Friday, February 6, 2009

Emotional Intelligence

What does this mean? According to Wikipedia (which is a funny word to me), it is defined as “the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions.” Observing others’ social/emotional reactions/actions is fascinating to me. I am often puzzled when I see people show the inability to pick up on social cues society has provided for them. Is it really hard to learn how to act in certain situations?!

My most recent occurrence with this observation is with this man. He is constantly hanging around the place where I work. Ok, so we work there so we have to be somewhat nice to him. It’s not that he is rude or mean to anyone at the store. He is an annoyance. We are nice to him to an extent, but then after awhile, he just gets ignored. We started out by simply ignoring him because we have our jobs to do, but now it has turned into blatant ignoring. I’m not sure why he hasn’t picked up on the social cues that everyone in the situation that he is in is ignoring him. When you are in a group and no one is talking to you and people are constantly redirecting your behavior, relocate yourself to a place where you are appreciated.

I have also noticed recently that some people have a difficult time communicating with others. Is it really hard to make small talk? "What have you been up to lately? I like your shirt. How is your ankle? What do you think about this weather?" Easy, easy, easy. Maybe because of the career paths I have taken, I have developed the ability to talk to ANYONE in ANY situation. Seriously. Someone, please prove me wrong on this one!

When is our emotional intelligence developed? Are we born with it? Is it like our IQ that is already determined when we are born? This is puzzling to me. Maybe because I realize that I am not the smartest person in a group and I can accept that. I know when conversations or situations are too intellectual for me to grasp. At this point I kindly bow out of the conversation, ask the person to explain their story on my level, or let them know that I do not understand. It’s easy. I’m not afraid to ask someone to define a word for me or explain something in simpler terms. We all have our faults, incompetencies, or unfavorable traits. When is it not okay to acknowledge them and move on?

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