There are three main reasons why acting dumb will help you succeed in life. To put it plainly, playing dumb works beautifully when you are trying to throw someone off the scent. Nobody asks for your opinion because they think you have no opinion. 2) Provide some tips to help you look and seem a little dumber than you are. Any extra work goes to somebody else because they assume you might not be able to handle it. You can just do your job and go home. Hot Jobs on The Muse. Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are known for acting ditzy. play dumb (third-person singular simple present plays dumb, present participle playing dumb, simple past and past participle played dumb) . I’ve written before on the power of “I’m new here.” As a newbie, your first couple of weeks on the job are the perfect time to mention that something brand new—and (coincidentally, wink) inefficient—doesn’t quite make sense to you. You may unsubscribe at any time. The idiot is usually forgiven for their blunders. Playing dumb is considerate when it’s done discreetly, but it’s embarrassing to the other person when it’s overt. […] it gets things done, maintains peaceful relationship, and keeps you mentally healthy. Instead try, “In our next meeting, could you walk me through the thinking behind [a certain process]? Learn more about working with Thought Catalog. Sign up for the Thought Catalog Weekly and get the best stories from the week to your inbox every Friday. Could you explain it differently?” Asking someone to explain her point in a new way should bring additional information to light. But it's the single … Or, you have the option to play dumb (which is actually rather difficult to do. 3) Share three personal examples of how acting duhhh, has helped in work, stress management, and relationships. In the same vein as playing dumb, people sometimes go the passive-aggressive route to get out of things, or to get their way. Then, when you are discussing the particulars of how a certain process works, ask the occasional, “Have we considered [this innovation]?”. Sometimes playing dumb makes things work better Geoff Hart @itworldca ... though perhaps you’ll have an idea of what I mean when I say that I work primarily as a technical editor. They never create enough animosity to have others hoping they will no longer have to work with them. Explore All Jobs All Jobs. If that doesn’t work you can always pretend to not understand what they are talking about. software engineering Jobs engineering. "Playing dumb" is a social means of avoiding the impression of arrogance which still allows oneself not to be bored to death by trivial conversation. Repeat after me: “I must’ve missed that.” Now, imagine a co-worker stops by your cubicle to ask your opinion on nasty words exchanged in a meeting, someone being passed over for a project, or some other salacious news. There is no pressure to do better or do more. You will have job security because nobody fires the idiot. Playing dumb(er) convinced the TA to help me with the entire problem set. They will tell you gossip because they don’t think you will repeat it. The ego is in the way most of the […]. If you’re looking to push back against the status quo, build inroads with an angry client or co-worker, diplomatically disagree with someone, or stay out of office politics, playing dumb … B: "Yeah, but I played dumb about it. This approach is good for other common workplace annoyances. These responses allow you to address the situation without being confrontational. – Helen's Irreverent Blog, Unique Holiday Gifts from Thought Catalog , 39 People Share The Sweetest Thing Anyone Ever Said To Them, ‘To The Woman Dating My Husband’ — Wife’s Savage Craigslist Ad Puts Husband And Mistress Out On Blast, Kayla Liptrot Explains How To Find Self-Love Despite An HS Diagnosis, Why I Started Saying “I Like You” Instead Of “I Love You”, I Swear I Didn’t Kill My Fiance, But Maybe If I Would’ve Believed Him He’d Still Be Alive. Which way the economy is headed. No offense but as we all know females are a little more sensitive and understanding. The idiot has the security of using “I don’t know” or being oblivious to the obvious. But don’t do it so often that you are simply dodging real relationship problems, he advises. It does, for example, make it clearer that the responsibility for the question is their own - they should not post any old nonsense and expect others to do all the lifting to make it work as a question. Synonyms (Other Words) for Play dumb & Antonyms (Opposite Meaning) for Play dumb. Dedicated to your stories and ideas. If you act in your own best interest instead of being selfless or acting for the benefit of the group, others would just expect you didn’t know any better. Now, who