Why Do Smart People Have Fewer Friends?

Did you know that smart people are likely to have fewer friends than the average person? Have you ever wondered about this anytime? Smart or not, everyone needs friends. Friends are an essential part of everyone’s lives, to the extent that the type of friends you have, determine the kind of person you are.

What factors do you think drive your choice of acquaintances? Many could influence how you choose your company, and most of that is based on your personality. Turns out that individuals with high levels of intelligence don’t prefer to keep their circle wide as someone with low or average levels of intelligence. Here are five reasons why smart people have fewer friends.

  1. Smart people focus on long term goals and consider socializing as a distraction at times.

Have you ever tackled with the question of what makes a person’s life well-lived? A fascinating research conducted by the evolutionary psychologists, Satoshi Kanazawa and Norman Li delves deeper into this. They speculate that what could have made our ancestors happy then, forms a basis of what makes us happy these days. 

They subsequently analyzed 15,000 adults between the age of 18 to 28. Two facts were observed but let’s take up the one that backs our statement up. People who interact with their friends more often reported to be happier. Were there any exceptions? Remarkably, yes. For the people with reported high intelligence levels than others, the case was the opposite. They tended to be happier when they kept to themselves and considered hanging out and socializing as a distraction sometimes. 

2. They don’t feel the need for social interaction and prefer being alone.

When it comes to smart people, solitude is bliss. They enjoy their own company and seldom feel the need for social interaction. But this does not mean that they don’t relish their friends’ company. They like to hang out with their friends and have a chat, but just as not often as an average person.

3. They are selective about their choice of friends.

How do you choose your friends? We cannot set an entrance test for selecting our friends, and sometimes our choices end up being wrong. People with high IQs bear this fact in mind and therefore choose their friends with caution. They know that they can’t surround themselves with negative people who will only bring down their optimism. They keep their circle small but full of value. 

4. Some people see them as proud because they keep to themselves.

Ah, now this is quite unfair. As smart people tend to keep to themselves and work alone at most times, some people may perceive them to be so full of themselves. But this doesn’t impact them in any way as they are assertive of their own value and are not intent on impressing others.

5. They are happy with the number of real friends that they have and don’t want any more. 

Smart people choose their friends wisely and have a set of real ones who genuinely care about them. Since they know who their real friends are, they don’t set out on the quest for more.

Have you ever thought of someone highly because of their intelligence but wondered why they have only so many friends? The next time you meet them, you will have an answer to that question!


  • Christopher Ingraham, 2016. Why smart people are better off with fewer friends. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/18/why-smart-people-are-better-off-with-fewer-friends/
  • Ayush Jain, 2020. 8 Reasons Why Intelligent People on Average Have Fewer Friends. Retrieved from: https://medium.com/@ayushbaldota/8-reasons-why-intelligent-people-averagely-have-fewer-friends-1fb190116e80
  • Sucess secrets TV, 2019. 10 Reasons Why Intelligent People Have Fewer Friends. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6W7KHJg_SE
  • Tara Massan, 2018. Scientists Explain Why Smart People Prefer Fewer Friends. Retrieved from: https://www.lifehack.org/408873/scientists-explain-why-smart-people-prefer-fewer-friends

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