Emotional competence has recently become a widespread concern in schools and workplaces, both which deeply involve laypersons. While academic researchers have discussed the status of emotional competence compared to the traditional intelligence, it is very important to elucidate how laypersons regard emotional competence compared to traditional intelligence as well. The present study investigated the position of emotional competence in the multiple intelligences theory by assessing laypersons’ self-estimates of their abilities and their rating of the importance of emotional competence for thriving in society. Participants (N = 584) answered a questionnaire online. Results showed that laypersons regarded emotional competence as a distinct construct, and most strongly related it to personal intelligence. Moreover, their ratings of the importance of emotional competence and personal intelligence for thriving in society were higher than that of traditional intelligence.