Social Intelligence

Why does social intelligence matter?

Social intelligence enables you to understand what motivates other people, how they’re feeling, and why they see the world the way they do. With social intelligence, you can earn trust and deepen relationships. 

Social intelligence overlaps with emotional intelligence, but they are not identical. Yes, understanding and regulating emotions can strengthen relationships, but social intelligence encompasses other skills too.

What does social intelligence look like?

Students with social intelligence might

  • start the school year by getting to know new classmates and teachers
  • help a teammate get back on track after a setback
  • help resolve conflicts between classmates 
  • adapt their behavior to different social settings, like lunch versus class
  • listen, really listen, to friends when they have problems
  • welcome new kids to the class

Teachers with social intelligence might

  • listen, really listen, to students
  • get to know parents, and involve them effectively
  • develop individualized ways to acknowledge students in their class
  • model vulnerability
  • make students and parents feel like valued partners in the educational process


Resources about social intelligence


Research articles about social intelligence

Social Intelligence
R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of intelligence (pp. 359-379).
Kihlstrom, J. F., & Cantor, N. (2000).

Emotion regulation abilities and the quality of social interaction
Emotion, 5(1), 113.
Lopes, P. N., Salovey, P., Côté, S., Beers, M., & Petty, R. E. (2005).