Everyone would love to think the person they're attracted to is emotionally intelligent. While *~sensitivity~* and emotional intelligence are linked, truly emotionally intelligent people are way different than the brooding fuckboys who haunt your DMs because they "just really miss you" after ghosting. Here are some of the signs you’re dating an emotionally intelligent person:
1. They are deeply empathetic.
“This is probably what we think of most when we think of emotional intelligence,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences of UMass Amherst. “They can read you well—and your moods—without you having to spell it out in excruciating detail. They can tell what’s bothering you at the moment, and what would make you feel good.” And they'll never be the ones to just say "oh, that's too bad" and turn back to scrolling through Instagram—they'll actually relate and make you feel way less alone with your problems.
2. They really make an effort to get along with the people closest to you.
Everyone’s had that one friend whose boyfriend they hated. “You don’t live in isolation from others, and if your partner is always offending people, that’s going to end up having an effect on you,” says Whitbourne. So if your partner really cares about engaging with your friends, it shows that they understand that having relationships with them will make *your* life better, too.
3. But they can also help you spot the toxic relationships in your life.
As an example: “A partner like that can be good for telling you when your sister-in-law is manipulating you, without being overly-critical of you or her, and look at ways you could better stand up for yourself,” says Whitbourne. Life gets infinitely easier when you have an S.O. who’ll inspire you to stick up for yourself more in healthy, well-thought-out ways (and not encouraging you to immediately quit your job or cut out your BFF because she messed up once).
4. They’re the best listeners.
Look for people who really do try to absorb every word, instead of just waiting for you to finish your sentence so they can bombard you with their own opinion.
5. They aren’t afraid to argue.
As nice as it sounds to have a partner who backs down easily or almost always agree with you, it’s also a sign of low commitment. Any two people in a relationship will have differences—major ones—and emotionally intelligent people are willing to sit with you and go over every little detail of the disagreement, as uncomfortable/inconvenient/annoying as it feels. They simply can’t move on until there’s an understanding between you two.
6. But they also argue well.
Just because they're emotionally intelligent doesn't mean they're perfect. “Usually, what you can expect the emotionally intelligent person to do is not launch into a bunch of attacks on the other person,” says Whitbourne. “There will be times where they say things that are hurtful or that they regret, but at that point, they can admit it.”
7. They aren’t impulsive.
Some spontaneity is good, but there’s a huuuuuuge difference between the guy who plans a last-minute romantic weekend trip with you (knowing in advance that you’d be free, of course), and the guy who gets fired from his third job in a row because he maxed out the company card. “With impulsivity, you’re really not listening, you’re really not paying attention to other people.” says Whitbourne.
8. They know themselves really, really well.
“They’ll know their limitations, and they’re not going to get into situations where they’ve really overextended themselves,” says Whitbourne. Your partner will never commit to three parties in one night and drag you to all of them. Find this person and never let them go.
9. But they’re also constantly trying to grow.
Emotionally intelligent people are always looking for ways they could be kinder or wiser, including in their own relationships. "They ask for feedback, and are really open to it. They check out their reading of a situation with someone else.” says Whitbourne. Needless to say, your opinion will ALWAYS matter to them.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.