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How to Know If Someone Is Playing Dumb or Really Is Dumb

How to Know If Someone Is Playing Dumb or Really Is Dumb
From Lifehack - December 27, 2017

When youre up against a business rival, a competitive member of your own family, or just an annoying friend who you suspect might be lying to you, its always in your best interests to find out exactly how much they know. If you want to know what youre up against, you need to discover their true knowledge and capabilities.When youre up against a business rival, a competitive member of your own family, or just an annoying friend who you suspect might be lying to you, its always in your best interests to find out exactly how much they know. If you want to know what youre up against, you need to discover their true knowledge and capabilities.

For example, if you are going after a big promotion at work but your colleague also has their eye on the position, its a good idea to work out precisely what they know about the role, and whether they have actually taken the initiative and applied for it.

Or lets say that you suspect your partner of cheating on you. In a bid to discover the truth, you meet up with their best friend, who you think might be covering for them. Their friend says that they have no idea whether your partner is cheating, and that they know nothing.

Heres the problemhow do you know whether their friend is playing dumb?

Playing Dumb Is Often A Great Strategy

To put it plainly, playing dumb works beautifully when you are trying to throw someone off the scent. When you are up against someone else, you can gain an advantage if they underestimate you. Their guard will go down, and they may even share valuable information with you! Pretending that you dont know much about a situation will encourage other people to open up first. You can then gauge their true character and communication skills.

For example, suppose you are a salesperson and you are competing with another member of your department for an end-of-year bonus. Pretending as though you dont really care about the bonus, and acting as though you arent very confident in your sales abilities, may encourage your rival to become overconfident. They might even babble on about the great tricks they use to turn their cold leads into profitable sales. Needless to say, youd have a great advantage over them in this situation!

Pretending that you are less smart than you really are will also endear you to others. A high IQ often makes other people envious, so its best to maintain that you have achieved your success through sheer hard work, a little luck, or a combination of the two.1

Although intelligent people are often capable of undertaking a lot of work to a high standard, they can suffer the burden of heavy expectations. For instance, if you are well-known as a competent person at work, the likely result is that you will be given yet more work to do. Playing dumb can work in your favor, because your boss wont expect much from you! The smartest people know that it isnt always a good idea to show your competence at every turn.

How to Tell Whether Someone Is Playing Dumb?

Of course, someone who appears to be playing dumb may just be, well, dumb. So how can you tell the difference?

The first clue is that someone who is playing dumb will take great care to allow other people to talk.

This lets them gauge their competitions true level of knowledge. They also gently provoke other people in a bid to obtain extra information.

For instance, lets take the example of a woman who has found evidence that her husband is having an affair, and decides to confront him. She has seen a photo of another woman in his wallet, and her friend has told her that he has been seen leaving a local bar with the very same woman in the picture.

If the husband in this scenario is smart, hell play dumb by denying that he has done anything wrong, and asking how she arrived at her conclusion. This approach will let him discover how much she knows, which will then help him make a decisioncan he get away with lying to her, or does she have incontrovertible evidence that hes been unfaithful?

An intelligent person who is playing dumb will gradually bring you round to their point of view.

Finally, watch out for neutrality and flexibility.

Play Dumb to Understand the Fake Dummies

Never overdo it.

Be smart when choosing your moment.

Go Forth and Act Ignorant

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