If ignorance is bliss, is intelligence a curse? Are there any downsides to being highly intelligent? Intellectual capabilities are by far the greatest of gifts that a human being can possess. But the reality is: some of us are born smarter than others; some of us have higher than normal intelligence; and some of us, who are highly intelligent, are cursed in many ways.
Most of us don’t know there’s a neurological correlation between being socially awkward and being highly intelligent. While reasoning comes easy to highly intelligent people, most of us with a high IQ experience a degree of social apprehension, lack social skills, and are branded socially incapacitated geniuses.
It’s not because highly intelligent people are social fools, but because they see the world on an entirely different level than the rest of us. People who are socially anxious are usually highly intelligent and vice versa. Here’s why being highly intelligent is both a blessing and a curse:
- They overthink responses
Highly intelligent people have a keen eye for detail. They are overthinkers who constantly analyze everything happening in their life and beyond. They tend to ponder what they/others say/do and contemplate conclusions/solutions for a long time, which eventually interferes with their interpersonal relationships. By over-analyzing things, moreover, they distance themselves from mainstream conversations they think have little face value.
They constantly self-doubt
“The problem with today’s world is that while intelligent people are full of doubts, the stupid ones are very self-confident” — Charles Bukowski
As they possess a rather objective view, highly intelligent people are more self-conscious, have a higher degree of self-awareness, and constantly doubt themselves. Being hyper self-aware makes these individuals super conscious, critical, and judgmental in a social setting. They forget to go with the flow and get frustrated in social interactions.
They have high standards
Highly intelligent people know exactly what they want, what they talk, and what they do in every area of life. This is why they tend to have high expectations, both from themselves and from those around them. They know how to deal with logical situations, but social situations are not logical. When their expectations face the raw reality of life and people with average intelligence, they get anxious.
They detest small talk
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people” — Anonymous
Ordinary people gossip, laugh at each other, do stupid things for fun, and discuss mundane things like food, cosmetics, and soccer to keep a conversation going. Highly intelligent people find themselves out of place while socializing as they can’t summon up the enthusiasm to join in everyday conversations.
They are aware of your state of mind
Brianna Wiest, American writer and founder of Soul Anatomy, says “highly intelligent people are highly attuned to how someone is thinking, feeling or perceiving a situation, a little bit beyond what would be appropriate and healthy to function without over-thinking, worrying and trying to react to someone’s perceived state of mind, rather than the reality they are presenting”. As a result, all they can think about is how much they’d like to escape.
They suffer from general anxiety
Psychiatrists at SUNY Downstate Medical Centre in New York have found that higher levels of intelligence and increased levels of anxiety are linked. An anxious mind is constantly examining ideas, information, and experiences from multiple angles simultaneously. Thus, highly intelligent people find social engagement too overwhelming.
They are well-guarded
Highly intelligent people think analytically, even when it comes to things like interpersonal relationships. They have a harder time opening up because their analytical brain never stops reflecting back on past situations where they survived a not-so-pleasant experience.
They hide their vulnerabilities
Highly intelligent people learn from their mistakes and change their behavior in response to failures. However, this cautious attitude robs them of essential social skills. No one wants to interact with someone who is unwilling to share their experiences; someone who inadvertently sends a signal that they are cold or distant; someone who never failed.
They get obsessive
When highly intelligent people open up to topics that interest them, they become so heated and enthusiastic they tend to monopolize the conversation and appear as aggressively opinionated, know-it-all, and angry.
They can’t avoid conflict
Highly intelligent people often end up in conflict with others because they unintentionally begin correcting others; act as an overly argumentative debater, and start being intellectually competitive in social conversations. These people are so brainy and on a different wavelength that it interferes with their ability to relate to others.
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