Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

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netlava
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Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by netlava » Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:07 pm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/won ... r-friends/
First, they find that people who live in more densely populated areas tend to report less satisfaction with their life overall. "The higher the population density of the immediate environment, the less happy" the survey respondents said they were. Second, they find that the more social interactions with close friends a person has, the greater their self-reported happiness.

But there was one big exception. For more intelligent people, these correlations were diminished or even reversed.

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

Let me repeat that last one: When smart people spend more time with their friends, it makes them less happy.
Friends can make us less happy? Pretty surprising :shock:

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daverupa
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by daverupa » Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:22 pm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26847844
We propose the savanna theory of happiness, which suggests that it is not only the current consequences of a given situation but also its ancestral consequences that affect individuals' life satisfaction and explains why such influences of ancestral consequences might interact with intelligence. We choose two varied factors that characterize basic differences between ancestral and modern life - population density and frequency of socialization with friends - as empirical test cases.

As predicted by the theory, population density is negatively, and frequency of socialization with friends is positively, associated with life satisfaction. More importantly, the main associations of life satisfaction with population density and socialization with friends significantly interact with intelligence, and, in the latter case, the main association is reversed among the extremely intelligent. More intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends.

This study highlights the utility of incorporating evolutionary perspectives in the study of subjective well-being.
Interesting; "savanna theory of happiness", eh?
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

SarathW
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by SarathW » Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:24 pm

It is important we find some Kalyanamittas.
Dhamma Wheel is a great place to find many of them.
:)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... ttata.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

sattva
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by sattva » Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:46 pm

SarathW wrote:It is important we find some Kalyanamittas.
Dhamma Wheel is a great place to find many of them.
:)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... ttata.html
I agree. That is one of the reasons why I always recommend that people make connections with a teacher and a Sangha, too. One comes away uplifted by the effort of people who practice the Dharma.
:anjali:

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DNS
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by DNS » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:32 pm

I agree with the article about how intelligent people tend to be goal-oriented and focus on some task or pursuit and too many friends and interaction with them can distract from that.

Another factor I believe that plays a role is frustration. Intelligent people get frustrated when trying to talk to or explain some advanced concepts that are easy for them but difficult for the average person. Some of us might remember taking some particularly hard classes in university and watching the class diminish week after week as more people drop the class. The class might start with 40 students and end with only 5. Imagine how frustrating that is for the professor who's job is to teach those students, but he/she can't get through to them.

Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) and other very intelligent people find themselves preferring solitude and actually don't get along well with others. I suppose there could be some exceptions for those with a high level of patience and that is where the Dhamma practice can help.

SarathW
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by SarathW » Sat Apr 23, 2016 12:56 am

I agree with you David, people like Buddha mange to get around with all sorts of people.
I understand that we al are not Buddha but we may be able to find some niche of every person.
As you said, perhaps only a Dhamma practitioner can do this.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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samseva
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by samseva » Sat Apr 23, 2016 1:32 am

I think it mostly has to do with the fact that most intelligent people are predominantly introverted. The basic definition and distinction of 'introvert' and 'extravert' is that extraverts gain energy and "recharge" when surrounded by people. Introverts are the complete opposite; being around people is draining and being alone is "recharge time". Personally, I am in the latter category.

ieee23
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by ieee23 » Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:23 am

When I saw that article I had the thought that many depressed people, people with social anxiety, people with other issues leading to self imposed isolation etc will take that one popular article and make it into a rationalization for copping out on getting healthier lives. They get to read good news about their bad self care habits, they get enabled to stay isolating themselves, and they get to compliment themselves as being smart for doing it. I see so many people on Buddhist forums living in painful loneliness.
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

SarathW
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by SarathW » Sun Apr 24, 2016 4:04 am

If you are in a forum you can't be lonely!
In that sense you can be lonely even if you are among a crowed.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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DNS
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by DNS » Sun Apr 24, 2016 4:18 am

ieee23 wrote:When I saw that article I had the thought that many depressed people, people with social anxiety, people with other issues leading to self imposed isolation etc will take that one popular article and make it into a rationalization for copping out on getting healthier lives. They get to read good news about their bad self care habits, they get enabled to stay isolating themselves, and they get to compliment themselves as being smart for doing it. I see so many people on Buddhist forums living in painful loneliness.
How do you see this? Do you have iddhi Divine Eye powers? Even if someone is alone, one can be healthy, physically and emotionally. The Buddha spent much of his life alone, as did plenty of other ascetics continuing to this day. On forums people talk of their relationships, their retreat experiences, etc, and I don't think people are going to use this article to justify being alone, not en masse anyway.
Sn 1.3 wrote:We praise companionship — yes! Those on a par, or better, should be chosen as friends. If they're not to be found, living faultlessly, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

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Bundokji
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by Bundokji » Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:12 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Sn 1.3 wrote:We praise companionship — yes! Those on a par, or better, should be chosen as friends. If they're not to be found, living faultlessly, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
If everyone follow the advice in this sutta, everyone will end up alone i guess!
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:36 am

daverupa wrote:... Interesting; "savanna theory of happiness", eh?
'Tribal' might be just as good - or 'village'. For a very large part of our evolutionary history we have lived in smallish, closely-related groups. It would be surprising if that hadn't shaped us to some extent.

:coffee:
Kim

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Kim OHara
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:40 am

Bundokji wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:
Sn 1.3 wrote:We praise companionship — yes! Those on a par, or better, should be chosen as friends. If they're not to be found, living faultlessly, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
If everyone follow the advice in this sutta, everyone will end up alone i guess!
Yep: when the smartest person in the village wanders off alone, the next-smartest can't find one 'on a par or better' and wanders off alone, then the next smartest person ... then the next smartest person ... repeat until the village has emptied. :tongue:

:coffee:
Kim

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daverupa
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by daverupa » Sun Apr 24, 2016 11:58 am

Kim OHara wrote:For a very large part of our evolutionary history we have lived in smallish, closely-related groups. It would be surprising if that hadn't shaped us to some extent.
Of course. There's also the fact that resource scarcity brings people together in mutual support while resource excess leads to acquisitiveness, display, and competition.

Moving out of hunter-gatherer lifestyles and into farming & animal husbandry is something we're still (rather poorly) dealing with, having not evolved for it.

There's some interesting discussion around Dunbar's number, with one critic providing some interesting thoughts:
Philip Lieberman argues that since band societies of approximately 30-50 people are bounded by nutritional limitations to what group sizes can be fed without at least rudimentary agriculture, big human brains consuming more nutrients than ape brains, group sizes of approximately 150 cannot have been selected for in paleolithic humans.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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DNS
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Re: Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

Post by DNS » Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:10 pm

Bundokji wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:
Sn 1.3 wrote:We praise companionship — yes! Those on a par, or better, should be chosen as friends. If they're not to be found, living faultlessly, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
If everyone follow the advice in this sutta, everyone will end up alone i guess!
Incorrect. Eventually these people who wander off alone bump into each other and form a spiritual community together. They name their community the Dhammacakka monastic and lay community and eventually attain enlightenment. :tongue:

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