Learn about the types of emotional intelligence and see which one you identify with

did you know that there are different types of emotional intelligence? Don’t worry, we know that not all readers are familiar with psychological terms. However, if you are curious to find out why certain people manage their emotions better and others are more impulsive, stay tuned to this article.

The concept of emotional intelligence has gained more notoriety in recent years thanks to different authors who have shown how its proper development can bring great benefits in different aspects of daily life, such as family relationships, work and social coexistence in general. Discovering little by little how the brain works and how to manage your emotions will allow you to improve the way you interact with others.

However, there are still many people who are not fully aware of how to manage their emotions. If you are one of them, don’t worry! It is never too late to improve and learn new things, especially if they are related to your personal development. In today’s article, we will introduce you to everything you need to know about the different types of emotional intelligence that exist so that you can learn to identify and modify them. are you curious about the types of emotional intelligence there are?

let’s find out!

Types of emotional intelligence according to Gardner

At the beginning of the article we mentioned that before Goleman, there is another theory on which the research on emotional intelligence was based. This is Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.

Psychologist Howard Gardner was one of the first to study intelligence in depth. he argued that academic intelligence is not a decisive aspect to measure how intelligent a person is.

In other words, for this psychologist, intelligence was not based solely on obtaining good grades in the academic environment, but that each person has a different talent and, in that talent hides a superlative intelligence. In this way, he proposed the theory that in the future would be the basis of the studies of the types of emotional intelligence.

In the theories of multiple intelligences, it is pointed out that there are 8 different types of intelligences, within which we can distinguish two types of emotional intelligence:

Interpersonal intelligence

This is one of the types of emotional intelligence mentioned in his theory. According to Gardner, this classification of emotional intelligence involves the ability to show empathy towards others and correctly interpret their emotions. This type of intelligence has the purpose of improving communication and, as its name says, allows you to develop your interpersonal relationships.

Intrapersonal intelligence

Unlike the previous one, this type of intelligence is oriented to self-knowledge. A person with developed intrapersonal intelligence is able to be aware of his or her emotions and understand how they affect his or her thoughts and actions.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this point, in reality, there are 8 types of intelligence proposed by Howard Gardner in his theory; however, the only ones related to emotional intelligence are the ones we reviewed a moment ago. are you interested in discovering what the other 6 types of intelligence are like? do you want to find out which one you have? check out Gardner’s classification of the 8 types of intelligence!

tipos de inteligencia emocional gardnerSource: Canva

Types of emotional intelligence according to Goleman

Earlier we highlighted the importance of psychologist Daniel Goleman in the research of emotional intelligence. Although he was not the first to talk about it, he was the one who presented the greatest advances in the subject and who popularized the concept of emotional intelligence in the scientific community and around the world.

Based on Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, Goleman was able to distinguish two types of emotional intelligence: personal intelligence and interpersonal intelligence .

1. Personal Intelligence

This type of emotional intelligence refers to the ability we have to relate to ourselves and comprises three fundamental elements:

Self-awareness or self-awareness: How we understand our strengths, weaknesses, moods and emotions.
Self-regulation: The ability to control our own emotions and impulses.
Self-motivation: The ability to maintain the energy and desire to pursue one’s goals and objectives.

2. Interpersonal Intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence is based on the relationships that the individual has with other people. This type of emotional intelligence comprises two components:

Empathy: The ability to understand the emotions of others and adopt them as one’s own.
Social skills: The ability to interact with others in an assertive manner.

If you have been paying attention, you probably think that it is similar to what Gardner proposed. Goleman was his direct successor in everything related to emotional intelligence, then, the author decided to keep the concepts of interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence, but developing its components.

tipos inteligencia emocional golemanSource: Canva

Types of emotional intelligence according to Reuven Bar-On

In addition to the proposal made by Dr. Goleman, there are other classifications of the different types of emotional intelligence. For his part, Israeli psychologist Reuven Bar-On defines emotional intelligence as follows: “emotional intelligence is a set of personal and interpersonal emotional capabilities that influence an individual’s overall ability to cope with the demands and pressures of the environment.”

Bar-On classifies five types of emotional intelligence that determine how we understand ourselves, how we relate to others and how we face daily challenges. According to the above description, the third major model of emotional intelligence we will look at is the following:

Intrapersonal skills
Interpersonal skills
Stress management
Coping skills
Positive mood

Intrapersonal skills

According to Bar-On, intrapersonal skills are related to the way we manage our own emotions. This type of skill could be equated with the intrapersonal intelligence proposed by Gardner, through his model of multiple intelligences.

