This is for those who care for emotional intelligence.

Who value the human experience. Who want deeper, emotional connections with those closest to them.

This is for those who want to show up as a better person for their relationships.

Who want to know what areas they are either already good at, or could improve upon.

This is for those who value awareness of their strengths, weaknesses, and how their emotions can affect their perception of them.

Who is awakening to something greater than themselves.

This is also for me to reflect on while I learn to improve myself as well. This is for me to remember that this list is not meant to be the ideal person, that no one is perfect, that these aren’t the only qualities that make a good partner.

If emotional intelligence and deeper relationships is what you value, then here is a non-comprehensive (because how can you ever list out every single trait of a person?) list of an emotionally intelligent partner.

1. Self-aware

If you’ve ever met a self-aware person, you’ll know why this quality could be the most important one to have.

The self-aware strives to know how their own mind works. They know their strengths and are not afraid to admit to their faults.

They spend as much time understanding themselves as they do with the ones they care about.

They look at how they exude themselves and its effect on people, but they don’t put all of their weight on what people think about it.

They are comfortable reaching out for feedback, criticism, help, ways to improve. They accept them calmly and look for ways to work on them rather than defend or deny them.

They are aware of what does and doesn’t work for them, what they like and don’t like.

They know that there’s so much we don’t know, enough to never assume or present arrogance.

2. Empathetic

Empathy is not innate to being human. It is something we learn, practice, and give meaning to. Some will read as much as they can about it. Some will do as much as they can to apply it. Emotionally intelligent people will do both.

They are the ones who can see past just the words that are said and understand the thoughts, feelings, and perspectives behind them.

They believe that no one is innately broken. Someone may be damaged or scarred, but only on the surface level because the individual is the only one who can strengthen or break their core, no one else.

They know how to relate. They don’t need to have everything explained to them. They get it.

They know that love is communicated not just through physicality, but through feelings of the heart and mind.

They are considerate, compassionate, and knows when and how much to put someone else first.

They know that how people feel is more important than what they think.

3. In-tune with emotions

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

An emotionally intelligent person is attentive to their own emotions and how it’s portrayed and received.

They also know they can’t completely trust every emotion or thought. They are aware of how it makes them feel and knows how to rationalize the validity and truth to them.

They use their emotions as an antenna to help translate what’s happening around them, but they ultimately choose how to respond to them.

They’re not afraid to voice out their thoughts and feelings, even if they’re incomplete.

They might not remember everything, but they are cognizant of how they make people feel.

They’re accepting of the fact that intelligence is not solely based on intellect, logic, and reasoning, but with an unspoken energy that connects us in ways we don’t understand, or would ever need to understand, that there are things we can learn that can never be taught.

4. Curious

Curiosity is what inspires them. They love learning. They want to get to the root of things.

They know when to dig deep and when to back off.

They know when there’s a struggle and will ask the right questions at the right time.

They show interest, but they know that they don’t have to know everything.

They’re willing to give you all of their attention because they want to understand you, why you say the things you say, what makes you think the way you think.

5. Understands the love languages

A partner who has high emotional intelligence understands how to love.

They know that people give and receive love differently.

Some will use words.

Some will show them, do things for them.

Some will spend time with them.

Some will give them gifts.

And some will touch them in all the right ways.

They know how to communicate what kind of love they need and want.

They know how to grow. They know, like any language, that it takes practice. It takes work. It takes making multiple mistakes and learning from them.

6. Respects their decisions

An emotionally intelligent person respects the choices of their partner. They know that there doesn’t have to be one right answer. They know when to provide guidance and when to let them explore.

They encourage them with whatever they decide if it will inspire growth. They create space for their partner to fill it. They’re their partner in crime, their accomplice to everything joyful, naughty, and risky.

They trust them, they believe in them, and they don’t do it blindly. They’ll spark discussion as a form of feedback.

They let them be them.

7. Emotionally resilient

Being emotionally intelligent is synonymous with being emotionally resilient.

