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30 Ways That Emotional Intelligence Can Make You Better at Everything

Hone your "EQ" to become a better spouse, roommate, and parent.

Maybe you're the smartest, most competent worker in the office. Or maybe you're an absolute monster when it comes to Thursday night trivia. Still, that's only one form of intelligence. Many of us are missing out when it comes to another essential form of intelligence. Yes, we're talking about emotional intelligence (EQ), the ability to understand your emotions and those of others, while effectively regulating the former in tandem. This set of skills can be a serious game-changer in virtually every part of your life, of course, but perhaps none more so than in an inter-relationship capacity.

What we're trying to say is, whether you're trying to be a more sympathetic spouse, an easier roommate to live with, or a monk-level patient parent, EQ can change your relationships for the better in no time. And luckily, even if you haven't always been emotionally available in the past, it's never, ever too late to start. So there's no excuse. To motivate you, we've gathered together the 30 most vital reasons honing your EQ will make you better at, well, basically everything. And when you're ready to begin, start with these 20 Ways to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence.

It Makes You a Better Listener

Couple Talking Over Coffee Romance

In romantic relationships, being a good listener can mean the difference between staying in love for the long run or becoming mutually resentful of one another. Fortunately, by being in tune with your emotions and understanding the emotional needs of your partner, being an active, receptive listener is simple. Think listening's not that big a deal? Think again: researchers at Wake Forest University found that people whose partners were good listeners had less physiological stress and improved emotional states. And when you really want to make the most of your marriage, make sure to ignore these 40 Relationship Tips That Are Actually Terrible.

It Makes You More Open to Change

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The one constant in most relationships is change: you're likely to change careers, homes, and personality ticks—not to mention hairstyles—over the course of a long-term relationship. Luckily, for emotionally intelligent people who can anticipate and understand these changes in both themselves and their partners, it's easier to embrace these new developments in your relationship, instead of running from them.

It Helps You See Things From Their Perspective

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One major factor that predicts the long-term success of a relationship is the ability to empathize with your partner and see things from their point of view. Fortunately, emotionally intelligent people have honed their knack for expressing empathy for others, making it easier to understand a partner's feelings, even if they don't share them. And for more insight on what makes a long-term relationship great, check out the 50 Best Marriage Tips of All Time.

It Can Help You Anticipate Your Partner's Needs

happy couple at airport

Knowing what your partner needs before they even ask can serve you well in a relationship, whether you're giving them a shoulder to cry on or just picking up the right sushi rolls on the way home from work. The good news? Emotionally intelligent people are particularly adept at this skill.

"EQ helps you predict your loved one's needs and wants more accurately," says Dr. Inna Khazan, PhD. "You will be more likely to get just the right gift or say just the right thing to comfort them when they are having a hard time." And if you feel your relationship faltering, make sure, by brushing up on these 20 Surefire Signs Your Relationship is Over.

It Helps You Accept Criticism

Couple Holding Hands on Couch Romance

For a relationship to stay healthy, both partners need to grow together, which often means learning both what your partner already loves about you and what they think you could stand to work on. If you're emotionally intelligent, or are working on honing those skills, it's easy to accept constructive feedback from your partner and make the appropriate changes without getting defensive or taking things personally. And if you still haven't found the right person, don't despair, just check out the 30 Reasons Why Being Single in Your 30s Is the Best Thing Ever.

It Makes You Focus on Your Priorities

Couple Walking Dog Romance

With work and other commitments encroaching on your relationships, it's easy to lose sight of the life you're eager to have with your partner. However, for those with practiced emotional intelligence, recognizing what you value in your relationship and carving out time to prioritize your partner will feel like a healthy—and easy—choice.

It Increases Your Emotional Availability

Happy Couple Romance

If you want to be the kind of partner your significant other always feels like they can open up to, it's time to start working on your emotional intelligence now. Being emotionally intelligent means that you're attuned to both your emotional needs and those of your partner, making it easier for them to come to you when they need guidance or support. And when you're ready to take control of your emotional state, try out these 30 Easy Ways to Fight Stress.

It Helps You Roll With the Punches

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Every relationship has its difficult times, and in many cases, they're impossible to see coming. However, for those with high levels of emotional intelligence, instead of running away when the going gets tough, they realize that making things work with someone they love is well worth weathering the ups and downs.

It Helps You See The Good in One Another

Couple on Phone Romance

It's pretty easy to start taking someone for granted after you've been together for a long time. If you're particularly emotionally intelligent, however, it's easier to recognize when you're not appreciating your partner as much as you should, and correct your behavior to remedy this misstep. EQ also helps you recognize when your partner has unintentionally acted in error or taken you for granted, instead of assuming that they're doing things a certain way to upset you.

