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12 Signs That Your Partner Lacks Emotional Intelligence

Are they unmoved by puppies or great movies?

Source: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

People with high emotional intelligence, or "EQ," tend to make better relationship partners. Does your partner have high EQ? Consider these 12 signs that someone lacks emotional intelligence:

1. Unable to control their emotions. Emotionally intelligent people are able to regulate and control their emotions. If your partner is prone to lashing out in anger—or gets over-the-top giddy for no reason—he or she likely lacks this core element of EQ.

2. Clueless about your feelings. The ability to read others’ nonverbal emotional cues, such as facial expressions, is a critical component of EQ. If your partner can’t read your obvious displeasure, or thinks that your happiness is really contempt, there will be problems making emotional connections.

3. Can’t maintain friendships. High-EQ individuals have strong networks of friends and acquaintances. If your partner is unable to make or maintain good relationships with friends and colleagues, this is an indicator of low EQ.

4. Always has a “poker face.” While reading others’ emotions is important for EQ, so is the ability to express your own. If you can never tell how or what your partner is really feeling (especially if you are generally good at reading others’ emotions), it’s likely that your partner is missing this key element of emotional intelligence.

5. Is emotionally inappropriate. Making jokes at a funeral; getting angry over nothing; not realizing that he/she is angering someone—these are signs that your partner doesn’t understand the social workings of emotions and emotional expression, which is another important aspect of EQ.

6. Can’t cope with sadness. An inability to manage others’ emotions indicates a lack of emotional intelligence. Low-EQ individuals have particular difficulty in reacting to others’ negative emotions.

7. Is emotionally “tone deaf.” A great deal of emotion is communicated through tone of voice. If your partner can’t sense your irritation or joy from the next room, it may be an indicator of a deficit in detecting emotions in voice tone.

8. Can’t really be sympathetic. Empathy and sympathy involve recognizing others' emotional states and reflecting back appropriate emotional concern. This is a complex skill that suggests high levels of emotional intelligence.

9. Has no volume control. Of course, we’re talking about emotional volume here. Too-loud emotional reactions, whether positive or negative, suggest difficulty in controlling emotions.

10. Is completely unmoved by emotional movies. Whether they are love stories, thrillers, or horror films, a good indicator of low EQ is having little emotional resonance with a film.

11. Trivializes emotions in general. Low-EQ individuals are often somewhat aware of it and will therefore downplay the importance of emotions, saying that what really matters is cool, calm logic and cognition. Don’t be fooled: Emotions are not only an important part of communication and relationship development, they are critical for effective thinking, particularly when it comes to dealing with crises or risk.

12. Doesn’t get the dog. Dogs are social animals with a wide range of emotions and emotional displays. If your partner appears unaware of your dog’s emotional states, it may be a sign of low EQ.

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