Emotional Intelligence Is On The Decline

Traits that emotionally intelligent people have can greatly improve their lives, and the people around them.

There are many reports that back up the fact that emotional intelligence is on the decline, including this one, which states, “Over the last two decades, Western society has undergone a marked

cultural transformation characterized by rising individualism. Concurrently, the

digital landscape has transformed through the rise of social media and smartphones.

These factors have previously been implicated in changing individuals’ attitudes,

behavior, and interpersonal interactions. We investigated whether these societal

changes have coincided with changes in trait emotional intelligence (EI) over the last

17years in Western university students”

A part of the conclusion goes on to say, “In conclusion, Western society witnessed enormous cultural changes in the last two decades brought about by rising individualism and the advent of social media. Our study found that while overall trait EI did not change with time, the domains well- being, self- control, and emotionality demonstrated significant decreases with time. These findings complement existing literature indicating increasing extrinsic individualism, narcissism, and rising psychopathology.”

Let’s have a look at what emotional intelligence is. Most of us are in agreement that having the following attributes generally conform with what we would call an emotionally intelligent person :


Feelings and empathy

An emotionally intelligent person, more often than not, has a natural empathy while transacting with others and doesn’t jump to conclusions but takes her/his time to understand what’s behind the behaviour or the words that are being spoken particularly in strained situations.


Managing emotions

The natural empathy towards another contributes towards managing our own emotions.


Spontaneity and breathing space

They know when to be spontaneous and when to give themselves and others breathing space.


They set boundaries

They effortlessly let the other person know through their words and body language that there are those invisible lines of demarcation that are not to be crossed and themselves are adept at understanding the limits set by others and do not cross them.



They have no trouble accepting constructive criticism and also have no trouble offering constructive criticism when another person asks. 


Learning from mistakes

They are comfortable accepting their mistakes and are quick to realise, apologise and get on with life. We all have made mistakes and will make more. Emotionally intelligent people do too and try to learn from their mistakes and also those of others and try not to repeat their missteps and blunders. They do not rivet on to or zero in on the mistakes others make.


Expressing ideas and thoughts

They are capable, even skillful at expressing their ideas and thoughts clearly and take the time to think over the other person’s messages and sentiments.


Optimism and motivation

They are generally optimistic and self motivated.


Enjoying diversity

They enjoy diversity of cultures and ethnicities and are free of prejudices.



They are not falsely humble but realistically modest.



They possess the ability to laugh at themselves and others.



They are generally honest and straightforward. Very often, rather than lie they keep silent.


Good listeners

Without doubt they are good listeners and naturally hear what the other is saying.



Whenever possible they help others, both in terms of motivation and action.


Dealing with the unexpected

Life sometimes brings uncalled for situations. An emotionally intelligent person lets things roll in the mind for a couple of days or as long as the situation may demand, sleeps over matters and tries coming to the best possible solutions.

Just my opinion, so far as I can see there’s emotional intelligence across all generations and similarly lack of it through all age groups. The one disadvantage that the young may have is a lesser ability to read body language due to heavy dependence on the written and spoken word since they often communicate over social media and miss out on some of the nuances. On the other hand I have seen no other generation more confident, helpful, sharing and  inclined towards diversity and appreciation of other cultures. 

The current burst of news about the decline in emotional intelligence will finally go away. After all there are a number of other reports that conclude that the youth of today are more inclusive, have better family values, are more open minded in their attitudes and are more receptive to the viewpoints of others. This study https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1468796817723682 is jut one of them.

Picture: Shutterstock / ID: 1636036048


Support us!

All your donations will be used to pay the magazine’s journalists and to support the ongoing costs of maintaining the site.


paypal smart payment button for simple membership

Share this post

Interested in co-operating with us?

We are open to co-operation from writers and businesses alike. You can reach us on our email at cooperations@youth-time.eu/magazine@youth-time.eu and we will get back to you as quick as we can.

Where to next?

Why Are Women Colder Than Men?

Before you gentlemen complain about your women turning up the heaters at home during these winter months, do take into account women actually do feel colder than men.