What’s the difference between emotional intelligence and social intelligence?

Very different! Social intelligence is defined by Wikipedia as “the capability to effectively navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments”.

Emotional intelligence, however, is our capability to access and acknowledge our feelings. How do you know when you’re feeling mad, sad, glad, fear, shame or guilt? Can you find the place in your body where it shows up? (I’ve given some examples of this in another response HERE.

The journey to emotional intelligence includes gaining self awareness, to be able to know exactly what I’m feeling in this moment. And, since feelings are transitory, this moment. And this.

And the path to emotional intelligence includes understanding enough about my history of emotional wounding to know if my emotions in this moment are due to what’s happening around me, or if I’m being triggered by a situation that reminds me of the source of an earlier emotional wound.

When I achieve that level of emotional intelligence, I can come to the realization that what someone says to or about me doesn’t define me so much as they define the speaker. So, for instance, if someone is criticizing me, I am at choice to discern whether there might be an element of truth in their words, or not.

When I achieve emotional intelligence, I am able to establish healthy boundaries and limits, to prevent abuse by others. And I’m able to honor others’ boundaries as well.

So, emotional intelligence will definitely make a meaningful contribution to one’s level of social intelligence… or, going back to the Wikipedia definition, of effectively navigating and negotiating complex social relationships and environments.

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