Why Do Intelligent People Need Fewer Friends?


Undoubtedly, we need friends, and constant communication has its advantages. Scientists tried to answer the question: is it really necessary for happiness and life satisfaction? They conducted a special study involving 15 000 people aged 18 to 28 who live in areas with different population densities and interact with friends with different frequency.


British Journal of Psychology published the results, which surprised Geniusbeauty.com and at the same time seemed useful in understanding our own “self”.

Three main conclusions of the study

Evolutionary psychologists, Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and Norman Li of Singapore Management University, analyzed the results of the study and made several conclusions.

Firstly, people living in densely populated areas tend to feel less happy.

Secondly, most people need constant communication with like-minded people and friends to feel happy. The more communication, the higher the level of happiness.

Third, people with higher intelligence level are more often the exception to the rule.

The higher the IQ, the less people need constant communication. Intellectuals get less satisfaction from life when there is an excess of social activity. They do not feel happy as “life and soul of the party.”

People with a high intelligence level have a small circle of friends

The brain of a person with high intellectual abilities is arranged differently. This applies even to matters of communication.

Yes, it is not easy to be clever. An intellectual person lives in his or her own little world.

Social activity for smart people is rather a necessity than an essential part of life. Besides, the majority of super-geniuses are complete loners. Very few people really understand and accept them. However, they do not care. On the contrary, the more they have to communicate, the less happy they feel.

Smart people are more passionate about their own matters rather than socializing

Researcher Carol Graham of Brookings Institution, an expert in “happiness economics”, believes that smart people use most of their time to achieve a long-term goal. Intellectuals get joy in things leading to a specific result.

A doctor working on a vaccine against cancer, a writer toiling on an outstanding novel – these people do not need frequent interaction with others. Because it distracts them from their main occupation, and therefore adversely affects the feeling of happiness and disturbs inner harmony.

The reasons take root in the distant past

There is “the savanna theory of happiness.” According to it, we all retain genes and memories of our ancestors. The lifestyle of the ancient hunters, who marked the beginning of our story, still influences our life and even the inner feeling of happiness.

We feel absolutely happy in the same situations and circumstances, in which people were happy thousands of years ago.

However, the environment of the ancestors from the African savannah had no more than 150 members. And the place where they lived was a distant province by our standards, with one person per square. They had to stick together to survive in a hostile environment.

Now we are living in the era of technology and a huge number of people around. However, the majority of our contemporaries retain the original qualities that the evolution developed in them. As if the body is in one place, and the brain – in another. The body is in a big city with a few thousand inhabitants per square kilometer, and the brain is in a desert savanna.

Most people. But not all.

High intelligence allows to adapt to the new conditions

Intellectuals, in contrast to people with average mental abilities, at some stage of evolution managed to overcome the mismatch between the memory of the past and the present.

They find it easier to adapt. Apparently, nature entrusted them with solving new evolutionary challenges. Smart people can easily live by their own laws, not being attached to the origins.

High intelligence allows relying on yourself rather than others and pursuing your goal independently. Such people are in harmony with themselves, and only require close communication from time to time.