One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.
This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.
The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.
“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”
Reddit user Gisgiii posed a question to the AskReddit subforum “What is a subtle sign that someone is really intelligent?” and the answers painted a clear picture of how smart people behave. They tend to be great communicators who understand their audience and are more concerned with getting things right than being right.
Here are 18 of the best answers.
"They draw wisdom from multiple sources. Wait but that might be more wise than intelligent... But I guess those two tend to be seen together a lot," — Puzzlehead-Engineer
"They can switch up the way they talk to match the person they're talking to without sounding condescending. They listen to how others learn and explain it in that person's language of understanding," — Wynonna99
"I used to work with a doctor - Tom Howard - and the day I realized he was a genius was the time he guessed every single condition a patient of mine had based on minute pieces of information about him," — Yodei_Mon
"They are curious about everything. To be intelligent you need to be knowledgeable and you can't be knowledgeable if you are never curious," — soup54461
"When they explain something they make you feel intelligent," — gwoshmi
"They spend time thinking before asking a question," — ParkMan73
"They effortlessly communicate complex concepts in a simple way," — joculator
"They know when their knowledge ends and say something to the extent of 'i don't know and anything else i say on this topic is ignorant speculation,'" — blutoboy
"They can ask really good questions."
"Edit: to anyone not understanding what mean, I’m talking about people who ask “really good questions”, not just any questions, really good ones. I don’t know how one would achieve this skill(I know I haven’t)," — milkmanbran
"They aren’t afraid to say they don’t know the answer to a question," — xchernx
"They admit to changing their mind about something," — FarAwayAdventure
"They apply knowledge from one realm into a new and relevant situation," — soubestitch
"They can genuinely consider an idea which opposes their worldview without necessarily accepting it," — paidshill29
"People who use analogies to explain concepts to others. It’s a form of code-switching and integrating concepts on the fly and is a clear indicator someone is both socially and conceptually intelligent," — SwimmerAutomatic2488
"I think intelligent people are more willing to calmly debate/discuss, rather than argue. Like, you explain to them why you disagree, and they listen to you and ask further questions about your viewpoint before offering a different perspective; as opposed to an unintelligent person, who would just resort to insults when other people disagree with them," — AngelicCinnamonBun
"Admitting when they're wrong and being willing to learn from mistakes," — siyl1979
"Humor. I think that truly funny people are often very smart and cognizant of the different ways an idea can be humorous on several levels. They also know their audience. I think the difference between say a Jeff Foxworthy and a Dave Chappelle and a Bo Burnham is their audience and their interests," — biscuitboi967
"They say they love learning and they learn something new every day. Then they listen more than talk," — throwingplaydough
The world must have been—mostly—good this year. Because Elton John and Ed Sheeran have teamed up to gift us all with a brand new Christmas single.
The song, aptly named “Merry Christmas,” is a perfect blend of silly and sweet that’s cheery, bright and just a touch bizarre.
Created with the holiday spirit in every way, it has whimsical snowball fights, snow angels (basically all the snow things), festive sweaters, iconic throwbacks and twinkling lights galore. Plus all profits from the tune are dedicated to two charities: the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.I personally don’t know which is more of a highlight: Ed Sheeran channeling his inner-Mariah, performing a faux sexy dance in a leg revealing Santa outfit, or him flying through the air with a giant Frosty the Snowman … who seems to be sporting glasses similar to Elton’s. Are we meant to believe that Elton is the Snowman? This music video even has mystery.
Sheeran and John’s holiday duet has already racked up more than 2 million views, and going by the comments, it’s making people’s hearts grow three times in size.
“Okay now this is a perfect cheesy Christmas song, and I’m totally in love with it.”
“The best Christmas song to be released in years! I love it and it’s now going to be the theme tune to Christmas 2021 in our house!”
“Love it. Already learned it on piano. Catchy tune. Bit of Christmas spirit and for good causes.”
