Low Emotional Intelligence Signs And How To Deal With It

Do you ever feel like you just can’t read the room? Like everyone else knows something you don’t, and you’re left feeling confused and out of place? If so, you might be dealing with low emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

Many experts now believe that emotional intelligence is more important than intelligence itself because it is needed in every facet of your life.

It’s a crucial skill in both personal and professional settings, as it allows you to navigate social situations with ease and build strong relationships. But for some people, EQ doesn’t come naturally.

If you’re struggling with this problem, you might find yourself missing social cues, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, or struggling to connect with others.

It can be frustrating and isolating, but the good news is that EQ is a skill that can be developed with practice and effort.

So if you’re ready to improve your emotional intelligence and start thriving in social situations, read on!

Table of Contents

What is Low Emotional Intelligence?

The absence of emotional intelligence is the inability to perceive, understand, or handle emotions in oneself and that of others.

It is a condition where an individual struggles to recognize, regulate, and express their emotions. It is also known as emotional quotient (EQ) deficiency.

People with this issue may find it difficult to understand and manage their feelings and emotions.

It means you lack proper information to interact with yourself and others which is the core of existence.

Related: Understanding Social Intelligence: A Guide to Navigating Social Situations

It is characterised by a lack of empathy, poor social skills, and difficulty in understanding the emotions of others leading to misunderstandings and conflicts.

A lady with low emotional intelligence being made to understand a point

The causes of this problem are not fully understood.

However, it is believed that:

  • Genetics
  • Environment, and
  • Upbringing

May all play a role.

Some experts suggest that a lack of emotional support during childhood can lead to low emotional intelligence in adulthood.

However, it could result also from medical conditions like alexithymia or autism. It could also be a result of mental health conditions.

Others believe that genetics may be a factor, as some people may be born with a predisposition to poor emotional intelligence.

However, it is important to note that having a medical condition does not necessarily mean that an individual has low emotional intelligence.

The good thing is that you can improve and do away with your low emotional intelligence and have, smooth and productive interactions with yourself, society, and nature at large.

Here is a comprehensive article on the causes of low emotional intelligence.

Effects of Low Emotional Intelligence

If you have this problem, it can have a significant impact on your personal relationships, your workplace, and society as a whole.

In Personal Relationships

Lacking in emotional intelligence can make it difficult for you to form and maintain healthy relationships.

You may struggle to understand and empathise with your partner’s feelings, which can lead to misunderstandings and conflict.

You may also struggle to regulate your own emotions, which can cause you to overreact or become defensive in arguments.

Additionally, it can make it challenging for you to build trust with others. You may struggle to recognise when you have hurt someone’s feelings, which can cause them to feel unsupported and unvalued.

This can lead to a breakdown in communication and ultimately damage your relationship.

In the Workplace

Low EQ can also have a significant impact on your performance at work. You may struggle to work effectively in a team, as you may find it challenging to understand and respond appropriately to your colleagues’ emotions.

This can lead to misunderstandings and conflict, which can ultimately impact the productivity of the team.

Additionally, low emotional intelligence can make it difficult for you to manage your own emotions in the workplace.

Related: Self-Awareness Skills And Their Importance

You may struggle to regulate your emotions when faced with stressful situations, which can impact your ability to make sound decisions and perform at your best.

Finally, being low in emotional intelligence can impact your ability to communicate effectively with your colleagues and managers.

You may struggle to recognize the emotional needs of others, which can lead to misunderstandings and a breakdown in communication.

In Society

Lack of emotional intelligence can also have a broader impact on society as a whole. Individuals with the problem may struggle to understand and empathise with the emotions of others, which can lead to a lack of compassion and understanding in society.

Additionally, lack of EQ can impact the way individuals interact with others from different backgrounds and cultures.

Manifestations and signs of low emotional intelligence

Because our daily living depends on our thoughts, emotions, and how we handle them, low emotional intelligence has many ways it manifests.

Below are some of the ways you can spot it in people.

They are selfish: People who are low in EQ are selfish human beings that is driven by the most basic instincts of humans. He is always after what he can get. No regard for other people’s predicament. When they get what they want, they run off. They would only feel concerned when they have something to gain, and they won’t even cloak it.

