If you’re pretty smart, you probably don’t hang out with your friends as much as they do, and you might worry about whether or not that’s normal, healthy, and okay. Most of us already know that smart people tend to be more anxious than others and are more likely to have social anxiety because they can see more than the normal person. But a study in the British Journal of Psychology has shown that this isn’t always the case: highly clever people often prefer to be alone, and there’s a pretty interesting reason why.
First, here’s what we know: The study said that evolutionary psychologists have found a link between a lot of social contact and less life satisfaction in smart people. They asked adults between the ages of 18 and 28 about how happy they were and found that people who lived in places with more people and people who saw their friends more often were both less happy.
The study suggests that “savannah theory” is at the heart of modern happiness, which means that the things that make us happy by nature are the same today as they were at the beginning of civilization. The idea is that smarter people are better able to deal with the challenges of modern life and are more willing to “leave the group” to start their own, more satisfying lives. Basically, smart people like to spend less time with other people because they don’t need to feel like they belong to a tribe to find value in their lives. In fact, those people are more likely to choose to go their own way when given the choice between “belonging” and making their own way.
Asian Chinese lady cutting her birthday cake with her gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender friends
So, this theory says that our hunter-gatherer brains were perfectly suited to the way people lived back then, when there were fewer people and we lived in groups of about 150. To stay alive, they would have needed to talk to other people. People who are smart are those who can change and adapt. In the past, a superior person was best able to follow their feelings. Today, a superior person is best able to make their own path instead of just following the group.
This is supported by the fact that people often say they are happier in small towns than in big cities. This difference has been called the “urban-rural happiness gradient.” This could be because of a lot of things, but most likely it’s because people tend to do better in smaller groups and with more genuine ties. In a small town, people feel like they fit and are part of a group. When you go to the bakery in the morning, you see the same people. In a bigger city, you might feel lost in the crowd. In the same way, in a small town, people care more about who you are and how you connect with others than what you do or how you look. Most smart people ignore this in favour of their own interests, but the point still stands: smart people (and happy people) do best in a small number of close, honest relationships.