While it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that most intelligent people are socially awkward in some way, most people don't realize it's not because they're “dorks” or whatever high school stereotype you want to use. Rather, it is due to the fact that highly intelligent people perceive the world on a completely different level than the rest of us. As a result, you become extremely anxious in seemingly normal situations. It's not that they don't know how to behave at parties and social gatherings; it's that their minds are constantly working on overdrive, causing them to be extremely anxious about everything around them. The following explains why being extremely intelligent is both a blessing and a curse:
1. They have a high level of sentinel intelligence
Highly intelligent people are much more in tune with their surroundings than the majority of people. They are extremely sensitive to threats of any kind, to the point where they find it difficult to relax. Sudden loud noises can be enough to frighten them. They think so quickly that while everyone else is processing the noise they just heard, the quick-thinker has already moved on to the “what if it was a gun, bomb, or…” cycle of thought. Consider this the next time you refer to a friend as a “nervous Nellie.”
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2. They are acutely aware of their own existence
Intelligent people are constantly concerned with how they are perceived, and will alter their behavior in public to blend in as much as possible. They are constantly plagued by the thought, “What if everyone saw me sneeze all over my hand?” They'll all laugh at me.” While people may have witnessed it, chances are they were unconcerned enough to make a big deal out of it. Surprisingly, it's difficult for intelligent people to recognize that most of their thoughts are only in their heads, and they're being overly self-aware.
3. They exaggerate the significance of events
Highly intelligent people are always looking for deeper meaning in conversations and everyday occurrences. This can cause them to become lost in their own thoughts and lose their place in the conversation. Intelligent people frequently distance themselves from mainstream conversations by over-analyzing things, preferring to be an outside observer of what is going on rather than actively participating in interactions with little face value.
4. They overthink words
Intelligent people are constantly asking themselves, “What did he mean by that?” Even in the most innocuous situations, this can cause social anxiety. A simple compliment from a boss can cause a slew of concerns, such as “Was he being sarcastic? Is it true that I did a good job? Is it possible that I haven't been doing a good job, and he felt the need to tell me today?” as well as others Of course, their boss was probably just passing along a compliment, but the over-thinker is left worrying about the simple interaction for the rest of the day.
5. They are acutely aware of the mental states of others
Returning to the previous example, imagine the boss saying “Great job today” with anything less than enthusiasm and exuberance. You can bet the socially anxious person noticed his boss's body language and lack of excitement. A boss may be having a bad day for reasons unrelated to the highly intelligent individual, but being aware of someone else's state of mind makes you want to find and fix the problem. A socially anxious person will spend the rest of the day worrying about whether or not he did something to offend the other party.
6. They are compassionate
Highly intelligent people are also highly empathetic, in addition to being overly sensitive to how other people present themselves. Unfortunately, this leads to them adopting their friends' burdens and problems as their own. Because they overanalyze every situation, highly intelligent people will stop at nothing until they have solved their friends' problems; of course, this causes even more anxiety because they are dealing with not only their own problems, but the problems of someone they care deeply about.
7. They are extremely logical
Highly intelligent people are extremely logical, which appears to be a good thing. Working with people who do not share your beliefs, on the other hand, can be extremely frustrating. Many people operate on emotions, so when a person of higher intelligence reaches a logical (and correct) conclusion, there are usually some who oppose the idea because it does not align with their train of thought. No matter how foolproof a logical plan is, it can be thwarted by those who fail to recognize the logical process that underpins it.
8. They extrapolate from previous experiences
Highly intelligent people use past experiences to predict future outcomes because they are logical thinkers. This can result in high levels of social anxiety because any negative outcome will almost certainly cross their mind along the way. People who are socially anxious avoid situations in which they have previously embarrassed themselves or failed. It is difficult to avoid thinking of worst-case scenarios when weighing possible outcomes, and doing so can potentially derail an anxious person's drive to complete a task.
9. They are aware of any ulterior motives
As previously stated, intelligent people frequently overthink off-the-cuff, innocuous remarks made by others. So, when someone acts generously, a socially anxious person may become engrossed in wondering if the other person was being so nice for some reason. This breeds distrust of the general public, regardless of their true intentions. Again, socially anxious people imagine worst-case scenarios and frequently allow these images to blind them to reality.
10. They don't get any sleep
Intelligent people's minds are constantly working because they tend to overthink every situation they face. This leads to burnout, insomnia, and undue stress, all of which can have long-term negative consequences for a person's health and overall well-being. Although people with above-average intelligence are generally grateful for the gift, I'm sure they'd love nothing more than to be able to tune everything out for a few minutes each day.
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