Crowding my feeds and digital magazines are these pernicious, worthless articles that are entitled, “Three words emotionally intelligent people use…” Or, “A list of phrases you can avoid and show your emotional intelligence.” There must be dozens of these articles crowding my Flipboard magazine, and they are popping up everywhere.

What’s the next fad? You can model EQ at work, and it will spread like a virus since humans are wired as social critters. That’s right, practice empathy at work, and voila! Socially transmitted empathy (STE, one letter more than the other famous acronym, STD). That grumpy curmudgeon in the dark office will suddenly be nicer. The do-nothing co-worker will say to him or herself, “Alas, what am I doing to organizational productivity by not doing my work?”

Raise Your EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient)

You’ve seen these articles, right? Let’s take a look at a few of these articles and these words that will bring you to the promised land of emotional intelligence.

Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash

These phrases (see list below) reflect the various aspects of emotional intelligence, including empathy, active listening, self-awareness, and effective communication.

Those Magic Words and Phrases

Want to be more emotionally intelligent? Want to be considered sensitive, even if your heart is as cold as ice? Here’s a list of those magic words and phrases you should use more.

  1. They don’t know
  2. I don’t know
  3. Use the difficulty
  4. I understand what you’re saying but…
  5. Sorry, please, thank you
  6. Tell me more
  7. I understand how you feel, It’s OK to feel that way, I respect your opinion
  8. Run the experiment
  9. Could you tell me more about that…
  10. I hear you
  11. How do you feel about that…
  12. I’m not sure what’s wrong. Could you explain the problem?
  13. What do you mean?
  14. Great job!
  15. You both have good points…let’s see how we can work together
  16. I appreciate you
  17. I’m sorry
  18. I trust you
  19. I’m here for you
  20. How can I support you?
  21. Tell me more about that
  22. I understand where you are coming from
  23. I appreciate your insights
  24. That’s an interesting point of view
  25. I’m really sorry you are feeling this way
  26. What can I learn from this?
  27. This, too, shall pass

Isn’t that an amazing list? Give ‘em a spin. I sense you becoming more emotionally intelligent already. Want to speed the process up? Read this next list and AVOID using them.

Photo by Torsten Dederichs on Unsplash

Now, Here’s the List of Words/Phrases to Use LESS

If there’s a list of words to use more, of course, there’s a list of words to use less. These will only show how un-emotionally intelligent you are. There’s a silver lining, of course. People might leave you alone and not bug you with emotionally intelligent words and phrases.

  1. You always
  2. You never
  3. Whatever
  4. Should
  5. I know how you feel
  6. Can’t
  7. Fine
  8. Just
  9. No problem
  10. Honestly
  11. Obviously
  12. But
  13. Failure

Citations for Emotionally Intelligent Phrases

Of course I didn’t come up with this table. My AI assistant, Pro, did. I was dreading researching and citing all of these words and phrases, but AI made it easy.

Here is a table with emotionally intelligent phrases, their explanations, and citations:

**Phrase Explanation Citation**
“Could you tell me more about that?” Shows genuine interest in others’ thoughts and feelings, encouraging open communication. [1]
“I hear you.” Indicates understanding and active listening, essential for team-building. [1]
“I understand what you’re saying, but…” Expresses disagreement in a tactful, non-confrontational way, aiming for a mutually agreeable solution. [1]
“How do you feel about that?” Encourages acknowledgment and respect for others' feelings, promoting empathy. [1]
“I’m not sure what’s wrong. Could you explain the problem?” Invites others to share their thoughts and concerns, facilitating understanding. [1]
“What do you mean?” Asks for clarification to ensure better understanding, avoiding assumptions. [1]
“Great job!” Offers appreciation and recognition for someone’s efforts and accomplishments. [1]
“You both have good points. Let’s see how we can work together.” Acknowledges different viewpoints and encourages collaboration. [1]
“I feel…” Encourages self-awareness and expression of one’s own emotions. [2]
“Please let me know how I did” Shows openness to feedback and a desire for self-improvement. [2]
“I understand how you feel” Demonstrates empathy and understanding of another’s emotional state. [2]
“I’d feel the same way in your situation” Validates another person’s feelings by relating to their situation. [2]
“Let’s work together on this.” Promotes teamwork and collective problem-solving. [2]
“Let’s think about why.” Encourages reflection and understanding of underlying reasons or causes. [3]
“Thank you.” (Also “please” and “you’re welcome.") Expresses gratitude and politeness, fostering positive interactions. [3]
“No, thank you.” Politely declines while maintaining respect and boundaries. [3]
“Can I see if I understand?” Seeks confirmation of understanding, showing attentiveness to the conversation. [3]
“I’m sorry.” Admits mistakes and shows accountability, aiding in relationship repair. [4]
“Tell me more.” Demonstrates curiosity and a non-judgmental approach to gaining clarity. [4]
“How do you like to be communicated to?” Respects individual communication preferences, enhancing mutual understanding. [4]
“I’m going to take a breather.” Indicates self-awareness and the need to manage one’s own emotional state. [6]
“I Hear What You’re Saying” Acknowledges the other person’s perspective, showing active listening. [7]
“Thanks for Sharing That with Me” Shows appreciation for the other person’s openness and trust. [7]
“I’m Sorry You’re Going Through This” Offers sympathy and support during difficult times. [7]
“Can I Help with Anything?” Offers assistance and shows willingness to be supportive. [7]
“It’s okay to be upset.” Validates emotions and encourages expression of feelings. [8]
“I’m here for you. I’ll stay with you.” Offers presence and support during emotional times. [8]
“It’s okay to feel how you feel.” Affirms that all emotions are valid and acceptable. [8]
“How you feel matters.” Emphasizes the importance of emotions and personal experience. [8]
“You are good and kind.” Reinforces positive self-image and encourages generosity. [8]