Characterizing someone as dumb is considered to be an insult, but by definition it describes a person who is either unable to speak because of a condition such as deafness, or a person who is stupid.
Yet, there are people with low IQs who are considered to be stupid or dumb because they exhibit certain behaviors, when in reality the way they respond to the outside world weighs heavily on their inferior emotional or intellectual capabilities.
If you take a quick trip to your favorite search engine and type in “IQ test” you’ll be bombarded with a number of websites that are ready to tell you in 20 to 50 questions where you fall on the IQ scale. Plenty of other websites are ready to give characteristics of people who are above average or close to geniuses so that we can compare ourselves and feel superior to others. No one wants to Google whether or not they have a below average IQ, but in reality we either fall into that category or we know someone who does.
Before you start freaking out and thinking that anyone is suggesting that you have below average intelligence, just note that it takes more than just one or two of these qualities to classify someone as having a low IQ. However, if you find yourself relating to 14 out of these 15 signs, you may want to just to make sure.
Here are 15 traits of people with low IQs that include both intellectual and emotional insufficiencies.
15. Difficulty Learning New Concepts
Another sign of a person with a low IQ is difficulty understanding new or changing concepts, which is especially challenging in this day and age when evolving technology and ideas are a way of life. These people not only have trouble understanding more complex or abstract systems and ways of thinking, but even simple projects are a struggle. They also may have a hard time with numbers and sequences. They’re complications with calculating doesn’t just end with numbers, however. They have to overcome significant hurdles when it comes to problem solving and processing analytical information.
Some suggest that there are barriers for a low IQ person when it comes to understanding reason and logic. Because IQ tests measure a person’s ability to understand and execute abstract reasoning, those with lower IQs will obviously wrestle with test questions. Many of them become vexed when challenged, quick to become angry and lash out at others for their inability to comprehend what’s in front of them.
14. Can’t Control Temper
There are going to be pet peeves that grind your gears enough for you to lose your head; however some people let their tempers flare over little things that don’t require such a raging reaction. This is more than just waking up on the wrong side of the bed or feeling frustrated when challenged. To the person not experiencing this emotional overhaul, this anger doesn’t come from any logical place. However, for the low IQ person in the midst of uncontrollable fury, any seemingly small catalyst can ignite a fit of anger and, for them, it comes from a rational place..
People like this have a tendency to have outbursts in public or places where acting out is inappropriate. Don’t get us wrong, just because the rude lady at Starbucks in line in front of you is having a bad morning and has a temperamental episode doesn’t mean she’s lacking IQ points. Well, possibly…
13. They Think They Have All The Answers
One might think that a know-it-all has a higher IQ than most, but it’s quite the contrary. There are people who truly seem like walking encyclopedias and there are others who don’t really know much but put on airs as if they’re the smartest person in the room. The latter doesn’t necessarily need facts or logic when spouting off information that is supposed to make you come off as more intelligent but is actually the opposite. This has little to do with actual intellect and more to do with perceived smarts. People with lower IQs often feel out of place in social situations so they mimic their perception of how others act which can translate to always having the answer to questions. Because they don’t have the capabilities to read a room and realize that they’re coming off as elitist and, for the most part, the smartest dumb person in the area, they won’t pick up social cues that the people around them know they, in reality, aren’t knowledgeable about subject matters that happen to pop up in conversation.
12. Inability To Learn From Their Mistakes
If you’re a person with a pulse who breathes air and drinks water, you’re going to live a life that is filled with mistakes. It’s undeniable that people are going to most likely make the same mistake twice, but people who have the inability to learn lessons from their blunders may be less intelligent than average. It’s like placing your hand over fire and burning yourself, only to do the same thing every five minutes because you want to know if you’ll still get burned.
You’ll recognize these people because they enter similar situations that ended badly but respond the same way expecting the results to change. There’s a lack of reflection to experiences of the past, whether they happened weeks or years ago. This goes beyond a lack of memory and has more to do with grappling problem-solving techniques that can be applied to basic decision making and social interactions.
11. They Don’t Read Other People’s Feelings
As mentioned above, picking up on the temperatures of social environments is a foreign concept to people with low IQs. At parties and other social functions they don’t pick up on body language signals and, because they don’t communicate effectively, they have a hard time understanding when other people do.
