I am emotionally UNintelligent. I am reading, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 in desperate hopes that I can get smarter in this area. The book divides it up into 4 areas:
Self Awareness - 60
Self Management - 51
Social Awareness -58
Relationship Management - 47
Overall EQ - 54
Those numbers next to each are my scores from this test I took online. I had foolishly tricked myself into believing that 75 was good, so I wasn't far off. 75 is mid-level, in academia it's a D. High performers are in the 90's...I want to be in the 90's.
I had an experience last week which proved to me more than ever that my scores of Emotional Intelligence are low. (Which, I realize no matter what the average my Relationship Management skills are low). I handled a situation all wrong. It wasn't that I flew off the handle at someone, it wasn't like I plowed my car into someone else's. It was that I was trying to be nice, when, in retrospect it was actually being cruel. I hate that.
I think the older I get the more I realize that sometimes being nice is dumb. I'm not saying it's okay to be rude to people...that's just the other end of the spectrum. There has to be a middle ground, there is, a lot of people can do it. Am I one of them? No, I am "too nice", when really the kindest you could be is that middle ground. You tell people the truth, which eliminates future disappointment/harm/hurt but you deliver that message in a kind way.
Take for example a person I call Puppy Love. When I first came home from college I was working at the grocery store with a lot of teenagers...mostly boys...boys who didn't interact with a lot of girls. This particular individual, Puppy Love, is where I got my inspiration for the
Being Peed On Theory. One day Puppy Love had had it, he had to let me know that he really liked me (I was 23, he was 17 - yeah, I know in retrospect age apparently doesn't bother me). Age was the cover anyway...no, I wouldn't date a high schooler, but I also just wasn't interested. So I found myself having to tell this kid that liking me was hopeless - but like I said, I'm too nice. I told him I just saw him as a friend and I mentioned the age difference (as additional backing) and I'm pretty sure some other word vomit trickled out. But it was done, awkward situation overcome!
Until two days later when he Myspaced me (yeah, remember when that was popular) and said, "So are you saying if I was 18 you'd date me?" ...No, I'm saying the age was even more reason not to, but not that you turning 18 would change anything. So I wrote back and said, "No, I'm saying I just see you as a friend." Yes - I came to where I should have been, but I took the long way around.
Four years later I am still taking the long way around. I'm pushed into these awkward moments with people and all I want to do is get out. Some call it fight or flight - and I'm a flight risk. I do and say whatever is necessary to get myself out of the situation, I let "future Jessica" worry about that. I am trying to learn to deal with it when it is easier when it is more fair to the person pushing me into that situation.
So - back to the book, I am in the "Self-Management Strategies" part of the book, having just completed Self Awareness and asking people how I affect them emotionally and such. Now I am trying to prevent emotional hijacking - where my emotions take over. One of the assignments was to make an Emotion vs. Reason list.
In this corner - the messages my emotions are telling me in awkward situations:
- Do whatever it takes to get out of this situation
- Put it off with words that might be lies
- Start to avoid people (specifically THAT person), phone calls, even e-mails
- Try to make people feel better/ok
In this corner we have what my Reason tells me:
- Stop trying to spare feelings, just be honest and direct (what more do you need to hear from reason? Nothing).
Then they duke it out. Reason is the stronger opponent for sure, but he moves slowly and emotional responses are rapid fire fast. They can't stand the test of time but they sure get the results I'm looking for a lot faster...until the next time.
The was a long way around a short story huh? Sorry about that, I just needed to get that off my chest. Now I have to try and correct this and grow up so that the next time something like this happens I can handle it in a way that is beneficial to all involved.