People with high intelligence levels but low social skills often display these 8 behaviors in public 

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of a highly intelligent person is an excellent problem solver who knows just how to navigate through life.

I tend to believe that these gifted individuals have it all, but that’s not quite true.

While smart people are certainly equipped for analytical ways of thinking, for some, social skills such as open communication and picking up on body language don’t come naturally.

In fact, many people can obtain impressive scores on an IQ test but become awkward and withdrawn in social settings.

Intellectuals can be closed off or even outspoken when they’re in the company of other people.

Some can overthink what to do or say, while others are blunt and aren’t afraid of conflict in social settings.

For these reasons, it becomes so challenging to get to know their personalities.

Let’s get right into understanding why people with high intelligence levels but low social skills often display these 8 behaviors in public.

1) They’re self-conscious 

When you see someone who excels academically, you’d be inclined to believe that they excel at pretty much everything that they do.

But surprisingly, intelligence doesn’t mean that you’re equipped to handle social situations.

I have many friends who seem to have an encyclopedia stored somewhere in their brains, but take them out, and they’re a total recluse.

So why is it that you can be book smart but a social introvert?

Well, the answer is in one’s level of self-awareness. Most intellectuals have developed a high degree of awareness of themselves, which means that they pay close attention to their thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.

While socializing, you might notice behaviors such as awkwardness, shyness, and withdrawal because they’re so caught up in everyone else’s perception of them and the fear of being judged.

One could argue that spending so much time on their own while studying or in other academic pursuits means less time to socialize.

Remember that the ability to socialize with other people is a skill that we all have to learn and practice over time.

Without experience, it becomes difficult to communicate and connect with people who have different ideas and mindsets.

2) They’re quiet

What many people don’t realize is that an analytical way of reasoning can get in the way of asking for help.

In social situations, rather than ask for clarity because they don’t understand something, socially challenged people retreat into their shells and say very little.

That’s because they see themselves as problem solvers, but in settings where they struggle to make sense of other people or their environment, they fear being seen as failures.

Perhaps you’ll notice how quiet they become in conversation.

In a group of people, there may be excitement around popular topics that an intellectual isn’t familiar with.

Instead of risking appearing silly or clueless, they clam up and don’t really participate in the discussion.

Apart from missing out on making conversation and meeting new people, they’re also perceived as rude or arrogant because they don’t say much.

At the end of the day, being socially inept leads to missed opportunities.

We could say that introverted or quiet people in a social situation are simply misunderstood.

3) They don’t share too much personal information

I’ll admit that I can be very tight-lipped when it comes to sharing my personal information.

If I’m getting to know someone, I have to see that their intentions are good, they’re genuine, and I feel comfortable in their presence before I let my guard down.

I’m sure you would agree that being cautious is about protecting yourself, so rather than divulge personal details, you take things very slowly.

But highly intelligent people with poor social skills can come across as closed-off rather than “taking things slowly.”

If you’re dating, the perception that you’re very private may lead someone to believe that you aren’t interested.

It can be testing when you’re trying to get to know the deeper layers of someone and they avoid personal conversation.

4) They’re direct in their communication

People who want to appear smarter than they actually are often use these phrases in a conversation People with high intelligence levels but low social skills often display these 8 behaviors in public 

High-IQ individuals have trained themselves to think logically.

Rather than be persuaded by their emotions, they base their decisions on facts, and this comes through in their style of communication.

They can be very straightforward and blunt, which some might perceive as being cold or rude.

The sad part of this type of communication is that it might not be their intention to come off as insensitive.

Because of their poor social abilities, they seldom read between the lines and struggle to pick up on social cues, including body language.

For example, if you’re talking about world news with the greatest level of enthusiasm but the people you’re talking to fold their arms, look away, or become visibly bored, it would be your cue to change the topic, but you don’t.

Regardless of the other person’s interest, you focus on getting your point across.

A lack of empathy could be another reason for their blunt approach.

While this doesn’t apply to all intellectuals, some who find it challenging to understand and resonate with another person’s emotions.

In public, they appear aloof and one-sided, and rather than make small talk, they prefer to stick to the facts.

5) They struggle with eye contact

If you feel uncomfortable when you’re talking to someone, do you struggle to hold their gaze?

It’s hard to lock eyes with a person you find intimidating or prideful; I’ve been there!

But for a lot of intelligent people, inferiority and social anxiety get the better of them, and they crumble in social settings.

I know that people who avoid eye contact are considered untrustworthy or bored, but the truth is that they could just be shy or awkward.

Ironically, one of the signs that you’re intelligent is making good eye contact!

This cycle of insecurity, coupled with poor social skills, can hinder progress in relationships.

It stops you from making authentic connections, and let’s face it, when you’re intelligent, you have a lot to offer!

6) They become overwhelmed and anxious

If you pay close attention to the body language of highly intelligent people who aren’t very social, you’ll notice high levels of anxiety.

More specifically, they experience social anxiety to the point that fear and stress interfere with relationships and activities outside of their routines.

Whether out in public or in a group, they become overly concerned with being judged or humiliated.

This can lead to behaviors such as avoidance, fidgeting, and withdrawn body language.

Anxiety goes hand-in-hand with low social skills, so if you don’t know how to read people or you’re too afraid to be yourself while socializing, it makes for a very overwhelming experience.

Some argue that smart people pay greater attention to detail, which makes them hyper-aware of others and their surroundings.

Rather than relax and enjoy time out, they become preoccupied with what could go wrong, and this comes across in their behavior. 

7) They challenge people

I’ve used “challenge” not in the sense of a bet or activity, but rather intellectually.

Individuals with a high IQ don’t make light of thoughtlessness or baseless statements and will challenge people who don’t think about what they say.

Their intention isn’t to have a general conversation but to point out flawed ways of thinking.

They can be critical of others’ ideas or imaginations because they see things in black-and-white.

Some intellectuals prefer to keep to themselves, while others will challenge concepts and become very enthusiastic about what they say.

This creates the impression of a forceful individual who is highly opinionated, and very few people can relate to someone like that.

8) They struggle to express themselves

When you have good social skills, communication comes easy.

You can join in on the conversation, and you know how to read the room, which means that you understand the non-verbal cues from the people around you.

Despite highly intelligent people being excellent listeners and fast learners, they aren’t great at free-flowing and relaxed conversation.

They struggle to put their thoughts into words, which affects their responses.

So, instead of having a smooth conversation, they appear hesitant and difficult to talk to.

In addition to being overthinkers, they get bored quickly if the topic of conversation doesn’t interest them.

Of course, if you’re meeting them for the first time and you aren’t aware of their limited social skills, haphazard conversation doesn’t create a positive impression.

Final thoughts

There’s no doubt that being highly intelligent is a gift, but when brilliant minds are stifled by poor sociability, it stops these individuals from living life to the fullest.

People with high intelligence but low social skills may behave awkwardly in public because they become incredibly self-aware.

Other individuals may come across as direct and outspoken because they speak their minds when dealing with logical ways of thinking.

So, while many intellectuals would describe themselves as social outcasts, they’re happy to be themselves when they feel inspired and intrigued by someone or something.

Before you judge, take the time to get to know the other person by listening to what they say and observing their behaviors.

These signs can give you a better idea of who they really are.

Picture of Marcel Deer

Marcel Deer

Marcel is a journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur. When not obsessing over his man cave or the latest tech, he’s failing helplessly at training his obnoxious rescue dog ‘Boogies’.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.