Things Emotionally Intelligent People Do When They Feel Misunderstood

Emotional intelligence is our ability to understand others’ emotions and manage our own, and it’s a positive trait to cultivate. Emotionally intelligent individuals have great skills in expressing themselves, which can be even more powerful during difficult situations. Even when angry or hurt, these people put emotional control at the forefront, and we can learn a lot from how they handle situations that make them uncomfortable. Suppose you want to learn more about handling conflict or be more receptive to the social cues of the emotionally intelligent people in your life. In that case, it’s helpful to understand their patterns. To help out, we put together this list of things emotionally intelligent people do when they feel misunderstood.

1. They’ll step away.

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Emotionally intelligent people know their emotions well enough to see when things are getting heated. If they feel misunderstood, disappointed, or judged, they may need to take a step back and take a few deep breaths before tackling the issue. Just because they are good at regulating their emotions doesn’t mean nothing hurts or affects them, so giving them space to process and return to their center is important. The good news is they probably just need a bit of time, and they’ll come back ready to talk things out.

2. They’ll clarify their intentions.

We all know it can be unpleasant to have your intentions flipped to be something bad when you didn’t mean it that way, but it can be crucial to these people that their intentions remain transparent and authentic. An emotionally intelligent person takes great pride in cultivating and expressing their stake in a situation and their feelings about what happened and wants it to be understood and validated. This is why it’s so important to them that you know they are coming from a good place and will make a point to reassert it when misunderstandings occur.

3. They’ll apologize.

Emotionally intelligent people understand that misunderstandings or wrong decisions can occur even with good intentions. This is why even when they feel wronged, they will still apologize. They acknowledge that everyone has different points of view and insecurities. What is okay with them may not be okay with everyone, and they take accountability for causing others pain. Ultimately, they deeply value being seen and accepted, so they make an honest effort to do so for others around them.

4. They’ll validate your perspective.


It’s hard to accept others’ points of view at times; it can often feel like we have to give up our own for theirs to be true. However, emotionally intelligent people know how to balance the two and make them both relevant to the resolution. They might say, “I know you feel x, but when I did it I wasn’t feeling y”. Hearing them out is important, but they are also very receptive to the concerns of others and will go above and beyond to include both perspectives in the narrative so everyone can feel seen.

5. They’ll work to resolve misunderstandings.

Demonizing people in your life when they do you wrong is a recipe for heartache and broken connections, and no one is more aware of this than those who are emotionally intelligent. They don’t want a misunderstanding to ruin a friendship, so they often try to clear the air in hopes of making both people closer. When wrongdoing is assumed, they strive to explain and further prove that they are not a bad person. They know everyone makes mistakes and will lead by example, cultivating forgiveness over grudges.

6. They’ll avoid speaking about it.

Sometimes, things just need some air. When an emotionally intelligent person feels misunderstood, it can be hard to process. They may choose to step away from the issue until they have a more specific and actionable way to overcome it. They may avoid the conversation altogether if they feel the person isn’t mature enough to hear their side of things. Though they would rather resolve the issue, they value their peace and want to maintain their image and values just as much.

7. They’ll try to understand.

Emotionally intelligent people have a penchant for deep reflection and a high level of self-understanding. This is why, when misunderstandings arise, they may spend time asking questions and trying to understand someone else’s opinions and feelings. This is not only a way of coping with difficult emotions but also a way of trying to find solutions. They will put their all into unraveling the root of the misunderstanding in hopes that they can better understand your perspective.

8. They’ll focus on their feelings.

Emotionally intelligent people will avoid blaming others or participating in guilting or shaming to have their feelings heard. If they’re upset, they realize it’s their job to fix it, and the only way to do it is by addressing their emotional state. When rationalizing and speaking about their feelings, they will use I/me statements instead of projecting emotions onto the other person or assuming their intent. They know that putting others down can breed contempt and rarely solves issues; instead, they will focus on making things right internally and uplifting themselves.

9. They’ll find ways to express themselves without being judged.

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Judgment never feels good, especially when it is unwarranted. Less emotionally intelligent people may choose to blame others for their feelings and shortcomings, and this is where those who are more emotionally intelligent can feel the most vulnerable and misinterpreted. Emotionally intelligent people will not give up on their goals and wants because someone doesn’t like them. However, they may reconfigure how they indulge to avoid judgment or condemnation. This can mean distancing themselves from the person who is judging them or being more private about pursuits that the person doesn’t like.

10. They’ll spend time reflecting.

When in doubt, the emotionally intelligent person will look within. They may journal, meditate, or talk to a close friend to get fresh perspective and clarity on situations that leave them dissatisfied. They have developed tools to help them understand themselves and test the waters of new ideas without compromising too much of their identity. This process can help them manage their emotional state effectively—it also gives them mental clarity so that they do not allow unfair assessments or wrongful accusations to weigh down their sense of self.

11. They will let you have your opinion.

Someone’s perspective of you does not have to define you, and emotionally intelligent people have mastered letting these perceptions go. They do this by not internalizing everyone’s perspective and instead treating it as a visitor in their psyche. This allows them to hear people out without letting negativity affect them. They will let you think what you want about them; they may even take a verbal beating from you, but they won’t let your perceptions lessen their self-image. It’s your opinion, not theirs.

12. They’ll take time to feel their feelings.

Imagine the feelings that arise when someone misunderstands you; it can challenge feelings of control, make you angry that others see you poorly, and trigger fears about inadequacy. Those who are emotionally intelligent tune into their body and listen to the feelings that arise. These feelings guide them to where they might need to show themselves more love or compassion. They go through these inner trials in hopes of improving their self-understanding and managing their emotions better day-to-day.

13. They won’t bother trying to get the last word.

When you’re in argument mode, you may be more focused on keeping up the attack or getting a reaction from the other party than resolving or understanding the other person. It takes a lot of patience and self-control to sit back and let someone go on the offensive while remaining passive. This is something that emotionally intelligent people strive to do; they won’t react, they won’t throw petty jabs, and they won’t insist on having the last word. They’ll simply walk away if they see the argument going nowhere or sense that it’s become too emotionally charged.

14. They will express what’s not working.

When there are ongoing judgments and misunderstandings with a loved one, an emotionally intelligent person will express discomfort and set boundaries around certain behaviors to maintain a certain level of respect. If the loved one insists on pushing back on these boundaries, it may be time to leave them behind. It’s a difficult decision and not made lightly, but it is sometimes necessary. The emotionally intelligent person may end up cutting them off, but one thing is for sure: they will not do so without explaining why.

15. They’ll make peace with being misunderstood.

sensitive redhead woman by window

Ultimately, though being misunderstood may hurt them, they will make peace with it, as that’s what’s most healthy for them. Emotionally intelligent people have a good grasp of dealing with their emotions and can turn negative experiences into opportunities for growth. Being judged may set them back a step or two, but they’re on a more significant path that others’ misunderstandings won’t derail. They will continue to make peace with things that make them uncomfortable and nurture their inner self to make them as strong as possible.

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