Deep thinkers seem to run against the grain of modern society. They’re sometimes seen as aloof or weird or clumsy…someone who’s just not quite in sync with the world.
But this is exactly why they’re awesome. Because they prefer to think for themselves, they often come up with unique thoughts and creations.
You’ve probably met a few deep thinkers in your life or perhaps you’re one yourself.
In this article I will help you identify the traits of deep thinkers and understand why they are the way they are:
1) They’re introverted
Deep thinkers spend a lot of time in their heads going through their thoughts that even when they’re there with you, they probably won’t do that much at all.
Don’t take that to mean they’re ignoring you or don’t like your presence.
A part of being a deep thinker is that they prefer to have the space and energy to process their thoughts and that can often mean that too much social stimulation overwhelms and stresses them out.
On the flip side, being an introvert means having a lot of time where you have no one else but yourself and your head.
Therefore, it should not be surprising that introverts tend to be deep thinkers, and vice versa. There’s a lot of overlap between the two.
2) They make their own opinions
Don’t take this to mean that deep thinkers are always going to go against the majority opinion for the sake of it. That’s called being a contrarian and that’s not what this is about.
Instead, deep thinkers simply don’t say or think in a certain way because someone else said so.
Whether their opinion is in agreement with everyone else or not a deep thinker can explain without having to say “because someone said this!” when asked.
Deep thinkers make their own opinions based on the things they’ve discovered and based on their own knowledge, wisdom, and intuition.
3) They’re thirsty for information
We all know this. Deep thinkers have a deep thirst for knowledge. They have a drive to remain informed.
Where others would find reading boring and tedious, deep thinkers would find nothing but joy in it. The more information they take in and process, the more colorful their mental landscape becomes.
They’re often glued to books and newspapers, keeping themselves up to date or otherwise just immersing themselves in another person’s world.
In their free time, expect them to listen to podcasts, watch the news, read books, watch documentaries, listen to debates, and talk to others who have a lot of things to share.
4) They take their time
Give someone who isn’t a deep thinker a novel with a lot of big words and a very slow pace, chances are they’ll chuck the book out of the window halfway through and say it’s boring or too slow.
If they do end up reading it, they’ll probably just skim the whole thing.
Give a deep thinker the same novel, and they’d grab a dictionary and sit there for hours reading the book until they’re done. All the while, they’d be taking in all the small details that everyone else missed.
This shouldn’t come as a shock. Deep thinkers are already used to doing the whole ‘slow and steady’ thing in their heads, and that attitude spreads out to how they treat the world around them.
In fact, impatience is the very antithesis of being a deep thinker.
If you’re impatient, you’re not going to be bothered to process your thoughts that deeply. It’s unlikely you’ll even pick up on anything but a shallow understanding of things— you’d be too busy rushing ahead.
Don’t be too surprised if they obsess over something you consider mundane for weeks and months because that’s just how they are— very curious and obsessive, and they take their damn time.
5) They notice things most people don’t bother about
We’ve already established that deep thinkers are patient and that they take things slow and steady. Because of this, they will pick up on things that simply pass others by.
They notice the small details and subtle hints that other people simply don’t pick up on, like how that one friend that everyone else likes seems to smile a bit too sharply and laugh a bit too loudly.
They can read between the lines and pick up on nuance more easily, which means it’s often a good idea to listen to what they have to say.
6) They’re thorough
A deep thinker isn’t going to be satisfied with just an overview and summary.
Instead, they would pore over the topic exhaustively, gathering as much information as they can and taking their time analyzing it from every possible angle before they come to a conclusion and form their opinion or pass judgment.
They end up taking a while as a result, and this can frustrate people who want them to give their thoughts now.
However, it means that when a deep thinker comes to a decision, they’re sure of their opinions and cannot be easily swayed by others.
7) They’re quite forgetful
This might seem contradictory given that we’ve established the fact that deep thinkers are observant and thorough.
But if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. There is only so much information a person can take in and hold all at once, and a deep thinker will be so busy mulling over certain things that information that isn’t directly relevant to what they are thinking about will end up discarded and forgotten.
