Why it’s Important for Introverts to Become Emotionally Intelligent
- Guest Author
- October 4, 2017
- Emotional Intelligence
- No responses
Introversion exists on a spectrum: there are varying degrees of introversion. People who identify as introverts gain their energy from within themselves, and often feel overwhelmed or exhausted after social encounters that require a lot of outward facing energy. As a result, it can be hard for introverts to know how to expel that energy in a way that doesn’t leave them feeling physically and mentally drained. Enter emotional intelligence: one’s ability to be aware of and control their own emotions, and interact with people in an empathic way.
Introverts can benefit from becoming more emotionally intelligent because it can reduce the amount of energy they need to exert in a social situation. For one thing, when an introvert has to worry about interacting in a social situation, it can take away from the interaction because all of the mental capacity is focused on the situation; however, if introverts focus on their emotions, and interacting with the emotions of others, they can enjoy interactions more and be able to engage in them more effectively.
Being emotionally intelligent means being able to connect with people in an empathic way. Empathy refers to a person’s ability to not only understand what someone is going through, but they have lived it themselves, or they can so fully immerse themselves in the feelings of another person that they can feel the experience with them. This is a helpful skill for introverts to learn because it means that their energy can be spent building up another person, rather than trying to keep up with them.
Because introverts are sometimes thought to be cold or standoffish, becoming emotionally intelligent can lead to more fulfilling relationships with a better understanding from both parties. For people who are not introverted, it can be difficult to read introverts or understand why they need to be by themselves for long periods of time. But if an introvert is able to properly communicate their needs, and explain their emotions in a way that does not put people off, they can spend more time enjoying relationships rather than trying to find their place in them.
Emotional intelligence can also allow you to label your emotions in a productive way so that you can work through your own feelings, rather than taking them out on other people. People who have strong emotional intelligence can use labels in conversations to describe their feelings; for example, an introvert might retreat when they are feeling overwhelmed by a difficult conversation, but an introvert with developing emotional intelligence will be able to declare their feelings of overwhelm and clearly articulate why they feel that way. This can provide more opportunity for agreement, settlement and more.
While introverts are often unassuming and stick to themselves, introverts with high emotional intelligence can actually influence the way others see them, and have a keen ability to influence the feelings of others as well. Emotional intelligence is not only about controlling and influence your own emotions, but the emotions of others. This seems tricky and maybe a bit sly, but really, it’s because introverts with strong emotional intelligence can label emotions for themselves and others. They can help put words to feelings that not all people can do for themselves. There is an interesting implication here, where introverts with strong emotional intelligence could manipulate others into feeling a certain way, but emotional intelligence is meant as a positive superpower and not a negative one.
Introverts often make good leaders because of the deep level of introspection and reflection they engage in on a regular basis, but because they are often closed off to people, it can be difficult for them to take on leadership roles. Developing a stronger level of emotional intelligence could help an introvert become a strong leader because they would have the vocabulary and skill to describe and control their emotions, which helps during heated conflict-based situations. They can also help employees and other co-workers to identify and manage their own emotions on the job.
If developing your emotional intelligence sounds like something that you might be interested in, there are a number of ways to practice getting better at it. One way is to start paying attention to how you are feeling during different times of the day. Do you feel optimistic or down in the morning? Do you feel hopeful or resent for in the evening? What about when you get angry? How long does it last? Another way to try and develop emotional intelligence is to see the subtle differences in how you respond to someone, rather than react to everything they say. This can help you keep pace with someone so you don’t become overwhelmed, and create more opportunity for rewarding relationships. Responding shows that you are listening to the other person, reacting is a personal expression that takes away from your energy levels. Finally, remember that you can’t become more emotionally intelligent overnight, but if you stick with it, pay attention to your emotions and be honest about how you are feeling with others, you’ll be on your way to developing a strong emotional intelligence level in no time.
Having grown up in a family-owned business, and now working as the Content Director for Karrass – a company specializing in negotiation training for businesses – John is grateful for the many opportunities he’s had to share his passion for business and writing.
Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleashing your professional potential. Introvert Whisperer