Are You A Deep Thinker? 21 Signs That Suggest You Are

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Do you sometimes feel like Cassandra, the Trojan priestess in Greek mythology, doomed to see the truth but never believed? 

Are mindless banter and materialism your arch nemeses?

Do you have a particularly close bond with…your cat?

Don’t worry.

You’re not defective — you’re probably just a deep thinker, and you’re not alone.

So in honor of all you brilliant, compassionate — and yes, a tad tetchy — souls, today we’re demystifying the deep thinker’s spirit and answering common questions about living with a next-gen brain.  

What Is a Deep Thinker? 

The first thing to understand is that deep thinking has little to do with IQ. 

Some deep thinkers score high on so-called “intelligence tests”; others fail miserably.

They mean nearly nothing because we’re all gifted in different ways, and most IQ tests are deeply flawed or skewed to one type of intelligence. 

What holds weight are habits and personality traits.

Typically, people with impressive contemplation skills are:

  • Less likely to be vain (unless required for their jobs)
  • Not overly concerned with status and the related accoutrement
  • Well-read and interested in intellectual conversation
  • Highly observant
  • More insightful than the average individual
  • Sensitive and compassionate

21 Behaviors and Traits of a Deep Thinker 

Deep thinkers aren’t all alike, yet many share similar characteristics, which we’ve outlined below. 

You needn’t tick off every item to qualify as a deep thinker. But if you recognize yourself in more than half, you’re probably on the brainer side of the spectrum.   

1. You Have a Gift for Reading People

Are you an excellent judge of character? Are people’s facades translucent veils thanks to your emotional x-ray vision?

If you’re nodding your head up and down, there’s a good chance you’re a deep thinker.

man working and thinking hard deep thinker

Friends and family introduce you to people early on to get clear-headed feedback about potential partners. You’re also a wiz at predicting relationship trajectories and professional landscapes. 

Where do these superpowers come from? The main source is your highly observant nature and ability to pick up on micro-expressions, which gives you instinctual insight into people’s personalities and situational dynamics.

2. You’re Not Materialistic

Do status-conscious people work your last nerve? Do you value practicality over pomp? Kindness over “keeping up?”  

If so, congrats. You’re probably a deep thinker.

Why are contemplative craniums less concerned with social status displays?

For starters, they understand that luck is blind and random, rendering asset-based character judgments useless. Plus, big-brained folks don’t see poverty as a moral failing.

Furthermore, their big-picture vision prioritizes the intangibles — like compassion, curiosity, and cleverness — over material accoutrement.

Please don’t read us wrong; we’re not suggesting that deep thinkers don’t enjoy, appreciate, or own expensive things.

They’re just not as pressed about others knowing — and they certainly don’t factor in assets when considering someone else’s worth.

3. You’re Passionate About Learning and Reading

Diving into fiction is the highlight of your week, you regularly devour nonfiction books about your passions,  and yes, you’ve got your “BookTube” favorites.

Reading is more than fundamental for you — it’s a stress reliever and safe haven.

4. You’re Fair and Compassionate

Since deep thinkers examine people and issues from every angle, they’re attuned to nuance and, therefore, exceptionally fair-minded.

Deep thinkers generally don’t jump to conclusions, understanding that shades, highlights, and implicit assumptions alter perceptions. They’re also not big on superficiality.

That said, intellectuals can be formidable critics when an opponent’s views are rooted in myopic reasoning.

5. You Reject Herd Mentality

Deep thinkers spend a lot of time…thinking. Resultantly, they know a lot, trust their own judgment, and can separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff.

Deep thinkers don’t fall for telemarketing scams or the latest conspiracy.

Big-minded people also aren’t always a great fit for hierarchical office environments because they’re prone to challenge authority.

6. You’re Frequently Lost in Thought

According to research, humans’ thoughts wander 30% of the day. That percentage is higher among deep thinkers because everything presents a new question. To them, life is a puzzle pleading to be put together. 

It’s a noble quality, but it’s not always the most efficient or practical. After all, if your mind is constantly off pondering the incomprehensible size of the

Universe or the evolutionary intelligence of single-cell organisms, there’s a good chance you aren’t fully engaged in quotidian responsibilities — including your job (unless you’re a scientist or academic). 

