20 Odd Habits That Actually Indicate A High IQ

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Incredibly intelligent people often question their own brightness—especially when they catch themselves doing something odd or quirky. Here are 20 “odd” habits that signal that you actually have a startlingly high IQ.

1. Learning unusual skills or having intense interests.

Do you have interests or skills that most people you know have never heard of? Or have you become an expert in an unusual subject? Intelligent people are intensely curious, and therefore are likely to immerse themselves in subjects and hobbies beyond the commonplace pursuits enjoyed by their lower-IQ acquaintances.

2. Having conversations with yourself.

You might have felt awkward or weird at times when you’ve discovered that you’ve been talking to yourself, but don’t! These conversations allow people the opportunity to “sound out” ideas, allowing for greater focus and clarity. After all, who’s better equipped to understand where you’re coming from, than you?

3. Thriving in an organized mess.

Being neat and tidy is great, but truly brilliant people often live in what’s affectionately known as “organized chaos”. Their belongings may seem to be strewn around in haphazard, untidy piles, but if you ask them to find an item in that mess, they’ll know exactly where to find it.

4. Waking with ideas in the middle of the night.

If you sleep with a notepad within easy reach because you wake with great ideas before dawn, that’s a solid sign of a high IQ. Whether you’re inspired by a dream, or your brain has relaxed enough to let ideas percolate, you likely get “Eureka!” moments around 3 A.M.

5. Being lost in your thoughts.

Did you get in trouble in school for being a daydreamer and not paying attention? Conditions like ADHD aside, getting lost in thoughts is a hallmark of a high IQ. Fiercely intelligent people think deeply and go down “rabbit holes” of creative, analytical thought. As such, you’re not “dreaming”, you’re contemplating.

6. Remembering obscure and ridiculous facts.

High intelligence is often associated with an almost encyclopedic knowledge about various subjects—especially when someone has a niche interest. You likely remember all kinds of fascinating, weird, or unusual facts about topics that you’re passionate about, whether it’s odd historical tidbits, cool scientific discoveries, amusing quotations, or movie-related morsels.

7. Overthinking and procrastinating.

Having a high IQ often makes people overthink the subjects at hand, and they get caught up in minutiae about all the possibilities that lie before them. This leads them to procrastinate, because choosing one course of action means not choosing all the others, and that can be paralyzing.

8. Anticipating and overanalyzing problems.

Just because things could go wrong, doesn’t mean that they will. While a high intellect allows a person to be hyper-aware of potential problems and issues, it can also make them hypervigilant. This can lead to crippling anxiety about all the “bad” things that may unfold in any given situation.

9. Imposter syndrome.

The smarter someone is, the more likely they are to doubt themselves. Regardless of a person’s accomplishments, awards, or accolades, a high IQ person will often feel that they’re a complete fraud. Furthermore, they believe that others will find out at any moment and reveal this truth to humiliate them.

10. Being terrible at small talk.

Small talk is considered useless by brilliant people who would rather discuss far more interesting things. You likely don’t care about discussing the weather or sports teams, but would love to hear what people think about quantum physics, or what unusual, undiscovered life forms may live in the Mariana trench.

11. Getting swept away by creative or interesting tangents.

High IQ people often forget to eat, drink, or take proper care of themselves because they get carried away in creative pursuits or intellectual deep-dives. They get so engrossed in what they’re doing that they exist in worlds of their own and find it difficult to return to the present.

12. Communicating unconventionally.

Verbal and written communication are two of the primary modes of interpersonal interaction, but those with high IQs often incorporate other modes as well. For example, some people may gesture or act out their thoughts physically, while others may draw or paint to help clarify their thoughts with supportive imagery.

13. Being a loner (by choice).

Highly intelligent people often crave solitude and get stressed and depressed if they’re forced to socialize too often. If you’re happiest when you’re alone with your favorite entertainment or craft pursuit (and spectacular snacks within reach), that’s a telltale sign that you’re on the smarter end of the IQ spectrum.

14. Questioning everything.

The more intelligent a person is, the less likely they are to accept things at face value. Instead, they’ll question what they’re told, do intense research, and determine for themselves whether something feels right to them or not. If it doesn’t resonate with them, they’ll never accept it as truth.

15. Not following the “rules” of social hierarchy.

High IQ people have little use for common social hierarchies because they know that these strata don’t reflect reality and aren’t usually worth acknowledging. They’ll treat princes and paupers with the same degree of respect and don’t see any individuals as being greater or lesser than anyone else.

16. Having a strong sense of right and wrong.

While lower IQ people seem to be able to justify all manner of wrongdoing, intelligent folks have an innate sense of justice and decency. This can make them quite depressed as they’re aware of all the cruelty and injustice going on in the world but are powerless to fix it.

17. Being highly sensitive to the environment.

If you wince at bright lights, “sharp” sounds like banging, and are hyper aware of physical sensations, then you likely have a high IQ. People often considered “brilliant” generally show stronger neurological responses to stimuli, whether it’s physical or emotional, leaving many of them exhausted after too much exposure or interaction. 

18. Narrating your life with an inner monologue.

Although some high-IQ people have no inner voice at all, many go about their daily lives as though they have a personal narrator with them at all times. This helps them with problem solving, critical thinking, and creative blocks they may struggle with, just to name a few internal processes.

19. Adventurous eating habits.

Those who have a high IQ often enjoy trying out different foods, especially if they have intense or unusual flavors. High intellect has been linked to a preference for salty, spicy, and “umami” flavors, and people with higher cognitive function also enjoy strong, bitter tastes like coffee and dark chocolate.

20. Swearing.

You may have thought that people who use profanity on a regular basis do so because they’re not too bright, when in reality the opposite is true. Studies show that people with high IQs not only curse more than their dimmer counterparts, but do so much more creatively as well.

About The Author

Finn Robinson has spent the past few decades travelling the globe and honing his skills in bodywork, holistic health, and environmental stewardship. In his role as a personal trainer and fitness coach, he’s acted as an informal counselor to clients and friends alike, drawing upon his own life experience as well as his studies in both Eastern and Western philosophies. For him, every day is an opportunity to be of service to others in the hope of sowing seeds for a better world.