Talk to an expert from Relationship Hero for personalized relationship advice

“People Think I’m Stupid” (7 Things You Can Do)

Disclosure: this page may contain affiliate links to select partners. We receive a commission should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on them. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Far too many people are judged to be stupid or slow because they think about and process things differently than the norm.

For example, many uninformed people believe that autistic people are stupid. In reality, autistic people are like any other group: some are smart, others are not, and most are somewhere in between.

Still, it can be quite a problem if the people around you think you’re stupid. They may talk down to you, avoid giving you complicated tasks, or refrain from asking your opinion.

A person who thinks you’re stupid can cause harm to your life through their actions. If it’s your boss, for example, you may not get good reviews, be trusted with responsibilities, or be looked at for advancement.

But what can you do when people think you’re stupid? How can you change the way they see you?

There are several ways to approach this situation.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

A lack of knowledge can sometimes be confused with stupidity.

It’s not.

No one knows everything. It’s not a reasonable expectation to have. But, of course, that doesn’t stop people from forcing unreasonable expectations on others.

Typically, the people who expect you to know everything think too highly of their own knowledge or themselves.

And when you deal with condescending people, you sometimes need to smile and nod to get them to shut up so you can get on with it.

Reasonable people, on the other hand, will typically respect and appreciate it if you ask for help. A reasonable person will know and accept that you don’t know everything.

The workplace is a good example. Yes, some unreasonable people might expect you to know everything. However, many would rather you ask questions than make costly mistakes.

Ask if you need help or if you don’t understand. Of course, unreasonable people will already think you’re stupid, so you might as well try to get help.

2. Ignore the opinions of others and focus on yourself.

People will judge you for anything and everything. The great thing is that you don’t have to care about their opinions.

Do you know yourself? What about your own abilities? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, but you’re the only one whose opinion truly matters.

It could just be that you learn differently from others. Some people learn from books, and others learn from hands-on experience. Some people need to read while others are auditory learners.

There’s nothing wrong with being a slow learner or someone who learns differently. But unfortunately, far too many people think that being a different learner means you are unintelligent or lack common sense.

Never take criticism from people you wouldn’t take advice from, and vice versa. Their judgment typically sucks and isn’t worth listening to.

3. Be constantly learning. Ask questions.

Do you know what the great thing about life is? It is so vast and expansive that there is always something new to learn.

Every person you meet in life will know things you don’t. They have a different body of learning, knowledge, experience, and wisdom.

You can learn so much if you adopt a position of curiosity, which allows you to constantly learn about the world around you.

Constantly learning is great because you add to your knowledge and experience. Not only will this help you be smarter in general, but it will also help you improve your self-confidence to better shrug off the opinions of others.

Ask questions if you don’t know or don’t understand. And I’ll let you in on a little secret… Smart people ask the most questions because they understand that they don’t know everything. 

4. Surround yourself with supportive, positive people.

What kind of people do you spend your time with?

Are they positive and supportive? Or are they negative? Do they make you feel bad about yourself?

Well, guess what?! You get to choose who you spend your time with!

Granted, it’s not always that simple if you’re surrounded by jerks in your workplace. Not everyone can quit or even find an equivalent or better job.

However, in many cases, you do have a choice. Stop hanging out with friends that make you feel bad about yourself. They’re not your friends.

Don’t give your time to people who question your intelligence or to those who make you feel small. They’re not worth it.

Change your situation, if you can, and look for other people to spend time with. It’s better to be alone than to surround yourself with toxic people.

5. Seek feedback for improvement from people you trust.

Everyone has blind spots about themselves. It’s possible that we may be lacking in a particular area that does need improvement.

One way you can identify and improve some of these blind spots is by asking for feedback from people you trust.

That could be friends, family, a respected manager, a mentor, or someone else who has a strong grasp of your strengths and weaknesses.

Do keep in mind that you should not accept all feedback as gospel.

You may not get an honest appraisal from friends and family. They may not feel comfortable criticizing or giving you genuine feedback if they’re people who love you and don’t want to offend you. Or, it could be that they have no desire to see you change because they accept you for who you are.

And, of course, be wary of people who want to sound smart when talking to you. They are not likely to give you a good perspective either.

6. Continue to develop your communication skills.

Sometimes a person’s intelligence can be misjudged during momentary communications. Others might negatively perceive you because you’re not effectively communicating with them in a way they can comprehend. It may also be that you don’t understand what they are trying to say to you.

A communication breakdown can fuel many problems in your friendships and relationships.

One way to improve your communication is to listen to what the other person says and then say it back to them in your own words. Putting it into your own words allows you to express how you are receiving the information so they can determine the accuracy.

The more effectively you can communicate, the less likely you will encounter stupid problems or miscommunications.

7. Stay true to yourself.

Manipulative people and a**holes often leverage your insecurities or differences for their own gain.

For example, they can control you if they make you question yourself or believe you’re less than others. If someone thinks you’re stupid, ask yourself, “Why?”

Is there a legitimate criticism buried in their words or actions that should be addressed? Admittedly, it may not be presented in the most compassionate way. Still, a lot of people are terrible communicators to begin with.

Is the criticism a matter of personal preference? Or a nonexistent problem? Well, then, they are likely trying to manipulate or influence you in some way. And, of course, some people are just a**holes who live to make other people feel bad.

Stop to consider the message you’re receiving. Does it vibe with who you are and how you see yourself and the person you are or want to be? If the answer is no, discard it.

First and foremost, you must be true to yourself because you will be living with yourself for the rest of your life. No one’s going to spend more time with you than you. Therefore, you want to be happy and at peace with yourself.


Listen, the way people talk to you and act toward you can influence how you feel about yourself. It may make you feel dumb or like you are somehow inferior to them.

If this happens, don’t beat yourself up. But do be aware that you are giving up a piece of your personal power by allowing this person to get inside your head and bring you down.

If people think you’re stupid, that’s a problem that starts with them, but it can affect your life in tangible ways.

You may or may not be able to change this person’s opinion of you, but implementing the tips in this article should lead you to the best possible outcome for you and your relationship with them.

About The Author

Jack Nollan is a person who has lived with Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar-depression for almost 30 years now. Jack is a mental health writer of 10 years who pairs lived experience with evidence-based information to provide perspective from the side of the mental health consumer. With hands-on experience as the facilitator of a mental health support group, Jack has a firm grasp of the wide range of struggles people face when their mind is not in the healthiest of places. Jack is an activist who is passionate about helping disadvantaged people find a better path.