Have you ever found yourself faced with some incredibly pretentious people? Their lives are almost entirely fictional just to seem cooler, smarter, or somehow better in the eyes of everyone else.

It’s human nature to want to be perceived as more impressive by other people. But the majority of us know it’s not necessary (or healthy) to put on an entire fake and pretentious persona to do that.

Pretentious people are so desperate to be admired by other people that they’ll put a lot of effort into pretending to be something else.

But what sort of lengths will they go to, just to feel better than everyone else?

Pretending to Have Intelligent Interests

The stereotypical interests of intelligent people tend to be a little difficult to understand. Pretentious people who are desperately trying to appear to be smarter or cooler than they really are will adopt these interests as their own.

They will pretend to be interested even when they really couldn’t care less. They’ll likely fain interest in things like politics, old-fashioned literature or classical music. And they will flaunt those topics around like a badge of honour.

If you want to catch them out, look at how deep their interests run. Usually, someone pretending to have these intelligent interests won’t have very strong knowledge on the subjects.

They tend to have only taken interest in the most popular versions of the subjects they’re pretending to care for. They won’t bring up the more niche books, art or pieces of music.

Over-Posting on Social Media

When we’re trying to show the world our very best selves, we head straight to our social media accounts. Facebook, Twitter and especially Instagram are breeding grounds for pretentious people pretending to be cooler than they really are.

Behind the protection of your screen, you can be anyone you want. Thus, you can advertise the only parts of you that you want the rest of the world to see.

If a person wants to seem cooler, they’ll post endless snaps from parties and holidays. They will also share selfies where they look their absolute best and cover them all with a filter. They’ll write statuses about the cool things they do and forget to mention the normal day-to-day.

If a person is trying to seem smarter, they’ll write about the kind of interests only pretentious people brag about. That’s the core giveaway here. A pretentious person will gloat and constantly remind the rest of the world of just how cool and smart they are.

Remember not to fall into their traps. What they post is posed and curated specifically to give them that impressive look that doesn’t really exist.

Over-Using Big Words

Many of us tend to think that using big words will make us seem smarter. In fact, it just makes us seem pretentious. The assumption is that if you use long and complicated words, then you must be intelligent because only smart people would know those words, right?

This study shows that we actually think the total opposite! According to psychological studies, we just think that people who use big words are over-compensating for a lack of intelligence.

It suggests that what they’re saying, or writing, isn’t that smart at all. So they’re trying to pad it out with complex words to trick us into thinking they’re smarter than they are.

Pretentious people often ruin their own chances of seeming smart or cool by using these words incorrectly. So pay close attention when you think someone might be putting on an act.

If they’re truly smart, they wouldn’t be using those words anyway. And if they are, they’ll certainly use them in a way that makes sense, rather than flung into their sentences like a child just learning to talk.

They Are Not Willing to Debate

When you feel passionate about a subject, you’re usually willing to debate anyone on the matter until your case has been proven. An easily spotted giveaway of pretentious people is how shallow their knowledge of a subject is. Pay attention to how willing, or not, they are to discuss their chosen subject in any detail.

If you find yourself faced with someone you have a feeling might be faking their interest, maybe give them a push. Googling a subject will give you a fountain of knowledge on any subject you want.

In fact, it tends to give people the artificial feeling of being smart, but what they know is only surface level. When you really know and care for a subject, you’re able to cover all its associated branches, even when you’re put on the spot.

Genuinely intelligent people are also willing to admit when they’re not totally clued up on a subject. Pretentious people, on the other hand, will fight their cause until the end, despite having no idea what they’re fighting for.

They’re Always Wearing Designer Clothes (Or Purposefully Not)

Pretentious people often fall into two categories, depending on what it is they’re trying to be.

For some, they’re always wearing the latest trends and the most expensive, celebrity-endorsed pieces to make themselves seem flashy and cool and to show others that they’re just as important as any A-Lister wearing the same shoes they blew a fortune buying.

For others, they refuse to be seen in anything that isn’t from a thrift shop, or second hand, or made authentically by a tribe in the Amazon.

Whatever the reason, they’re doing it because they want desperately to be cool and seem better than anyone else. In reality, a balance of both is just fine. That’s a sign of a well-adjusted person who is choosing things because they like them, not because they crave attention from anyone else.

Just Be Yourself!

These people are just that – pretentious. They’re exhausting themselves every day by pretending to be something other than themselves to seem smarter or cooler than the rest of the world.

Trust me, you’re plenty cool and plenty smart already, without giving up your sanity by pretending to be someone else.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Chey

    I’m not sure this is fact based, are you saying that if you like literature and classical music you are pretending to be smart, The “They’re Always Wearing Designer Clothes (Or Purposefully Not)” point confuses me, which one is it? and in all cases, are you generalizing or does every “Pretentious” person do this, smart people rarely know there smart and if your not smart, id say you wouldn’t care either way. but a good article non the less, ill stay away from book wielding, Nike trainered folk holding a quill in future.

    1. Anna LeMind, B.A.

      Hi Chey, the author emphasizes that it’s the superficial interest in literature and classical music that makes someone pretentious. If someone genuinely likes these things, it’s great! The problem is that some people pretend to like classics just to appear smarter than they are. Don’t forget that pretentious people care about the impression they make most of all, so they will adopt certain interests and habits for the sake of impressing those around them.

  2. Ejil Taylor

    A shame to say but my wife is the master of this behaviour.
    When she wants something, she certainly puts on a show. Like the phrase goes “ fake it till you make it” 😂

  3. Derrick

    I love to buy good stuff for myself but I don’t think I’m pretentious. I only feel good and confident when I’m in nice trainers. I can understand your point though. I know of one Nigerian guy at my work place who always wants to appear smarter than he’s but in reality, I could feel he fakes it.

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