People who are highly intelligent often do these 7 things (without realizing it)

We often sit around daydreaming about what it would be like if we were bigger, stronger, better looking, or smarter.

But we also don’t always know what life is actually like for these people, whether they’re incredibly gorgeous, highly intelligent, or whatever.

Within this article, we’re going to dive into some of the habits and behaviors of all those really bright folks out there. And what’s extra interesting is that, despite their intelligence, they often don’t recognize that they’re actually doing these things.

People who are highly intelligent often do these seven things, even without realizing it. I hope this list will help you to be able to recognize and understand these people much better.

1) They think before they speak.

One of my favorite stories about super-intelligent people is about a professor I worked for in university.

He was the head of the planetary physics department, so you know he was one of these ultra-intelligent people and also very much an odd duck.

He had a bunch of quirks that I’ll talk about later, but one of his most noticeable was how he thought before he spoke.

If you ever asked him a question – it could be something about science or what he wanted for lunch – he’d take an excruciatingly long pause before answering you. He’d stare you in the eye and say nothing for up to a minute, which, in terms of a conversation, is an eternity!

It was always super-awkward and unsettling for people when they first got to know him. They never knew what to do with themselves and weren’t even sure if he had heard or was thinking about the question because he gave no outward signs.

Then he’d suddenly answer and – whew! – you’d feel relieved!

When he did speak, he also never used a vocal fill like “um,” “uh,” or “like.” His words were so perfectly considered and calculated it was like he was completing equations in his head, not conversing!

Since then, I’ve found out that this can be a behavior that many highly intelligent people share.

2) They listen more than they talk.

Many bright people can speak eloquently and knowledgeably on the topics they know well.

They can make great lecturers and experts to confer with.

However, they arrive at their knowledge by taking in a whole lot of information. Most highly intelligent people read an awful lot, but they also do something that can be so rare in this day and age.

They listen.

Rather than trying to talk over others like TV pundits, they tend to like to sit back and take in what people are saying.

This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re quiet, but they are more like sponges who can soak up tons of information, consider it, and create their own conclusions from it.

So it’s not unusual for a really smart person to listen a lot to others, even if the other people may be a lot farther down the intellectual ladder.

There’s always delicious information of one kind or another to be lapped up!

3) They’re skeptical of other people’s claims.

Highly intelligent people don’t like to take things at surface value. They know that just because a person says something, that doesn’t make it true.

As I’ve just explained above, they will very often spend a lot more time listening to others than speaking.

There’s no way that they’re listening because they agree with or believe everything, though! Instead, they form their own conclusions from what they hear.

Lots of the time, they decide to reject the assertions of the people they’re listening to.

This also goes for the things they read and what they listen to in the video media that they watch.

They want to see evidence before they believe a claim if it’s of any importance to them, and before they do, they’ll usually be quite skeptical.

This is also an area where they can clash with people who consider themselves “influential.” Those people try to use their status, looks, or personalities to influence others to believe what they say. 

For highly intelligent people, though, these things mean nothing, and evidence and logic mean everything. So they’ll often show their obvious skepticism in front of people who are used to being automatically believed.

This can cause social friction for them even if they don’t realize they’re doing it.

4) They avoid arguments.

Most very smart people aren’t in the habit of getting into intense disagreements and fights with others.

Why not, if they’re so smart!?

For highly intelligent people, convincing others is not a major concern. Without really realizing it, they tend to focus on what the evidence shows and their own analysis of it while being uninterested in many opposing ideas and opinions.

I don’t mean that they’re closed-minded.

What I mean here is that they don’t care a lot about debating with or convincing people who seem so far below their intelligence level.

I suppose it’s like me debating politics with my dog. Not super-interesting.

So, they often avoid getting into disagreements about certain topics with people who don’t seem to know a lot about them.

This can make them seem passive or even aloof, but really, it’s a sign that they’re not interested in engaging in any meaningful, intellectual sense.

5) They lose track of time.

One of the biggest quirks of highly intelligent people is that they often completely lose track of time and forget where and when they are!

Back to my old professor.

I worked for him one summer, and his schedule was really extraordinary. When he taught courses or had meetings, he somehow always managed to be on time and very efficient with his time.

But I never popped in on him unscheduled to talk about the project I was working on; there was no telling what state I’d find him in.

One Monday morning, I knocked on his office door and was told to come in.

His office was a mess. He was pouring over maps and charts, simultaneously using three different computers and apparently running some sort of chemistry experiment.

I realized immediately that he was in the same outfit I’d seen him in on Friday.

For his part, he looked quite surprised to see me and asked what I was doing on the weekend before taking a sip from his chemistry set-up. It turned out to be coffee, and it also turned out that he hadn’t left the office since Friday except to stroll down the hall to use the toilet!

He was so immersed in what he was doing and so incredibly focused that he’d completely lost track of time.

And this isn’t unusual for the highly intelligent among us.

While I might fall into a social media rabbit hole once in a while, I’ve never lost two full days!

6) They make other people feel dumb.

Without realizing it, highly intelligent people can make other people feel dumb by comparison and often do.

Intelligence is a wheel with many spokes, and emotional intelligence, or EQ, and IQ often don’t go hand-in-hand. A person can have an incredibly high IQ but not have a huge amount of empathy and social graces.

I have another story about my professor that explains this perfectly.

He and I were sitting together once when a friend of mine came over to say hi.

I introduced them, and he asked her what she studied. When she said she was doing her Master’s in Psychology, he actually said, “Oh, pseudo-science. That must not be very difficult.”

Even if he was teasing, which he wasn’t, it wasn’t a good choice.

After she stormed off, he asked me, “What did she fail out of to have to fall back on psychology?”

He wasn’t being mean – he genuinely thought this way.

Oh dear!

7) They get distracted easily.

Earlier, I explained that highly intelligent people often listen a lot more than they talk

While this is generally true, they still have their limits.

They’ll listen to things they’re interested in, but if they’re not interested, you can sometimes see their eyes gloss over.


If you’re trying to talk to a really bright person and explain your story to them, they can often feel like it’s dragging. 

They pick up on things quickly and often wish you’d get to the point rather than circling back on themselves or focusing too much on details that don’t really have any significance.

This can be both frustrating and boring for them, and since they have so many other wonderfully interesting things to think about, they can retreat into their mind palaces and forget you were even talking.

So perhaps this isn’t them getting momentarily distracted so much as it’s their focus being stolen completely away by something far more interesting

People who are highly intelligent often do these seven things without realizing it. They’re not trying to be different, eccentric, or elitist – it’s just the way they are!

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