Deep thinkers enjoy escaping into their minds, forever fascinated by the possibilities evading the collective ignorance.

7. You’re an Enthusiastic Problem Solver

Most people with active brains are skilled problem solvers.

They may not be math or engineering wizards, but deep thinkers are usually the ones who immediately start devising solutions when presented with interpersonal or analytical problems.

They also make good investigators because people with nimble minds quickly spot patterns and connections between ostensibly unrelated things.

8. Pop Culture Doesn’t Dominate Your Life

Sure, you have your shows. And yes, perhaps you’ve watched your fair share of “90-Day Fiance” or “Ice Road Truckers,” but you’re definitely not running out to buy the latest Kardashian-endorsed lipstick. 

The chances of you paying top dollar for the latest “to-do” are between slim and “Furk no!” To you, people who bought Fyre Festival tickets are an alien race, and FOMO holds no sway over your choices.

man looking far away deep thinker

You’re not a social media hound (moderating on r/pcmasterrace doesn’t count), and the last time you watched the Oscars or Grammys, Joan Rivers was the go-to fashion maven.   

9. You Think Abstractly

Some deep thinkers excel in academic environments. Others don’t. But they all think abstractly, easily grasp concepts, and are autodidactic.

If you’ve ever taught yourself to code, play an instrument, or build a bird feeder from “scratch,” you’re probably a member of the deep thinkers club.

10. You Overthink

Are you constantly questioning yourself? Do you have a self-criticism problem? These are common qualities among folks who dissect life from every possible angle.

Relaxing and enjoying life can be challenging for people with relentless minds because their brains are always observing, contemplating, and analyzing people, situations, and concepts.

11. You Can Be Indecisive or Recklessly Impulsive

Since people with cavernous brains tend to overthink, they can be indecisive, always hemming and hawing about the right choice. The most trivial decisions can turn them into knots.

But some deep thinkers are the opposite. Since they’re always lost in thought, mulling over life’s giant questions, they put little thought or effort into mundane decisions and could use a little help in the executive function arena. 


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12. You’re Down With Deep Conversations

If forced, meaningless conversations are as pleasant for you as a hangnail, then you’re likely a deep thinker.

Most of the time, you couldn’t care less about the safe, popular topic of the week and, frankly, people who can drive you a bit batty. 

Instead, you’d rather wax poetic about the meaning of life and homo sapiens’ role in the greater galactic ecosystem.

And yes, this trait can read as snobbish and something to be aware of when interacting with others. Not every moment calls for introspection, and it’s perfectly acceptable to indulge in guilty pleasures — so go easy on people. 

13. You’re Fine Alone

Deep thinkers aren’t as worried about having a “squad.” While they enjoy their friends, popularity isn’t as much of a concern for truly cerebral folks.  

To put it another way, if you judge people for not having many friends, you’re probably not a deep thinker.

If you mindlessly curate several social media accounts following other people’s ideals, again, you’re probably not a deep thinker.

But if you’re bummed that “castle-grounds hermit” is no longer a viable career path, you’re a shoo-in for the deep-thinker team.

14. You Ask Big Questions

Thoughtful inquisitors love thinking about big questions, like life’s purpose, essence, and cycle. Or maybe the complexities of international economics float their boat.

Whichever field, to deep thinkers, existence is an animated, ever-changing Rorshack test begging to be interpreted. 

15. You’re a Cat Person

Don’t worry, dog parents; we’re not saying you can’t be on the cerebral end of the scale. It’s just that deep thinkers usually appreciate feline majesty and the DGAF-badassery of the common cat.

You don’t need to have one; you just need to respect them.

(Psst, cat parents. Don’t tell you-know-who, but studies suggest that humans who serve one or more feline overlords tend to edge out “dog people” on the intelligence scale.)

16. You Can Be Impractical and Absent-Minded

Every personality type has its good points and bad, and one major demerit for deep thinkers is their impracticality.

Moreover, many are awful at things like housekeeping, paperwork, and other domestic maintenance responsibilities.

Smarty-pants people are also more likely to be absent-minded and may not always be the most dependable. Once their brains fixate on something, everything else takes a back seat.

17. You Have a Mindfulness Routine

Deep thinkers recognize and appreciate the benefits of self-development work.

They’ve done the research and understand that cosmic or not, sitting in contemplation and focusing on the present moment have undeniably positive effects on physical and mental health.

