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Brainiac or Just Another Introvert? Psychologists Find That Intelligent People Are Happier When They Socialize Less

Brainiac or Just Another Introvert? Psychologists Find That Intelligent People Are Happier When They Socialize Less

It’s Saturday night, most of your friends are heading out to the coolest restaurants and bars in town to have some fun. Meanwhile, you are alone at home, in a cozy outfit and finishing up the latest project that you have been working on for the past few weeks. You start to wonder if you were born to be a loner, even though you do enjoy every single moment spent with your friends.

But every time if you have to make a choice between work and socializing, you would go for the former one. Achieving a goal or completing a task always triggers an unmatched sense of fulfillment and excitement in you.

So, is something wrong with you? Psychologists do not think so.

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Psychologists believe such mentality could be a sign of high intelligence.

In February, Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics, together with Norman Li of Singapore Management University, published a research in the British Journal of Psychology, suggesting that,

More intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends.(Li & Kanazawa, 2016)

To put it in a nutshell, exceptionally smart people may feel happier when they are less socially active. The team also looked into the correlation between the level of satisfaction, population density and IQ performance.

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In contrast, in a county with high population density (937 persons/km2 , one standard deviation above the mean), more intelligent individuals had higher mean life satisfaction than less intelligent individuals did. (Li & Kanazawa, 2016)

Average people enjoy greater satisfaction living in rural areas than in densely populated cities. But for the really smart ones? They are urban dwellers.

The difference could be caused by our response to the ancestral environment.

A possible explanation for such differences between average people and brainiacs is the “savanna theory of happiness”. Coined by Kanazawa in 2014, the theory argues that despite the evolution in humans, some of our behaviors still respond to the ancestral environment.

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In other words, as our ancestors lived in an environment where social interaction was essential to survival, we humans living in the modern society still prefer frequent socializing even it is no longer for the purpose of survival. But highly intelligent people are able to adapt to an environment that is vastly different from the ancestral one, as Kanazawa proposed in his 2004 study that intelligence is actually the capability for adapting to novel conditions.

Although the theory needs further study and development, it is reasonable to believe that there is a certain relation between one’s level of intelligence and the status of his/her social life. Here are the three ways of how they could be related:

1. You are intelligent if you are able to cope with loneliness.

While we can yet be certain about the savanna theory of happiness now, there is no doubt that humans are social animals. Social interactions make up a crucial part of our lives. But you do not put too great of an emphasis on social life and genuinely enjoy yourself, it may indicate your ability to overcome the urge to socialize that is hard-wired in us. Your brain could be operating in a way that is different from the rest of us!

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2. You believe in your own abilities because you are intelligent.

As we are all social animals, frequent interaction with those who are close to us could mean a source of happiness and emotional support. Many of us may spend a lot of time socializing, trying to build bonds with one another. But if you firmly believe that you are capable of tackling most of the situations on life on your own, it implies that you have confidence in your abilities. As a result, you may not dedicate as much time in socializing as we do!

3. You understand the meaning of priority because your intelligence teaches you how.

Since social interaction is not your main source of happiness, you probably would put other things, such as your work, above socializing. Inside your head, you may have got a clear list of priorities. That could make you stand out from a lot of us, who believe that having an active social life is just as important as pursuing our goals and career. You may be identified as a high achiever who is goal-oriented and committed to advancing your career. After all, you could be one of those experts in time management!

So next time when you turn down an invitation to a house party because of work, there is no need to feel guilty, as that could just be your intelligent brain functioning!

Featured photo credit: https://stocksnap.io via snap-photos.s3.amazonaws.com

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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