It seems as though if you're born gifted with an above-average intelligence that things in life should come easier, right? With all of that natural ability to reason through things, people with a high IQ should be able to get through their struggles with ease and assuredness. But it turns out that might not be the case. People with a high IQ can struggle with interpersonal dynamics and have difficulties with communication that the majority of people will never fully comprehend. In fact, the problems with relationships people with a high IQ tend to have might challenge many long-held assumptions.
To begin, it is important to know what is considered a high IQ. The average IQ is somewhere between 90-110, according to FamilyEducation.com, so anything above 110 is above average and anything above 130 is considered gifted. In the past few years, there has been a rise in research about people who have higher than average IQs. Specifically, those in that 130+ range. Apparently, being super smart isn't all it's cracked up to be. As research published in the journal Intelligence found, people who are mentally gifted are more likely to suffer with specific psychological and physiological problems that may become a barrier to forming healthy relationships.
1. Expectations Are Too High On Both Sides
In the mid-twentieth century, a researcher named Lewis Terman began a longitudinal study that is just now fully coming into completion. It was originally designed to measure the successes of people with a 140+ IQ, but evolved into a much broader set of research that looked at overall happiness, relationships, and family life, as reported by the BBC.
One of the interesting things they learned many years into the study is that not only do people with a high IQ tend to have higher expectations of the people around them, but the people around them tend to also have extremely high expectations of them. It becomes a double-edged sword where grace may be missing.
2. They're Too Smart To Be Sexy
That's a bit harsh, but the research bears it out. A study in Intelligence published in February looked at the idea of sapiosexuality: the attraction to intelligence. They found that by and large, intelligence is secondary only to kindness in regards to attraction and affection, but there's a threshold for that. If you're really smart, with an IQ of above 120, the level of perceived attractiveness levels off and then starts nose-diving. At that point the intelligence is a barrier to normal psychosocial relations, noted the study.
3. They're More Likely To Suffer Overexcitability
Dr Ruth Karpinski, a lead researcher in the field of intelligence found that people with above average IQs are more likely to struggle with ADD and other mental and physical problems that might become an issue when those people are trying to maintain healthy relationships. She told Neuroscience, “Our findings are relevant because a significant portion of these individuals are suffering on a daily basis as a result of their unique emotional and physical overexcitabilities. It is important for the scientific community to examine high IQ as being front and center within the system of mechanisms that may be at play in these dysregulations."
4. They're Are More Sensitive
In a study published in the journal Marriage & Family Review, a team of Dutch researchers found that people with high IQs tend to be more sensitive than people with average IQs. That can be problematic if your friend, family member, or partner is not perceptive to the other's needs, and the person with the high IQ begins to feel slighted.
5. They Don't Form Attachments In The Same Way
The same research team found that those people with high IQs may not have the same level of attachment to others as people with average intelligence. They wrote "Mensa members showed similar levels of relationship quality compared with the control sample but also tended to deal less constructively with conflicts and reported higher levels of fearful attachment."
6. They Have A Hard Time Finding Peers
An earlier study published in Social Development found that people with higher IQs tend to search for friendships from people who can teach them something. Meaning they look for people amongst their peer communities who are of similar or greater intelligence with similar interests. This is wonderful, but it limits the potential pool from which to draw your friends.
7. They Avoid Conflict
The journal Marriage and Family Review published a study which found that those people with a greater than average intelligence tend to avoid conflict. This can be ameliorated by entering into relationships only with people of similar levels of intelligence, but is hard to avoid in work and life relationships. Avoiding conflict means that it goes unresolved, building irritation and resentment between parties.
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