Relational Intelligence – The Top 7 Habits of Relationally Intelligent People

Danny Silk

The joy of marriage

The birth of a child

The thrill of falling in love

The excitement when your team wins

If you think about it, the moments we live for are all connected to relationships. Sometimes it may seem that moments like these simply happen, but the truth is, it takes intentionality, skill, and invested effort to create relationships full of joy, connection, and significance.

Relational intelligence is the ability to form healthy relationships and exhibit relationally healthy behaviors.

With this in mind, here are my top 7 habits of relationally intelligent people:

1. Responsibility in creating and managing experiences and relationships

Relationally intelligent people are powerful people.  They recognize it is their responsibility to manage themselves toward others, no matter what behaviors might be exhibited. Personal responsibility is refusing to play the victim, to control, or be controlled. No one else can “make” another feel a certain way.

2. Learning about, accepting, and valuing differences

Each person and relational situation we encounter will require something different of us. It is helpful to learn about various styles of communication, personality types, love languages (Chapman, 1995), interests, cultural perspectives, and an overview of what makes people unique. Some relationships seem to “click” right away because of shared common interests, similar communication styles and, and similar core values. Other relationships take more work. Valuing differences and learning to adapt to create stronger connections with a broad group of people are signs of relational strength and maturity.

3.  Seeking first to understand

Classically, most people within relationships are trying to convince others to see things the way they see them. Relationally intelligent people recognize the importance of seeing another perspective, and learning more about what is happening inside another person. They spend time asking good questions and getting good information about other people and perspectives. They seek to understand before being understood, and allow another person to “show up” in the relationship.

4. Communicating through disagreement

Typically, people allow differences and mistakes to lower their respect and value for other people. A pillar of strong relational intelligence is  when you can look at the other person and say, “You are really different from me. It makes me sad when I see you making that choice. But I love you. I value you, I believe in you, and I am here for you in this relationship.” Strength in relationship happens when disagreement does not lead to disconnection. The goal of any confrontation when there is disagreement is to strengthen the connection between two people.

5. Recognizing the level of intimacy

There are many different types of relationships that vary in professional and personal categories. Each kind of relationship has a different set of needs, as well as differing goals. For instance, the goal of the way I interact with a spouse or child is intimacy–to create lasting connection of our hearts. The goal of a work relationship is not about intimacy, but productivity. Being able to respond appropriately to different kinds of relationships and environments is crucial to being successful in relationships.

6. Setting limits with unhealthy behaviors

Another important part of relational intelligence is recognizing when someone else is not demonstrating the best of who they were made to be, and setting boundaries with unhealthy behavior patterns. This can be a challenge depending on the level of relationship you may have, but it is possible. Not all relationships are moving toward growth or intimacy. Some relationships require that you set it on hold until the other person is ready to relate and respond with healthy communication. You will never have a solution for someone who does not believe they have a problem.

7. Forgiving Quickly

It is impossible to be in any close or meaningful relationship without experiencing some kind of failure or pain. Feelings of injustice and hurt in relationship are very real.

Simply put–forgiveness frees us to love. Relationally intelligent people forgive quickly because they recognize it will only cause them more pain to not forgive.

You may be wondering–how can I create these new habits?

Over the next year,  we would like to spend time first helping you to identify ways you can grow in each of these areas and breaking them down into different kinds of unique relationships and situations.  Our desire is to help you on a process of growth, moving toward more relational intelligence, and the fulfillment of the kinds of relationships you have always wanted.



PS) If interested in continuing with us on this journey of relational intelligence, here are two things I’d suggest!

  1. Sign-up for #KYLODaily to receive daily wisdom for keeping your love on & boosting your relational intelligence (RQ)! Sign-up here!
  2. Be sure to enroll in one or all of The Life Academy core tracks! We are so excited by all of you whom have signed up for the Life Academy only, two more days to get the 25% off.

PPS) Share with us some topics you would like to know more about related to relational intelligence.

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