Is Emotional Intelligence contagious?
Updated: Aug 31
A funny thing happened to me last week. I am currently studying the Enneagram, a personality profiling system very deep and fascinating. Between the residential intensive modules, we are encouraged to carry on with self-studies to enrich the experience and debate at panels. I have been carrying my books around and taking many notes. The other day, after I've finished with consultations, I took my studies to a cafe where I was cross-referencing a book on the Enneagram personalities motivations with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. It was late afternoon, so the cafe was getting empty and the restaurant portion of this venue wasn’t opened yet. Apart from me, there was a table with two ladies quietly chatting, and a man in his late 80s sitting on his own, making joyful conversation with the waiters. At some point, this gentleman approached me saying that I looked very interested in my reading. He asked what I was studying, and to make things easier I simply said Emotional Intelligence. His reaction was as surprising as his approach - he raised both eyebrows, waved his hands as if he was cutting connections and half laughing, in a polite way, said “Emotional Intelligence? Oh, I won’t come nearer then. I just wanted to say you look very attractive on your checkered jumper.”
Did he think that it was contagious? Or believed I was going to make him tell me his deepest secrets? Or confess to having emotions, perhaps? He was sweet and very kind, with his compliments, but the way he run from the word “emotional” does say something about our culture. I really hope that all this current media attention to mental health brings awareness to the importance of getting in touch with our emotions and those of the people around us to lead healthier lives and be able to interact better in this world. There must be a sweet spot between being a Snow Flake and building a Concrete Wall around. Wouldn't you agree?