While it’s true that there are plenty of intelligent people who are socially awkward, they at least know how to remove themselves from conversations or interactions that go from bad to worse (FYI, going to a party and sitting in the kitchen with the dog is a conscious decision, not because everyone invited is running from you). Emotionally dumb people don’t know the difference. If someone is uncomfortable with something they’re talking about, instead of instinctively reading body language and knowing when to back off, they’ll continue on, completely wrapped up into their own selves. If you find yourself engaged with people like this, it’s best to politely bow out rather that wait for them to figure out that you want to run for the hills.
10. Lack Basic Skills To Take Care Of Themselves
There are skills that help us navigate our day-to-day lives such as communicating effectively, interacting with others, and being able to take care of our basic needs. People with low IQs find this short list to be a challenging one and more often need help with two or more of these daily. They may not remember to bathe themselves or know how to microwave frozen dinners- let alone fix meals. It isn’t because their physical makeup keeps them from carrying out these tasks with ease, but because they don’t have the mental capabilities of the average person. They have to be reminded to run errands; that is, if they’re able to do them themselves. Usually people like this have family or friends that look out for them, and although they may be able to live on their own, there will be those loved ones who act like caregivers and check in on them regularly to make sure that they’re taking care of business.
9. They Live Beyond Their Means
The Kardashians spend money like it’s growing on trees because they have the bank accounts to back up their extravagant purchases, but people with low IQs have a tendency to do the same when the balance in their checking accounts resemble the Sahara desert. It isn’t because they have champagne taste and beer money because they don’t necessarily have to purchase luxury items. Their debt-filled living has to do with them not being able to see how current situations, like running up credit cards or buying things you don’t need, impacts their future.
Money is seen as something that comes and goes. You earn it, you spend it. Saving for a rainy day or buying something new is a no-brainer for them (spend it!), and many of these people tend to spend much of their earnings on collector items that have no real value. Because they find importance in small or specific items that others may not care about, they find comfort in surrounding themselves with those items as if they’re friends and tend to buy them as much as possible.
8. They’re Self-Centered
Being socially inept doesn’t just mean that people with low IQs can’t function in social environments; it means that they have a tendency to only look at the world through their perspective. They aren’t able to look at concepts, ideas, opinions, and the overall world through someone else’s eyes. Their selfishness isn’t malicious or neglectful, it’s just inherently based on their intellectual capacity. To view the world and take the needs of others into consideration can be considered an abstract concept, and that’s something that is emotionally challenging and mentally difficult for them to do.
Fulfilling their daily tasks can put a strain on their emotions and force them to focus on themselves and their needs constantly, so when it comes to places they want to go, things they want to eat, or shows they want to watch, they’ll become adamant about what they want because it takes too much effort to entertain anything else. So if you’re looking forward to binge-watching Luke Cage and they’ve got their mind set on some B-Rom Com, get out the popcorn and save your binge session for another day.
7. Inability To Receive Criticism But Highly Critical
Criticism, whether warranted or not, will be something that we must face. In work, school, social circles, family, and even (especially?) in romantic relationships, we find ourselves being criticized about our physical, emotional, and mental decisions. Even strangers at the grocery store judge you when you’re in the checkout line with ice cream, a case of beer, and saltine crackers, so to say that criticism is unavoidable is an understatement.
Lacking the skills to communicate effectively and process what others say makes it difficult for a person with a low IQ to handle any sort of criticism. They see it as an attack and not as words given to them by someone who wants to see them grow as a person. Critiques are an assault on everything that they are and stand for- at least, that’s what they believe. They also aren’t able to separate criticism from a loved one and criticism from an employer or stranger. Those assessments should be processed differently but a person with a low IQ won’t know how to do that.
6. Blaming Others For Things That Go Wrong
Highly intelligent people are able to assess when the decisions that they’ve made have contributed to the consequences that they face. However, those with a low IQ don’t find fault within themselves because of their selfish nature. Instead they blame their setbacks on other people.