They’ll be so wrapped up thinking that they’ll forget to eat or that they had an appointment with the doctor in an hour.
8) They like to plan
Even if it amounts to nothing in the end, deep thinkers like to plan.
They could be making roadmaps for a project they had been thinking of for a while or simply organizing how they want their year to go.
These plans have a tendency to get somewhat meticulous too, almost excessively so.
Given how deep thinkers tend to be forgetful and somewhat messy, however, their plans can go haywire or simply get lost unless they’re especially careful.
9) They make a lot of notes
Whether it’s to help them deal with their forgetfulness or to help them organize their ideas, deep thinkers end up making a lot of notes.
They’ll often have a notebook or a phone with them wherever they go and would keep picking them up and writing things on them.
If you look around their computer — not that you should snoop, mind! — you will probably see a lot of post-its, spreadsheets, and documents, and notes saved in all sorts of random places.
Their minds are so active that they have to dump their ideas and visions somewhere.
10) They’re nerdy
Deep thinkers are always on the lookout for new things to understand and analyze, and as a result end up knowing quite a lot about all sorts of topics be it science, linguistics, history, literature– you name it, chances are they know something about it!
They want to know why things are done in a certain way, or what makes people tick, and they can get a bit awkward about it sometimes.
They’re naturally curious and they end up getting called nerds because of this.
11) They’re not fond of small talk
While deep thinkers are generally patient, they quickly get bored of talk without any real substance— that is, small talk. They need to be able to glean something interesting from conversation, something to stimulate their mind.
Thus, when they get nothing absolutely interesting when they tune in, they feel like their time is being wasted and will want nothing more than to get out of there and look for something that’s actually worth their time.
To them, why sit around talking about the weather or the color of your fingernails when you can instead talk about the fact that birds are actually dinosaurs or discuss the latest news in-depth.
12) They’re socially awkward
Sometimes knowing too much while caring little for conversation that does not give new information or ideas makes it hard to relate to others.
Add to that a dislike for following the herd and you can begin to understand why deep thinkers just don’t jive with other people.
People, in general, like to follow trends and stay in touch with conversations that deep thinkers generally dislike.
This means that despite giving things a lot of thought, they end up having a hard time relating to other people.
13) They have a hard time falling asleep
It’s seriously hard to fall asleep when your brain is on overdrive. Sadly, deep thinkers often find their brains on overdrive almost all the time.
They might not suffer from insomnia per sé — they can still sleep well enough — but they have a hard enough time falling asleep that their sleep schedule will easily fall apart if they’re not careful.
If they have a book or their phone near their bed, it could be worse because then they’d get up and start reading about the stuff they’re obsessing over.
14) They can be a bit messy
It’s not uncommon for deep thinkers to be slightly more messy than other people.
That’s not to mean deep thinkers can’t be neat or that they’re being messy on purpose, it’s just that with everything going on in their head, they often end up forgetting about life stuff like washing the plates and putting things where they should be.
Sometimes they need a little reminder every now and then that a world exists outside of their heads!
15) They’re (usually) quiet and invisible
A deep thinker isn’t going to find it easy to give their thoughts on something if they haven’t fully decided on something yet.
They prefer to be invisible. For them, it’s better not to open one’s mouth if what they’re going to say is not useful or sensible.
Besides, conversations happen too fast for them to really keep up.
Because of this you will find that deep thinkers will be quiet and unassuming most of the time… at least until you ask them about something they know a lot about.
The moment you bring up a topic they know a lot about, they’re going to talk your ears off like there’s no tomorrow.
16) They’re more open-minded than most people
This might seem almost contradictory with how deep thinkers stick to their guns, but no.
Deep thinkers stand by their conclusions because of how they arrive at them after giving them a lot of thought and other people often simply can’t give them anything they hadn’t already considered or find particularly convincing.
But that’s the thing. Provided that you can give them enough information to reconsider their stance, you most likely can make them change their mind.
And that aside, deep thinkers are often open to new ideas and questioning what everyone else has accepted as fact.
17) They tend to overthink
Some people draw a line between overthinkers and deep thinkers and say the two are different things entirely.
