10 phrases that will shut down people who think they’re smarter than you

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Ever felt like someone’s trying to outsmart you? Or had to deal with someone who thinks they’re a genius and you’re…well, just average? We’ve all been there and it’s not fun. But guess what? You don’t have to let those brainy show-offs spoil your day.

People who think they’re super smart and love showing off can be really annoying. They use big words, talk about confusing ideas, or always try to correct you. But does that mean they’re really smarter than you? No way.

In this article, we’ll give you 10 easy-to-use phrases that will show these smarty-pants who’s boss. These aren’t just quick comebacks, but smart statements that will make them think twice. So, get ready and let’s learn how to deal with those who think they’re the smartest person in the room.

1. “Could You Elaborate More on That?”

Boom! Right out the gate, we’re hitting them with a simple yet powerful request. Now, why does this work? Well, people who think they’re super smart usually love to show off by using complicated language or talking about complex ideas.

But here’s the thing – if they’re genuinely smart, they should be able to explain their thoughts in a way that anyone can understand. And if they can’t, well, it might just expose the fact that they’re trying to seem smarter than they actually are.

Asking them to elaborate more means they have to break down their big, fancy ideas into simpler ones. This phrase is not aggressive or confrontational; it’s just a polite way of saying, “Hey, if you’re so smart, prove it.”

And who knows? You might even learn something new! After all, knowledge is power, and we’re all about empowering ourselves. So next time you’re dealing with a smarty-pants, hit them with this phrase and watch them stumble.

2. “That’s an Interesting Take, But Have You Considered…?”

Now, the smart-alecks of the world love to believe that their opinion is the only one that matters. So why not shake up their world a little?

By saying, “That’s an interesting take, but have you considered…?” you’re acknowledging their point of view (which they’ll love), but also introducing an alternative perspective. This shows them that there are other valid viewpoints out there and might just make them rethink their own.

This phrase is a great way to make your point without coming across as rude or confrontational. It shows that you’re open-minded and thoughtful, and it might even encourage them to be the same.

3. “I’m Not Sure I Agree With You on That.”

Our third phrase might sound a bit bold, but sometimes, it’s necessary to be direct.

Just to give you an example, I remember this one time at a party when I was caught in a conversation with a guy who seemed to believe he knew everything about global politics. He was going on and on about various political theories and ideologies, clearly trying to impress everyone within earshot.

Honestly, I didn’t agree with a lot of what he was saying. So, instead of just nodding along, I decided to take a stand. I said, “I’m not sure I agree with you on that.”

The look on his face was priceless. He was taken aback, probably because no one had ever challenged him so directly before. But instead of getting defensive, he asked me why. So, I shared my own views and opinions.

This phrase shows that you have your own thoughts and aren’t afraid to voice them. It might seem confrontational, but it’s not – it’s just honest. If someone thinks they’re smarter than you, they need to understand that it doesn’t mean they’re always right.

4. “Did You Know…?”

Time for our fourth phrase, and this one is a bit of a game-changer.

“Did you know…?” is a fantastic way to introduce a fact or piece of information that may contradict or add to what the so-called smartypants is saying.

For instance, let’s say you’re talking to someone who firmly believes that humans only use 10% of their brain. You can reply with, “Did you know that’s actually a myth? Scientists have proven that we use virtually every part of the brain, and most of the brain is active almost all the time.”

This phrase shows that you’re well-informed and curious. It also subtly challenges the other person’s knowledge and introduces new viewpoints into the conversation.

“Did you know…?” can not only level the playing field but can also make the conversation more interesting and engaging. 

5. “I Value Your Perspective, But Here’s How I See It…”

This one’s a bit more sincere and heartfelt, perfect for those moments when you want to express your viewpoint without causing any hard feelings.

We’ve all been in situations where someone is so passionate about their ideas that they forget to consider others’ viewpoints. In situations like these, a phrase like “I value your perspective, but here’s how I see it…” can be incredibly effective.

This phrase acknowledges the other person’s viewpoint, showing respect and understanding. But it also gives you the opportunity to share your own thoughts and feelings.

For instance, if someone is going on about how they believe success is purely a matter of hard work, and they’re not considering factors like privilege or circumstance, you could say, “I value your perspective on hard work leading to success, but here’s how I see it…not everyone starts from the same place or has the same opportunities.”

This phrase is a gentle but firm way of asserting yourself in a conversation. It shows that you’re not just a listener but a contributor with valid thoughts and feelings.

6. “I Think We’re Looking at This Differently.”

Alright, onto phrase number six. This one is a personal favorite of mine.

“I think we’re looking at this differently,” is a nice and neutral way of acknowledging a disagreement without making it into a full-blown argument.

I remember using this phrase during a heated discussion with a friend who was absolutely convinced that her favorite movie was the best film of all time. Now, as much as I love her and respect her opinion, I didn’t quite share her sentiments. Rather than saying outright that I disagreed, I said, “I think we’re looking at this differently.”

This phrase led us to explore why we had different opinions about the movie. It turned out that we appreciated different aspects of film – she loved the cinematography while I was more about the storyline. This phrase not only helped de-escalate the situation but also opened up an avenue for deeper conversation.

7. “It’s Okay to Say ‘I Don’t Know’, You Know.”

This one hits right at the heart of the matter. People who think they’re super smart often have a hard time admitting when they don’t know something. They feel like they need to have all the answers, all the time. But here’s the truth – nobody knows everything, and that’s perfectly okay.

We live in a vast universe filled with endless knowledge and possibilities. It’s impossible for anyone to know everything about everything. And guess what? It’s absolutely fine to admit when you’re unsure or don’t have all the answers.

This phrase isn’t just for those smarty-pants out there; it’s a reminder for all of us. So next time you’re faced with a know-it-all, remind them (and yourself) that it’s okay not to know everything. After all, the wisest people are often those who admit when they don’t know something and are open to learning more.

8. “We Can Learn Something From Everyone.”

“We can learn something from everyone,” is a phrase that reminds us that everyone has something valuable to share. Yes, even those who might not come across as ‘smart’ in the traditional sense.

Did you know that Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant minds in history, once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”? This quote beautifully captures the essence of our phrase.

We all have different strengths, talents, and areas of expertise. Even if someone isn’t academically inclined or doesn’t speak with big words, it doesn’t mean they’re any less intelligent or have any less to contribute.

9. “I Appreciate Your Insight, But I Need to Process This.”

“I appreciate your insight, but I need to process this,” is a phrase I’ve used several times when dealing with people who just can’t stop showcasing their ‘intelligence’.

I recall a time when a colleague was explaining a complicated concept to me. While they were clearly knowledgeable, their explanation was too fast and complex for me to grasp immediately. Instead of pretending to understand or feeling inferior, I simply said, “I appreciate your insight, but I need to process this.”

This phrase worked wonders. It acknowledged their expertise without undermining my own intelligence. It gave me the space to digest the information at my own pace.

10. “You’re Probably Right, But I See It Differently.”

And here we are at our final phrase.

“You’re probably right, but I see it differently,” is a phrase that shows you’re not intimidated by someone else’s ‘intelligence’. It’s a way of standing your ground without being confrontational or rude.

The truth is, people who think they’re smarter than everyone else often believe they’re always right. But guess what? They’re not. No one is right all the time. We all have our own perspectives and interpretations, and they’re all valid.

It’s a way of saying, “I respect your opinion, but I have my own thoughts too.” And remember – it’s perfectly okay to see things differently. In fact, it’s our differences that make conversations (and life in general) so interesting!

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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