Intelligence comes in many different types.
We’re not all naturally skilled at the same things — some are good with numbers and analyzing problems; others excel in sports, language, and music; and others are skilled at understanding and interacting with other people.
We can all agree, however, that intelligence can determine success in practically every aspect of our lives, especially in our relationships.
But here’s the deal: Intelligence is as much about what you won’t do as it is about what you will do.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the things that intelligent people avoid doing in public, and why you should never do them, too.
Let’s jump in!
1) They never brag too much
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when self-promotion is justified.
It’s okay to feel proud of your accomplishments and feel good about yourself when everything seems going right for you.
But consider this: There’s a fine line between celebrating and rewarding yourself for your accomplishments and bragging about them excessively.
The latter can be a sign of arrogance. That’s why intelligent people never feel the need to show off their qualities, experiences, achievements, and possessions.
They’re careful about how they choose to express their confidence.
They don’t flaunt their intelligence in a way that makes others feel insignificant.
In other words: They don’t use their successes to put others down.
2) They never beg for attention
This one’s connected to my earlier point about how intelligent people never brag.
You see, intelligent people don’t fall into the trap of thinking that they need to show how much better they are than other people just to draw attention to themselves.
They know that begging for attention is a sign of insecurity, and they couldn’t care less about it.
Simply put: Intelligent people never rely on others for validation.
They can acknowledge and honor their positive attributes, strengths, achievements, and emotions.
They’re very intentional in the way they present themselves to the world, which means they let their actions and behavior speak for themselves.
3) They never belittle others
Have you ever met someone who likes to make fun of others?
You know, those people who think it’s fun to hurt others to make them feel good. They always find fault in others to make them feel superior.
The thing is, there are many ways to demean others. It can be in the form of name-calling, criticizing, bullying, rudeness, and many more.
One thing’s for sure: Intelligent people would never resort to these toxic behaviors. Not in public and not ever.
They don’t let greed, self-centeredness, and power plays consume them to make another person feel that they don’t count at all in their eyes.
Instead, they build others up. They value themselves while encouraging others to do the same.
4) They never talk over others
Picture this: You’re conversing with someone. Then the other person starts jumping in while you’re speaking.
From then on, the other person forcefully interrupts. How would that make you feel?
So, here’s the kicker: Many people listen to respond, that’s why they make a rude habit of butting in while someone is speaking.
Intelligent people, however, never cut others off to show that they don’t care about what the other person has to say.
They know that for a dialogue to be more effective, the goal must be to hear each other’s side.
That’s why they practice active listening. They think before they speak, and they always listen to fully understand the other person.
Even when the topic is heated, they keep a calm, steady mind.
5) They never blame others for their mistakes
Think about this for a minute: What’s your instinctive reaction to making mistakes? Do you own up to them or do you shift the blame elsewhere?
Taking responsibility for a failure is never fun. But intelligent people know better than to play the blame game.
They step up, acknowledge their mistakes, and apologize to those they’ve wronged.
They value accountability, which means they take ownership of the choices they make and accept whatever consequences these choices come with.
For intelligent people, mistakes and failures are never a hindrance to success.
They learn from their mistakes and figure out what they can do differently next time.
6) They never say yes to everyone (and everything)
Here’s a simple truth: You can’t be all things — or do all things — for all people.
Trying to please everyone — from your partner to your family and friends, to that super-demanding boss and overstepping in-laws — is very exhausting.
Not to mention it can lead to burnout, which severely affects your overall health and well-being.
That’s why intelligent people are wise enough to set healthy boundaries and assert them when necessary.
Sure, they can be generous with their time, but they are very straightforward about what’s okay and what’s not.
They respect themselves enough to know when to say yes and when to say no.
This leads me to my next point ….
7) They never pick fights
Here’s the deal: Setting boundaries is another way of showing others that you value your time and that you want to focus your energy on the things that matter most.
And for intelligent people, setting healthy boundaries helps them choose their battles wisely.
Yes, they will surely fight for what they believe in and stay firm in their convictions. But they know that you can be assertive without being aggressive.
This means that when someone treats them badly, they can assert themselves while still maintaining their calm and composure.
And they won’t think twice about walking away from heated arguments that are just a waste of time.
8) They never lose their cool in stressful situations
Here’s a thought to ponder: How do you act when you’re facing a high-pressure situation?
Do you throw a tantrum when things don’t go your way?
Or do you keep a cool head and look for the positive in a situation?
One of the best things I admire about intelligent people is they can maintain grace under pressure.
Of course, they also experience anger, stress, disappointment, and frustration.
The difference is, they acknowledge these negative feelings but don’t let these emotions get the best of them.
In other words: They don’t get caught up in things they can’t control.
They focus on looking for solutions to any given problem.
9) They never lie about their skills
Intelligent people protect their credibility and integrity.
You won’t find them claiming to have skills that they don’t just to impress others. They’re all about being honest about what they can and can’t do.
They’re confident with their education, skill set, experience, personality, and drive. They’re more than happy to improve on the skills they don’t have rather than lying about them.
Most importantly, they don’t take credit for others’ work. They won’t prop themselves up by getting the glory for other people’s achievements.
They recognize everyone’s contributions, no matter how big or small. They won’t disrespect others by stealing their ideas.
10) They never make quick assumptions about others and gossip about them
The sad reality is we often make assumptions about people by how they look, how they sound, where they’re from, their socio-economic status, and all sorts of criteria.
And the worst part? We tell others about these assumptions and set up expectations that a person would behave a certain way.
The thing is, ‘stereotyping’ people not only clouds our judgment but also leads to harmful behaviors.
Intelligent people never come from a place of assumptions. They start with an open mind and a willingness to learn about the other person.
They’re curious about other people. They seek to gain a deeper understanding of other people’s viewpoints and experiences by asking them the right questions. And it doesn’t stop there: They place a high value on their relationships, which means they treat everyone with respect.
11) They never surround themselves with negative people
Intelligent people won’t put up with any negativity at all.
They won’t spend their time with people who complain and wallow in their problems. They’re aware that ‘pity parties’ will only drain their energy.
More importantly, intelligent people are mindful of the company they keep. They seek out people who embody the traits they want to see in themselves.
They choose friends who will root for them and help them get the best from any given situation.
12) They never shoot down new ideas and opportunities
Intelligent people are humble enough to admit that they need help and that they have much to learn from other people.
You’ll never find them closing their minds to new information, opinions, and opportunities.
That’s because intelligent people are critical thinkers and lifelong learners.
They’ll be more than happy to hear other people out and learn more about their unique perspectives, even if those ideas and beliefs go against their own.
At the end of the day, intelligent people are open to changing their minds if another person presents an idea or solution that is a better fit.