do think is more likely to build inroads with George? You fly under the radar and blend in with the crowd. They will even tell you things you shouldn’t know because they don’t think you will understand it. Ironically, the subtext of these lines is, “I know exactly what’s going on here,” and that can make the difference in how these people treat you in the future. Playing Dumb Is Often A Great Strategy. He was right and I couldn’t help messing with him. So, before you launch into a counter-attack, ask for clarification. Because it can help you navigate challenging situations—and actually preserve your shining reputation. For nearly three years, she was an editor at The Muse, and she's regularly contributed career advice to Mashable. Of course, she’ll be more likely to walk through her thinking if you choose the non-confrontational, “I’m not sure I get it…” over the arrogant: “I’m not sure I understand how this would work, given these five things I’ve already considered as well as their possible repercussions.”. I know what you’re thinking: This sounds like a terrible idea. I admit it is a fun role to play and it has become a survival technique at work. Feigning naiveté is also a great way to approach difficult personalities. TO MANAGE OUR money better, often we don’t need to know more. Like he’d been pondering the mysteries of the Universe and had an “Eureka!” moment. Don’t react. 4 Times Playing Dumb at Work Can Actually Advance Your Career. “You have been paying that much attention to my behavior?” As I leaned back, staring at him. Dumb. With, “I must have missed that,” you manage to remove yourself without taking sides. Yet people commit fraud to do just that. In order to do it well, you need a good poker face. Dumb People Play Status Games, Smart People Play Freedom Games “Ignore people playing status games. Playing dumb is an excellent ploy for finding out how much or how little other people actually know and is an excellent way to gauge character and communication skills. I hadn’t heard that.” Then you enter the meeting truly acting like you’ve never heard that before. Made that way, can't help! I’ve seen playing dumb work well in other ways too. Explore our free career advice that includes tips on discovering your passion, and find jobs at inspiring companies that are now hiring. 7. Dear Lifehacker, I have a coworker who, for lack of a better word, is really stupid. Her advice has been published across the web (, 15% off Career Coaching | Use code CYBER15 through Dec 13th |. And if you go with “no comment” or “I’d rather not that discuss that,” you may be seen as stiff or judgmental. Nobody consults you, asks you to solve a problem, or asks for your help. Playing dumb is like playing poker. Playing dumb is one of the strategies I enjoy most watching. Really. This conversation went on for my whole break until I finally admitted to him that I was playing dumb. You could go into your first meeting with this person planning to be especially patronizing (or confrontational), or you could pretend that you had never heard he was difficult. Three different types of this behaviour were explored including being evasive, rationalized hiding (such as saying a report is confidential) and playing dumb. If there are red flags jumping out at you, odds are they may be in your colleague’s blind spot (or, the overwhelming benefits aren’t yet clear to you). But don’t overplay your hand. Nobody gives you extra work because they think you are doing the best you can do. What's the best way to deal with people who are playing dumb at work? Typical tells of somebody employing this method of intellectual amusement include: - Asking naive questions to which they feign not knowing a satisfactory answer. Imagine risking prison just to kid your kid into a prestigious school. He sat down abruptly and looked as if he couldn’t restrain himself. Maybe you’re the sort of person who can craft a diplomatic response on the spot (in which case, rock on!). Amazon Prime Video’s ‘The Wilds’ and Thought Catalog both explore the balance between who we display publicly and the person we really are privately through coming-of-age stories from our featured writer’s everyday. If you’re looking to push back against the status quo, build inroads with an angry client or co-worker, diplomatically disagree with someone, or stay out of office politics, playing dumb (OK, confused) is the way to go. Submit your writing to be published on Thought Catalog. I don't think I'm supposed to know that Rick is getting fired, so I'm just going to play dumb the next time I see him. Playing dumb makes for an excellent poker face. Another possible outcome: Once your boss walks you through the details, maybe you’ll understand the why and no longer see