Intelligent people have fewer friends

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 massive gentleman’s pickle. 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 whilst they were socialising with a group of friends and then again when they were completely alone. What the results showed was that for people with low to average intelligence levels they reported greater self-happiness when they spent time with friends and it seems the more friends they had, the happier it made them. But astonishingly, 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 top end of the intelligence spectrum actually felt considerably less happy when spending time with friends. Some theorise this is because intelligent individuals are more sceptical of others, 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; we have text books to cry into. This aversion towards human interaction actually intensifies in a predictable and linear manner with increased intelligence. In the most prime examples of mental acuity that we’ve come to know and learn about in school, we see a great struggle to form bonds and relationships with other humans. Nikola Tesla never married or had sex, his tastes were far more avian in nature – he fell in love with a pigeon… I shit you not. He grew a great fondness for one particular pigeon and actually wrote this about her “I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life.” …That’s a bit weird mate. Brian May lookalike and physicist Isaac Newton was one of the most brilliant men to ever walk the Earth. Seriously we owe a lot to him, he founded gravity, calculus and the laws of motion, not to mention countless others – he basically created the groundwork for all modern-day physics. Yet, to say he was socially-awkward is a gross understatement. He was immensely private, never formed any kind of friendship, apart from a mild acquaintanceship with a Swiss mathematician and he died a virgin. “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know” – Earnest Hemingway; and he met a LOT of people. It’s not that highly intelligent people are anti-social it’s just that they are in the vast minority and so struggle to find others that share their views on the world, and accept them for all their faults and often acutely-fastidious nature. Because after all, no matter how many times you’ve been told the scientifically-proven falsehood of “opposites attract”, it’s similarities that bring people together and form lasting bonds. And I guess similarities with others are scarce when you are adamant that the Earth revolves around the Sun and the rest of the moronic folk you share the planet with point-blankly refuse to believe you. I know Copernicus, it’s tough, but hang in there, they’ll believe you, eventually – just not in your lifetime. 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. Countless studies have found that big cities harbour hatred towards our fellow people. Whereas the friendliest and most inviting of people can be found in small towns and rural settlements. This phenomenon has been observed all over the world. Heck you don’t even need studies to observe this – just try making eye contact with literally anybody in London, or just being a person in Paris – people can be frosty at the best of times. Even in these world-class cities that supposedly provide everything a person could ever want and more. Does this reveal a dark truth about the human condition? Perhaps we’re not designed to live together with one-another, no matter how intelligent you may be. But that’s not it, because studies show that friendliness and compassion thrive in very small communities. It actually goes back to our evolutionary past. Our ancestors living on the great planes of Africa would have lived in small groups, it was just more practical this way – easier to travel and safer when you know everyone around you by grunt. Groups rarely mixed and if they did it would probably end up in conflict, so people just stayed in their small communities, hundreds of miles from each other. And that same attitude is still instilled deep within us today, 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. Perhaps we should all learn to get along with the people we know first. Unless you’re highly intelligent, in which case, I’m sorry but you’re just not cut-out for relationships, maybe try befriending pigeon, who knows, it could even lead to more.

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