For all the hype that goes into how amazing it is to be smart, there are also some disadvantages which hit you on the way.
1. You risk appearing/being arrogant.
You are informative. You are logical. You know what you are talking about. You can easily spot fallacies in debates and counter them effectively. Be it with your content or with your oratory, you hold the conversation or win the debate. That’s great!
Except, people don’t like it.
They don’t like their beliefs to be questioned, their reasoning to be invalidated, and their choices to be proven wrong. Sure, you might be focusing on the content and enjoy intellectual stimulation, but you’d be amazed to know how quickly people get personal. To their ears, you are just an arrogant brat trying to prove everyone stupid.
(or perhaps you are trying to prove them stupid, in case of which, you are arrogant).
2. You are supposed to not need any kind of help.
Hey, you are smart! What else do you need in life?
So what if you missed a month of classes due to illness? You are a brilliant scholar, smart enough to catch up. You don’t need my class notes.
Boss gave you the toughest client? You can manage him all by yourself, you are so smart!
Too many chores at home? You are smart, you can multitask, you don’t need a hand.
Problems in personal life? Why, you are so smart, you give solutions to everyone in their problems. Why would you need a shoulder?
Be it out of resentment or sheer supposition, people just take it for granted that you can do everything by yourself and never need any help, guidance or support.
(And if you can really manage with no help, you are arrogant.)
3. Jealousy surrounds you.
Smartness, as I take it, is a multifaceted virtue. It’s not just IQ, or just wit, or just rote knowledge. It’s a combination of bits of intelligence, wisdom, good soft skills, and a pleasing personality.
Smartness is also problematic. People known for one, distinct forte are different from smart people, who are known for a number of things. Except immediate ‘competitors’, people who are known distinctly for their beauty, or IQ, or athletic abilities, or art, or anything are largely appreciated, and welcomed. But come up against someone who has a bit of intelligence AND knows a thing or two about art AND speaks well AND has a good degree AND has a decent dressing sense… and you start squirming.
Smart, multifaceted people face more jealousy in the common society than experts do.
4. You are automatically supposed to be wise. And nice.
Smartness does not mean kindness. Knowledge does not mean wisdom. Yet, you are assumed to be so.
But in a lot of cases, that is not true. Smart people can be downright assholes. Just because they are smart does not mean they do the right thing. Just because they know a lot of things does not mean they know its worth. Smart people can be just as selfish, greedy, misguided, prejudiced and harmful as anybody else.
Society expects you to be kind, nice, wise, and ‘do something for the human race’. Which, though reasonable, do not automatically go with smartness.
5. Ultimately, you are alone.
Aren’t all of us? Well, not exactly in the narrow sense of it. Many smart people turn introvert. Those who do not still have only a few friends they can count on.
It is tough for you to find friends who are not with you for your smart solutions, who are not pressurized by your smartness, and who do not detest it. It is tough to find friends who can push past the dominating presence of your smartness and discover the person inside you. It is tough to find friends who do not assume and suppose anything about you just because you are smart.
Barring those few special people, you are alone.