I have learned English from TV shows, movies, CNN, Discovery channel, and NGC for years. One of my USA friend told me emotional is a negative word such as " Do not be emotional! Yelling and being hysrerical is not helping." and never say " you are emotional" to someone. It sounds refering to being unreasonal rather than emotion and feelings. However, I also googled an possive example, "an emotional support from relatives". I am confuced by the conflict. Can emotional be used in a neutral or positive way such as " Being emotional and rational is equally important to build a successful connection to colleges, which leads to a successful career" ?

2 Answers 2


You may be confusing being emotional with having feelings or caring.
Emotions are feelings, however being emotional is not the same.

In Western parlance, begin emotional is the same as being irrational the opposite of being rational. Your example of emotional support is caring (giving support) for someone who is struggling emotionally.

You are also correct in thinking that feelings and empathy are good qualities to have as a leader. These are usually referred to as

Emotional Intelligence

but that is perceiving emotions not projecting emotions (being emotional)


"Emotional" has two meanings. The way you mention it means a person who has or expresses strong feelings. It is not an insult or a negative thing to say.

I got very emotional when she gave her speech.

But when you say "You are being emotional." or "Don't be emotional!", even though the way you say it changes the meaning, might mean that the person is not acting with his/her intelligence or logic but rather feelings.

Person A: I can't believe he wanted to watch Super Bowl rather than hang out with me! I will break up with him!

Person B: Come on! You are being emotional.

Also, being emotional is accepted as a weakness -especially for men- in some cultures.

Dave is more emotional than a little girl. He cried because he is rejected by Mary.

Therefore even though the word itself isn't a bad word or an insult, it might own a meaning that can sound offensive to some people.

  • Is it corrent to say that I am emotionslly attached to the house where I grew up in?
    – Superuser
    Commented Feb 13, 2016 at 9:49
  • @Superuser I think to say sentimentally attached is better.
    – SarpSTA
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 0:12

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