Self-reflection when it comes to dealing with the outcome of unfortunate circumstances forces people to take an inventory of the decisions they’ve made to get them to a particular point. High IQ individuals, when faced with adversity, look for solutions to their problems unlike their counterparts who tend to not only wallow in self pity, but lash out at others for putting them into their disastrous situations. It won’t matter if they got a bad grade on a test due to the fact that they didn’t study because they would blame friends or family members for occupying their time which they could have used to prepare. If they get a parking ticket, it isn’t their fault for ignoring the signs on the street, it’s the fault of the meter maid who couldn’t give them a break or the city for having too few convenient places to park.
5. Arguing With No End
Some people are just argumentative, no matter what their IQ level is, and you can’t help that. They’re the type of people who are always on the edge of being offended by something that you say and are waiting to take that debate conversation to the next level of verbal fighting torture.
A percentage of these people live with low IQs because they don’t know how to properly evaluate their emotions nor do they know how to pump the brakes when an argument is getting too feisty. They’re the folks who, when you’re done talking in circles and want an argument to end, like, yesterday and try to agree to disagree, they have a hard time letting the heated conversation go. Highly intelligent people are able to respect the opinions of others while still disagreeing with them, while the other end of the spectrum have difficulty finding a common ground because they aren’t able to shake their ego. The point is to win even though no one is in a competition except for them.
4. Not Good At Planning
We’ve already established that new ideas and concepts are difficult for a person with a low IQ, so in turn, opening and expanding their minds by making an active choice to learn isn’t their first choice of things to do on a Saturday night. Their working memories are often short or small so if there are instructions that have multiple steps in their process, it’s a turn-off for those with low IQs.
This makes them terrible at planning, whether it be what they need to accomplish in a day or an event for someone else. These aren’t the people you want helping you put together a surprise birthday party because after completing the first task on the list you give them, they’re exhausted and you’ll have the responsibility of taking care of everything yourself. If you want them to reach a goal you’ve set for them, you’ll have to walk them through the process instead of trusting that they’ll be able to take care of each step by learning on their own.
3. Difficulty Holding Down Employment
Many employers demand a lot of their staff, while others run a more relaxed environment that requires little to no effort. For a person with a low IQ, both of these options are too much too handle. As we’ve already discussed, it’s too much of a challenge for low IQs to schedule and plan accordingly, and jobs not only require that but they need a person to acclimate themselves to the work environment and learn new concepts.
The workplace can be overwhelming because they find it hard to pick up on the routine of their work and interacting with people- whether it be fellow employees or customers. If they are to succeed in the workplace, many low IQ people are often given work that entails one or two repetitive steps so that they don’t become uncomfortable or frustrated. For those that continue to get fired or quit jobs, they tend to live off of government assistance and benefits.
There isn’t much deep thinking involved with low IQ people because they don’t tend to think abstractly or spend quality time learning or expanding their mind. They focus on things that are trivial and are easy to understand and you can often tell much about them based on the types of entertainment they enjoy.
We do, however, live in a superficial society, so pointing out a first glance a person with a low IQ versus a person whose conversation and lifestyle are products of the culture can be difficult. Just because one prefers Keeping Up with the Kardashians rather than reading a award-winning novel doesn’t necessarily mean they have a low IQ, although there are plenty of people who would argue that it does. Yet if a person is known for interrupting mentally stimulating conversations and changing the topic to something that doesn’t require much thought process, it may be because they may not have the intellectual capabilities of following the conversation and need to switch things up and dumb it down to their understanding.
1. A Lack Of Maturity
This goes beyond people who like to watch cartoons and play video games. It’s important to have fun every now and again and keep yourself young at heart. Spend a Saturday afternoon playing tag with your adult friends and it’s guaranteed you’ll be exhausted, but your mood will be elevated.
Nevertheless, the contributing factors of a low IQ can result in someone whose maturity may become stunted. The inability to communicate how they feel can leave others expressing their emotions verbally for them instead of teaching them how to do it themselves. Their struggle with social environments may cause them to be left out so they never fully develop due to lack of community or friend’s circles. Their frustration with being challenged can leave them surrounded by superficiality. All of these things can make a 30-year-old man act like he’s 16 because he’s never intellectually or emotionally matured from that age. Trust us, no one wants to be 16 forever. You can’t even buy beer.