” Leave it at that, very simple, and don’t tell the other person how to think or feel. Let them figure out what they want to do with the information.
  5. Show vulnerability. This makes you accessible and human. Admit your mistakes and poor judgment. Self-deprecating humor is also a good start if you have a good sense of humor.

Good luck!

[IMAGE: Getty]