They’re able to weather through tough times. They accept that adversity is inevitable, that things are going to happen outside of their control. They understand their strengths and weaknesses, when to do something about it and when to give up.

They understand that failure is not defeat, as long as they learn from it. They know when to surrender and prepare for the next fight.

They re-frame their mind and experience towards optimism, towards something they can take action towards. They see the benefits of whatever situation they’re in, rather than sulk over all of the negatives.

They maintain composure, while not being afraid to be vulnerable and ask for help when they need it.

They are confident in their beliefs so much that they’re willing to listen to opposing opinions.

Emotionally resilient people properly responds to what’s happening internally or externally, rather than react on impulse. They appreciate time and patience.

8. Looks for connection

A partner who values emotional intelligence likes to connect deeply.

They might not be extroverted all the time, but they get along with your friends, parents, and siblings. They are comfortable spending time alone with each of them.

They understand the human experience. They can either empathize or sympathize with the pain and struggles, and they can relate and share the joy and excitement.

They are unapologetically who they are and still willing to learn from anyone they meet. They express their opinions while accepting those of others.

They are aware of who they’re speaking to and how they receive information.

They connect their hearts and minds to those they care about.

9. Adaptable

Someone who seeks to increase their emotional intelligence is someone who is adaptable.

They know that perseverance is important, but that stubbornness is limiting. They know when to adjust when appropriate, instead of wasting their strength and energy to plow through obstacles.

They know that balance is crucial, but not necessary.

They are grounded in any situation and environment, while keeping light and loose.

They are easy-going, while also directed towards what they want.

They know when to lead and how to follow.

They know how to work and how to relax.

They enjoy wherever they are, whatever they’re doing, whoever they’re with.

10. Efficacious

Highly emotionally intelligent people are aware of their emotions, but doesn’t let them get to the best of them. They don’t allow the negative ones to limit their capability, nor the positive ones to distort their reality.

They’re self-motivated and passionate and alive. Their words have intention and action behind them.

They use their emotions to guide them, while questioning and rationalizing them. They use their emotions to take them to beautiful places, to do great things. They act in spite of fear.

They don’t suppress their emotions, they learn from them.

11. Treats themselves accordingly

Love is not meant only to be given outwardly. It is something that we can give to ourselves as well. The emotionally intelligent person cares for their own hearts and minds as if they were a loved one.

Emotionally intelligent partners are not just in a relationship with their partner, but with themselves. They treat their partner right, they treat their family right, they treat strangers right, and most importantly they treat themselves right.

They know what they need, not just what they want. And they know when and how they need it. They know what is good for them and when they deserve it.

They are selfish, but not inconsiderate. They value generosity and selflessness, which includes being generous and selfless to themselves.

They show love in all directions.

These qualities are not meant “the best” or the “most enlightened” or whatever you think is perfection, don’t expect everyone to exhibit all of these at all times. Nor should we think that we have to have all of these qualities in order to be an emotionally intelligent person, let alone a good partner.

Instead, all I ask is to choose one or two that you value for yourself. Practice the ones that work for you and your partner. You don’t have to be perfect, just willing to learn.

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  • Victor Ung

    EQ Writer, Speaker, Coach, & Meditation Guide

    Human Up

    For so long, I felt like I've been asleep. My memories seemed to be broken, constantly playing on a loop because I was doing the same thing, over and over again. But the worst part was, it was emotionless. Everyone around me, including the mainstream media in American society, stigmatized emotional and mental health. People wanted to stay positive and above the surface level. No one wanted to dive into the deep, dark ocean, afraid of what we might find. Any time we expressed how we felt, we would be told to "man up," "don't be so sensitive," "don't be a downer," or worse, our trust, credibility, or respect would be lost because we "let our emotions get in the way." So I've been shutting it down this whole time, sleeping. Well, now I'm awake and I now know that our emotions are always going to be there, we can't avoid them. But we can learn how to respond to them. I am here documenting this journey to free myself and my emotions, no matter how "down" they might be. It's time I learn to live with authenticity, not just positivity.