Why having fewer friends means you're smarter

Study proves you're not unpopular, you're just highly intelligent.

Meryl D'Souza April 4, 2016

Do you have a small circle of friends and prefer spending as little time with them as possible? Don’t worry, you’re not a loner.

According to a study published in the British Journal of Psychology, people who prefer fewer friends are more intelligent. 

Evolutionary psychologists Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and Norman Li of Singapore Management University explain that the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of our ancient ancestors formed the foundation for what makes us happy in today's world.

Basically, our ancestors were interdependent. You can imagine why. They were forced to interact with each other to survive. The concept of personal space meant you would be dead by the end of day.

The study suggests that while mankind evolved, that fundamental need for socializing has remained. Kanazawa and Li call it "the savannah theory of happiness". But it turns out that highly intelligent people don't follow this rule.

"The effect of population density on life satisfaction was...more than twice as large for low-IQ individuals than for high-IQ individuals," the researchers explain, adding that "more intelligent individuals were actually less satisfied with life if they socialized with their friends more frequently."

Essentially, smarter people are less happy when they spend more time with their friends. The theory makes sense because well, smarter people have bigger fish to fry than sit around and catch up or make small talk.

So the next time you’re thinking about cancelling on that reunion because you’d rather finish off a story you’re writing, don’t give yourself a guilt trip. Be safe in the knowledge that it proves you’re just smarter than the rest of your little circle.