One of the big problems with being the Smarter One in Sixth Form is that when you get to Uni you realise there are LOTS of people who are much cleverer than you are.

It’s a bit of a kicking to your ego to go from being the really witty and articulate one, to being just kinda, sorta average.

Parties are the worst. I mean, they are objectively very fun – but there’s nothing worse than standing around laughing at a joke you pretended to understand.

Now, I’m not saying that you should fake who you are or try to impress people out of insecurity- wait. That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Here’s how to look smarter at parties:

Grow a beard

This one is just for the lads. Sorry girls…smarter

I mean, how smart does this guy look?!

Having a beard is still fashionable at the moment, which is useful because wearing one makes you look wiser than an owl with 0 points on its driving license.

A goatee makes you look like an existentialist – and a big, full, bushy one is good if you’re going for an Ancient-Greek look.

Stroke it and go “hmmmm” for maximum-smarter-results.

Wait to see what everyone else says

I did this all the time in seminars when I hadn’t bothered to do the reading.

Put on your best listening face and pay attention to what’s going on. Wait until the right moment before weighing into the conversation.

Then, you’ll have a bit more of an idea what is going on and you can join in.

If you can’t disprove their conclusion, disprove the argument

This is an old trick. If you’re having an intellectual discussion, look at they way they put forward their argument. Is their a loose threat of logic you can pull?

Question their sources. Ask for proof of a claim. Remember, you don’t have to come up with a better idea… just make their idea look worse.

Learn from the best

Arthur Schopenhauer is a dead German dude who wrote “38 ways to win an argument”.

Well worth a flick through.  Even if you’re not in the habit of dirty tricks yourself, it’s worth familiarising yourself so someone doesn’t pull a fast one on you.


Derisively. Be careful with this one as you don’t want to look like a jerk, but a good-quality-scoff helps you to seem like you have already examined the evidence and find the conclusion to be laughable.

Use big words

Big words make you look smarter. Fact. However, if they are not used properly then you end up looking foolish. Also fact. Here are some of my favourites:

Esoteric – Weird, odd.

Idiosyncratic – individual, unique.

Obfuscate – To make hidden.

Bourgeois – very middle class and pretentious

Fastidious – perfectionist.

Don’t use them all the time but, sprinkled into conversation, these words will make you look smarter than a Brian Cox sausage.

Written by Heather Drinkwater.