The behaviors in the quiz are called emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence means being able to talk comfortably about personal, emotional things, to sense what others are feeling, to be aware of your own feelings, to listen attentively, to initiate conversations and keep them going, and to express your emotions in ways that don't damage your relationships.

So how emotionally intelligent are you? And where do you need to improve? If you scored above 40, you're a very emotionally intelligent person. You have great communication skills. But if you scored below 20, you've got a lot of new skills to learn. The lower your score, the more likely you are to hear: "You're not listening to me." "You don't understand how I feel." "You're so distant and hard to get to know." "Why can't you tell me how you feel without getting angry or without clamming up?"

Many adult daughters are more emotionally or more socially intelligent than their fathers. Is this because men aren't interested in communicating? No. Is it because women are by nature better communicators than men? No. Is it because men are less sensitive or less understanding than women—or that men don't have as many feelings are women do? No.

Then what's going on? Just this: little girls are generally taught more emotional or social communication skills than little boys. These skills are learned, not inborn. For example, when little boys feel afraid or someone hurts their feelings, they are usually taught not to express those feelings. Not wanting to be called "sissies", little boys learn to hide feelings of fear, loneliness, insecurity, or pain. Don't cry. Don't talk about your feelings. And don't talk about personal things. Talk sports or school or television or movies. But don't talk personal stuff the way girls do. Given how differently most males and females have been taught to communicate, it's no surprise that many fathers score lower than their daughters on the emotional intelligence test.

From Between Fathers & Daughters: Enriching and Rebuilding Your Adult Relationship by Dr. Linda Nielsen, Ed.D. Reprinted by permission of Cumberland House Publishing.


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