Have you ever tried to appear smarter than you are?

I was replying to another thread. It got me thinking about some things I’ve experienced. I’ve had people tell me, or tell others infront of me, that something was their favorite thing to look smarter when it wasn’t their favorite, they didn’t like the thing, or they didn’t even really know any thing about the thing. Perfect example is Shakespeare. I’ve had so many people claim they like his work, or he’s their favorite writer, and when asked about his work it’s clear they’ve never read it or if they did they didn’t understand it. I’ve also had friends tell me one movie is their favorite movie. When we’re in mixed company, they’ll say another movie that’s artsy or indie is their favorite. When I ask why, they’ll say “I like X, but I don’t want people to think I’m dumb/immature”. :dubious:
Have you ever done this? Lie about liking something, or the degree you like it, to seem smarter?

Well, I’m awfully smart anyway, so I’d have to say “no.”

Eh when I was in high school I liked this guy. We were going out with a bunch of people, and the rest of them were going dancing but he wanted to go to a production of The Wild Duck 'cuz he just loved Ibsen, and did I want to go with him, instead of dancing?

You bet I did. I pretended I really had just always wanted to see a performance of The Wild Duck. In reality I had never even heard of Ibsen before that moment.

My punishment was…well, you can guess. I had to sit through a production of The Wild Duck. By some college kids. When I could have gone dancing.

Boy I never did THAT again.

I don’t think I impressed him much, either.


Doesn’t everyone?

Nope. If I don’t know about something, I say so. I know a lot of other things and am always learning new things and teaching people what I know. To try to appear smarter than I am would be a dumb thing to do. There’s a lot I don’t know, there’s a lot I don’t care to know, and I voice those things appropriately as needed. Somehow, doing things such as admitting when I don’t know something, or asking to learn something I don’t know but find interesting, and sharing what knowledge I do have, give the impression to people that I am smart.

This funny thing happens if popular culture or some subject comes up that I don’t know about. I say, “I don’t know what that is.” Then people tell me what it is and then I know, too. If it’s interesting enough, I might even look it up later or watch YouTube vids about it or whatever.

People I’ve come across who don’t ask questions for fear of appearing less smart, in my experience, are usually not the brightest. I work in a business where trying to appear you know something when you really don’t can be lethal.

I don’t, but I tend not to follow social “norms”. I’d rather be liked for being who I am/liking what I like, than have to pretend I like something to gain approval.
I really like the poster’s response who said that research things other people like that they don’t know. I’ve stumbled upon a lot of good music that way. :slight_smile:

I don’t recall ever feeling the need to do so.

I haven’t a clue how I’d begin trying. Dumbing down to fit in, now that’s another story. :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t think I’ve ever done this. I did once pretend to be obsessed with the Detroit Redwings in order to impress my 5th grade crush. I spent $200 of my own money on a Redwings starter jacket, having never watched a single wings game in my life. I wasn’t trying to appear smarter, just… normal.

What the heck is a “Starter jacket”? I’ve heard of hockey jerseys. Hockey sweaters. But starter jacket? What the heck is that? And why would anyone want one?

It’s a brand. They’re hideous. You would want one if it were twenty years ago and you wanted to be considered cool.

As to the OP, I don’t try to appear smarter. In fact, I even came up with a saying to express my opinion on the subject: It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

In fact, the opposite. I’m dumbing my posts down constantly here for you guys, because I know you just couldn’t handle my true intellect.

I’m ashamed to admit, I do this with sports.

When I’m hanging with a bunch of guys and they start talking about their sportsy stuff; I just nod my head like a bobble head doll as if I know what the fuck they are talking about.

That’s the only time I ever do it though.

How ironic. You didn’t come up with that saying, Abraham Lincoln did. You wouldn’t be trying to appear smarter than you are would you? :wink:

ETA: Or was this a ‘woosh’??

Yeah I think I got wooshed. :smack:

That would be unfulfilling. Claiming to know more than you do could keep you from learning more. Counter-productive, and nobody cares anyway.

No. thats unpossible.

I used to do this far too much. Some people already saw me as somewhat highly intelligent because of a “jack of all trades” brand of knowledge. Because of this, I did it out of fear of losing that special “status”, so to speak. My one redeeming factor was that I would usually research the topic later in order to educate myself. I’m slowly un-training myself and getting better about being truthful of my knowledge. It’s a good feeling, really.

I don’t try to do it, but I think it just happens. When you talk about what you do know with confidence, it implies that you know a lot more than you do. When you try to help someone learn something, you generally have to appear confident in what you say or you will be assumed to possibly be wrong.

For example, in school, I knew a lot of people who were smarter than me. Yet I was the person everyone thought was the smartest person in school. I spent a lot of time helping other people with their homework and stuff like that. I spoke with confidence when talking to teachers. And I was more outgoing than many of the smart people, and definitely less shy about saying smart things that the rest. I was unafraid of those things being wrong.

I’ve found that this has advantages and disadvantages. One thing I’ve discovered is that, if you are wrong, people will think you are stupid, no matter how smart you had to be to even consider the question. So, in a sense, I have had to modify the way I talk to sound smarter. But not smarter than I actually am, just smarter than other people’s perceptions.

Prepare to be dazzled:


The boy told me every single day at recess that I should buy one. I note these are “vintage” now. sobs