"EQ helps you give your loved ones the benefit of the doubt in ambiguous interactions. For example, you may have asked your spouse to get you your favorite kind of tea at the grocery store. He or she comes back with a different kind of tea. It may be easy to assume that your spouse just didn't care enough to get the right thing and then tell them how that hurts your feelings, and then get into an argument  about it. Being able to give your spouse the benefit of the doubt may lead you to think that the store may have been out of your favorite kind of tea, but he/she did their best to get you something you'll like almost as much. And the outcome of this interaction would be quite different," explains Dr. Khazan. And for more reasons to tune up your EQ, discover the 20 Ways Emotional Intelligence Can Help You Get a Promotion.

It Helps You Stay Committed

Couple holding hands outdoors

While even the healthiest relationships wax and wane, there's one factor all long-term relationships have in common: people staying committed to them. If you're emotionally intelligent, understanding how devastating the loss of fidelity or partnership would be to your significant other can help you stay emotionally invested in the long run. In fact, one study reveals that emotional intelligence accounted for more than 40 percent of overall marital satisfaction among couples studied. And for dirt on those who can't stay committed, don't miss the 20 Dumbest Ways Men Have Been Caught Cheating.

It Can Help You Get the Things You Ask For

couple cleaning together

For roommates, emotional intelligence is surprisingly important, as well. While many roommates find themselves at odds when they assume the people they live with will anticipate their needs, emotional intelligence can make you a better communicator, thus making it easier to make your needs known and get them met.

"EQ helps you to ask for what you need with a higher likelihood of success," says Dr. Khazan. "Let's say your roommate has been very loud early in the morning, slamming doors and stomping around, waking you up and disturbing your sleep. You could yell at them, tell them to stop being a jerk and let you sleep. This is unlikely to make your roommate be quieter. Or you could say something like: 'I know you've had to wake up earlier lately, and it must be hard to be up so early! I've been able to hear you getting ready in the morning, and it's been hard for me to sleep, too. Could you pay a little more attention to being quiet in the morning?'  This request is more likely to get your needs met."

It Makes Compromise Easier

Men hugging

Compromise is key when it comes to getting along with your roommate. Fortunately, for those with high emotional intelligence quotients, coming to a compromise, whether it's about whose job it is to unload the dishwasher or where to put the sofa in the living room, is not such a big deal. For emotionally intelligent people, it's easy to understand your roommate's perspective and weigh it carefully against yours, rather than simply assuming you're right.

It Makes You More Respectful

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Disrespectful behavior can turn a happy roommate situation into a contentious one in a hurry. If you get lucky and find yourself living with someone with a high degree of emotional intelligence, however, odds are you won't find them borrowing your things without asking or leaving the place a mess.

It Helps You Recognize Other People's Motivations

Husband doing dishes

Sometimes, inconsiderate behavior is worth arguing with your roommate over. And sometimes, it's better just to fix things and have a healthy talk about it afterward. Emotionally intelligent people tend to know the difference between a roommate who left a dish in the sink when they were in a rush and one who intentionally left it there because they were thoughtless or wanted to upset you.

"EQ helps you understand where the other person is coming from, and helps you interpret their words and actions more accurately," says Dr. Khazan. "This way you are less likely to assume a negative intention on the part of the others person and blame them for it."

It Makes You Better at Sharing

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While it's nice to imagine that everyone has mastered sharing by the time they finish preschool, that's often far from the case. In roommate situations, it can be difficult to share your space and things with another person, but emotional intelligence can help. Understanding that your roommate's needs are just as important as your own and recognizing why they might want to commandeer the living room for an evening when you had friends over the night before can help you get better at sharing.

It Makes You More Mindful

Friends Laughing at Cafe Anti-Aging

Being mindful is key to having a healthy roommate relationship, but it's a skill that often gets overlooked. Fortunately, emotional intelligence and mindfulness have a symbiotic relationship, according to research published in the Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health. Not sure how that works? Emotional intelligence can help a person recognize what the outcome of slamming a door or screaming might be, and weigh it against the impact of having a calm conversation with the person who might be making them irate. In turn, mindful and emotionally intelligent people will make the choice that benefits the relationship in the long run rather than the one that feels good in the moment. And to really unleash your mindfulness, learn the 20 Ways You're Stopping Yourself From Being More Mindful Without Realizing It.

