People who are intellectually gifted but have low EQ usually struggle with these 8 things

Many stereotypes exist about intellectually gifted people. They can be labeled as troubled geniuses, nerds with no social life, or socially awkward nerds.

These stereotypes are reinforced in TV and movies.

For example, in the popular sitcom ‘Young Sheldon’, Sheldon and his twin sister Missy undergo an IQ test.

Although Sheldon scores exceptionally high intellectually, he fails the emotional and interpersonal intelligence tests, which Missy passes with flying colors.

So is it true that gifted people lack emotional intelligence?

Science confirms that there are different types of intelligence.

And while this is not conclusive, some research has shown that the intellectually gifted may have low EQ.

According to this research, gifted people with low EQ typically struggle with these eight things.

1) Regulating their emotions

Intellectually gifted people are known to have complex thoughts. But another complex thing is their emotions.

According to the Australian psychologist Lesley Sword people with high IQ suffer from emotional intensity.

For them, every feeling they experience, whether happiness, sadness or anger, is intense.

Along with the intensity, their emotions are so complex that they often experience multiple emotions at the same time.

This can make them seem ‘full’, constantly up and down, and unable to control their feelings.


Because they feel everything more deeply than people with average IQs, Sword explains that this contributes to them feeling different, which brings us to the next point.

2) Fit in

The complexity of the thoughts and emotions of intellectually gifted people can leave them feeling isolated from their peers.

Many gifted people report that they feel misunderstood or that there is something wrong with them.

This is common in gifted children who are unsure that their sensitivities and intensities are normal. As a result, they view them as weaknesses and develop a sense of inferiority compared to everyone else.

They will then have difficulty adapting and relating to the people around them, pushing them further into their complex inner world. Often this will manifest as shyness and shyness.

This can lead to inner conflict, self-criticism and fear, which is related to the next point.

3) Positive thinking

Emotional reasoning is one of the four branches of emotional intelligence.

The cognitive process helps us prioritize what we pay attention to and respond to.

Here’s an example.

Imagine turning on the TV and immediately seeing a sad news item.

Someone with a high EQ has enough emotional reasoning to switch channels and focus their attention on something more positive.


Gifted people without EQ cannot focus their attention on more positive things. Instead, they continue to watch the sad news story.

In other words, they tend to dwell on the negative.

Why is this so bad?

Ace research shows that focusing too much on the pain and suffering in the world negatively impacts our mental health and creates a pessimistic mindset.

When we are stuck in a spiral of negative thinking, we cannot see the positive side of things or appreciate blessings.

Because many gifted people struggle to refocus their thoughts and create better emotions, they are also more likely to struggle with the following:

4) Dealing with depression

People who have difficulty identifying and controlling their emotions have lower coping skills.

So when a gifted person with low EQ feels sad, depressed, or hopeless, he will have difficulty pulling himself out of the hole and changing his mood.

Instead, they are more likely to use unhealthy behaviors to numb and distract them from their emotional pain and challenging thoughts.

Furthermore, gifted people were often placed on a pedestal as children by their parents or teachers.

The adults in their lives had high expectations for them, so as they grew up, the gifted children also had high expectations for themselves.

The problem with this is that when gifted people feel like they are not meeting those expectations, they develop self-esteem issues.

And because of their emotional intensity, they start to overthink and overanalyze things. As a result, they may abandon themselves for not being good enough, which can lead to depression.

5) Dealing with life’s challenges

While being intellectually gifted may give you more opportunities, research has shown that emotional intelligence is crucial to success.


It’s all about a lesser-known aspect of EQ: internal motivation.

Internal motivation refers to the way we respond to challenges and deal with failure.

People with high EQ can effectively regulate any negative emotions arising from challenging situations. This allows them to learn lessons from their failures and setbacks.

That’s why they are good at it persevering in the face of adversityIn other words, they don’t give up.

However, gifted people with low EQ have difficulty persevering.

Instead, they struggle to move past the negative emotions of shame and disappointment, making them much more likely to quit or quit.

This is due to a combination of three things:

  • High expectations of themselves
  • Perfectlism line
  • Lack of emotional regulation

6) Accepting the opinions of others

Many gifted people with low EQ are known to be argumentative.

Simply put, they believe they are always right and refuse to listen to the opinions and perspectives of others.

They gain a reputation for being very stubborn and unable to reason, which further affects their ability to adapt and make friends.

As children, gifted people are also known to challenge their superiors.

Their report cards usually mention their intelligence, but also include the description “difficult to get along with.”

So why do gifted people have difficulty accepting opposing views and opinions?

Well, they are truth seekers who have a strong desire to learn everything about a subject. So they spend hours and hours researching things.

As a result, they become a bit of a ‘know-it-all’. They know that no one else would have studied the subject as deeply as they have.

Then, their low EQ means they lack empathy and therefore appear insensitive to others.

So if someone were to give an opinion that contrasts with their own, he or she lacks the social skills to engage in healthy debate.

Instead, they argue and try to sideline the other, refusing to see their perspective.

7) Focus and motivation

There is a lot of stigma surrounding ADHD, which is typically associated with underachievers.

However, more and more research shows that there are many Gifted people have ADHDsuggesting there could be a connection between the two.

ADHD expert Marcy Caldwell refers to gifted people with ADHD as ‘Twice Exceptional Adults’.

This is because while ADHD presents special challenges, it also brings many gifts.

Marcy explains that “Twice Exceptional Adults” typically exhibit exceptional strengths in these areas:

  • Creativity
  • Troubleshooting
  • Critical thinking

However, it can have a negative effect on:

Typically, people with both giftedness and ADHD can hyperfocus on specific tasks. But they quickly lose interest in things, and once they get bored, they have trouble concentrating.

8) Budgeting

One aspect of EQ is financial emotional intelligence which means understanding your emotions around money and spending.

People with high EQ can relate their spending to their emotions.

For example, they will catch themselves shopping online and understand that they are engaging in this behavior because they are anxious or stressed.

This then gives them the freedom of choice. Their self-awareness allows them to close the tab and focus their attention on something else.

This is not the case for someone with low EQ, even if they are intellectually gifted.

People with low EQ can’t regulate their emotions, so they make themselves feel better through unhealthy habits, including comfort spending.

In other words, gifted people with low EQ may spend money to make themselves feel better.

This puts them at risk of spending money mindlessly and not sticking to their budget.

Final thoughts

Although intellectually gifted people may steal the spotlight at school and college, they are still imperfect.

Many gifted people are deficient in other areas of intelligence – namely EQ.

Of course, this only applies to some geniuses out there. But if there’s a smart person in your life who struggles with these eight things, he or she probably has low EQ.

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