10 Emotionally Intelligent Ways to Build Better Relationships

Like anything else in life, having great relationships takes time, effort, and interpersonal skills.  My husband and I watch the Scorpion and Big Bang series and sometimes it’s painful to watch some of the characters (most notably Walter and Sheldon) fumble through their relationships.  The shows highlight that intelligence comes in many forms – being a genius in one aspect doesn’t make you a genius in others.  It’s wonderful to have a high IQ, but if I had to choose, I’d pick having a high EQ (Emotional Quotient) because it includes being able to manage your own emotions, recognize and empathize with the emotions of others, and being able to interact and connect with others on a deeper level that is mutually satisfying.

If you’d like to enhance your relationships with others, no matter what your current EQ is, you can develop emotionally intelligent skills that will enable you to connect better with others.  Whether the relationship is with a friend, family member, romantic partner, or business associate, you can learn how to make that relationship stronger.  The more you use these skills, the more they become a habitual way of relating to others.  If you make them a daily practice, soon you won’t even have to think about it and you will have effectively raised your EQ!  Hint:  These are skills that great Coaches and Counselors use every day.

10 Emotionally Intelligent Ways to Build Better Relationships

  1. Become an awesome listener.
    • Listen attentively to what the person is saying instead of focusing on what you want to say next.
    • Maintain eye contact.
    • Pay attention to your body language – it conveys true interest and openness or the lack thereof.
  2. Seek to understand.
    • Ask questions to clarify what the other person is saying and to deepen your understanding of what they are thinking and how they are feeling.
    • Don’t assume you’ve heard and understood correctly without confirming it with them first – “What I heard you say was…is that right?”
    • Go beyond simple questions and ask the questions that are rarely asked but that will get to the heart of what the other person needs, wants, or feels.build better relationships
  3. Listen with your eyes, not just your ears.
    • Pay attention to their tone of voice, their facial expressions, and their body language.
    • Pay attention to what they’re NOT saying.
  4. Make a point to remember things that are important to others.
    • If you remember things that are important to other people, you show that you care about them.
    • Ask them about these things and people.  Acknowledge special days, events, projects, achievements, etc.
    • Show genuine interest in the other person.
  5. Be consistent in your behavior and manage your own emotions.
    • If you’re struggling to manage your own emotions, let the other person know that you may not be able to be fully present and available to them at that time.
    • Show that you’re trustworthy and reliable by responding to them consistently and being honest with them when you aren’t able to set aside your own intense emotions to be there for them.
  6. Be open and share appropriately.
    • Be nonjudgmental and share at the appropriate level for that relationship. (ie. Don’t share your life story with someone you just met or a business colleague.)
    • When you do share, share only enough to show that you can relate to how they are thinking and feeling, not in a way that overshadows or competes with their experience.
  7. Focus on being trustworthy, humble, positive, confident, upbeat, and genuine.
    • Work on improving how you feel about yourself and on being positive regardless of the circumstances.
    • Be authentic in your interpersonal interactions and show a genuine desire to help others succeed.
  8. Go beyond vague words or platitudes.
    • Show that you truly care for others through your behavior, not just your words.
    • Give someone unexpected, specific praise for something they’ve done well.
    • Do nice things for other people without expecting anything in return.
    • Lighten someone’s load without being asked.build better relationships
  9. Acknowledge when you’ve messed up.
    • Take responsibility when you’ve acted poorly or made a mistake.
    • Apologize and make amends BEFORE you’re confronted.
  10. Value the person regardless of their “position.”
    • Show respect for all people, regardless of their job, circumstances, orientation, views, or position in your life.
    • Acknowledge great ideas no matter who presents them.
    • Value the “whole” person, not just their station, appearance, or achievements.

Practicing these 10 emotionally intelligent interpersonal skills will enhance your relationships and bring more meaning and satisfaction to all areas of your life.  When you put time and effort into increasing your EQ and developing better relationships, the ROI (return on investment) will be immeasurable!


Stephanie Eissinger is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Certified Professional Coach, Community Coach Consultant, Certified Embody Love Movement Facilitator, and Self Help Book Author who’s dedicated her life to empowering individuals to overcome life’s obstacles to live happier, healthier lives.  Her self help books include:  Journey to Self Empowerment: Increase Self Esteem & Self Confidence; How to Get an “Emotional Divorce” & Speed Up Relationship Recovery; The Stress Management 2.0 Series, among others.


Related Pages/Posts

Funding Your Relationship “Piggy Bank”

6 Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Yourself

Healthy Relationships Foster Self-Empowerment & Interdependence

Emotional Intelligence: Important in Empowerment & Recovery

Book Resource: “Emotional Stress Management 2.0: 40 Tips For Taming Your Turbulent Emotions


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