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We all misspeak at times and end up putting our foot in our mouth, there is no avoiding that. However, intelligent people tend to be more cautious with the phrases they use, because they know that by using certain phrases, they will ultimately demean their intelligence.

Intelligent people understand that words are powerful and cannot be unspoken once they are out there. They also understand that the words that we choose can affect the way other people view us- and if your image is based on your intelligence, you should be careful to avoid using phrases that ultimately make you look pretty dumb.

1. I am smart.

Intelligent people don’t have to brag about how intelligent they are, because they understand that actions speak louder than words. Intelligence comes in various forms, and just because someone isn’t on the same level as you, doesn’t make them any less smart than you.

2. Needless to say.

When you begin a sentence by explaining how needless it is- you invite others to tune you out. Intelligent people know better than to use self-defeating prefaces to their sentences and steer clear of them at all costs.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0” by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves provides strategies for improving emotional intelligence, a key component of intelligent communication. This book offers practical advice on understanding and managing emotions, both in oneself and in others, which can lead to more thoughtful and intelligent verbal interactions.

3. No offense, but…

Typically, when this phrase is used it means to prepare yourself, you are about to be offended. And more often than not, the person you are speaking to understands this. Try avoiding this phrase and find a better way to speak to others if you feel what you are saying is offensive.

4. I can’t do this!

When we tell ourselves we cannot do something, we immediately set ourselves up for failure. Our words become the ultimate truth to our brain and then become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of saying “I can’t,” try to find a way to change it to “I can!”

5. That isn’t my fault.

Rather than play the victim, an intelligent person will take responsibility for the situation and the outcome. Intelligent people use failure to change routes and continue pushing forward towards their goals. Even when they aren’t fully at fault, they accept their part and move on.

The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase” by Mark Forsyth is an excellent resource for understanding the power of language. This book delves into the intricacies of English phrases and rhetoric, offering insights into how to use language more effectively and avoid common errors that can detract from one’s perceived intelligence.

6. This isn’t fair.

Life isn’t fair, but when you say this phrase, it makes it seem as though you believe that it should be. This, in turn, makes you look as though you lack intelligence and maturity. This phrase goes along with “it’s not my fault,” because it removes your ability to change the situation. Rather than complain that things aren’t fair, try to find a way to adjust and overcome the hurdle.

7. You’re too _______ to be a _______!

Examples of how this plays out are “You’re too strong to be a woman!” or “You’re too nice to be a man!”
Using phrases like these instantly makes you appear unintelligent because you are governed by stereotypes. Stereotypes assume that everyone that is physically alike or in a certain category of person all fall under the same habits, behaviors, and looks. And that simply isn’t the way the world works.

8. I don’t care.

Intelligent people do care and are highly empathetic. They don’t go around using phrases like “Whatever!” or “I don’t care.” Instead, they handle their affairs will empathy, compassion, and acknowledge the sensitivities of others.

9. You look _____.

Intelligent people understand that making rude comments like “You look old,” or “You look fat,” does more harm than good. The phrases are rude and highly inappropriate. Instead of pointing out how badly someone looks, try to see if they are doing okay.

For those looking to enhance their communication skills, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie is a classic. This book offers timeless wisdom on how to communicate effectively, avoid common pitfalls in conversation, and build meaningful relationships. It’s an essential read for anyone aiming to improve their interpersonal skills and avoid phrases that might undermine their intelligence.

10. This needs to be perfect.

Perfection doesn’t exist and intelligent people realize that. There is nothing wrong with striving for excellence, but if you try to reach an unreachable standard, you are bound to sabotage yourself from the get-go.

11. A smart person would get it.

When you imply that other people around you are stupid for not understanding you, you end up making yourself look pretty dumb. Just take a look at Reddit’s r/iamverysmart and you will see what I mean.

12. Everyone else does.

If I remember anything my mother always said when I was young, my favorite was “If everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you do that too?” And as cliche’, as it sounds to say that – the fact of the matter is, it still rings true today. Oftentimes, if everyone else is doing something, you should probably hesitate to follow suit. Intelligent people understand that it takes intelligence to question trends and to question the motive of the herd.