People Who've Pretended To Be Dumber Than They Really Are Explain Why They Did It

People Who've Pretended To Be Dumber Than They Really Are Explain Why They Did It
Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash

Just about everyone has made a sizable effort to make themselves appear smart.

Be it to impress a potential boss, a prospective client, a first date, or the parents of your significant other, people often will use big words, make bizarre references that only a select few would understand, or simply nod along and laugh even though they haven't the foggiest idea what's going on.

Surprisingly, people also pretend to be less intelligent than they are almost just as frequently.

What's more, people usually tend to "play dumb" for the same reasons they try to appear smarter than they actually are, as a way to impress or climb up a social ladder.

Of course, people also play dumb for many other, sometimes bizarre reasons.

Redditor lynnneumannfilmmaker was curious to learn why people felt it was necessary to come across as less intelligent , leading them to ask:
"Have you ever pretended to be stupid or not as smart as you are? Why?"

Coming Off As Over Qualified

"It was quite common practice in my home country to hide the fact you have a masters degree to get certain jobs."

"Because either you were 'overqualified' and they couldn't afford you or they instantly knew you will only be temporary asset until you find something matching your education."- Reddit

season 1 sonograms and tube tops GIF by momGiphy

Conflict Resolution And Ego Massaging

"Has helped me out of sticky spots."

"And people seem to like it when they feel superior to me."- NecessaryImmediate93

Language Barriers

"I live in Germany and I speak C2-level fluent German, until one of those people on the street try to start handing me a bible or some charity pamphlet then i'm all like 'I no deutsch verstehe' lmao."- Zack1018

"I pretended to be less fluent in a language than I am before, if that counts."

"Anyone who’s lived in Japan is familiar with the NHK man, who comes to your door and pesters you to pay the NHK fee."

"NHK is the national public TV station, and everyone who owns a device capable of receiving it is supposed to pay a monthly fee to fund it, but there’s no penalty for not paying, and quite a lot of people just don’t."

"The representatives can be veeeeery pushy though."

"Well, I didn’t even own a TV, but when I first started living here I somehow got pressured into signing up to pay the fee."

"Though after that I just ignored the bills until eventually they sent an angry one saying you’d better pay or legal action blah blah."

"So I called them and used my best foreigner voice to explain I didn’t understand what I signed up for and the lady was very nice and said, 'Of course, you couldn’t have known, I’ll cancel that for you'.”

"Problem solved!"- lygerzero0zero

confused one more time GIF by Paramount NetworkGiphy

Oh, To Be The Ringmaster...

"When you realize your family is a Circus, you tend to be the clown."- B-Town-MusicMan

Know Your Audience...

"In all aspects of life I've found reading (and playing to) the room is the best way to get by."- gosog28052·

As Long As You Don't Mind Never Being Promoted...

"It comes with benefits at work."

"Meaning less work."- doofusdoomed

Bored Season 3 GIF by The OfficeGiphy

Saves A Lot Of Trouble

"All the time because I don’t feel like arguing."- goodfaceman

"Yes, because I don’t always feel like arguing. Many people are closed minded."

"They won’t even entertain a new to them idea."- Errol-Flynns-Ghost

"Yes, because i think its a waste of time to argue with people who are very narrow-minded."- Separate-Trash2375

Christian Bale Nodding GIFGiphy

The Element of Surprise


"People like to feel more clever than others."

"It can also come in handy to be underrated."- Aluanne

Keeps The Peace

"All the time, it makes people more comfortable."- khamelean


"Especially when dealing with police, or other authority figures."

"Also in general life so as not to alienate people."- captain_jeremiah

good witch flirting GIF by Hallmark ChannelGiphy

Wanting People To Like You

"The line is just too thin between being smart and seeming a know-it-all."

"The others will feel belittled."- kapaj55687

It's understandable that people feel inclined to play dumb to avoid conflict, or perhaps make others feel better about themselves.

Though it's important to remember that everyone should be proud of who they are, and no one should play dumb in hopes of making someone else like them.

Such people probably aren't worth having as friends.

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