The reality is that while not everyone who overthinks is a deep thinker, deep thinkers often get so caught up in their thoughts that they end up overthinking.
Some deep thinkers learn how to stop themselves and keep their thoughts from going haywire, but most end up struggling with it all throughout their life. And even when they think they have it “under control”, it’s very much possible that they actually don’t.
18) They have strong feelings out of nowhere
Thinking a lot means that deep thinkers sometimes end up coming across ideas or memories that make them angry, happy, sad, or straight up ecstatic.
Think of Archimedes having an epiphany in his bath and running through the streets shouting “Eureka! Eureka!”
It can be creepy to see someone suddenly smile or laugh when you just can’t think of anything going on that would make them react like that.
But the deep thinker doesn’t need to wait for the outside world to give them a reason to laugh or cry. Their own thoughts are enough.
19) They talk to themselves
There’s a lot going on in their heads, and sometimes saying it out loud helps them process it better. They just can’t help it sometimes.
But if you don’t know what’s going on you might be tempted to call them crazy.
While some might feel comfortable enough to talk to themselves with others around, most are so afraid of being thought of as crazy that they only do it when they think they’re alone.
20) They daydream a lot
An active mind goes hand in hand with an active imagination.
Someone who likes to think deeply finds enjoyment in fantasizing and daydreaming about things they have learned or are currently learning.
What if dinosaurs did not go extinct? (Spoiler alert: they haven’t!). What if Antarctica were somewhere warmer? What if people tried harder to clean up pollution in the ocean?
Their minds would go to town on thoughts such as these.
Give them the tools they need and they might just end up writing a book!
21) They’re independent
Because of how deep thinkers tend to be introverted and misunderstood, most of them learn early on to rely on themselves. They enjoy spending time alone and moving at their own pace.
In the same vein, they will not appreciate it and be uncomfortable when they’re forced to move faster or slower than they’d like or when people constantly intrude into their lives.
They will even seem unnecessarily obtuse and stubborn if people are forceful enough towards them.
So while it might seem odd and even frustrating sometimes to interact with them, it’s best to give them space and time. That’s their right!
And when they do decide to spend their time with you, then that means you’re both having a good time and they’re not doing it just out of guilt. And isn’t that how it should be?
22) They’re sensitive
If you don’t think at all that deeply, it can be easy for you to shrug off a lot of small stuff whether it be because you simply don’t care or because you didn’t notice them in the first place.
But deep thinkers have a knack for finding and latching on to these small things.
It can make them almost psychic in how they can seem to predict how others are feeling before everyone else.
And pandering and lying to a deep thinker? Forget it! They’ll sense that very quickly and leave before you get very far.
23) They prefer the company of other thinkers
Deep thinkers will find the company of people who don’t give much thought into things a bit… tiresome and lacking in stimulation. Frustrating, even.
On the other hand, other thinkers will stimulate their minds and put a spring in their step.
Sometimes they will end up arguing, especially when two thinkers come to wildly different conclusions about an idea, but having someone to talk to who is ‘on their level’ will give them great joy and it’s for this reason and more that they tend to seek each other out.
If you ticked off even just half of the items in this list, then you or your loved one are indeed true-blue deep thinkers.
It could be a burden, yes. That’s why they say “Ignorance is bliss.”
But it comes with many rewards.
It allows us to experience and view this one precious life on this one precious planet in our very own way and isn’t that what makes life worth living?
Putting yourself first
What’s your number one goal at the moment?
Is it to buy that car you’ve been saving up for?
To finally start that side-hustle that’ll hopefully help you quit your 9-5 one day?
Or to take the leap and finally ask your partner to move in?
Whatever your goals are, there’s a hidden trap in how you set them.
The trap is this:
You’ll only experience genuine life satisfaction when your goals are aligned with your values.
Because when values and goals are aligned, you enjoy the journey much more. And this makes achieving your goals much more likely.
If you find it hard to articulate your deeper life values, I suggest downloading the free values exercise by career coach Jeanette Brown.
It takes only a couple of minutes and will reveal a number of powerful insights about your underlying values.
Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.