How to Deal with People that have Low EI

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By: Center For Worklife - Expert Reviewer

How to Deal with People that have Low EI

No matter how resolute one becomes to strengthening their own emotional intelligence level, the fact remains that people around them aren’t necessarily emotionally intelligent. For that matter, even when aware of the emotional intelligence concept, people don’t always want to grow. That leaves an emotionally intelligent individual on an island in a low emotional intelligence ocean. It can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be a drowning experience. A key value of emotional intelligence is its infectious nature. The tips below can help anyone who feels alone and disheartened on the island find hope.

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Table of Contents

How to Deal with Low EI in others

Ride it out
In every workplace, in every family, in every group of friends, there are varying levels of emotional intelligence. For someone who has high emotional intelligence, it can be difficult to understand the thoughts and behaviors of those with lower EI. At the same time, it is important to remember that everyone is always growing as a person, and everyone has shown displays of low EI at some point. No one is above it. What does that mean? It means if individuals continue to show high emotional intelligence traits to others through example, others will also eventually learn.

Discuss it
Most times; an individual won’t react well to being told they have low emotional intelligence and poor people skills. Igniting growth has to be gradual and tactful. How can change be encouraged? When someone with low EI says “I just don’t know how she can stay so calm!” An appropriate response may be “I think she is probably taking a few minutes to digest the situation before going forward. That’s probably a good idea.” This kind of statement is not accusatory or authoritative but suggests a positive line of thinking.

Avoid it
It wouldn’t be realistic to ignore that sometimes situations are just out of hand. A really insensitive boss who won’t change despite staff efforts to combat the behavior or a friend who doesn’t really act like a friend and drags other people down can be very stressful. There are times like those when it may make sense to look for a new job or distance that friendship. However, the avoidance measure should probably be saved for last. In most cases, patience and/or discussion pays off.

Tackle it

If a person is aware they struggle with relationships and their emotions, they can seek training to help. Emotional intelligence training is a good solution to offer a friend or employee who feels like they can’t quite understand their emotions or be intuitive in relationships.

To sum it up, dealing with people that have low EI essentially involves combating their behavior with high EI. As Daniel Goleman said “In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels” (Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ). The trick is learning to understand the side that feels and teaching others to do the same.

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