How to tell if your date has high emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is so important (Picture: Getty/

Picture the scene – you’re on a date, it’s early days, and you’ve just shared something personal with the other person for the very first time.

Instead of listening and responding with empathy, or making an effort to relate to your situation, your date’s eyes have glazed over. They’re just not that bothered about understanding your point of view, and they turn the conversation back around to being about them.

This is an example of what can happen if you go on a date with someone who’s got low emotional intelligence. Sounds pretty unbearable, doesn’t it?

Hayley Quinn, Match’s dating expert, says emotional intelligence, aka EQ (think IQ), is an underrated quality, and people who have it under their belt ‘will be the best suited to a committed relationship.’

So what is EQ exactly?

Counselling Directory member Laura Duester explains: ‘EQ is about noticing, understanding and responding appropriately to both your own and other people’s feelings.’

Sounds pretty basic, right? Alas, anyone who’s ever spent time on the dating scene will tell you this can actually be pretty hard to come by.

Thankfully, Hayley says there are high EQ hints your date can let off before you even meet face to face.

Provided you’re both also compatible as people, your communication ahead of the date should ‘flow easily’.

‘You won’t be ghosted,’ she explains, ‘or feel bombarded by them messaging you every two minutes. 

a Cheerful woman talking to male partner at restaurantSomeone with a high EQ should be easy to talk to, provided you’re both compatible (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Look out for them being consistent too. If they mysteriously disappear every time you suggest actually meeting, or don’t respond at all when you show signs of vulnerability, this may be less about you coming on too strong, and more about them not empathising with you.

‘Remember, your date will also demonstrate empathy in how they handle the date set up.

‘Do they check in with you to see if the date location is convenient for you too? If they need to rain-check, are they genuinely apologetic, and do they show respect for your availability too?’

As for during the date, Hayley says they should take the time to really listen to you, ask you questions and make an effort to relate to you rather than ‘trying to show off.’

Being able to articulate their own feelings is also key, with Laura telling us: ‘They’ll also be able to identify and express their own emotions, both positive and negative.’

EQ is also about respecting boundaries.

Hayley explains: ‘You won’t find them lunging in for a kiss, or insisting that you come back to their place because consent and respect are important values to them.’

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On the flip side, you’ll also want to watch out for warning signs of low emotional intelligence.

Laura says one red flag could be ‘not really listening and seeming oblivious or insensitive to your feelings.’

‘Alternatively, they might have uncontrollable emotional outbursts – showing they can’t manage their own emotions – such as suddenly getting explosively angry.

‘A date with low emotional intelligence would be likely to appear self-centred, always turning the conversation back to themselves, and displaying little consideration, care, or understanding for what you’re saying.’

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