You will be surprised to learn that some of the people you know that appear to be smart may actually not be as bright as they seem.
Intelligence is an important marker in our society. We use people’s behaviors to gauge how intelligent they are in comparison to ourselves and others. As we get older, intelligence is revered and we tend to listen more to those we deem more intelligent than ourselves.
However, there are a number of ways that people can just pretend to be smart as a way of getting more attention from others and to make their opinion heard. To help you differentiate between the truly intelligent and the pretenders, we have collated five of the main behaviors that people use to make us believe they are smart.
1. Wearing glasses
One of the most common ways people make themselves look smarter is by wearing a pair of glasses. Well, this is probably something you have already heard of. Even psychologists agree that those with glasses look much more intelligent, and even that they look more qualified for jobs. But why do they make us look smart?
Glasses are a tool that we use to correct our eyesight. They are especially important for those who read literature and focus on writing for long periods of time. Glasses lead us to believe that your eyesight more frequently than other people and that you use a higher level of focus for longer periods of time. All of this together makes people believe that you have a higher level of intelligence than the average worker.
Nowadays, even if you don’t need glasses, you can easily pick up a pair with a set of false lenses, creating the illusion of intelligence. So watch out for fake glasses, the wearer may not be as smart as they want you to believe.
2. Bragging about test results
A great way to make people think you’re smart? Tell them that you are. Bragging about test results can be a great way of making others congratulate you for your achievement and make them believe you are smarter than you really are. Watch out for people that tell you how well they’ve done.
Pride is no bad thing, but bragging is entirely different. Bragging is intentionally telling someone how clever you are because if the grades you achieve, rather than simply feeling pride that you have done well.
Only bragging about occasional good grades can be another tell-tale sign that things aren’t as they seem. Most people with high level of intelligence will achieve consistently high grades, and most likely won’t feel the need to brag unless they were particularly invested. If they constantly use the same example to tell you how clever they are, this person probably just pretends to be smart.
3. Adopting ‘nerdy’ habits and interests
Intelligent people tend to draw entertainment from more sophisticated interests, such as classical music and advanced literature. People who want you to believe they are intelligent have a bad having of appropriating these habits unto themselves to look sophisticated and intelligent. It’s one thing to adopt these interests, but people who are pretending to be smart may not fully know what they are talking about.
Now, we’re not saying grill them on all of their classical music knowledge, but look out for signs that they are going straight for the well-known artists and writers. Someone who is really interested in these activities is more likely to find some abstract artists and know a lot about what they enjoy.
4. Complaining about unintelligent people
With intelligence comes courtesy. Just because someone is not as intelligent as you does not make you any better than them, nor does it make them any worse than you. Genuinely smart people know and are gracious about the fact that others may not fully grasp some concepts that they do. People who are pretending to be smart… not so much.
Picking up and complaining about the trivial mistakes or the stupidity of others is an indicative sign that someone is insecure about their own intelligence. Putting others down makes them feel better about themselves and feel like others see them as a higher intelligence than they truly are.
Don’t be fooled by someone correcting trivial mistakes. The likelihood is that they are self-conscious of their own intelligence and are simply pretending to be smarter than they really are.
5. Using unnecessarily long words
Long words are the epitome of intelligence. Being able to use long words means that you have an extended vocabulary, which comes from reading and writing. Most people, even intelligent ones, won’t feel the need to use advanced vocabulary in casual or friendly conversations.
People who are pretending to be smart have a tendency to throw in long words where they’re not needed. This can be occasional or it can be excessive. Watch out for unneeded long words, they may seem intelligent, but it may just be a ploy.
Intelligence is always a coveted trait, so there can be a lot of reasons to pretend you are smarter than you are. Increasing your perceived intelligence can be a great help in job interviews and formal situations. But if someone is constantly pretending, they can be tiring to be around. Hopefully, now you can tell true intelligence from pretense.