10 things emotionally intelligent people always do (but never talk about)

Have you ever noticed how some people are really good at dealing with others?

They seem to know exactly what to say, how to make people feel better, and how to keep things calm even when everything is a bit chaotic. They’re the folks who just seem to “get it” when it comes to understanding and managing emotions.

What’s their secret? Well, it’s something called emotional intelligence. But it’s not just about being kind or understanding people’s feelings. It’s a special mix of knowing yourself, being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, staying motivated, and being good with people.

People with high emotional intelligence have some special habits. They don’t really talk about them, but these habits make them really good at handling emotions.

In this article, we’re going to share these secrets with you. We’re going to talk about 10 things that emotionally intelligent people always do, but hardly ever mention. 

Let’s go. 

1. They Listen More Than They Speak

We all know that one person who always seems to make us feel like we’re the most important person in the room. That’s because they genuinely listen when we talk, rather than just waiting for their turn to speak.

But it’s not just about staying silent. They’re actively involved in the conversation, making sure they understand what’s being said, asking questions, and showing they’re interested.

This helps them understand people better, making them great at handling emotions and making others feel heard and valued.

They’re the folks who make you feel like they “get” you, even if they don’t agree with everything you say.

This habit helps them build stronger relationships with the people around them. Even though they don’t always talk about it, it’s a big part of their emotional intelligence.

2. They’re In Touch With Their Feelings

Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand others’ feelings, they’re also pretty tuned in to their own emotions. This means they’re aware of how they’re feeling at different times and why they might be feeling that way.

Instead of ignoring their feelings or pretending they’re not there, they acknowledge them. They might feel happy, sad, frustrated, or excited, and that’s okay. They know that feelings are a normal part of life.

Being in touch with their feelings helps them understand themselves better. They know what makes them happy, what stresses them out, and what they need to do to feel better. They also use this understanding to guide their decisions and actions.

This is something they do without really thinking about it, but it’s a huge part of their emotional intelligence. Understanding your own feelings is a big step towards understanding and managing the feelings of others.

3. They Don’t Just Understand, They Feel With You

Imagine a friend who, instead of just saying, “I understand,” really makes you feel that they’re right there with you, in your joy or pain. That’s a friend with high emotional intelligence.

These are people who are truly great at empathy—it’s like they can step into your shoes, see the world through your eyes, and feel what you’re feeling. It’s a pretty special skill to have.

I remember once, after a particularly rough day at work, I met up with my friend Mia. She’s one of those people with emotional intelligence in spades.

As I shared my frustrations, Mia didn’t just nod and offer clichéd advice. She seemed to really feel my exasperation. It was as if my challenge had become hers.

Empathy isn’t just about understanding, it’s about sharing feelings. It’s about being there, not just in mind, but in heart.

It’s not always easy—it requires setting your own feelings aside and truly connecting with the other person. But people like Mia do it because they know that this deep connection is the cornerstone of all meaningful relationships.

They don’t often talk about this, maybe because they just naturally embody empathy. But if you look closely, you’ll see that empathy is a key part of their approach to interactions and relationships.

4. They Don’t Let Failure Get Them Down

Here’s a fascinating fact: emotionally intelligent people view failure differently than most. Instead of seeing it as a dead end, they see it as a stepping stone toward success.

These folks understand that failure is a part of life and doesn’t define their worth or capabilities. When they fail at something, they don’t beat themselves up. Instead, they take a step back, assess what went wrong, learn from it, and use this new wisdom to do better next time.

This positive outlook on failure helps them to stay motivated and resilient, even in tough situations.

It’s an essential part of their emotional intelligence toolkit, helping them to bounce back from adversity and keep moving forward, no matter what life throws their way.

It’s a habit they keep close to the chest, but it’s a powerful one that keeps them resilient and ever-evolving.

5. They Know When To Say ‘No’

Emotionally intelligent people understand something that’s truly heartfelt: the power and importance of saying ‘no’.

It’s a small word, but one that can be surprisingly tough to say. Yet, it’s often the key to maintaining emotional health and personal boundaries.

They recognize that they can’t be everything to everyone. They can’t always agree to every request or opportunity that comes their way without overstretching themselves.

They understand the value of their own time and emotional well-being. So, they’ve mastered the art of declining requests or commitments that may not align with their needs, values, or schedule.

Saying ‘no’ can be seen as a form of self-respect and self-care. It’s about knowing your limits, standing up for your needs, and not letting others take advantage of your time or goodwill.

While they may not openly discuss this practice, it’s a principle they live by. It allows them to create a balance in their life that respects both their own needs and those of others.

This ability to prioritize and protect their emotional well-being is an unsung attribute of their emotional intelligence.

6. They Appreciate the Small Things

Emotionally intelligent people have this charming habit—they take the time to appreciate the small things in life.

