Do any of these statements sound familiar?
Over the years, you've probably heard a ton about IQ, the controversial way of measuring intelligence. And AI, or artificial intelligence, is making headlines because of ChatGPT. But there's another form of intelligence that mental health professionals say plays an important role in the human experience: emotional intelligence.
"Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient or EQ, is the ability to recognize and identify emotions in yourself and others and efficiently manage them," says Dr. Veronica Hlivnenko, a licensed psychologist and holistic health consultant at InPulse. "It means a person can accurately perceive and understand their own emotions and evaluate and interpret how others feel."
People with very high EQs are masters at emotional regulation, Hlivnenko explains. It's unlikely they'll snap, even in a highly stressful situation. Dr. Hlivnenko says EQ contributes to a person's success, empowers communication and helps build strong and lasting relationships.
How can you exude emotional intelligence? Three psychologists have shared 16 emotional intelligence phrases—see if any of them sound familiar.
16 Phrases That Show Emotional Intelligence
1. "I feel...(happy/disappointed/sad)"
Emotional identification is something parents and educators try to teach kids in early childhood—even during infancy. There's a reason.
"People with high EQ clearly know what emotions they are experiencing at the very moment," Dr. Hlivnenko explains. "They perceive and accept them and are not afraid to openly communicate them. It makes the conversation more honest and productive, especially when talking to someone whose EQ is still developing."
No emotion is off-limits.
"Emotionally intelligent people know that accepting negative emotion makes it easier and faster to get over it, and the [perception] of a positive emotion helps prolong the pleasure from it," Dr. Hlivnenko says.
2. "Please let me know how I did"
Feedback is a hallmark of EQ, says Dr. Jameca Woody Cooper, a counseling psychologist
"It can serve as a method to become more self-aware, and it can also strengthen relationships," says Dr. Cooper. "By using this phrase, individuals with high emotional intelligence demonstrate that those around them need positive reinforcement through encouraging feedback."
3. "I understand how you feel"
Hlivnenko says that emotionally intelligent people almost intuitively identify with others.
"They validate and empathize with other people’s difficulties and problems and know what to say to support them and help them handle their emotions, even when they don’t share the same experience," Dr. Hlivnenko explains.
4. "I'd feel the same way in your situation"
Like "I understand what you feel," Dr. Cooper says this statement exudes empathy.
5. "Let's work together to find a solution"
Conflict and challenges can evoke strong emotions.
"This statement shows relationship management and a collaborative approach to problem-solving," says Dr. Alyssa Roberts, a clinical psychologist working at Practical Pie.
6. "How do you feel about it?"
People with a high EQ are good at reading other people's emotions, but they also take a beat before assuming.
"They appreciate the person’s right to recognize their emotions independently, giving them space to do this," says Dr. Hlivnenko. "At the same time, they gently and unobtrusively offer their support and show that they care and are here for them."
Related: The Biggest Predictor of Happiness
7. "Thank you/I appreciate you"
These phrases acknowledge the efforts of others.
"When those with high emotional intelligence display acts of gratitude, this indicates their social awareness and commitment to the feelings of others around them," Dr. Cooper.
8. "I'm proud of you"
Emotionally intelligent people have well-maintained inner happiness, allowing them to be genuinely happy for others, Dr. Hlivnenko says.
"They show support and praise and make it straightforward to a person that their achievements and success, big or small, are meaningful for them and worthy of celebration," she explains. "They also express encouragement and confidence in other people’s abilities, emotionally supporting them in reaching their goals and unleashing their potential."
9. "I'm sorry"
This phrase is a big one.
"People with high emotional intelligence recognize the importance of building or strengthening relationships," Dr. Cooper says. "Recognizing mistakes and taking responsibility by saying, 'I’m sorry I messed up,' shows their ability to be vulnerable by admitting faults."
10. "Let's talk about it later"
Emotionally intelligent people aren't perfect (see: "I'm sorry"). But they can table a challenging conversation before it gets heated.
"Emotionally intelligent people can manage their emotions in challenging situations," Dr. Hlivnenko explains. "If they are experiencing strong negative emotions and see that the conversation stops being productive, they will wisely choose to withdraw for a while to let things cool."
This statement allows the person to revisit the conversation after some reflection.
11. "I need some time to process my emotions"
A more specific version of No. 10, Roberts says that "this statement shows self-awareness and an ability to regulate emotions in a healthy way."
12. "Did I get you right?"
This phrase shows a desire to understand a person fully.
"They show that they root for constructive dialog and promote chances for all parties to self-express and be heard," Dr. Hlivnenko says. "Plus, they prefer to clarify details to avoid misunderstanding and reduce the risk of overthinking and doubting emotions for themselves."
13. "What do you think?"
Again, this question ensures that the dialogue isn't one-sided.
"Emotionally intelligent people...encourage others to take part and share their opinions," Dr. Hlivnenko says. "Due to their positive mindset, they make the conversation more engaging and comfortable, showing that they are interested to hear someone else’s point of view. And in most cases, they genuinely are, as they are willing to learn from other people’s perspectives and open to a fruitful collaboration."
14. "I respect your opinion/decision"
This phrase can be challenging to say, especially when you disagree with someone or were hoping for a different outcome.
"Emotionally intelligent people realize that there are other points of view," Dr. Hlivnenko says. "They value the freedom of thought and judgment and won’t argue to prove that they only are right. Even if they think the opposite, they will politely express their acceptance of other perspectives. They also trust people to make their own decisions."
15. "How can I help you?"
Dr. Hlivnenko notes that people with high EQ are quick to offer assistance to someone in need.
"They are emphatic about the feelings of others and selflessly give emotional support because they understand that in a similar situation, they would wish someone to be there for them too," she says. "They can feel on their own skin how damaging and devastating it can be, and they won’t leave the person, be it their close one or a stranger, to deal with hard times or depressive emotions alone."
16. "I love you"
These three words can be so hard to say. But it's a sign of emotional intelligence if they genuinely roll off the tongue.
"Emotionally intelligent people are not afraid or shy to say these three words addressing their romantic partner, children, parents or friends," Dr. Hlivnenko explains. "Having explored the variety and depth of emotions, they know how many powerful positive messages these words bring to the recipient, from affection and appreciation to support and encouragement."