They are rude people: Persons who lack emotional intelligence are extremely rude because they don’t care how you feel. In fact, most of them derive from the hurt people feel when they are taunted. Their intimidation comes from the fact they can’t beat you in communication, they try to abuse you and might even get physical.

They are predictable: For the fact they don’t know how to hide their feelings, they are always predictable which is a very poor attribute of humans. People will refrain from discussing important issues with you because they won’t want to be emotionally blackmailed or engage in unproductive bants.

Related: 15 Phrases That Make You Emotionally Intelligent

They are vulnerable to emotions/Emotional outbursts: They can be tossed about by any emotion that comes about – anger, sadness, depression, happiness, hatred, and more. They lack the capacity to suppress or cloak emotions even when it is to their own advantage. They can let their hatred show so much that it can be detrimental to their advantage. This is why they can burst out in anger in public, burst into tears, or act in ways that are not expected, driven by emotions.

They always want to be right: It is easy to spot someone who would always be right. He does not claim to be right because he knows his facts are superior. He claims to be right because he feels it will bruise his ego to admit it. This is why they can argue for the whole day without discarding their poor notion about an idea for the sake of winning an argument. When you meet this type, you would waste your time and energy before you realise it because they would argue to death.

They are oblivious to other people’s emotions: They would be surprised that their actions have made people angry. Most of the time, they don’t know when they have hurt people. And they would go ahead to tell you you are not supposed to get angry because they don’t have a leg to put in your shoes to feel your pain. These people are blunt to the core and the sorry part is that they are confident being emotionally deficient.

Also Read: 10 Powerful Emotions Used in Persuasion

They are not sensitive: Low-intelligent people are insensitive and always do not know how to put their words to match situations. They follow their emotions. Whatever and however the emotions are ready to present themselves, they oblige. They don’t know what is appropriate or not at any given time. There are things that are supposed to be said with timing but they don’t care. For instance, they might say things that are not supposed at a funeral or make inappropriate jokes when people are in a mourning mood. The term you overly sensitive when you caution them. They also get upset when you try to let them understand how you are feeling.

They blame everyone but themselves: They have little or no insight into how their lack of, or spilling emotions might cause problems. The only thing they would not do is hold themself accountable for the troubles they caused. They would try to find a convenient person to blame and suggest that they had no other choice for what they did. Whew! These people are terrible. For instance, if you caution them about reading your message, they blame you for leaving your phone unlocked.

They hardly adapt: Low-intelligent people find it difficult to condition their minds to accept a situation. Even when the situation is in their own favour, so far, they are uncomfortable, they might lose the favour.  These individuals would always walk away from tough situations because they don’t need stress, especially when it has something to do with emotions.

They don’t have stable relationships: People with low emotional intelligence struggle with relationships and this is why they have very few friends with whom they fight all the time. Their poor social intelligence and relationship management play out all the time. Especially when they are expected to show empathy or apologise for a wrongdoing. Having compassion is an issue for them. Whatever requires a give-and-take is not for a person low in emotional intelligence.

They make themselves the centre of conversation: Emotional intelligence-deficient people just like being selfish, and like to be the centre of the conversation. They would always find a way to turn the conversation about themselves. For instance, they would give anecdotes of similar situations in their lives and go on and on to talk about themselves on the matter deflating attention to the matter being discussed.

They are proud people: You will always notice how pride is written all over them. However, most of them are not proud because they want to. You see, when you lack confidence, you feel inferior, sometimes it comes off as pride because you don’t want to associate or you don’t know how to be a friend. However, the majority of the low emotionally intelligent people have crude pride that is built on nothingness.

How to deal with people with low emotional intelligence

For some people, handling people who are low in emotional intelligent is a herculean task. They might end up getting upset or even having an altercation with them because they misunderstand them.

Here are ways you can manage low emotional intelligent people:

1. Listen and listen well and don’t be rude

However, if you understand yourself to be emotionally intelligent, then you already have the skill to navigate them and everyone comes out feeling good in the end. But how long?

As somebody who is more emotionally intelligent than them, you understand better and know that you are the one to exercise patience.

You have to pay attention while listening attentively to what they say.

Low EQ persons are quite easy to handle by disarming them with calculated silence, listening, and nodding in agreement from time to time.

This strategy is effective because it does not give them fresh keywords to use for talking more.