the need to make improvements. "Playing dumb" can sound like it might be stupid. “That’s a terrible idea” isn’t going to win you any congeniality awards, and it will probably make the other person defensive. People let down their guard and speak without a filter. And while you should strive to make a powerful and brilliant impression, an occasional question or clarification won’t discount your abilities—but it may help you squeeze through a tricky situation with your reputation intact. When you are up against someone else, you can gain an advantage if they underestimate you. “I have been trying to figure it out for weeks. At first I thought you were just either high or drunk all the time, but your pupils are never dilated”. But for the rest of us, the best bet is often not to get involved. A smart person playing dumb or just acting goofy in general can lead to hilarious moments in the house or the DR. Then I went to the smart kids in the class and they explained what everything I had written meant. I remember Vanessa talking about Johnny Mac saying he can't be that stupid because he's a doctor (referring to his dentistry degree). You have more free time. While you can’t play that card once you’ve been somewhere for months or years, you can always ask for more information. For example, in managing others, especially new colleagues, there is the desire of the new colleague to … By subscribing, you agree to the terms of our Privacy Statement. People generally like the idiot unless they cause them problems. Most idiots are likable simply because they don’t offend, get bad attention, or create tension. They gain status by attacking people playing wealth creation games.” — Naval Ravikant. But are they really dopey, or just purposefully blundering all way to the bank? Learn about us. “playing dumb”) and/or feigning innocence. You never say anything disagreeable or offensive. Instead, we need to unlearn what we think we already know. People in the workplace may adjust their behavior to break stereotypes about themselves or match the stereotypes of others — even if it means playing dumb or giving the cold shoulder, a Princeton University study finds.. In a setting where your goal is to show how capable ,COMMUNICATION, JOBS, WORK ENVIRONMENT, WORK & PLAY, WORK RELATIONSHIPS, WORKPLACE Latest News Update mashableunitedstates: When playing dumb at work can actually advance your career Playing the idiot means you don’t have to make decisions and nobody thinks of you as a leader. Be Smart Enough To Act Dumb . marketing Jobs marketing. Their guard will go down, and they may even share valuable information with you! “You’re not stupid.”. With the co-worker who takes credit for your work, you can try, “I had no idea we were on the exact same page about X. By having no opinions you also have no enemies. I know what you’re thinking: This sounds like a terrible idea. Playing dumb means that you’re willing to let something go so that the relationship stays intact. Nobody consults you, asks you to solve a problem, or asks for your help. Two of the most common of such tactics are feigning ignorance (i.e. Because it can help you navigate challenging situations — and actually preserve your shining reputation. “I just realized something about you,” he said. You don’t have to stay late to finish the work and you don’t have the burden of picking up the slack when a co-worker calls out of work because of their hangover. It would help me [sell our product/work collaboratively/train someone new] if I had a better understanding of the [context/details].”, You’ve tied learning more to doing your job better, so it’s likely your boss will oblige. If you are playing role of the idiot you can get out of most problems by saying “I don’t know”. Playing the idiot means you don’t have to make decisions and nobody thinks of you as a leader. In a setting where your goal is to show how capable you are, why would you ever want to downplay your brilliance? Some people think the office is the place to be all power, all brilliance, all the time. Did I miss something during our check-in?”. 