Dear fellow writers and artists,
The Washington Post on Friday helped explain your anti-social tendencies. Revelation: you’re not misanthropic; you’re smart. What you’re working on has been equated to finding the cure for cancer.
Research published last month in the British Journal of Psychology by two evolutionary psychologists from the London School of Economics and Singapore Management University finds that the more social interactions with close friends a person has, the greater their self-reported happiness—with one exception:
For more intelligent people, these correlations were diminished or even reversed.
“The effect of population density on life satisfaction was more than twice as large for low-IQ individuals than for high-IQ individuals,” the study found. “More intelligent individuals were actually less satisfied with life if they socialized with their friends more frequently.”
The article goes on to cite a Brookings Institution researcher who studies the economics of happiness: “The findings in here suggest (and it is no surprise) that those with more intelligence and the capacity to use it… are less likely to spend so much time socializing because they are focused on some other longer term objective.”
The Washington Post continues:
Think of the really smart people you know. They may include a doctor trying to cure cancer or a writer working on the great American novel or a human rights lawyer working to protect the most vulnerable people in society. To the extent that frequent social interaction detracts from the pursuit of these goals, it may negatively affect their overall satisfaction with life.
Writer friends and other artists, never beat yourself up over missed opportunities for social time. You derive satisfaction from elsewhere: your long-term project. That’s more than ok. It’s smart. Just don’t let the suggestion of intelligence go to your head.