You will only talk briefly to validate their take or chip in a word or two and allow them to run out of words, that is if they will do.

Trying to win a talking time or talk at length will energize them more or upset them.

They would graciously seek your opinion when they feel the conversation is monotonous.

ALSO READ: Why Multitasking is Dangerous

The majority of the time, they don’t realize their repelling attitude. But some of them who know they are terrible at communication and expressing emotions prefer to avoid such conversation entirely unless it is really necessary.

You might want to be rude to cut them off, but then you are the one with high emotional intelligent traits.

Listening to a boring story with empathy and kindness won’t hurt. The key is to listen so they talk themselves out and feel they have won. But you did win because your strategy worked for you.

2. Open up to them and tell them how you feel

When dealing with a person who is poor at discerning your mood or your point of view, you can tell them how you feel, because that’s the only way since they can’t understand body language or pick up cues in voice tones that are greater factors in communication than spoken words.

It is important they understand how you feel first as there is no point playing a silent game or waiting forever to see if they will figure it out, and the chance is, they won’t. Why? Because they are emotionally daft.

However, communicating with them is inevitable especially when they are your colleague, family member, or a close friend.

It is in excessive good taste to find ways to be around them without always heating up conversations.

Related: The importance of improving self-awareness

3. How about if opening up is a waste of time?

Chances are that they won’t still understand when you open up because they are averse to emotions.

Your tears, worry, frustration, or anger are not going to make them sympathize with you.

Instead, they would regard you as someone with low self-esteem, get upset, or withdraw. You have to remain calm, say your mind and then quit talking.

4. Don’t take everything personally

You might feel offended, but the truth is they might not even realize they offended you as they are emotionally clueless, even when you point it out. It can only prolong the argument.

The best thing to do is to stay calm or detach yourself from the situation entirely.

Improving Emotional Intelligence

If you struggle with this problem, don’t worry – there are steps you can take to improve it. By focusing on specific areas, you can increase your self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Here are some tips:


  • Reflect on your emotions and reactions to situations
  • Ask for feedback from others to gain a different perspective
  • Keep a journal to track your emotions and triggers


  • Practice mindfulness and meditation to help control your emotions
  • Take a pause before reacting to a situation
  • Set boundaries for yourself and others


  • Set achievable goals for yourself
  • Find purpose and meaning in your work and personal life
  • Focus on the positive outcomes of a situation


  • Practice active listening to understand others’ perspectives
  • Put yourself in others’ shoes to gain empathy
  • Validate others’ emotions and experiences

Social Skills

  • Practice effective communication, both verbal and nonverbal
  • Collaborate with others and work towards common goals
  • Develop a sense of humour and learn to laugh at yourself


So, there you have it – a crash course in low emotional intelligence. Hopefully, you’ve learned a thing or two about the importance of emotional intelligence and how to spot when someone is lacking in this area.

Remember, having this problem doesn’t make you a bad person – it just means you may struggle in certain areas of life. The good news is that emotional intelligence can be improved with practice and effort.

If you recognise any of the signs of low EQ in yourself, don’t despair. There are plenty of resources available to help you improve your emotional intelligence and become a more well-rounded individual.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is low emotional intelligence?

It refers to a person’s inability to recognise, understand, and manage their own emotions and the emotions of others. People with low emotional intelligence may struggle to connect with others, manage stress, and communicate effectively.

What causes low emotional intelligence?

There is no one specific cause of low EQ. It can be due to a variety of factors, including genetics, upbringing, and life experiences. Some people may simply have a harder time with emotional intelligence than others.

Can you improve your emotional intelligence?

Yes, you can improve your emotional intelligence with practice and effort. This can include taking courses or workshops, working with a therapist, and practicing mindfulness and other self-awareness techniques.

What are some signs of low emotional intelligence?

Some signs include difficulty in managing emotions, poor communication skills, lack of empathy, and difficulty in building and maintaining relationships.

Can low emotional intelligence be a barrier to success?

Yes, it can be a barrier to success. People with low emotional intelligence may struggle to work well with others, manage stress, and communicate effectively, all of which can impact their ability to succeed in both personal and professional settings.


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A Personal Development Content Creator and an author. I write about life ethics and love to document and share life hacks and experiences of people to help others make good life decisions.

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