Most times you can identify the smart folk subconsciously. But here are some rules-of-thumb that might help you reassure your guesses -according to my experience:
- Good intuition and empathy
They can read people. Actually, you might feel as if they can see through you. They are aware, they are absorbing their environment. You can pretty much feel their intensity in their gaze. They might even look mysterious or intimidating. You´ll be given the vibe that you are only seeing the tip of the iceberg – probably because you really are.
Because of this tendency to observe others and their great understanding of relations between ideas, they can easily recognize your cognition style and make you laugh either by jokes, observations, or sarcasm. So look also for humor.
Intelligent people are generally more empathetic. They are not interested in appearing nice to others just because they want to give a good impression. They will help you when no one is watching. Most times they couldn´t care less about what others think. They have a good moral compass – even if they are not religious. They will understand others and will be the ones to get quiet earlier in an argument when they sense it is going nowhere – no ego issues. They won´t support unnecessary violence (not only because they have no ego issues, but because they are logical and see no gain in violence). So if you are not sure about the intelligence of someone, observe their behavior – especially with people weaker than them in any aspect (socio/economics, appearance, …).
- Independent thinking
Be ready to hear some off-the-wall ideas about society, religion, politics, etc. They will not be polite when pointing out some truths. They defend the truth above all (because truth is logic). They´ll actually like to discuss and hear eccentric perceptions because that way they can confront what they know. They will hear carefully what you say and will pick your perceptions as puzzle pieces to add to their complex puzzle to get a bigger picture.
You won´t see them giving too much credibility to the opinions of so-called ´specialists´ or ´authority´ figures if they don´t think they make sense. They recognize the truth in all perceptions, so they may quickly change from one opinion to another because they find one truth and then they move on to another truth – so they aren´t that quick to judge ( unless they find logic fallacies in arguments). An important one: In an argument with them, pay careful attention to what they say. Most smart people won´t talk about people but rather ideas. And when arguing they will be objective and won´t try to attack you personally (because of logic and no ego issues, again). They don´t argue to win but to get closer to the truth.
- No dual personality
Intelligent people are consistent in what they are, say and do. As part of the truth, they value authenticity. They will not lie because they want to give a good impression. They will not smile in your face and talk bad about you behind close doors. They have no problem in being straightforward and pointing out your shit (even if you have all the credentials in the world).
Because they value authenticity so much, they´ll have some shills every time they sense inauthenticity. Either that be in propaganda, hypocrisy, lies, fake people, advertisement, …you name it. As a result, they´ll probably pick up on some fallacies in people’s reasoning and theories. Don´t get surprised if they have no pity in doing so. Truth is more important than feelings. That´s why.
Hope this helped you!