You’ve probably heard of IQ before – the measure of the intelligence you’re born with. However, people also have a social IQ, which is something you learn or develop throughout life. Having a high social IQ can help you navigate through life easily.
If you’ve ever wondered how you can increase your social IQ, you’re not alone. The good news is that research shows it could be as easy as doing a little self-reflection. Since social IQ is mostly learned, knowing yourself better could be the key to increasing it.
What is Social IQ?
Social intelligence is how you interact with the world. A more rudimentary description is to call it street smarts or even common sense. It encompasses building relationships and navigating social environments. It’s people skills.
Social intelligence is a learned skill. It’s affected by what you’re exposed to in life paired with characteristics of your personality. Your home life, religion, morals, values, friends, school, and more can all shape your social IQ.
- A Great ListenerA person with a high social IQ knows that listening is just as important as talking. They’re able to make a connection with people and make people feel understood. Even in a debate, a person with social intelligence can hear the other person’s side of the issue without dismissing their concerns.
- Excellent ConversationalistPeople enjoy listening to someone who has a high level of social intelligence. People with high social IQ’s can strike up conversations with anyone. When they’re in a conversation, they’re completely comfortable and possibly even humorous. More importantly, their conversations carry meaning, are organized, and are memorable to whomever they’re speaking with.
- Considerate of Their ReputationIn this world, reputation is everything, and people with a high social IQ are very aware of this fact. This elicits actions and communication that is attractive to the masses. They are careful not to do anything taboo, or that would sully their reputation. More importantly, they do this by always encouraging positive interactions with the people they meet.
- CharismaticA person with a high social IQ can often be identified as the social butterfly in the room, making people smile and laugh while still getting business accomplished. It may seem as if these people never meet a stranger. The charisma comes from combining the first three signs. Someone adept at listening, talking, and making a good impression will inevitably be charismatic.
Why Social Intelligence is Important
Even if you’re an introvert who enjoys keeping to yourself, you’ll still interact with people. No one goes through this life alone. You’ll have to interact with bill collectors, people at work, family members, friends, and even pets. Social IQ will help you effectively navigate those relationships and the situations that arise from them.
The most important skill that arises from a high social IQ is communication. It’s is imperative that you’re able to communicate effectively in life. Everything you do requires communication, whether it’s verbal, non-verbal, visual, or written. Your level of communication can directly impact your quality of life.
Having a good level of social intelligence makes you a better person. You’ll be able to understand people better, respond to people better, tolerate cultural differences, and be more patient with people. You’ll be able to get along with others well, which is the key to excelling in life.
Self-Reflection: A Key Component of Building Your Social IQ
Self-reflecting is when you seriously think about character, actions, values, motives, and goals. You could do it through meditation, which is popular, or you could sit somewhere quietly and think. In other words, it’s purposefully thinking about yourself as a subject of study.
Therapist and author Paul Coleman, Ph.D., says, “I think people who self-evaluate do so because they know they do not have all the answers, they are imperfect, and they know that their circumstances eventually change.” Many people use self-reflecting to think about decisions they’ve made in the past and how it affected their lives. If they’re receptive to their thoughts, they’ll use this reflection to become a better person.
However, the best use of self-reflection is using it in the moment or in real-time to make better decisions. This is the ultimate goal that people should strive to achieve. Imagine if you could learn to self-reflect at the moment of an impactful decision and make the right decision every time. It would be empowering to be able to do that.
Self-reflecting is a skill that takes practice. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. You must remember to be honest with yourself. No one is going to hear your inner thoughts, so, even if it hurts, tell yourself the truth to reap the maximum benefits from self-reflection.
Once you become good at it, you can use this skill to build your social IQ. You can self-reflect at the moment to understand your social interactions and how they’re affecting others. Then you can adjust your responses immediately if needed.
There is no perfect way to self-reflect. However, certain guiding principles can help you become more effective at it. Psychologists have been studying the art of self-reflection almost since it became a “thing” and have found certain methods and environments that help the process. Here are a few suggestions on how to begin and become better at self-reflecting.
Susan L. Taylor said it best when she said, “We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly – spending quiet time alone allows your mind to renew itself and create order.” As the founder & CEO of the National CARES Mentoring Movement & Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Essence Magazine, it’s no surprise that she is frequently in search of quiet time for self-reflecting. It’s imperative that you self-reflect in a peaceful, quiet place that is free of distractions. This will allow your mind the freedom to roam to those far-reaching corners of your thoughts without limitations or judgment.
Ask Yourself Questions
It helps if you organize your self-reflecting time. You can do this by having a set of targeted questions that you ask yourself. To ask yourself the right questions, you need a focus on your self-reflecting. Are you self-reflecting on your career choices? Your family interactions? Perhaps, you’re self-reflecting on how you treat your friends. Whatever the purpose of your self-reflection, create a set of questions around it.
For example, if you’re self-reflecting on your career performance, here are some examples of questions you could ask yourself for introspection:
- Do I use my time wisely?
- Am I waking up in the right state of mind to tackle my day?
- Are my goals realistic?
- Am I taking care of myself physically?
- Do I genuinely care about my team?
By asking yourself relevant questions, you can get the most out of your self-reflecting session. You’ll be able to identify better your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.
Be Open with Yourself and Don’t Restrict Your Emotions.
This is the time to let it all come out. Clear your mind, go on a nature walk, read a book, or do whatever you need to do to calm your spirit. Then, when you ask yourself the questions you’ve prepared, don’t block any of your thoughts or feelings.
If you need to cry, do it. If you feel like laughing maniacally, go for it. Perhaps you need to look in the mirror so you can face yourself eye to eye. All or any of this is fine, as long as you are completely honest with yourself.
It can be scary to be this open with yourself at first. However, it becomes easy with practice, so you should schedule a time to self-reflect as often as you can.
After reading this information, it should be obvious that people with high social IQ are very aware of themselves and what they offer to the world. Social intelligence may be defined as how you interact with the world, but its heart is how you interact. Without reflecting on yourself, you may not be aware of how you interact.
That is precisely how reflecting on yourself can build your social IQ. You’ll begin to see patterns and behaviors that you may or may not like. You can then change the ones that hinder you from being the person you want to be.
Self-reflection is a tool that, when used properly, can enrich your life. As Nobel Prize Nominee Bryant McGill says, “People who have had little self-reflection live life in a huge reality blind-spot.” If you make self-reflection a regular part of your life, your social IQ will rise, and you’ll open your eyes to possibilities you never knew existed.