It Makes You Less Codependent

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Roommate codependency is very real, and can have a detrimental effect on even the tightest roommate pairs over time. If you're looking to reduce codependency issues in your roommate relationship, start by working on your emotional intelligence. When you realize the strain serious codependence can take on your relationship, you'll loosen your grasp. Better yet, emotional intelligence makes it easier to find contentment, even if you're alone.

It Reduces Passive-Aggressive Behavior

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Passive-aggressive behavior can quickly put a damper on any roommate relationship. The good news? Emotionally intelligent people don't resort to being passive-aggressive to get their point across: they simply say let other people know what they need, and respect the needs of others, in return.

It Makes You More Thoughtful

friends chatting Embarrassing Things

Much like in a romantic relationship, a little thoughtfulness can go a long way when it comes to keeping things amicable between roommates. For those who are emotionally intelligent, the idea of cooking dinner, cleaning up the house, or doing other thoughtful things for their roommates comes naturally, knowing that they'll keep the relationship happier in the long run.

It Helps You Resolve Conflict More Peacefully

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Of course, even the closet roommates do get into fights from time to time. The good news for those with adequate emotional intelligence, however, is that prioritizing effective, kind resolution of conflict trumps winning an argument, and that, in turn, helps keep things civil and maintains the relationship for the long haul.

It Makes You More Patient

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For parents, emotional intelligence can have profound effects on your patience. While parents with low emotional intelligence quotients often subconsciously prioritize their needs over those of their children, emotionally intelligent parents will take the opposite approach. Instead of assuming their children will have adult-level skills or abilities, emotionally intelligent parents realize that their kids do things differently, and sometimes in ways that can be frustrating, and understand that that's okay.

It Helps You See Their Perspective

Dad and daughter cooking

Kids and adults don't always see eye-to-eye. Fortunately, for parents with ample emotional intelligence, it's easy to empathize with your kids' struggles and see where they're coming from. In turn, this may have a cyclical effect: in fact, one study reveals that parental emotional intelligence was a good predictor of a child's behavior in stressful circumstances, too.

It Helps You Keep Your Cool

daughter sticking tongue out Moms Should Never Say

It's easy to lose your cool when your kids are being terrors. However, parents with ample emotional intelligence can accurately weigh the impact that yelling or inappropriately punishing their children will have versus having a calm conversation with them, and will overwhelmingly choose the latter.

It Keeps You From Projecting

mother and daughter at cafe Moms Should Never Say

It's often hard to recognize your own feelings as distinct from those of your children as a parent, but doing so is important to the health and success of your relationship. Research suggests that low emotional intelligence is correlated with low self-awareness, which can sometimes translate to an inability to distinguish what you're feeling from feelings you're attributing to your kids. Fortunately, trying to hone your emotional intelligence skills can help you recognize when it's your own emotions ruling the show, and not the behavior or feelings you're attributing to your kids.

It Helps You Realize When They Need Help

mom comforting daughter Moms Should Never Say

It's to be expected that not all children will have the same capability for emotional intelligence as adults. However, that's why it's so important for parents to be emotionally attuned—it can help parents realize when their kids need help, but aren't asking for it, and respond appropriately.

It Increases Your Confidence

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Being a parent means being a leader in your family, and there's no such thing as effective leadership without confidence. Fortunately, being emotionally intelligent is associated with high self-confidence, which can help you stick to your guns about your parenting decisions, raising healthier, more disciplined kids along the way.

It Makes You Easier to Open Up To

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Emotionally intelligent parents know that their children's emotional needs come before their own. And if your kids aren't worried that their emotional outpouring will be met with one of yours in return, it will be a lot easier for them to open up.

It Helps You Mediate Sibling Rivalry

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Sibling rivalry is a natural part of many sibling relationships, but luckily, emotionally intelligent parents have the skills needed to mediate it. By understanding when it's important to step in, when it's a good idea to let your kids figure things out on their own, and how to remain impartial when discussing their issues with them, it's easy to help your kids work things out.

It Helps You Celebrate Their Successes

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While some parents can feel threatened by their kids' successes, emotionally intelligent ones know how to celebrate the victories of the people they love. Recognizing your kids' victories as their own, instead of reflections upon you, will help you feel happy when they succeed instead of resentful.

It Makes You a Better Role Model

be a better father

Overall, emotionally intelligent parents are better role models than those who are closed off or unkind. When you think of how you want your children to behave as adults, don't you want them to be nurturing, loving, and open to new ideas? Luckily, modeling emotional intelligence today can help set them on that healthy course for tomorrow. And for more ways to be the best mom or dad of all time, learn the 40 Easiest Parenting Hacks for Raising an Amazing Kid.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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