Social Intelligence.

It is the soft skills that matter most in life.


A party is a kind of social experiment.


15 months ago, I was lucky enough to have a wonderful 60th birthday party with sixty-five of my family and closest friends. Everyone had a great time, and I loved every minute of it. But on reflection, there were 2 or 3 people at the party that seemed uncomfortable and just did not fit in. The memories of the interactions with these specific people have stayed with me the longest.


So, what is going on with these people?


Maybe they lack “social intelligence”?


i have skills | Social intelligence quotes, People skills, Skills quote


Social intelligence is the ultimate “soft skill”, it is your ability to understand other people’s emotions and behaviour. It requires good listening skills and the ability to ask the right questions, i.e., a genuine interest in others. For most people these interpersonal skills are just common sense, and they are very difficult to fake.



It is easy to confuse social intelligence (SQ) with emotional intelligence (EQ).


SQ is an outward-looking ability which focuses on understanding other people, whilst EQ is an inward-looking ability which focuses on understanding your own emotions and mastering your own behaviour.


SQ and EQ are equally important, and both are an innate part of human interaction.

Similar to IQ (intelligence quotient), social and emotional intelligence stem from our evolutionary brain which is pre-programed for survival.


In the modern world we no longer face physical threats, but we are constantly facing a variety of emotional and behavioural challenges and threats. So SQ and EQ are vitally important to our social and professional survival.


“Our emotions have a mind of their own, one which can hold views quite independently of our rational mind.” Daniel Goleman


Author and psychologist Daniel Goleman is an expert in the field of social intelligence.

I recently watched a video of a speech he gave to Google HQ called “Social Intelligence the Science of Human Relationships”.


Below is a link to Goleman’s speech, which I highly recommend watching.


The main takeaways from this enlightened speech are.


  • Our social brain has evolved to be able to tune in to other people’s feelings and emotions, which allows us to form instant social connections.


  • Our “fight or flight” reflex is an automatic and powerful force. If we feel threatened this reflex can hijack our social intelligence and make us do regretful things.


  • Our emotional intelligence exists to soften our fight or flight reaction and moderate our behaviour so that it is “street smart” or socially acceptable.


  • Our brain has special neurons called “mirror neurons” that have the sole purpose of mirroring other people’s emotions and behaviours.


  • Normal social intelligence = If someone we are talking to gets upset, you also feel agitated and upset. If they smile or laugh, you also feel like smiling and laughing. And importantly if the other person gets angry and aggressive you become angry and aggressive.


  • Our brain is flexible and adaptive and has an enormous capacity for learning and improving our social and emotional intelligence. Reading, writing, listening to music, meditation and therapy are just a few of the practices that can greatly enhance our social brain and our social intelligence.


“When we focus on others, our world expands.” Daniel Goleman


Thanks for reading,

Stay safe and be social.




Share this via share via facebook share via twitter share via Google Plus share via pinterest share via email

Website Security Test