In this sense, it refers to a type of emotional intelligence that has to do with the relationship we have with ourselves. In other words, the way we treat ourselves and how we identify and express our emotions.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are also within the types of emotional intelligence, which allow us to express what we want to say in an appropriate way. Likewise, these skills help us to communicate with others in an assertive way, to understand them (through empathy), and to connect with people’s emotions.

Stress management

Although we often do not stop to think about it, what often makes the difference between success and failure is self-control. In this sense, we could ask ourselves: what kind of situations cause us stress and how does our emotional intelligence come to the fore?

Stress can be defined as a reaction of the organism to threats, when our resources are insufficient to cope with the demands of the environment. A study by the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences showed a significant relationship between emotional intelligence and work stress. In other words, if an individual’s emotional intelligence increases, so does his or her ability to cope with stressful situations.

So, learning to cope with stress is a skill that arises from the application of “appropriate strategies”. Strategies that require not only knowledge but also practice, and are part of the types of emotional intelligence.

Coping skills

Another of the types of emotional intelligence in the Bar-On method is our ability to adapt. Not to mention the experience we’ve had over the years, right?

Adaptation has a great deal to do with our flexibility in dealing with change. We have this ability when we are able to adapt to changes in our environment without causing great discomfort or compromising our performance.

Positive mood

The last of the five types of emotional intelligence proposed by Bar-On is positive mood. what does Bar-On mean by this type of emotional intelligence? More than an emotion, mood is a disposition of emotional life that is prolonged over time. In this sense, we can be in different moods, whether they are positive and energetic, apathetic and listless. In a way, although it is normal to go through different moods, a positive mood is a likely consequence of good emotional intelligence.

As you have noticed, although it is true that Goleman is a leading author in the field of types of emotional intelligence, other authors have also contributed to this topic. This is, for example, the case of Gardner, which we saw previously through his theory of multiple intelligences.

Reunión de negocios con compañeros de trabajoImage: Pixabay

how to develop the different types of emotional intelligence?

After having seen what are the types of emotional intelligence according to different authors, you are probably wondering now how to apply what you have learned.

To do this, you have to start from the premise that no type of intelligence is fixed, they can all be developed. So you too can develop your emotional intelligence by applying some simple concepts.

Identify your dominant intelligences

Although it seems like a simple thing to do, it is not. have you ever thought about whether you know your different types of emotional intelligence?

Probably, during the course of this reading your answer was yes. But if you answered no, then the next part will interest you.

Identify your types of intelligence through a free test, such as Howard Garner’s “test of dominant intelligences”. After taking it, make a summary of the three types of intelligence that you have more developed.

Train your emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence can be developed following some criteria that we have already studied. In this sense, according to Daniel Goleman’s studies, an emotionally intelligent person is able to:

Recognize their own emotions.
Relate to the emotions of others.
Actively listen to others.
Actively participate in interpersonal communication and understand the non-verbal signals of the other’s behavior.
Control their own thoughts and feelings.
Effectively manage their emotions and express them in socially acceptable ways.
Receive criticism in a positive way and benefit from it.
Forgive, forget and move on rationally.

So how can you train your emotional intelligence? Our suggestion is: focus on simple actions to improve your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence develops with practice. Here are some exercises to develop your emotional intelligence that you can start practicing on a daily basis.

Keep a gratitude journal. You agree that our negative thoughts can clutter our brains. Write gratitude for the day that has passed and the night that is coming. We’re sure it will make you feel better than before.
Listen empathetically. Listening is an essential skill for anyone. Now, what is empathic listening? It is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and reach out to perceive what they are feeling. You can use the following phrases to empathize: I see, I understand, I understand. Rephrasing to understand another person’s needs will also be a way to develop your emotional intelligence.
Praise and thank. Contrary to popular belief, complimenting or thanking someone also has a positive effect on you. This practice releases endorphins and even dopamine in your brain, two happiness hormones!

Truly know yourself

Another step in developing the different types of emotional intelligence is to know yourself. This will allow you to strengthen your emotional intelligence. For example, at some point we go through difficult situations and have negative emotions. in what situations does this manifest itself in you? when do you start to feel irritated or upset?

Achieve self-control

Once you are able to identify your emotions and, above all, know at what moments they appear, you are able to stop experiencing them.

Within the types of emotional intelligence, this is the stage of self-control. Here you have achieved an ability to manage your emotions and keep a “cool head”, differentiating the emotional elements from the real facts.