2. Sara McCord is a freelance writer and editor, who most frequently covers the career beat. What’s next for interest rates and share prices. Many times, when your gut is telling you that you’re being taken advantage of, played for a fool, or simply being mistreated, and you confront a disordered character about it, they’ll act like they have no idea what you’re talking about. Firstly, it's not just girls who play dumb but yes, maybe girls do it more frequently than boys. Here are just some of the things that, at various points in my 35-year investing career, I’ve thought I’ve known: Which fund managers will outperform. play dumb To pretend that one has no or little knowledge (of something); to act ignorant or uninformed (about something). Let’s say you’re told that a certain colleague or stakeholder is known for being abrasive. By playing the idiot you never do anything that draws too much attention, therefore you never have to worry about getting good or bad attention. The only time an idiot is disliked is if other people have to pick up the slack too much or if the idiot gets them in trouble. Explore All Jobs All Jobs. Picture this: A teammate—or worse, your boss—suggests the worst idea you’ve ever heard. Your unfamiliarity is an in to discuss other ways you’ve seen similar tasks accomplished, as well as parts of the process that seem counterintuitive. product Jobs product. The most important work goes to other people because they have their doubts about whether or not you will mess it up. This is helpful in the era of lay offs and knowing if you should be the first rat to jump a sinking ship. Great minds think alike!” With the manager who always assigns you projects on Friday at 4 PM, you can try, “I looked back through my project list and couldn’t find this anywhere. 1) Argue why acting dumb is a smart move to get ahead. Those dumb fools and their certainty. Nobody feels threaten by you. May 29, 2012 9:16 AM Subscribe In my job, a lot of the time I have individuals feign incompetence so that they will not have to get their hands dirty and take care of their own problems. It's the old "give 'em enough rope and they'll hang themselves" strategy. You can be a little selfish and nobody would know. Developing a good poker face can give you the upper hand when in a meeting or talking to a co-worker about something you either don’t support or don’t understand. I didn't understand most of it, but I made really good notes. I started playing the role of the idiot at work when I realized nobody takes you seriously until you are at least 30 years old and I do not work in academia where it is essential to my job to convince others I am smart. Synonyms for play dumb include mum's the word, hush, say nothing, keep quiet, keep it secret, keep shtum, hold your tongue, keep it to yourself, not another peep and shut your mouth. This is a great thing to remember if you want to stay sane around dumb people, especially if you're dealing with a person you will have to see a lot, like a classmate or a co-worker. That means we all got our problem sets done. “You have been trying to figure out if I’m stupid or not?” I said, acting mildly confused at his assertions. "Playing dumb" is the single best way to rescue an uncomfortable conversation. A few years ago I was on a lunch break at work when my co-worker Jason walked in and darted in my direction without making eye contact or greeting anybody. Your boss never thinks you want their job and your co-workers never think you want to be promoted. Remind yourself that most "dumb" people aren't all bad, and they do have some positive qualities, too. “I can’t help it, I just can’t believe anybody could really be that stupid.” He said, now doubting if he was wrong in his assumptions and wondering if he had just insulted me. To pretend to be mute.. 1904, Rex Ellingwood Beach, "The Mule Driver and the Garrulous Mute," in Pardners, I played dumb 'cause I knew if I talked at all, being simple and guileless, you all would twist me up and have the whole thing in a jiffy. Find more similar words at! It’s good practice. When a co-worker says, “Oh, well you know George is the worst,” you respond, “Really? They never bring enough attention to themselves for anybody to consider firing them. Try: “I’m not quite sure I understand what you’re saying. Verb []. In other words, if your boss doesn’t usually take too kindly to, “Let’s change this,” skip that approach. You stay at the bottom of the gossip food chain and have no predators on the look out for candid remarks they can use against you later. “You walk around here like you should be wearing a helmet, you do idiotic things, you seem as if you barely have the mental capability to function. You don’t have to stay late to finish the work and you don’t have the burden of picking up the slack when a co-worker calls out of work because of their hangover. ‘It's too much work for me to play dumb.’ ‘Bryce was no dope, he should have figured it out, maybe he was just playing dumb.’ ‘He tried playing dumb, hoping David would just leave it alone.’ ‘He kept putting me off, and I kept teasing him, playing dumb.’ ‘I'm at their mercy, so I play dumb.’ Read on to learn how it works. A: "Did Tammy ask you about my date with Steve?" sales Jobs sales. When I have a conversation with you it is rational and interesting, but the moment we are working I can’t help but realize you act like a dumbass,” he said.