People who are highly intelligent, but downplay it to fit in, often exhibit these 7 behaviors

High intelligence is not always a desirable trait.

Sometimes people – especially children – tend to downplay their intelligence for fear that it will make them stand out among their peers.

They fear that if they are too smart, their friends will view them as special or strange.

They fear that their intelligence might set them apart in a world where a sense of belonging is of paramount importance.

As a result, they often exhibit these 7 behaviors.

1) They try to stand out

Did you know that people with a high IQ are very likely to experience social isolation?

If you always know the right answer and have a hard time making an impression, you can come across as quite intimidating, which can lead to you feeling like you don’t really get along with others.

But you do. You just have to find your audience.

Easier said than done, right?

For example, kids at school don’t really get to choose their classmates, which means they often do their best to stand out and keep their wit to themselves for fear of attracting too much unwanted attention.

But wait a minute. Isn’t high intelligence a trait praised by our society? Isn’t it all about merit and hard work?

Well, psychologist Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., says that intelligence is not always seen in a positive light.

He is writing:

“How else can we explain why intellectually superior students so often develop a fear of displaying their intelligence in the classroom? They may avoid volunteering the correct answer in the hope that someone else will raise their hand.

‘Because if they routinely offer an answer that no one else can think of, they are likely to experience the uncomfortable experience of being glared at. Or even being laughed at or bullied on the playground.”

Sometimes downplaying someone’s intelligence is nothing more than an attempt to feel “normal.”

2) They feel embarrassed when they blurt out the correct answer

Not always are smart people able to talk their way into what they consider normal.

I once had a classmate who never raised her hand to give the correct answer, even though she clearly knew it.

But sometimes the knowledge simply escaped from her like a deep exhale, and while our teacher seemed pleased, my classmate looked more embarrassed than ever.

She probably felt like she had given herself away. Like she’d shown the world that she was one of those nerds she’d tried so hard not to be.

Of course, there’s nothing shameful about being smart. It’s admirable. My classmate eventually realized this too. It took her a few years, but she got there.

3) They ask questions they know the answers to

I recently talked to my friend who is a teacher.

He told me something very interesting: ‘There are many young girls who try to appear less intelligent than they really are. They often ask questions that they really don’t need to ask at all, because they already know the answer.”

This reminded me of how I behaved when I was younger. While I spent my free time reading classical literature and philosophy, I acted quite foolish and foolish around my friends.

And when a boy was involved, things got even worse.

I asked my crushes for help with homework that I could have easily done on my own. I made them explain things to me for hours even though I had a similar amount of knowledge on the subject.

I downplayed my intelligence not only because I wanted to fit in, but also because it seemed like the easiest form of social interaction.

I suffered quite a lot from it social anxiety Then, and if I always asked other people questions and let them teach me things I already knew, I didn’t have to show up as my authentic self and face possible rejection.

In other words, making myself look less smart had a lot to do with my low self-esteem.

4) They lack confidence

This is the core of the problem.

If you are highly intelligent and confident, what are the chances that you will try to appear less smart?

Precisely. Not very high.

However, if you don’t have self-confidence… Well, it makes sense that you’ll do your best to stand out.

High intelligence comes at a price. It means being the center of attention every now and then. It means that others may be jealous of you, bully you, or dislike you.

If you struggle with your self-esteem, the last thing you need in your life is unwanted attention.

This is also why I only started to show my intelligence when I got older and became more confident.

It was hard at first – all my friends were used to making fun of my weirdness, so it came as a bit of a surprise when I actually turned out to be quite smart – but I survived.

Remember, high intelligence doesn’t make you weird or uncool. It is a quality that you should cherish. A trait that, if used properly, can do amazing things in the world.

5) They rarely take risks

Low self-esteem does linked to low risk behavior in social situations.

If you have a controversial opinion, you are more likely to keep it to yourself because you are concerned about how it will affect your social status.

If you’re stuck in a toxic friendship, you may struggle to take a chance and end it because you’re afraid to seek out new connections.

If you know more about the subject than the person explaining it to you, you may want to keep quiet about it because you don’t want to risk coming across as rude or arrogant.

Smart people with low self-esteem often like to play it safe. They like their comfort bubbles because they don’t have to stretch and risk attracting attention.

Think of all they could do if they believed they were worthy of stealing the spotlight.

6) Their attitude is inconsistent with their performance

Smart people know that it’s not exactly smart to perform poorly just to fit in with others.

That’s not to say some don’t do it, but it’s often the case that bright students engage in the social behavior expected of them – such as complaining about tough exams – and then outperform their peers in academic performance.

“Uh, that test sounds so hard, and I didn’t study at all. Oh yeah.”

Except they end up getting an A.

The same applies in the workplace. A person who tries to downplay his intelligence may complain about the boss and the workload, but secretly works very hard.

The thing is, most people notice this kind of behavior eventually, which means there’s no need for it to come to the fore in the first place.

If you act authentically, you have a much greater chance of fitting in with the right group of people.

Which brings us to the final point…

7) They place enormous value on friendships

We all want to belong. Humans are social animals, and it makes perfect sense that we value our relationships with others above all else.

But remember that your authenticity may be too high a price to pay.

If you try to fit in with the wrong people, you will feel unfulfilled at the deepest and most crucial levels of your being, and your self-confidence may even plummet.

There is a difference between fitting in and belonging. As teacher and coach Susan Biali Haas, MD, says: “’Belonging’ means changing yourself to be part of a group, while ‘belonging’ means showing up as yourself and being welcomed.”

If you are highly intelligent, there are people in the world who will love you not only for your intelligence, but for your whole self.

Don’t change yourself to fit in. Find people who love you for who you are.

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