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The Difference Between IQ (intelligence quotient)and EQ (emotional intelligence)

One major complaint we often hear about millennials and the younger generations is that they may have book smarts, but lack a lot of practical real-world experience and communication skills. Everyone at some point in their lives finds themselves in this sort of limbo. Ready to launch into something, but don’t have a lot of experience. There are some things you can do to better prepare yourself for adult life in general. This blog will help explain the difference between IQ (or intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional intelligence quotient).

Intelligence Alphabet soup: IQ, EQ, & GQ

By and large, your intelligence quotient (IQ) is determined by a number of different intelligence tests measuring intelligence. However, there is some disagreement related to how useful these tests are and how relevant any one measure is to people in different cultures. Some people may be extremely intelligent, but have trouble taking tests for any number of reasons, which directly impacts their perceived intellect. Notably, there are different types of intelligences as well (spatial reasoning, etc). In common terms, having a high IQ is usually seen as being smart, or book smart. However, you’ve probably met people who can find “x” in an equation and test as high IQ but when it comes to talking about their inner experiences or connections…they struggle to find the words.

That latter piece about inner experience is the hallmark of another type of intelligence: EQ (emotional intelligence quotient). While there are measures out there for EQ, we will be focusing on it more as a concept that can help you to transition into adulthood more smoothly. Emotional intelligence entails both social and communication skills as well as internal skills such as self-awareness, emotional regulation, and self-expression. If you don’t know what you are feeling or experiencing, it is going to be impossible to communicate that to someone else. Emotional intelligence means that you have the ability to manage your emotions in healthy ways and are able to interact with other people in healthy and authentic ways. Expressing your emotions and empathetically reacting to the emotions of others. Essentially, you can feel and deal.

And finally, GQ is when you are so incredibly good-looking that it doesn’t matter how smart or emotionally mature you are. Just kidding! Looking good is a state of mind as much as it is your physical attributes, and that state of mind, once again, goes back to emotional intelligence!

Why Emotional intelligence Matters So Much 

It’s a great accomplishment to get near perfect scores on your SAT, ACT, GRE, or any other standardized test that would make you attractive to schools. But if you find it hard to be comfortable in your own skin and communicate with those around you, you’ll likely struggle more than a bit in adulthood. Most jobs and things worth doing in life entail interactions with other people. You can’t develop intimacy with others if you don’t know your own inner experience well, and managing conflict becomes nearly impossible if you’re focused on getting your own point across and can’t listen long enough to the other person’s experience. Emotional intelligence also comes with recognizing that if you turn in something late at work, it may also create stress for other people because they’re waiting on something from you.  

How to Improve Your EQ

People are constantly evolving and emotional intelligence and fluctuate and evolve throughout your life, but here are some tips for improving your emotional intelligence:

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 Tips for Improving your EQ!

  • Label your emotions as they come up
  • Try to find the source of them
  • Find something healthy to do about it (share calmly with a friend, exercise, write, etc)
  • Process emotions with other people using “I” statements (e.g., “I feel ___ when you ___” instead of saying “You make me ___”)
  • Practice listening before responding. Summarize what the person said before you respond
  • Share in other people’s excitement/accomplishments. Don’t just share a time when you think you did something similar or someone you know did something similar. Ask people how they feel.
  • Make sure you have down time for self-care
  • Are you getting your emotional needs met? Take inventory of your friendships. Do they help you grow? Drag you down? Do you need to make changes regarding who you surround yourself with?
How Parents Can Help

If you’re a parent and you’re worried that you haven’t modeled good emotional intelligence for your young one, try not to beat yourself up. Everyone is always working on this. It’s a process. One thing you can do is start to have more in-depth communication with your children. Be sure to ask them how they are feeling and why they think they are feeling that way. This shouldn’t be followed up with what they “should” do about it, but instead asking them what they think may help. If the conversation flows toward your own experience, or they ask about a time you’ve felt similarly, fine, but make sure that the focus is on them so they can further explore their internal reactions.

Ongoing Support

Emotional intelligence can fluctuate, it’s not always the same. When we’re stressed or scared, expressing ourselves can become harder, but with practice, it will get easier. Consider scheduling an appointment with a therapist to work toward increased emotional intelligence. Our therapists can help you to get more in touch with your inner experiences and how to deal with difficult emotions in healthy ways. You can also become more comfortable with honestly sharing about your experience with the people in your life without taking responsibility for their responses to your emotions.