I’ll confess. I dumb down often. I’ve done it so long, I can’t remember when I started. Why? The reason varies. In self-reflection, I haven’t done it for me, I do it for others. Let me try to explain…
I know stuff. I know a lot of stuff. You might think you know stuff way beyond my level of knowledge that you really don’t, but I will sit there and act like you are teaching me something new. Why? I may feel that you need that. So I play dumb and let you feel great. Does that make me a jerk? I don’t know. I don’t care. For that person, maybe they needed that boost.
In other situations, you may think you know everything damn thing and I will politely shut you down because that’s what you need – to shut up.
There have been situations in which a higher up is clearly not competent in the topic. I’ve jumped in to help them out and then they act like they are intimidated. It’s understandable though. In those situations, I’ve learned to be quiet and let them pontificate. My favorite is when they are in a position to teach others and they are asked a question and respond with “Hmmm, let me get back to you on that.” I just smile.
I wondered if I’m alone in my need to let others feel great. Do other people dumb down to allow others to shine? You know me, I asked around. It turns out, that I’m in a small minority if people to do this.
One of my friends said straight up, “Hells naw!! If I gotta dumb down my talk, I don’t wanna talk to them.” I get that. Some said there is nothing good that can come out of dumbing down. I get their response as well.
Some said that they step down their language a bit, but don’t consider their methods as dumbing down. What they explained was using a language that the person they are talking to will better understand. They will meet them where they are so to speak and get on the same page with them so they can communicate properly.
One friend said they let a romantic relationship go because the young man couldn’t keep up in intellectually. Editing her conversations and dumbing out became exhausting. Another friend admitted that she has dumbed down a few times for cute men. However, she couldn’t keep up the fun of being dumb for too long, but she enjoyed it as entertain for the time being. However, when it came to dealing with other women, they realized that they could not be close friends with someone who they have to dumb down their intelligence for constant conversations. That’s just too much.
Another responded that society makes intelligent women feel as though we have to dumb down to be accepted. We all know plenty of women who are far more intelligent and capable than some of the men in positions above them, yet the woman has hit that glass ceiling and is expected to be grateful that she made it that far. One friend noticed that most of the women they knew of who headed large companies were not very attractive. There are surely some very attractive, super intelligent women who can run things. I know plenty. Have they all been forced to dumb down because all the heads only see them as pretty faces? Hmmm.
I’m tired of the glass ceiling. I want to build the building and set the height of the ceiling myself. I want other women to build their own as well. Why should we have to wait to be hired in an attempt to climb the ladder to success? Let’s set our own standards, but bring someone else up that ladder as well.