loner on a lake
loner on a lake

Smarter People Have Fewer Friends, Study Reveals

How many friends do you have?

If the answer is one or two, or even none at all, then you could be an extraordinary intelligent person, possibly even genius level. Either that or you’re a complete mensa head jerk.

Recently, psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics measured the happiness levels of 15,000 people with various IQ levels. He measured the happiness of all the subjects on two occasions, once while they were socializing with a group of friends and then again while they were completely alone. The results demonstrated that people with low to average intelligence levels reported greater self-happiness when they spent time with friends, and it seems the more friends they had, the happier it made them. But, the exact opposite was true for people with very high intelligence levels – they reported greater happiness when alone.

In fact, it was noted that those at the higher end of the intelligence spectrum actually felt considerably less happy when spending time with friends. Some theorize this is because intelligent individuals are more skeptical of others – that they are more able to see the faults inherent in humankind, and so prefer not to get tangled up in the blues of their unpredictable and unreliable brethren.

It’s also thought that when intelligent people do form friendships, it’s mostly for personal gain or simply out of awkwardness and/or expectancy. Whereas most other people form friendships for emotional support, or a lust for attention and popularity.

Smart people don’t need emotional support; they have books to cry into. Nikola Tesla never married or had sex, his tastes were far more avian in nature – he fell in love with a pigeon…

I s**t you not.

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know,” said Earnest Hemingway; and he met a LOT of people.

It’s not that highly intelligent people are antisocial, it’s just that they are part of the vast minority of humanity, and so struggle to find others that share their views on the world and accept them for their faults and often acutely fastidious nature.

Kanazawa’s study also found a disturbing correlation that affects all of us, not just the geeks.

His findings showed that people who lived in more densely populated areas were significantly less happy than those in less populated areas.

This is not the first scientific study to acknowledge this phenomenon – the friendliest and most inviting of people can be found in small towns. This phenomenon has been observed all over the world. Heck, you don’t even need studies to observe this – just trying to make eye contact with literally anybody in New York can be tense, unless maybe it’s flirtatious.

Does this reveal a dark truth about the human condition?

As much as some people feel like moving to a big city and forming an enormous circle of friends will bring them success and happiness, we are just fighting against our own evolution. Maybe the more natural thing is to form a strong, small group of connected relationships; not massive amounts of acquaintances and social buddies. Maybe we should all learn to get along with the people we know first. Unless of course you’re highly intelligent, in which case, I’m sorry but you’re just not cut out for relationships…maybe try befriending pigeon.



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