Dating EQ: Identifying Emotional Intelligence

Aug 24, 2023

Ever heard of EQ? It stands for Emotional Intelligence (so, kind of like your IQ but for emotions.) It’s your ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own emotions while also being able to understand and react appropriately to the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence can make or break a romantic relationship. It’s absolutely necessary for making relationships last. It’s important to make sure that both you and the person you’re pursuing are emotionally intelligent. 

Now, nobody’s perfect, and we all have areas to improve, but recognizing those areas of improvement and being willing to work on them is just as important as having emotional intelligence.

So how do you know if the person you’re dating is emotionally intelligent or not? How do you know if YOU are emotionally intelligent or not? We’ll go over what emotional intelligence looks like and then pinpoint some ways to identify emotional intelligence in the people you’re dating.


People who are emotionally intelligent are able to recognize and understand their emotions. This means they’re able to look at themselves and say, “I’m feeling this way, and it’s because of this.” It’s also knowing how your emotions and actions affect the people around you. 

This is important because knowing yourself and how you impact others can help you to build strong, trust-filled relationships and improve your communication skills.
Idea for building self-awareness: Keep a journal. This doesn’t have to be a Nephi-level account of your personal history. Just a few minutes every day of self-reflection can help you become more self-aware. Check out these journal prompt ideas from FamilySearch to get you started.


Once you’re able to recognize and understand your emotions, you then need to be able to manage your emotions and reactions in a healthy way. Emotionally intelligent people are in charge of their emotions, not the other way around. They’re willing to take responsibility for their actions and apologize when necessary. This takes humility and a good dose of that previously mentioned self-awareness.

This is important because romantic relationships come with conflict – it’s just the nature of relationships because you’re bringing together two people with different backgrounds, opinions, and personalities, so there’s bound to be conflict no matter how perfect of a match you might be. Having high self-regulation helps you to better navigate these difficult situations where emotions may run high. Self-regulation isn’t taking the emotion out of the decision, but it is being aware of how your emotional state might be impacting your decision-making and acting accordingly. 

“So many of us make a great fuss of matters of small consequence. We are so easily offended. Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another and go on his way.

Grudges, if left to fester, can become serious maladies. Like a painful ailment they can absorb all of our time and attention.” – President Gorden B Hinckley, Oct 2007

Idea for building self-regulation: practice being calm. The next time a difficult situation comes up, be aware of how you act. Find something that can help you to calm down in these situations, such as deep breathing exercises, to make sure you’re the one in the driver’s seat, not your emotions.


Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to the emotions of others. Even if you haven’t experienced what someone else is going through, you can picture what it’s like to be in their shoes and recognize what they’re feeling from their perspective rather than their own.

Empathy is important because it allows you to connect with those around you on a deeper level. When you have empathy for someone, you’re willing to listen to their perspective and validate their feelings, even if you may have a different perspective or opinion. 

In a romantic relationship, this is important because, as we mentioned before, no matter how perfect of a match you might be, you’re still two very different people who need to learn to understand each other to live in harmony together.

“Compassion is a fundamental characteristic of those who strive for sanctification, and this divine quality intertwines with other Christian traits such as mourning with those who mourn and having empathy, mercy, and kindness.9 The expression of compassion for others is, in fact, the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a marked evidence of our spiritual and emotional closeness to the Savior. Furthermore, it shows the level of influence He has on our way of life and demonstrates the magnitude of our spirits.”- Elder Ulisses Soares, October 2021
Idea for building empathy: Imagine yourself in someone else’s position. Check out this article on Perceptual Positions for helpful techniques for picturing yourself in someone else’s shoes and viewing things from other perspectives.

Social Skills

People who are emotionally intelligent are able to take their self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy and use them to communicate effectively and respectfully with those around them. They are willing to compromise and work towards solutions collaboratively when issues or conflicts arise. 

This is important in a romantic relationship because you’re not going to be able to find a romantic relationship if you don’t have the social skills to meet someone! 

Idea for building social skills: Improve your communication skills. Practice active listening, be aware of your body language, put away distractions, and ask questions! Learn more about improving your social skills in the Mission Prep lessons here.

Identifying emotional intelligence in a romantic partner:

So now that you know what emotional intelligence is, here are some steps that you can follow to help you identify emotional intelligence in those you date: 

  1. Pay attention to how they treat other people. 
  • Do they actively listen to people when they’re talking to them? Do they respond with empathy? Do they show respect and kindness to those around them, including you?
  1. Notice their communication style.
  • Do they express themselves clearly and respectfully? Do they take responsibility for their actions and emotions, or do they blame and criticize others?
  1. Observe how they handle conflict.
  • Do they seem willing to compromise and find solutions? Do they take responsibility for their part in a conflict?
  1. Consider their ability to regulate their emotions.
  • Do they appear to be in control of their emotions? Do they take time to calm down before responding to a situation?

“At the beginning of my message, I suggested (with a smile) that some of you might be hoping to find a prospect for marriage, perhaps in the not-too-distant future. May I offer a word of counsel in addition to the quotation from President McKay about keeping your eyes wide open? The commandment to love our neighbors without discrimination is certain (see Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 19:19, 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8; D&C 59:6). But it must not be misunderstood. It applies generally. Selection of a marriage partner, on the other hand, involves specific and not general criteria. After all, you can only be married to one individual.” – Russel M. Nelson

One step at a time

If you want to find a romantic relationship that lasts for all eternity, it’s important to build your own emotional intelligence and find someone who is working to build their own as well. As you’re looking, remember that nobody is perfect, and we all have strengths and weaknesses. Someone may be highly emotionally intelligent in one area but have room to grow in another. Give people grace, but look for people who are ready and willing to learn and are trying to be better. Understanding it and being willing to work towards it will help you build a strong foundation for a happy and healthy future together.
Want more info about improving your emotional intelligence? Check out the church’s emotional resilience course here.

Kaleigh Adamson
Marketing Coordinator at Mutual | + posts

Kaleigh is a Marketing Coordinator for Mutual. She has worked with couples, relationships, dating, and love in a creative role for over a decade. She's a hopeless romantic who loves that her career allows her to help people find their soulmates. She downloaded Mutual when it first launched in 2016, coincidentally the same year she met her husband! They now live happily ever after in the Midwest with their two kids and dog.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: