20 Common Traits Highly Intelligent People Usually Have

The world is packed full of people with different capabilities and unique talents. However, some appear more capable than the rest, displaying high intelligence and emotional quotients. By exploring the traits that set highly intelligent people apart from others, we can gain a deeper understanding of the qualities that might help us improve our intellectual prowess. Read through to the end of this list and be reminded of the diverse and inspiring ways that intelligence can manifest in every person’s life!

They Are Curious

Image Credit: Shutterstock / mimagephotography

Curiosity, especially about the unknown, is a key trait of intelligent people. It’s not just about asking questions but about building self-awareness. It’s about questioning your thoughts and feelings and understanding how they relate to the world around you. Curiosity is the spark that leads to new ideas and concepts.

They Love to Read

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nata Bene

Intelligent people know that books are more than just a collection of pages and words. It’s a way for them to learn about life through a different lens. After all, books transport us to a whole new world with new ideas, ways of thinking, and cultures.

They Listen

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Antonio Guillem

Research underscores the importance of listening as a skill; it’s not just about hearing but about understanding. It’s about being present in a conversation, drawing conclusions from what you hear, and developing your own thoughts. Intelligent people value this skill, as it allows them to truly engage with others. Additionally, it’s only through listening that one can develop and learn new skills needed in everyday life.

They Are Observant

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rawpixel.com

When someone is intelligent, they can pick up on subtle and not-so-subtle cues about the person they’re talking to and the world around them. They need to be observant and pay attention to what others say and what they don’t say—body language, gestures, vibes, and more. It’s through being observant that an intelligent person can hone their skills in gathering information, analyzing data, solving problems, and more.

They Are Open-Minded

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dean Drobot

According to Global English Editing, “Being open-minded doesn’t mean blindly accepting everything you hear. Instead, it means being willing to consider different viewpoints and evaluate them critically.” When people are open-minded, they’re open to new ideas and different perspectives that challenge their beliefs.

They Have a Healthy Dose of Skepticism

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Antonio Guillem

Many might think it’s ironic to be a skeptic when you also need to be open-minded to be considered an intelligent individual. However, these two concepts are very closely related. Skepticism makes you question the things around you and other people’s opinions. However, this questioning doesn’t mean you’re closed off to what other people say; it simply means you want to solve and get to the bottom of things.

They Have a Great Attention to Detail

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kostikova Natalia

Being detail-oriented is one of the most obvious signs that a person is intelligent. After all, attention to detail allows one to gather and analyze data accurately. It’s a soft skill that helps people produce accurate and error-free work.

They Ask Good Questions

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

Highly intelligent people ask good questions because they can think deeply and critically. When you ask good questions, you learn more and become more competent. It’s like a cycle: the more you ask, the more you know, and the wiser you get.

They Have a Passion for Learning

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

Intelligent people understand that learning isn’t confined to the classroom. So, they constantly find things to feed their brains. They’re not restricted to furthering their studies in school because they know they can learn a lot from other platforms and avenues, such as workshops, online courses, talks, and more.

They Possess a Great Sense of Humor

Image Credit: Shutterstock / William Perugini

For someone to have a great sense of humor, their cognitive and emotional ability must be at an all-time high. The World Economic Forum also shares that having a good sense of humor is linked to having a high emotional quotient or emotional intelligence.

They’re Adaptable and Flexible

Image Credit: Shutterstock / adriaticfoto

When people are intelligent, they can adapt and become flexible whenever the situation calls for it. Adaptability, after all, refers to someone being able to anticipate and plan ahead, providing oneself with contingency plans. On the other hand, flexibility is more situational; this challenges someone to have a more immediate response depending on their situation. Whatever it is, one needs to have the capacity to problem-solve and think critically to be adaptable and flexible.

They Are Empathetic and Compassionate

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

Empathy and compassion show how well someone understands others’ feelings. When you care about how others feel, you’re more likely to work together and find solutions to problems. Remember, intelligence isn’t just about being smart; it’s also about understanding emotions and getting along with others. Additionally, an article by Douglas Heingartner on Such Science notes, “IQ and EQ are closely linked: a new study has found that gifted people also have slightly higher emotional intelligence levels.”

They Know Their Limits

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ground Picture

Intelligent people understand that recognizing their limits is essential for growth and success. After all, knowing one’s limits allows them to leverage their strengths. Additionally, they can work on their weaknesses and shortcomings because they know what they are. In the long run, knowing one’s limits allows intelligent people to continuously improve themselves.

They Have Good Self-Control

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi

Intelligent people are never impulsive. Instead, they practice self-control, enabling them to resist impulsive behaviors and thus make more rational choices. The University of Cambridge shares, “The greater the intelligence, the greater the self-control. Research by other scientists has found that children taking the Stanford marshmallow test vary greatly in their self-control, and this ability is linked to their general intelligence; children that can resist temptation for longer also get higher scores in a range of academic tasks.”

They Have Precise and Credible Decision-Making

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

Smart people can analyze situations carefully, consider different factors, and anticipate outcomes. This helps them make informed decisions likely to lead to successful outcomes.

They Are Passionate About Their Interests

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Zamrznuti tonovi

People with high IQs are often passionate about their interests because they find them mentally stimulating and satisfying. Doing things that match their curiosity and skills inspires them to explore and excel. Their in-depth understanding of a topic also pushes them to seek new insights and challenges continuously.

They Build off of Conversations

Image Credit: Shutterstock / bbernard

For most, conversations may be a simple way to communicate with others. However, highly intelligent people view conversations as an opportunity to learn and grow. In more ways than one, meaningful and substantial conversations expand their knowledge and understanding of different topics. Additionally, they believe that conversing with others can help them exchange ideas, refine their thinking, and gain new insights.

They’re Sensitive to Other People’s Experiences

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Prostock-studio

People with high IQ, especially those with high EQ, are sensitive to others’ experiences because they understand the importance of empathy in building meaningful relationships. These people know that everyone’s perspectives and opinions are valuable and can help them gain better insights into the world.

They Like to Spend Time Alone

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ground Picture

Some statistics show that around 70% of gifted people, people with above-average intelligence or those with a superior talent for something, are introverts. People with high intelligence, after all, are usually deep thinkers who want to have time to be in tune with their thoughts. The only way they can do this is by spending time alone, reflecting on what had happened throughout the day.

They Are Trusted by Other People

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Xavier Lorenzo

People often trust and have confidence in intelligent individuals because their intelligence means they can make good and sound decisions. Smart people can understand complex situations and provide helpful advice, which earns them a certain level of credibility and reliability that people can’t find in others.

Read More: 20 Common Traits Poorly Educated People Usually Have

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

Poorly educated individuals may exhibit certain noticeable characteristics that set them apart from others. On the flip side, some may also compensate for their lack of education by pretending to be knowledgeable in certain areas. This behavior is often a way for poorly educated individuals to maintain their self-image and self-esteem.

20 Common Traits Poorly Educated People Usually Have

20 Behaviors and Traits That Are Dead Giveaways of Having Low Intelligence

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Prostock-studio

Speaking loudly, being overly confident, or even gossiping can all be signs of someone having low intelligence. However, by recognizing these markers, people can become more proactive in addressing their limitations and weaknesses, eventually improving their overall mental and emotional capacity. Read on and learn more about the top 20 dead giveaways of low intelligence!

20 Behaviors and Traits That Are Dead Giveaways of Having Low Intelligence

20 Things You’re Doing That Make You a Bad Neighbor

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rainer Fuhrmann

People have different personalities; that’s a fact. When you move somewhere with a tight-knit community, you will get to know many people who will either clash with your personality or make you feel like you’ve found a new friend. However, no matter what it is, remember to establish boundaries. If you don’t, you might soon see a lot of bad blood between you and other people in the community!

20 Things You’re Doing That Make You a Bad Neighbor

20 Signs You Have Little to No Emotional Support in Your Relationship

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dikushin Dmitry

Navigating a relationship without enough emotional support can feel like being caught in a storm without shelter. Constant feelings of isolation, misunderstanding, and loneliness indicate a loss of balance in the emotional aspect of your relationship. Thankfully, it’s not too late to get help because we’ve gathered the top 20 signs that can help you determine whether or not you’re receiving the emotional support you need for a healthy, thriving relationship.

20 Signs You Have Little to No Emotional Support in Your Relationship

20 Christian Practices That Confuse and Puzzle Others

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff

All regions differ in some way. Catholics collect saint cards and plan their vacations around religious sights, and Buddhists believe in karma and reincarnation. Like them, Christians also practice some things that are simply unheard of or puzzling for others. They practice tithing, cast out demons, and more!

20 Christian Practices That Confuse and Puzzle Others

Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.