Looking stupid in public is not reserved solely for stupid people.
We all make mistakes sometimes and come off looking, well, stupid. We’re all human after all!
Here are the top 14 mistakes you can make which will almost certainly make you look stupid in the eyes of others.
Avoid these common habits and prepare to look more intelligent and less dumb in public.
You’ve read the event description but still don’t dress up to your full potential. Even when the event says business casual, it doesn’t mean you can rock up in crumpled jeans and a t-shirt and expect to be taken seriously. If you want to look intelligent, check the dress code beforehand, and follow it. Don’t go overdressed either – but if the choice is between overdressed or underdressed, always dress to look smarter.
Bad posture isn’t just damaging to your body, it's also damaging to your reputation. If you want to be taken seriously, take on a posture that suggests that you’re serious. Sit or stand up straight and try to refrain from crossing your arms in front of your chest, as it makes you look unapproachable.
When you’re listening to a conversation, offer verbal confirmation that you’re paying attention instead of bobbing your head up and down. Nodding your head during a conversation can come off looking like you’re not actually listening to what’s being said.
Palming off responsibility is a sure-fire way to make you look and sound dumb. You’re responsible for what you say and do in your life and blaming other people for things that go wrong won’t go down well. When you take responsibility for your actions, it is a sign of maturity.
If you’re not sure of the meaning of a word, look it up. Instead of haphazardly throwing intelligent-sounding words around in a conversation without being sure of their meaning, learn how to use them properly first. Using the wrong words at the wrong times can make you look at best uneducated and at worst lead to a serious misunderstanding.
When you’re expressing your opinions – especially if they’re controversial – make sure you have the facts and reasons at hand to justify your opinion. When you come out with a bold claim you might be asked your opinions on it and how you got to that claim in the first place. And if you contradict yourself often or end up going back on your word, it can spell disaster for your reputation.
Open-mindedness is a valued trait in society nowadays and jumping to conclusions is a great way to make you look unintelligent. If you’re open to hearing other people’s thoughts and opinions, you appear more intelligent, open-minded, and educated than if you close yourself off to new ideas.
Okay, so the English language might be difficult at times. But there’s no excuse for not learning the fundamentals of grammar. Make sure you know the difference between your and you’re, its and it’s, and other commonly used and misspelled words. Mispronouncing common words in important situations can even cost you a job offer, a second date, and most importantly, your dignity.
If you want to sound uneducated, be sure to use phrases like “it doesn’t mean nothing.” Using a double negative isn’t only grammatically incorrect, it risks you looking uneducated. If you want to be taken seriously both at work and in life in general, avoid using double negatives and coming off as stupid while doing so.
Using words like “stuff” instead of the actual things you’re referring to might give that devil-may-care attitude, but it certainly won’t score you points in the intelligence department. When you finish a sentence with “and stuff” without really conveying what you mean, your listener will NOT be impressed. Don’t resort to taking the lazy way out; finish what you were going to say using the correct words.
But looking up to people is good… right? Yes, but when you keep falling over everyone around you and gushing about their amazing qualities without giving yourself any credit, you run the risk of looking incredibly stupid. By idolizing celebrities, imitating the way they talk, the way they dress, and the way they wear their hair, you can also come off as looking dumb. Be sure to have your own style, thoughts, and opinions if you want to look more intelligent.
Being drunk and doing stupid things in public might have been funny when you were 21, but it certainly isn’t when you’re more mature. Showing up drunk to a work meeting, family dinner or birthday party will guarantee that you look dumb. If you want to look intelligent and educated, steer clear of getting blackout drunk when you’re in public and sip your martini in style.
It might have been a cool look in the 80s but lighting up a cigarette is not cool anymore. With all the health information showcasing the dangers of smoking, more and more people are trying to quit, and the once trend is definitely going out of fashion. What used to be something social has turned into something unflattering, uncool, and unhealthy.
If you act like you’re the expert on a topic when you’re not, you sure are going to end up looking stupid when a real expert enters the room. If you want to boast and show off your knowledge in a field, you can be guaranteed to have it backfire later on. Save yourself the embarrassment and keep things cool.
These are just some of the basic habits to avoid when it comes to saving your reputation.
If you steer clear of these common mistakes people make and use your common sense, you’re going to avoid looking stupid in front of your friends, family, and work colleagues.
Use your common sense and you'll save yourself a lot of awkward situations.
You may even come off looking intelligent in the process!