Let me share an example from my life. I have a friend, let’s call him Jack. Jack is one of those people who is truly tuned in to the world around him, savoring the tiny details most of us would overlook.

One day, we were out for a walk when he stopped suddenly. “Look at that,” he said, pointing at a flower poking through a crack in the sidewalk.

Where I saw an ordinary flower, he saw a symbol of resilience, a dash of beauty in the urban jungle. He appreciated the small things—the early morning sun on his face, the laughter of a child in the park, the comforting aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

Appreciating the small things helps emotionally intelligent people like Jack stay positive and grounded. They know life isn’t just about the big moments, but also about these little joys that add color to everyday existence.

This habit, though often unspoken, brings a richness to their lives and encourages an attitude of gratitude and mindfulness.

7. They’re Not Afraid of Change

Here’s the raw truth: change can be scary. It’s the unknown, the unfamiliar. But guess what? Emotionally intelligent people get that, and they’re not scared off by it.

They recognize that change, while it can be uncomfortable, is a fact of life, and often, it’s the only way to grow and move forward.

They don’t pretend to have all the answers or to always feel super confident about new situations. They may feel unsure, nervous, or even a bit scared.

But instead of running away from these feelings, they embrace them. They allow themselves to feel vulnerable because they understand it’s part of being human.

They realize that change isn’t a monster to be feared, but rather a teacher to learn from. It’s a chance to adapt, evolve, and become better versions of themselves.

They don’t usually broadcast this attitude, but it’s there, woven into the fabric of their resilience and grit. It’s what keeps them moving, learning, and growing.

8. They Regularly Practice Mindfulness

There is a strong link between mindfulness and emotional intelligence.

Mindfulness, the practice of focusing on the present moment without judgement, helps to increase self-awareness—one of the core components of emotional intelligence.

People with high emotional intelligence often incorporate mindfulness into their daily routine. They take time each day to sit quietly, breathe deeply, and focus on the present. They might meditate, go for a quiet walk, or simply sit and focus on their breath.

Mindfulness allows them to tune in to their emotions and thoughts, to understand them without being overwhelmed. This, in turn, helps them to manage their own emotions and understand the emotions of others better.

Even though they may not openly talk about their mindfulness practice, it’s a key habit that supports their emotional intelligence. It helps them stay balanced, calm, and centered, no matter what’s happening around them.

9. They Make Time For Self-Care

High emotional intelligence doesn’t just happen—it’s cultivated, nurtured, and often, it requires a significant amount of self-care. Here’s how I discovered this important habit in my own life:

A few years back, I was going through a particularly stressful time. Work was demanding, and my personal life was a whirlwind. It felt like I was juggling a thousand things, and my emotions were all over the place. That’s when I met Sarah.

Sarah was one of those people who radiated calm and understanding. She seemed to be in tune with her emotions and those of people around her. One day, I asked her how she managed it. Her answer? Self-care.

Sarah made self-care a priority in her life. Whether it was taking a quiet walk in the park, practicing yoga, reading a book, or simply indulging in her favorite ice cream, she made sure she spent some time each day doing something she loved, something that made her feel good.

She taught me that taking care of our emotional health is just as important as physical health. By making time for self-care, we can recharge our emotional batteries, better manage stress, and ultimately enhance our emotional intelligence.

From then on, I made sure to incorporate self-care into my daily routine—it has made a world of difference. This subtle practice, though not often discussed, is an essential habit of emotionally intelligent people.

10. They Let Go Of Grudges

Here’s some raw honesty for you: holding onto grudges is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.

Emotionally intelligent people understand this truth deeply. They know that resentment and anger only weigh you down and keep you stuck in the past.

It’s not that they don’t get hurt or angry. They do. They’re human, after all. But they also understand the power of forgiveness, the liberation that comes from letting go.

It doesn’t mean they forget the wrong done to them or allow people to keep hurting them. It means they choose to release the burden of resentment so they can move forward in their lives.

Letting go of grudges isn’t about the other person—it’s about your own peace of mind. It’s about freeing yourself from the heavy chains of the past and making room for growth and positivity in your life.

People with high emotional intelligence often keep this practice close to their hearts.

It’s not something they broadcast, but it’s a cornerstone of their emotional health. It’s part of how they keep their hearts light and their minds clear, ready to embrace the present and the future with open arms.


So, there you have it: 10 habits of emotionally intelligent people that they don’t often talk about. These aren’t just skills, but ways of living, from appreciating the small things in life to letting go of grudges.

Emotional intelligence is not about becoming a different person, it’s about nurturing these habits to better understand yourself and others.

Remember, we’re all on our own unique journey, and emotional intelligence is a road that keeps unfolding as we learn and grow.

The beautiful part is, no matter where you’re starting from, these habits can help you enhance your emotional savvy, one step at a time.

Here’s to a more emotionally intelligent world—unspoken secrets and all!




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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets.

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