Stay motivated

Adequate motivation allows you to transmit, contribute, participate and even do a different job than others. Cultivating this skill is part of developing emotional intelligence, and it creates a kind of positive aura around you without even realizing it. For example, if you are in a job you love, take pride in the work you do. The work you do every day helps you develop personally.

Mujer en el trabajo en una reuniónImage: Pixabay

Emotional intelligence theory

Before explaining what are the types of emotional intelligence that exist, we believe it is necessary to specify what emotional intelligence is and how this concept was born.

Emotional intelligence is a set of skills or abilities that a person develops throughout his life. These skills help him to get ahead and to coexist in a good way with his environment. The skills that stand out the most are empathy, motivation, self-control, enthusiasm and emotion management.

The aforementioned skills are the components of emotional intelligence proposed by Goleman. Don’t worry, we will go deeper into that later on. Now, we will explain a little about the origin of emotional intelligence.

According to the Psychology Online portal, the origin of emotional intelligence is given thanks to psychologist Daniel Goleman, who was one of the pioneers in formulating the theory of emotional intelligence. According to Goleman, prehistoric man had a primitive development based only on the survival of the species. As time went by, the brain evolved and adapted to new ways of life.

The limbic system, which is in charge of controlling emotional behavior, has undergone great changes due to this continuous evolution. Today, human beings have a much more complex nervous system. That is why Goleman considers that emotional intelligence is very important for individual self-improvement.

In the same way, Daniel Goleman considers emotional intelligence as a way of understanding cognitive processes that go much further than rational thinking. He also identified 2 types of emotional intelligence, which we will see below.

To complement this point, the consulting expert, Nia Ayanz, in the Emotional Intelligence for Leaders online course, mentions that ” emotional intelligence should not be associated with being a weak person or with little authority. Being emotionally intelligent implies having an ability to adapt in various situations in order to achieve a goal”.

did you know that emotional intelligence is one of the soft skills most in demand by companies today?

Components of emotional intelligence

As mentioned in the previous point, there are 5 components of emotional intelligence. WARNING: It is important not to confuse the different types of emotional intelligence that we will see below with these elements.

That said, Goleman’s components of emotional intelligence are:

Emotional self-awareness

This refers to the individual’s ability to know himself and to understand the moods that may appear from one moment to the next. That is, he/she can identify and recognize his/her emotions perfectly, according to the context in which they occur.

Emotional self-regulation

Many of our emotions can provoke the appearance of certain behaviors that are harmful to other people and ourselves. This component of emotional intelligence refers to the ability to control the management of our emotions and actions based on impulses, in order to maintain a peaceful coexistence.


To have a good level of emotional intelligence, it is important that the person can develop self-motivation. That is, to be able to maintain optimism and energy to direct them to the achievement of their own goals or objectives. The development of this skill is essential to master the different situations that arise and adapt to new challenges.


One of the emotional characteristics of a person is his or her level of empathy, which refers to the degree to which an individual can understand another person’s emotional states and feel them to some degree as if they were his or her own. In this way, we can be more assertive in the way we treat others. For example, if we see a person crying, we can address them with a soft and conciliatory tone, since we understand that they are sad.

Social skills

A person with optimal emotional intelligence has a good development of social skills, which allow him/her to interact properly with other people and build stronger relationships.

inteligencia emocional componentesSource: Canva

Spheres of emotional intelligence according to Solovey and Mayer

Continuing with the types of emotional intelligences, at this point, we will focus on explainingwhat are the 5 main spheres of emotional intelligence by Solovey and Mayer .

This theory of emotional intelligence may be somewhat different from what Goleman proposes; therefore, some confusion may arise. here we will clear up your doubts!

The first explanation given by the authors to the term “emotional intelligence” consisted of the ability to process information about one’s emotions in order to use it to guide our thoughts and behaviors .

Within their theory, taking into account Howard Gardner’s studies, researchers Solovey and Mayer published in 1990 an article in which they highlighted the existence of 5 spheres to consider that someone has a high emotional intelligence. These are:

1. Knowing one’s own emotions

As mentioned in the previous theories, one of the most important characteristics of emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of the feelings we have, identify them accurately and understand the variations that occur from one moment to another depending on the situation in which we find ourselves.

2. Managing emotions

A person with a good level of emotional intelligence is able to regulate and control his or her feelings in a conscious way. In this way, we can guarantee an adequate coexistence with the rest of the people, regardless of the context in which we find ourselves.

