If someone uses these 6 phrases, they’re smarter than they initially appear

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You know, I used to think intelligence came down to the awards you won, and the number of books you read.

Call it a pretty elitist way of thinking, but I was young, and had a fairly sheltered upbringing thanks to my academic parents.

But boy did I learn the hard truth about smarts… I was dead wrong! Over the years, I have grown a little wiser and a little less ignorant. And thank goodness for that.

I have clocked onto the helpful fact that intelligence can manifest in so, so many different ways—assuming various fascinating forms and transcending well beyond a number of traditional avenues of thinking.

I learned that intelligence is not fixed, but rather it is a dynamic, ever-evolving force woven into every aspect of life.

Since then, I have been able to cross paths with people whose brilliance stemmed not just from books but from rich life experiences.

Emotional intelligence, the art of connecting with others, basically speaks to the fact that brilliance isn’t just found in an encyclopedic knowledge or fact finding.

This is a sign for us all to free ourselves from old and antiquated notions of intelligence.

If you are looking for how to spot intelligence in the wild, here are six phrases that prove a person is smarter than they initially let on.

1) “Of course, I don’t know how it is for you.”

I find that some of the most quietly intelligent people are the empaths. Quietly, they walk among us!

Now, these folks are not just academically smart, or even street smart, but they are emotionally smart.

Now, this might come in the form of “Of course, I don’t know how it is for you.”

Personally, I love it whenever someone is there admitting they don’t hold all the answers.

This phrase is an authentic, empathetic nod to the fact that everyone’s pathway is absolutely unique to them.

They are not trying to claim themselves as an expert. Rather, it is their way of recognizing that we all hail from different backgrounds: different classes, races, genders, and sexual identities.

It is also them acknowledging this fact that tells a whole lot about their character and their intelligence.

This openness to learning, and humility, can be infectious.

2) “Myriad.”

Stay with me on this one, pretty please!

I am personally using this article to grind my very specific ax—sorry! Have you ever noticed how nobody seems to get the word “myriad” right?

It bugs me to no end! That is why if someone is able to use it correctly, I think they are way, way smarter than they initially appear to be.

Why? Well, most people use the word myriad like this: “I enjoy ice cream in a myriad of flavors.” 

And this might surprise you, but this usage isn’t correct. Instead, myriad really ought to be used in the same way you use the word “many.”

So, the correct usage would read a little like: “I enjoy ice cream in its myriad flavors.”

Let’s face it, myriad just rolls off the tongue. Yep, it is one classy word, right?

This is not to say that I relegate smarts to people who use massive, elongated words—no way! I mean that it is about using the words you have in the best, most economical, way possible.

3) “Biases play a substantial role in the way we view the world.”

Here’s a spoiler: the world ain’t no meritocracy.

As much as we wish to believe in the philosophy that if you work hard, you will reap the rewards, we need to be honest that this is very rarely the case.

It does not all boil down to merit, rather, it’s about how the world views you.

Also, it can come down to who you know, as per the old saying “it’s not what you know”, but more often than not, there are systemic and ingrained biases that factor into it.

And that’s where biases come in—they quietly and oft-dangerously shape how we see the world.

So, if there is a particular person who drops the line, “Biases play a substantial role in the way we see the world,” they are getting real with you.

They are allowing their intellect shine through, and not in an obvious way either.

With this reveal, they are letting on that they are deeply in tune with the reality that the wider world doesn’t judge us on our skills alone.

This special person is straight-up acknowledging the invisible forces at play.

4) “I think I would like to hear a more intersectional approach on this one.”

The phrase “I would like to hear a more intersectional approach on this one” is a tell-tale indicator of someone’s secret smarts being tucked away.

This is because an intersectional approach ensures you factor in myriad people’s varied and complex lived experiences.

Intersectionality isn’t just intellectual—it’s necessary! The world is diverse, and limiting our perspective to just one part of it doesn’t do justice to the full scope of human experience.

It is an open declaration of a willingness to explore the depth of these chats and expand on our ideas in a meaningful manner.

5) “I can’t comment on that one, I’m afraid.”

Okay, so “I can’t comment on that one, I’m afraid” might at first come across as a little rude and shut down-y, but it is way more than this.

Why? Because it points at a person who is willing to rise above and protect their peace at all costs.

This is particularly telling in a conversation that might be turning a tad heated—so this person is making a choice to step back.

And in this day and age, this speaks volumes. They are basically confessing to you: “I’ll chime in when I think it is really worth it.”

Oscar Wilde once said something I will never forget: “It is only the intellectually lost who ever argue.”

By this, he meant that the folks who feel perplexed or uncertain about things tend to be the ones kicking up a fuss.

This is not to say that arguing is a sign of being stubborn, it is more like a process for people who want to figure their way in a complex and oft-times chaotic world of ideas.

6) I will need to read into that before I can speak more on the matter.

Often, an indicator of intelligence can sound a little something like this: “I will need to read into that before I can speak more about it.”

When someone says this, it is an honest acknowledgement that knowledge isn’t just shown or proven, it is instead earned through the work of research, exploring, and understanding.

This person clearly is not willing to chuck out opinions willy-nilly, rather, they are open to bring a well-thought out, patient, considered slant to the chat.

Yep, they are not messing around with half-baked ideas and baseless opinions.

I love this kind of thinker as they are committed to avoiding the spread of misinformation, and instead strike gold with well-researched insights and ideas.

In short, this phrase shows intelligence wrapped in humility.

Final thoughts

Admitting we don’t know it all is a sign of quiet intelligence.

Let’s make a pledge to remain curious, question our biases, and enjoy the journey of learning more through humility and honesty. 

After all, it is not about having all the answers but about asking the right questions—and also, being open to being wrong.

So, toss away the old, outdated idea that intelligence only comes from awards and books. 

Embrace all the many messy possibilities in life, and look for smarts and depths wherever you might be able to find it.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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