One person even gave us a little music history lesson, saying that “many don't realize Elton John helped get Ed Sheeran first signed.” That certainly explains the chemistry.
If you’re looking for a way to un-Scrooge, or simply wanting a laugh, this music video might be just the thing you need today.
Advice. It rarely comes when needed, but often arrives unsolicited, and—when found on the internet—is almost always pointless. If only there were a way to carefully curate those ultimate life hacks, so that we could forgo the endless scrolling. But seriously, who has the time?
Luckily, one person did. And we can all benefit from his efforts.
Chris Hladczuk (aka @chrishlad) regularly shares helpful and interesting Twitter posts, but this one takes the social media cake.
Hladczuk’s now viral Twitter thread began with:
“Most advice sucks. So I crowdsourced the best from 20 million people on Reddit. Here are 10 life tips you wish you knew yesterday.”
Whether you’re looking for sound mindset tips or simply wondering how to covertly exit from a troublesome phone call, Chris’ list has some useful (not to mention entertaining) pointers.
Family Treasure— Chris Hladczuk (@chrishlad) September 11, 2021
1) Get a blank book
2) Ask each family member over 50 to write down life advice that their descendants in 500 yrs should know
3) Keep passing it down
You now have a family treasure that gets more useful over time.
Even if the advice doesn't stand the test of time, it's definitely a keepsake that would last. And could maybe even create a few laughs.
Airplane Mode Hack— Chris Hladczuk (@chrishlad) September 11, 2021
"If you’re stuck on an annoying call, put your phone on airplane mode instead of hanging up.
The other person sees “call failed” instead of “call ended”.
No more more pretending to be driving through a tunnel.
Reframing Your Day— Chris Hladczuk (@chrishlad) September 11, 2021
"Instead of feeling that you lost the day after a bad morning,
Reframe each day as 4 quarters:
If you blow one quarter, just get back on track for the next one.
Fail small, not big."
- Gretchen Rubin
Waking up on the wrong side of the bed doesn't have to negatively impact the rest of the day.
Keeping your Cool— Chris Hladczuk (@chrishlad) September 11, 2021
"If someone insults you during a meeting, pretend like you didn't hear them the first time.
Politely ask them to repeat themselves.
They'll either repeat the insult and look rude or realize their mistake and apologize."
Conflict resolution in a matter of minutes.
Venting at Work— Chris Hladczuk (@chrishlad) September 11, 2021
"Be careful who you vent to at work.
Just because they listen, it doesn't mean that they are your friend or have your best interests at heart."
Venting can be healthy, when given the right outlet. Perhaps there's a better choice than the water cooler.
If you ever want software online for free, don’t search for "free".— Chris Hladczuk (@chrishlad) September 11, 2021
Search for “open source” to avoid limited trial versions and malware.
Per usual, if something is labeled "free" online, it usually isn't.
“e.g.” and “i.e.” are not the same— Chris Hladczuk (@chrishlad) September 11, 2021
e.g. = for example
i.e. = in other words
Now you can impress all your friends with your etymology prowess.
Email Address Hack— Chris Hladczuk (@chrishlad) September 11, 2021
• Add "+1", "+2" before the @ in your email address
• Websites will register it as a new email, but still send mail to your normal address
Makes organizing accounts or free trials easy.
Note: This only works on Gmail.
On Arguments— Chris Hladczuk (@chrishlad) September 11, 2021
“What proof would it take to change your mind?”
If they can’t give you an answer, then stop wasting your time.
This goes for online forums as well.
Anger and Mistakes— Chris Hladczuk (@chrishlad) September 11, 2021
"Getting angry at people for making mistakes doesn't teach them not to make mistakes.
It teaches them to hide their mistakes."
Mistakes should lead us forward, not keep us stuck in place.
If you’re itching to know what the other millions of people had to say, you can check out the original Reddit post here, and perhaps glean some gems for your own list.