3. Self-motivation

do you feel discouraged when you are at work? there is an explanation for that! The development of emotional intelligence is very important to be able to direct our emotions towards the fulfillment of a goal. If we are able to motivate ourselves, we can face difficulties and maintain our enthusiasm to achieve a desired goal.

Emotional intelligence and motivation extend to all areas of our life: to perform an activity without motivation is one of the worst feelings! Where this aspect is most often seen is in the workplace.

4. Recognizing the emotions of others

In addition to recognizing one’s own emotions, a person with well-developed emotional intelligence also has the ability to recognize the emotions of the people around them and to empathize with them. In this way, communication between individuals will be much better and possible conflicts will be avoided.

5. Managing relationships

When a person is able to identify his own emotions and recognize the feelings of others, the next sphere of emotional intelligence is to maintain an adequate control of social relationships. That is, to work our leadership and communication skills to relate to other people who are part of our community.

esferas de la inteligencia emocionalSource: Canva

The types of emotional intelligence are based on the theory proposed by Goleman and Solovey and Mayer. Both proposals are, in turn, very similar to each other and this is because they are based on the same theory of multiple intelligences of Howard Gardner.

Characteristics of a person with high emotional intelligence

Now that you know the types of emotional intelligence, it is important to know what characteristics you can acquire if you manage to develop this ability.

That is why, before finishing this article, we will know what are the characteristics of people with emotional intelligence. It is likely that you possess many of them. don’t miss it!

1. They do not neglect their emotions

People who manage to develop the different types of emotional intelligence are characterized by paying attention to how they feel. Theydo not limit themselves to just feeling, but analyze and listen to their feelings. This means that if there is something that is not good for them, they take action to solve it.

2. They do not repress what they feel

People with emotional intelligence are characterized by being sincere with themselves. They express their feelings as they are, without thinking about what they will say; although always taking into account self-control and context.

On the other hand, people who lack a full development of emotional intelligence, have the tendency to repress their emotions, especially the negative ones, such as sadness and anger. However, sooner or later, this generates harmful effects on mental and physical health. For example, it has been shown that repression of emotions can lead to the development of psychological disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

3. They analyze their projects and dreams

Another important characteristic of people with good emotional intelligence is to distinguish between the possible and the fictitious. It is not wrong to set goals, as long as they are achievable, according to the capabilities and resources you have available. Also, those who have this type of emotional intelligence analyze their future a lot and avoid living in an alternate reality where everything is perfect.

Hombre en la sala con su perroSource: Pexels

4. They have a constant balance in their actions

All actions have their pros and cons. It depends on each person if he/she drowns in the problem or if he/she looks for the positive in order to move forward and solve the problem.People with high emotional intelligence manage to overcome adverse situations and try to focus on what is useful. This is also known as resilience.

5. They do not take anything personally

Although it is sometimes hard to accept, most situations are out of our control. When something doesn’t go as planned or when someone gets angry with them, people with emotional intelligence are able to master their emotions to avoid anxiety and focus on analyzing why it happened and what can be improved in a future situation.

6. Self-criticism

People with high emotional intelligence are aware that they are the owners of their emotions and, therefore, have the ability to control them. In this way, they can analyze and understand when they act badly. That is, they take responsibility for their mistakes and do not fall into the need to blame someone else when they fail.

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7. They pay attention to the emotions of others

Possessing emotional intelligence is aligned with seeking to be empathetic with others. They identify when someone is going through a difficult time and respect them. In this way, they manage to establish an atmosphere of well-being and develop positive social relationships.

8. They are sociable, but they establish bonds with people who add positive things to them

This is closely related to the previous point. If you are kind and empathetic with others, you will have an easier time socializing. Everyone enjoys surrounding themselves with people with good emotional intelligence, since, as we mentioned, they are capable of creating an atmosphere of well-being.

However,there are people who do not bring them positive things. In these cases, the only thing they do is to move away to avoid uncomfortable and unnecessary situations.

9. They are constantly self-motivated

If you have this type of emotional intelligence, you will have the ability to be self-motivated. People with this ability avoid getting stuck in the monotony of things that do not generate positive feelings, as well as always seek to renew themselves and discover new activities.

Mujeres en azotea tomándose una fotoSource: Pexels

we hope this article has helped you a lot! Now that you know what the types of emotional intelligence are, it’s time for you to start working on them, develop them and, thus, get better results in your personal, work and social life.

good luck!

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