Why Emotional Intelligence is Important for Introverts

People who identify as introverts gain 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 challenging 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 emotions and interact with people in an empathic way.

Reduce the Energy Output

Introverts can benefit from becoming more emotionally intelligent because it can reduce the 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 feelings of others, they can enjoy interactions more and be able to engage in them more effectively.

Connect in an Empathic Way

Being emotionally intelligent means connecting 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.

Change Their Minds About You

Because introverts are sometimes considered 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 challenging to read introverts or understand why they must be by themselves for long periods. But if introverts can 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.

Have Better Conversations

Emotional intelligence can also allow you to label your emotions in a productive way to work through your feelings rather than take them out on others. 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 opportunities for agreement, settlement, and more.

Change Perceptions and Influence Others

While introverts are often unassuming and stick to themselves, introverts with high emotional intelligence can influence how others see them and have a keen ability to influence the feelings of others as well. Emotional intelligence is about controlling and influencing your own emotions but the emotions of others.

This seems tricky and maybe a bit sly, but it’s because introverts with strong emotional intelligence can label emotions for themselves and others. They can help put words to feelings that not everyone can do for themselves. An interesting implication is that introverts with strong emotional intelligence could manipulate others into feeling a certain way. Still, emotional intelligence is meant as a positive superpower, not a negative one.

Becoming a Better Leader

Introverts often make good leaders because of the deep introspection and reflection they engage in regularly. Still, because they are usually closed off to people, it can be difficult for them to take on leadership roles. Developing a stronger level of emotional intelligence could help introverts become strong leaders because they have the vocabulary and skill to describe and control their emotions, which helps during heated conflict-based situations. They can also help employees and co-workers identify and manage their emotions.

How Can You Develop Strong Emotional Intelligence?

If developing your emotional intelligence sounds like something you might be interested in, there are several ways to practice getting better at it. One way is to start paying attention to how you feel 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 opportunities for rewarding relationships. Responding shows that you are listening to the other person; reacting is a personal expression that deters your energy levels.

The Bottom Line

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 feel with others, you’ll be on your way to developing a strong emotional intelligence level in no time.