11 reasons smart people have fewer friends

Friends are essential in our lives – we rely on them for company and support through different challenges and difficult times.

They also teach us some of the most valuable skills and lessons we need to live our lives.

While some of us have no problem making new friends in every situation, more competent people tend to have a smaller circle they keep close.

It might sound surprising but research actually suggests that having a close social circle is a sign of intelligence.

If you’re also wondering why intelligent people have fewer friends, here are a few possible reasons:

1) They Enjoy Solitude More Than Others

Smart people don’t have many friends because they don’t find socializing necessary.

For them, it’s better to spend their time in solitude – reading alone in a corner, reflecting on their life, or pursuing their interests.

They sometimes spend time with the people they love, but it’s rare to see them in the company of many people.

Solitude also allows smart individuals to take their intellectual curiosity to the next level. With fewer distractions and interruptions, they’re free to focus and think about the complex concepts they’re interested in.

They study and contemplate ideas so they have a better understanding of the world around them.

Being alone is also necessary to unlock their creative potential. They use their time alone to reflect on their mistakes and analyze their own thought patterns more deeply.

2) They Appear Intimidating to Other People

People easily get intimidated whenever they hear of someone who’s capable and self-assured – like most intelligent individuals are.

They often compare themselves to more brilliant people, which only throws them off because they might feel inferior to and overwhelmed by their presence.

It’s true that intelligent people are forces to be reckoned with since they’re not afraid of telling the truth or confronting others who are out of line, but they shouldn’t always be seen as threats.

Once you see past their intimidating aura, you may see a no-nonsense person worth investing time and effort in.

3) They Might Struggle With Their Social Skills

Although they’re highly intelligent, some smart people actually lack social skills.

It’s difficult for them to connect with other people, especially if they have different hobbies, interests, or opinions.

For them, it’s hard to engage in small talk because they prefer in-depth conversations about things.

Another possible reason why intelligent people have problems socializing is that they think too much.

They often overthink what kind of things to say and they end up stuttering, unsure of their words, or just afraid of opening their mouths.

What smart people don’t often realize is that socializing and talking to other people aren’t situations solved by overthinking.

Once they realize that it’s all about spontaneously expressing their feelings, they’re bound to improve how they interact with others.

4) They Don’t Have a Fear of Missing Out

FOMO or the fear of missing out is the anxiety of not being in the know when it comes to certain events or experiences.

People who have FOMO often do everything they can to catch up with the latest news, but smart people don’t feel the need to do the same.

Highly intelligent people aren’t easily fascinated by the latest trends because they’re not interested in materialistic things.

They always consider their long-term goals instead of instant gratification.

Their brains don’t have time for meaningless chatter so they spend their time learning new things – even if it means they have to do it alone.

I also used to have FOMO but I eventually realized that it’s impossible to keep up with everything at once.

Now, I just prefer to keep some friends close – catch up with them over a cup of coffee instead of being out partying with a bunch of people.

5) They Don’t Like Getting Involved in Drama

Intelligent people don’t like the unnecessary dilemma that comes with dramas, so you can’t find them involved in one.

They already have enough on their plate, so they don’t need any more stress from other people.

It’s often people with empty lives and deep insecurities who start drama with all the constant social media posts – shading other people, backstabbing their friends, stealing other people’s partners, and whatnot.

Smart people like keeping their peace instead of going for a night out and possibly encountering drama. They choose to read a book or watch a movie in their own homes instead.

6) They’re Not Too Concerned About Public Opinion

Smart people aren’t too concerned about public opinion because they don’t feel the need to impress anyone.

They’re strong and independent, so they also feel comfortable in their own skin.

Unlike other people, they don’t feed off of the number of Twitter retweets or Instagram likes to feel good about themselves.

Highly intelligent people don’t care too much about trends because they’re already sure about the things they like, even if it’s not what others prefer.

They’re happy as they are – and that’s what matters most.

Their habit of not conforming to the latest trends and other public opinions might make smart people seem like they’re alone, but they simply tend to be very individualistic.

They know what they like, so they only derive less satisfaction than others do from participating in the latest fads.

7) They’re Extremely Cautious of Others

Smart people are usually quiet because they prefer sitting back and observing their environment instead of participating in what others do.

They’re extremely cautious of new people because they don’t like putting their time and trust into others who don’t deserve it.

Before letting someone new into their life, highly intelligent people ensure that they’re compatible first – especially in things that matter, like ideas, morals, and values.

In some instances, they even test the other person to see if they really care about them or if there’s another agenda behind their attempt to be close.

This habit of smart people might put others off, but being picky isn’t always a bad thing.

They see through other people’s motives and they refuse to be part of shady schemes and stressful relationships.

8) They’re Too Focused on Their Goals

Although socializing has its own benefits for some successful people, there are also smart people who tend to be introverted.

For them, socializing and making new friends aren’t always necessary when reaching their goals.

Instant gratification and temporary fame only serve as delays, so they ignore them in favor of long-term goals.

Smart people have a deep-seated desire to accomplish something bigger than themselves.

Between partying out with friends on a Friday night or staying in to study for their classes, they almost always choose the latter.

But that’s not to say that they don’t care about their friends – they appreciate the connections they have, but they have other things to prioritize to achieve their goals more quickly.

9) They Usually Have Different Opinions From Others

Most geniuses are loners because only a few people understand and accept them and their opinions.

Whenever they try talking to others, they only end up overexplaining things to the other person – which can be especially difficult for them if they’re not used to socializing.

Since they feel drained when talking to others, they simply avoid conversations and keep to themselves.

Smart people also tend to overthink and contemplate the big questions in life instead of simply enjoying their lives the same way others do.

They may even be perceived as weird sometimes by people who don’t understand the way their minds work.

But having a different opinion from others isn’t always a negative thing.

Smart people just have a unique view of how the world works, which makes them a lot more open-minded than others.

10) They Tend to Listen More Than Talk

One of the common reasons why smart people have fewer friends than others is because they like to listen more than talk.

In a group of friends, it’s almost always the quietest one that turns out to be the genius.

Instead of participating in meaningless chatter, they simply observe and listen to others – only opening their mouths when their thoughts and feelings are asked.

People often socialize by sharing opinions and anecdotes. Since smart people listen more than talk, it’s not surprising that they rarely thrive in social situations.

They also have stories to share, but they still prefer to stay quiet and lie low before reacting to an incident.

In my group of friends, it’s also my smartest friend who’s also the most silent.

They’re quiet most of the time, but they still hang out with us whenever we invite them.

And when we have problems or arguments, they’re also the first person we rely on for advice.

11) They’re Satisfied With Their Small Social Circle

Smart people already know who their trustworthy friends are, so they don’t feel the need to socialize with new ones.

They’re highly observant so they see through other people – whether they’re truly concerned about them or just curious about their success and intelligence.

Instead of superficial relationships with many people, smart people prefer and value deeper relationships with a few friends.

Like most things in their lives, they also choose quality over quantity when it comes to making friends.

Smart people know that connecting on a deeper level with more people can be exhausting, so they carefully pick their friends and keep their social circles small.

They don’t like investing time and effort in friendships that won’t last.

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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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