This week, fans of “The Bachelor” received a dumbed-down lesson in emotional intelligence when one of the "ladies," Taylor, explained to her Bachelor mansion roommate Corinne that she lacked the maturity and emotional intelligence to be with this season's Bachelor, Nick Viall.
Later in the episode, Corinne responded like a true Bachelor villain by calling Taylor “a big mean swamp monster.”
While neither woman showed emotional intelligence, Taylor's simplistic definition that it “kind of speaks to self awareness," is true. But emotional intelligence is certainly more complicated than that.
“Emotional intelligence refers to a higher level of emotional awareness. You are aware of your own emotions and you are aware of other people’s emotions,” explained Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist and author of the book The Power of Different: The Link between Disorder and Genius. “I would question how much emotional intelligence is present on a show like that.”
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While Taylor may know the definition of emotional intelligence, her lecturing Corinne shows that she lacks it as well. Someone with high emotional intelligence would understand that people don’t appreciate condescending discussions.
Even though it's a struggle to see emotional intelligence in Taylor, Corinne and other Bachelor contestants, it is easy to notice it in those who possess it. Here are some things people with high emotional intelligent do differently.
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1. They read a room.
People with high emotional IQs can perceive what other people are feeling. They’d never tell a dirty joke during a meeting because that’s the wrong place for it. Instead they’d save it for happy hour. They understand how they should behave, without seeming creepy or awkward.
“They subtly read a situation,” said Saltz. This subtle understanding helps them to act naturally in all situations.
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2. They’re mindful.
Being emotionally intelligent doesn’t mean people are overly emotional. But they can tell when they are starting to feel something and address it.
Take Corinne’s response to Taylor, calling her a swamp monster. Someone with high emotional intelligence would recognize she’s angry, figure out why, and try to address it in a healthy way. An emotionally intelligent person would have started a discussion about her feelings with the person who hurt them without name-calling.
“They take their awareness and use it to do problem solving,” Saltz said.
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3. They're empathetic.
They recognize when a coworker or friend is feeling sad, just by observing. Then they ask if they can help.
“They are aware the emotions, needs and concerns of other people. They pick up on emotional cues,” said Ann Kearney-Cooke, a psychologist at the Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute.
While Taylor might have realized Corinne felt insecure, she certainly didn’t try to help her. She simply exploited that insecurity.
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4. They’re assertive.
Emotionally intelligent people do understand others and try to empathize with them, but that doesn’t mean they put themselves second. They stand up for their needs by being assertive, but not aggressive.
“They are good at being advocates for themselves,” Kearney-Cooke said. “Sometimes they have to set boundaries.”
5. They’re curious.
When emotionally intelligent people do not understand something, they ask questions to figure it out.
“They would be curious,” said Kearney-Cooke. “They would consider the points the other person is making and also be aware of what is happening with that person and what are their needs and then negotiate.”