According to numerous studies, mindful meditation:

  • Makes you smarter
  • Improves your concentration and discipline
  • Alleviates symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress
  • Slows the brain’s aging process
woman thinking of something deeply deep thinker

Brainiacs love engaging in activities that level up their output and performance, and many rely on mindfulness routines to gain a cerebral edge.

18. You’re Not Too Concerned With Other People’s Opinions

Not fitting in is a fundamental fear for many folks — but not deep thinkers.

Sure, they’re humans with an instinctual desire to find their tribes. But they’re not overly concerned with being part of the “in crowd.”

They’re also unbothered by other people’s opinions of their lives. Deep thinkers understand that judgments passed by acquaintances and colleagues are rooted in assumptions, perceptions, and implicit biases — rendering them unreliable.

People with an “enlightenment advantage” have difficulty conforming to other people’s expectations about their lives. Sink or swim, they follow their own paths.

19. You Carefully Assess Situations

Deep thinkers come in both models: introverted and extroverted — but they’re all skilled at listening instead of talking at the right times.

Deep thinkers may stay quiet for a long time when groups of people are discussing things. They’re not zoning out (unless the conversation is inane); they’re sizing up the situation.

Who are the alphas smashing their horns? Who appears nervous? Who has valid points, and who’s a bullturd artist?

Before contributing to conversations, deep thinkers like to assess the playing field. That’s not to say they can’t be spontaneous or hold court.

The opposite is often true. But in group situations, deep thinkers are usually more observant than others.

20. You’re Not Hyper Judgmental 

Are you always talking about people behind their backs trading gossip? Are you quick to notice others’ faults but remain stubbornly blind to your own? Then sorry, you’re probably not a deep thinker.

People who’ve done their fair share of quality contemplating know that life is incomprehensibly complicated and that humans only ever see a fraction of other people’s internal and external lives.

Since they understand they’re never in possession of the whole story, deep thinkers tend to refrain from passing harsh judgments.

Resultantly, they’re usually less religious and have moral objections to thinking in absolutes. Applying universal standards to the nuanced nature of existence is anathema to deep thinkers — not a reason to say amen.

That doesn’t mean deep thinkers cannot follow a faith. But those that do are more likely to focus on the “love and joy” part instead of the “rules and judgment” ones.

21. You Feel Like an Outsider

Feeling like an alien outsider is common among deep thinkers, but they’re usually not overly bothered by it (after surviving puberty and their terrible twenties, that is).

Sure, they have their lonely moments, but being an outsider isn’t the end of the world for a deep thinker — because there’s too much to see, try, and think about.

That said, intellectual people are prone to depression because they easily become overwhelmed by the hypocrisy, rapaciousness, and common-denominator ignorance that fuels and supports socio-cultural standards.

What type of person is a deep thinker?

Deep thinkers come from all walks of life yet tend to share similar personality traits. For example, many deep thinkers are less materialistic than the average person.

They would rather spend a night reading, writing, watching TV, or doing art than suffering through small talk at a social gathering or networking event.

Are deep thinkers good people?

As with all categories of people, some deep thinkers are considered “good,” and some are not. Remember, however, that one person’s “good” is another person’s “bad.”

That said, studies suggest that deep thinkers are more likely to be compassionate and sensitive than your average bear.

What do deep thinkers think about?

Deep thinkers spend time pondering issues and ideas they’re passionate about. Some are interested in science and engineering, others gravitate to literature and cultural criticism, while historical fiction and beekeeping may do it for others. 

Are deep thinkers sensitive?

Yes, deep thinkers are usually sensitive people. They care deeply about the world at large and genuinely want the best for their fellow planetary occupants.

Moreover, deep thinkers may have difficulty feeling comfortable in group environments because they’re hyper-aware of everyone’s emotions, which can be overwhelming.

Final Thoughts

Being a deep thinker is great, but bragging about being a deep thinker is a lot less cool. Genuinely intelligent people rarely, if ever, boast about their cerebral prowess.

There’s nothing wrong with confidence; just make sure you don’t cross the Rubicon into arrogance.

Otherwise, happy thinking, smarty!

What is a deep thinker and do you think you are one? Find out the traits of a deep thinker and see if this is you or someone you know.
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