Harvard psychologist and theorist, Howard Gardner said, ““Your EQ (emotional intelligence level) is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them.”
That sounds easy enough…unless the people you are trying to understand and cooperate with are toxic and full of negativity. Dealing with difficult people can be challenging at best, and it requires a little more patience than your average interaction.
But people with high emotional intelligence don’t seem to struggle in the same way, or experience as much stress and exhaustion, from dealing with difficult people as everyone else. What is it that they do differently?
1. Set Boundaries
Those with high emotional intelligence are fully aware of the fact that you can not please everyone, nor can you meet everyone’s expectations. That’s basic logic. Humans are unrealistic at times, and we demand unrealistic results. Emotionally intelligent people maintain a safe distance from those constantly “let-down” types, and are confident in their abilities. Because of this, they never sell themselves short, which mean no one else can either.
2. Focus On Solutions
What’s the point of going toe-to-toe with someone who is being problematic? Emotional intelligence teaches us to look for solutions to problems, rather than continue the endless cycle of problem-blame-problem. We can lead much simpler lives if we know where to direct our energy.
3. Don’t Participate In Negative Talk
You’ll find that difficult people are full of negative remarks and criticisms. Emotionally intelligent people don’t listen to these kinds of things, and they don’t engage in conversations that will create tension or stir negative emotions.
4. Focus On The Good
Rather than spend time and energy dwelling on what troubles lie ahead or what problems may arise, those with high emotional intelligence focus on the good in life. They are happy and they love to stay happy with what they do. These types of people find their satisfaction and happiness within rather than from the external opinion of others.
5. Know Your Strengths And Weaknesses
Being an authentic person is part of having high emotional intelligence, and that means knowing and accepting that we all have strengths and weaknesses. We’re not all given the same gift because we are each unique individuals. It is that uniqueness which we should embrace.
6. Forgive, But Don’t Forget
Emotionally intelligent people will forgive you, but they won’t forget. Just because they don’t remind you every chance they get, that doesn’t mean they have forgotten the pain or aggravation. Instead, they remember the past as a means of protection for the future. Sure, people get second chances, but maybe not third or fourth ones. There comes a time when some people must be removed from your life, for your own health and happiness.
7. Have Alone Time
Needing time to recharge and recenter is perfectly normal, and those with high emotional intelligence already are aware of this. They take time to get away from the stress and toxicity of others so they can be the best version of themselves possible. It’s not easy to take all of life’s aggravations with a grain of salt. Some peace and quiet with your own thoughts is a necessary refuge.
8. Know When To Walk Away
This is a big one, and it’s one I struggled with for the longest time. Difficult people have to get the last word, and they know just what to say to press your buttons. It can be easy to fall into their trap and become angry or frustrated. But when we do that, we are contributing to a toxic downward spiral that only feeds their energy- not yours. People with high emotional intelligence know that some battles can’t be won, and sometimes, it is best to walk away.
By Raven Fon