Intelligence is notoriously tricky to measure. You could be bookish or have an uncanny level of emotional intelligence. Either way, you like to give your grey matter a workout.
So, if the average IQ of the U.S. is 98, and you boast an IQ of 130+, putting you in the top 2%, you might find that you look at the world a little differently. As any outlier knows, this can make it harder to fit in.
Here’s a rundown of some of the signs that your intelligence could be pushing people away.
1) You have no tolerance for willful ignorance
Ever feel like there’s a badge of honor for not knowing things these days? It’s not just you. There’s a severe brain drain caused by people who won’t close the faucet to begin with.
And this is why your intelligence can intimidate people. For example, I remember being at school and all the intelligent kids falling prey to the bullies. There are no prizes for guessing what the grades of these bullies were.
It’s partly these experiences that make it difficult for high achievers to tolerate boneheads later in life.
Anyway, fancy a talk about the weather? Probably not, and here’s why.
2) You find small talk annoying
If you’re blessed with high intelligence, and you know it, you might feel restless when you’re not using it.
Is that because you’re like Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory” and can’t tolerate any subject that doesn’t stimulate you intellectually?
Believe it or not, no. Studies have found that even highly emotionally intelligent people can’t stand small talk. But emotionally intelligent people want meaningful conversations to strengthen their relationships instead of intellectual stimulation.
And that leads us to the way intelligent people think. Here’s a selection of ways that can intimidate people.
3) You’re always spotting new opportunities
We all know that there are many types of intelligence beyond academia. Intelligent people have strong, daring personalities that help them to see opportunities where others see nothing.
Anything is possible in your mind, but that’s not necessarily helping you in the friend department.
I’ve got a friend who has a similar mind. He’s always spotting business opportunities. I enjoy listening to his ideas, but I’ve met many acquaintances who get annoyed because he sees opportunity in everything – and won’t shut up about it.
Out in the world, you’ve got to accept that some people genuinely enjoy mundane chit-chat about the weather more.
4) You refuse to involve yourself in problems
You’ve got a brain designed to get things done. That likely means you’ve got little time or tolerance for arguing about problems.
For example, maybe your spouse is whining about you returning late from work because you went to the bar. Whereas most people would scream and shout about the problem, you ask, “How can we make this work for both of us?”
And that can be unnerving when 90% of people expect an argument.
5) Your word is law
It takes a lot to make you change your mind, and there better be a good reason for it. You’re someone who focuses on the facts, like a chess grandmaster.
That doesn’t mean you’re stubborn. But it probably means that you’re not too interested in wants and desires in your decision-making.
You’re interested in results above all else, which can be difficult for others to accept.
6) You are analytical
Smart people know that successful relationships are built using stones of many colors. They know sex and lust aren’t enough for a future.
And this is why you’re likely someone who over-analyzes social situations. You’re planning your next move and weighing up all the options and outcomes when really you should be just going with the flow.
7) You don’t settle for sub-par relationships
Intelligent people don’t accept second best because they know they can do better. Whether that’s confidence or arrogance depends on the person, but you’re someone who won’t settle.
These people would rather be single and alone than surround themselves with people who don’t stimulate or seek to hurt them.
Anything less than what you deserve can be an admirable trait, but it comes with something that could derail your relationships.
8) You’re an ultra-realist
Approximately 47% are optimists, making the American population finely balanced. But the chances are you’re not overly concerned with optimism vs. pessimism.
That’s because you’re a realist. Your brain can see, comprehend, and accept life’s harsh realities. So, you know that relationships end.
Due to this, smart people can intimidate and frustrate in equal measure because they prefer to take things slow and find going all-in harder than the average person.
Sometimes, though, you don’t need to look to the signs of intimidation because the answer could be staring you straight in the face. Read on to learn what this means.
9) You are plain old intimidating
You may already notice the signs that you’re intimidating people with your intelligence.
Some people feel inferior because they know they can’t compete with your mind. Others may see your 101 facts about the endangered California Condor as an arrogant mental flex.
If you’re regularly wielding your intellectual capacity in front of others, you may need to reflect on that.
How you behave is often at the root of why you might be intimidating others. Here’s another way that could be sabotaging you.
10) You are relentless in your goals
Resilience and a no-quit attitude will get you far in life. These are the dreamers, the doers, and the history-makers.
But most people don’t go after their dreams like you do. Smart people are always on the move, and relationships often take a back seat.
Take the Machiavellian figure of Frank Underwood from the TV hit House of Cards as an example.
To him, relationships are necessary tools. They never take precedence over his goals. In his case, this has extended to blackmail, corruption, murder, attempted murder of his wife, and even crimes against humanity.
Ambition can be inspiring, but it can also be terrifying to us normies.
11) You aren’t easy to understand
Intelligent people are the most complex people on the planet. They’re the hardest to persuade and motivate because their special sauce comes from within.
I mean, how many times have people watched Fight Club, and there’s still no consensus on Tyler Durden or what his deal is?
Tyler is the perfect example of someone knowledgeable and enigmatic, so most people can’t understand his identity, motivations, or actions, even when he tells you.
If you often feel like people don’t understand what you’re saying, it could be a sign that you’re so intelligent that you’re driving people away.
And here’s something else that doesn’t help you in this respect.
12) You have high standards
Most people would figure that it’s time for them to change if someone doesn’t understand them. Not if you’re highly intelligent.
Big brains set high bars for themselves to overcome. They won’t lower their standards because of those around them. If someone doesn’t understand you, then that’s their problem.
You’d rather suffer and be one of the 36% of Americans who report significant loneliness instead.
13) You’re highly opinionated
Brainiacs do their research. That’s how they know their right. And this can come across as domineering or arrogant in debates and conversations.
You may find yourself correcting people, indulging in uncomfortable debates, and answering questions nobody ever asked. This can come across as aggressive and rude because life isn’t about always being right to most people.
Would you want to hang around someone who fact-checks your every word? Of course not, and others don’t either.
But here’s a trait that’s great in small doses, but intelligent people often self-sabotage with how they use it.
14) You’re too honest
Being correct and doing the right thing is important to you. You hold yourself to the highest standards and expect the same from others (unrealistic).
This probably makes you an extremely honest person, but your wise guy communication style isn’t appreciated by all.
Whether you’re right or not, the impact of your words matters. Does your wife need to lose a few pounds? Quite possibly, but telling her that her butt does, in fact, look big in that dress isn’t going to win you any awards for honesty.
Being an egghead may mean that you like to view things as black or white, but, as all clever people need to learn, the world isn’t black and white. The world is many shades of grey.
Adopt a more flexible approach to life
All outliers find different aspects of life challenging to comprehend. Being right isn’t the number one priority of most people. Relentless honesty isn’t morally good. It’s tactless. Not settling and being the ultimate authority isn’t pushing yourself. It’s trying to hit an impossibly high bar.
You can’t change who you are. You’re a smart person. However, adopting a more flexible approach to life and looking for a more tactful, user-friendly communication style will take you further than sticking to your guns.
So, how can you make yourself a more socially intelligent person?