10 things emotionally intelligent always do when they first meet someone

by Mia Zhang | January 19, 2024, 11:00 pm

Have you ever met someone who, within moments of greeting them, made you feel completely at ease?

Chances are, you’ve just encountered someone with high emotional intelligence.

Their actions and responses might seem uncannily perceptive or incredibly empathetic, leaving you wondering how they manage to read people so accurately.

Let’s delve into these fascinating traits and highlight 10 things that emotionally intelligent people always do when they first meet someone.

These practices may seem unusual to some, but they’re actually standard operations for those adept in emotional intelligence. Keep on reading!

1) Active listening

Ever noticed how some people have a way of making you feel like the most important person in the room?

That’s a classic sign of an emotionally intelligent individual.

Emotionally intelligent people don’t just hear words; they actively listen. They give their undivided attention to the person speaking, rather than formulating their next response or allowing their mind to wander elsewhere.

2) Observing non-verbal cues

In my own experience, I’ve found that someone with high emotional intelligence is a master at reading between the lines.

Just last week, I met a new colleague for the first time. Although he was smiling and making polite conversation, I noticed his body language telling a different story. He seemed tense, with his arms crossed and his gaze often drifting away.

As someone with a high level of emotional intelligence, I recognized these non-verbal cues for what they were: signs of discomfort or nervousness. Instead of glossing over it, I decided to address it gently by making the conversation more relaxed and less formal.

Reading and responding to non-verbal cues is second nature to emotionally intelligent people. It doesn’t have to be intrusive or overly analytical; but to tune in to the emotional undercurrents that many tend to overlook.

And trust me, this skill can turn a potentially awkward interaction into a comfortable and constructive one.

3) Demonstrating empathy

People with high emotional intelligence have an innate ability to empathize. They don’t just understand your feelings, they feel them alongside you.

When they first meet someone, emotionally intelligent individuals quickly establish an emotional connection. They do this by showing genuine interest and understanding in the other person’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings.

Instead of rushing to share their own experiences or offering unsolicited advice, they prioritize understanding and validating the other person’s perspective.

This deep sense of empathy doesn’t just make them excellent listeners, it also makes them incredibly comforting to be around.

4) Keeping judgment at bay

When meeting someone for the first time, it’s human nature to form quick judgments. However, emotionally intelligent people have an uncanny ability to keep these initial biases in check.

They understand that everyone has their own story and unique experiences that shape their behavior and decision-making process.

As a result, they strive to keep an open mind and give people the benefit of the doubt. This quality is deeply rooted in the cornerstone principle of emotional intelligence itself: self-awareness.

Those with high emotional intelligence have a keen understanding of their own thoughts and feelings, and this self-awareness extends to an appreciation of other people’s perspectives as well.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that individuals with high emotional intelligence are less likely to engage in stereotype-based discrimination. This suggests that their ability to withhold judgement might just be a key factor in promoting inclusivity and understanding in diverse environments.

5) Showing authenticity

In a world where first impressions often dictate interactions, it’s refreshing to meet someone who is unapologetically themselves. This authenticity is a hallmark trait of emotionally intelligent people.

When they first meet someone, emotionally intelligent people aren’t trying to impress or win approval. They’re simply being genuine, expressing their true thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment.

6) Maintaining positive attitude

First encounters can be nerve-wracking, but emotionally intelligent people have a knack for infusing positivity into these situations.

They understand the power of a positive attitude and how it can influence the course of an interaction. Instead of focusing on potential pitfalls or awkward silences, they channel their energy into creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

7) Respecting boundaries

When meeting someone for the first time, it’s crucial to respect personal boundaries. Emotionally intelligent people understand this principle and apply it consistently.

They are mindful not to ask overly personal questions or invade someone’s personal space.

They also pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues that might indicate discomfort, adjusting their behavior accordingly to ensure the other person feels safe and respected.

8) Adapting communication styles

Emotionally intelligent people are adept at adjusting their communication styles to suit the individual they’re interacting with. They understand that effective communication isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

For instance, if they’re speaking with someone who is more reserved, they may tone down their energy level to match.

Conversely, if they’re engaging with a highly animated individual, they can match their enthusiasm to create a more harmonious interaction.

Interestingly, a study in the Journal of Research in Personality found that people who adapt their behavior to match the social context are more likely to be successful in their personal and professional lives.

This illustrates just how powerful this characteristic of emotional intelligence can be when meeting someone new.

9) Embracing silence

Silences in conversation, particularly with someone I’ve just met, used to make me incredibly uncomfortable. I’d feel a rush of anxiety and scramble to fill the silence with mindless chatter.

As my emotional intelligence has developed, I’ve learned to embrace these moments of silence. Rather than seeing them as awkward pauses, I now understand them as breathing spaces, where thoughts can settle and deeper understanding can emerge.

Nowadays, when I meet someone new, I don’t fear the silence.

Instead, I use it as an opportunity to observe and connect on a deeper level. It’s in these quiet moments that I often find the most authentic connections are made.

10) Practicing patience

The most important thing to remember when meeting someone new is to be patient. Not just with the other person, but with yourself as well.

Emotionally intelligent people understand that building a connection takes time. They don’t rush the process, nor do they force the conversation. They allow things to unfold naturally, giving the relationship room to grow at its own pace.

Patience in these early interactions allows for a deeper understanding of the other person, and ultimately, a stronger connection.

So when you meet someone new, remember to practice patience. It’s the key that unlocks meaningful and lasting connections.

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