4 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Don’t Do

Give up these bad habits and your natural emotional intelligence will shine

Nick Wignall
Personal Growth
Published in
7 min readApr 4, 2020


Photo by Ariane Martins from Pexels

Most people think about emotional intelligence as a skill, something you can build and train with practice.

And while this is partly true, there’s a deeper truth about emotional intelligence that most of us miss:

Improving your emotional intelligence is often about what you do less of, not more of.

As a psychologist, I work with many people who look like though they don’t have much emotional intelligence:

  • They blame other people for their problems
  • They trap themselves in cycles of stress and anxiety
  • They self-sabotage as soon as they start to make progress

But it’s my experience that most people don’t actually lack the capacity for emotional intelligence. In fact, I think most people already have a high degree of emotional intelligence.

Unfortunately, many people are held back from using their innate emotional intelligence by a collection of bad habits that get in the way.

If you’d like to improve your emotional intelligence, learn to identify these habits in your own life and work to eliminate them. I think you’ll find that your natural emotional intelligence is not far behind.

1. Criticizing Others

Criticizing others is often an unconscious defense mechanism aimed at alleviating our own insecurities.

We’re all critical sometimes. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing — to think carefully and critically about the world around us is a vital skill. It helps us navigate the world and our relationships in an objective way.

But too much criticism — especially the habit of being critical of others — can lead to the opposite of objectivity: it can make us narrow-minded and blind, especially to ourselves.

One of the reasons it’s so easy to slip into habitually criticizing others is that it makes us feel good:

  • When you point out to yourself that someone else is dumb, you’re also…



Nick Wignall
Personal Growth

Psychologist and writer sharing practical advice for emotional health and well-being: https://thefriendlymind.com