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Scientists Explain Why Smart People Prefer Fewer Friends

Scientists Explain Why Smart People Prefer Fewer Friends

Many of us have pondered at one time or another, what makes a life well lived. Is it being surrounded by family and a lot of friends? Could it be surrounded by a select handful of people in your life? Have you ever observed that really smart person in your life and the friends they surround themselves with? What about how many friends they choose to surround themselves with? It turns out that smarter people prefer fewer friends and here is why.

What Would Make Most People Happy

New research, published in the British Journal of Psychology, digs into the questions of what exactly defines a life well lived. Turns out, the hunter-gatherer lifestyles of our ancestors form the foundation of what makes us happy now. The research surveyed approximately 15,000 people between the ages of 18 to 28 years-old. Researchers found the people living in densely populated areas reported less satisfaction with the quality of their life. The next finding of the people polled suggests that the more frequent social interactions with close friends, a person has greatly improves self-reported happiness.

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Smart People Are An Exception

However, there is an exception. For those with higher intelligence quotients, these correlations drastically diminished. “The effect of population density on life satisfaction was therefore more than twice as large for low-IQ individuals”. So, the more intelligent you are, the less satisfied you are with life if you socialize with friends more frequently. But why?

Smart People Are Focused on Long-Term Objectives

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Two friends riding in the backseat of convertible

    People with higher IQ’s and the capacity to use their intelligence are less likely to spend time socializing. Why? Intelligent people are focused on long-term objectives. They are compelled and maybe a bit more driven to use their intelligence to create something bigger than themselves.

    For example, think of someone you know who went to graduate school or started their own business. While pursuing their ambitions and goals, they had to minimize social interactions to stay on task to achieve their goal. An intelligent person, on the pursuit of achieving something bigger and better than themselves, may deem social interaction as a distraction that pulls them away from long-term objectives, which in turn, may affect their overall well-being.

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    When pursuing long-term objective, the smarter individual would rather stay home and work towards their dreams and ambitions rather than going out on a Saturday evening with a few friends. It’s not that they don’t value friendship; they do. But when they are on the prowl of achieving greatness, they may deem socialization as distractions.

    How Smart People Develops Differently During Evolution of the Human Brain

    The human brain evolved to meet the demands of our ancestral environment in the savanna. Population density was low and we subsisted by living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. During these times, having frequent contact with lifelong friends was necessary for our survival and for further reproduction of our species.

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    Propelling us to today, our life has changed drastically and so have our interactions with one another. Intelligent people may be better able to deal with the new challenges that modern day life throws us. Meaning, intelligent people have a better ability to solve evolutionary and new problems and have an easier time coping and dealing with new situations.

    When you’re smarter, you’re better able to adapt to things and have an easier time merging your ancestral predispositions with the modern world. Living in a high-population area may have a smaller effect on your well-being, but it may be due to being better able to jettison the hunter-gatherer need to socialize when you’re pursuing your dreams and ambitions.

    Smart People Value Relationships In A Different Way

    Intelligent people value friendships and relationships just like anyone else, but they tend to be more selective with how they spend their time. It isn’t that they don’t cherish friendships and frequent socialization occurrences, but they also cherish their personal pursuits.

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    Tara Massan

    Founder of Be Moved, Life Coach and Writer.

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    Last Updated on July 18, 2019

    10 Warning Signs of Low Self-Esteem and a Lack of Confidence

    10 Warning Signs of Low Self-Esteem and a Lack of Confidence

    Self-confidence can be defined as a belief in one’s abilities and maintaining a sense of competence. On the other hand, low self-confidence can be defined as a lack of faith in one’s abilities and competence.

    Self-confidence can fuel success, while low self-esteem can impede it. To avoid falling into patterns of low self-esteem and a lack of confidence, consult the following warning signs.

    1. You check your phone while alone in social situations.

    You find yourself unable to sit still during social situations with little or no friends. Instead, you find yourself desperately checking your phone to appear more socially connected.

    Tip: Try exercising an affirmation such as “I am loved.”

    2. You back down during a disagreement to appease another person.

    You find yourself backing down in conversation often; you negotiate your views so as to avoid conflict. You would rather avoid experiencing rocky waters than express yourself honestly.

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    Tip: Try an affirmation such as “my opinion matters” or “I live authentically.”

    3. You are unable to leave the house without make-up or primping.

    You gain a false sense of self-esteem from wearing make-up or primping. Instead of feeling self-esteem from within, you feel a need to primp in order to feel good about yourself.

    Tip: Try a daily “I am beautiful” affirmation.

    4. You take constructive criticism too personally.

    You tear up in the bathroom after a coworker gives you constructive criticism about your job performance; you wind up yelling at friends when they criticize your choice in a date. Instead of taking criticism objectively, you react emotionally.

    Tip: Try counting to 3 before responding to criticism.

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    5. You are afraid to contribute your opinion in conversation.

    You find yourself second guessing what you want to say before you say it, instead of diving into conversation without a thought. You may find yourself stuttering and engaging in negative self-talk.

    Tip: Focus on your breath when you begin to second guess yourself to avoid over-thinking.

    6. You are indecisive in the midst of simple decisions.

    You change your mind after coming to a simple decision, such as what activity to do with a friend or what food to eat. Then once you come to another decision, you change your mind over and over.

    Tip: Vocalize the affirmation “I am assertive and in control of my life.”

    7. You cannot handle genuine compliments.

    You reflect when someone pays you a genuine compliment, instead of graciously accepting the compliment.

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    Tip: Practice the affirmation “I am worthy of love” or “I have many good qualities.”

    8. You give up too soon.

    You give up on your goals and dreams before you have hardly started. You lack confidence in your success, so you give up all together.

    Tip: Practice the affirmation “I am a success seeker, not a failure avoider.”

    9. You compare yourself with others.

    You pay extra attention to those you deem more successful than you, and let your own self-worth take a plummet as a result. Instead of focusing on your journey and your journey only, you constantly look at everyone else’s.

    Tip: Declare the affirmation “I am more than enough.”

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    10. You slouch.

    You display a low body stance: you do not stand tall, but instead let your body slouch downwards, sending the message that you are not proud of yourself.

    Tip: Take a few minutes each day to focus on your body posture. Take a look at these 10 Graphs That Help You Improve Posture In No Time.

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    Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

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