Spending Time Alone

Smart people need more time alone, according to this study:

The study found that more intelligent people actually had lower life satisfaction the more frequently they socialised with friends – spending time with friends actually made them unhappy. But the researchers discovered that these highly intelligent participants actually spent more time socialising with friends.

The lower life satisfaction the more time I spend with friends is true for me. I have to intentionally limit it. Do not get me wrong, I do spend some time around friends. Over the years I discovered my limitations to be about 4-6 hours a week depending on other factors. At times I have pushed it, but in the end I lashed out at friends to the point of losing friendships.

If I spend too little time socializing with friends, then I start to feel lonely. That too little can be 2-4 hours  a week.

Essentially, I have to read my energy levels and understand how I am feeling to accordingly adjust how much time I spend with others.

Spending time alone does not bother me. I use the time to read a book or read articles. I rather enjoy the interactions of Facebook.



In Dunbar on Friends I wrote about the different kinds of friends. In the Savanna Theory of Happiness, people living in sparse density areas and with higher frequency interactions with close friends are happier. Satoshi Kanazawa and Norman Li leverage Dunbar to basically explain we are happier when in smaller communities because our evolution has not yet caught up to our societies. Only… More intelligent people have the capacity to thrive in more dense areas without as much time with their friends.

I find this curious because it would suggest more intelligent people are extroverted. Pro-introvert researchers claim people who avoid social interactions are the more intelligent ones.

Friendship paradox

MIT Technology Review has an interesting article First Evidence for the Happiness Paradox—That Your Friends Are Happier than You Are:

The friendship paradox is the idea that your friends have more friends than you do, which turns out to be true for most people… The fact that people’s friends are more popular than they are may also explain another observation for which there is growing evidence—that excessive use of social networks makes people less happy. It’s easy to imagine that knowing that they are less popular than their friends makes people less happy. This has led to widespread speculation that the distribution of happiness throughout a social network might also lead to a happiness paradox. If happiness correlates with popularity—the being popular makes people happy—then this could be true too.

The source paper is The Happiness Paradox: Your Friends Are Happier Than You.

Malcolm Gladwell in Tipping Point talked about a type of person he called a Connector who influences new ideas through the association with great numbers of people. (Personally, I am a Maven who operates through talking about ideas and information.) I can see how a Maven like I am (and also an introvert and shy) could be intimidated or jealous of the size of Connector social networks.

My father knew tons and tons of people. Going out to eat at a restaurant required budgeting half to a full hour to leave because he’d have to talk to several tables with people who wanted to tell or ask him something. This was especially true when he occupied the director position of a city hall department.

It is interesting they are using Twitter social networks to measure size and tying tweet content to positivity / negativity.

Book Review: Single & Happy: The Party of Ones

Single & Happy: The Party of OnesSingle & Happy: The Party of Ones by J. Victoria Sanders

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Back in late 2011, I ran across the Single & Happy blog. WordPress.com had drawn me in, but I started looking at various tags including dating. Lots were people talking about current dates and especially the horror that is online dating web sites. Single & Happy was a better, maturer different.

My only other experiences with blog writers who publish a book is to collect the best blog posts, give them to an editor, maybe expand a bit upon them, and publish the collection. Instead we get an actual book influenced by prior work and so something new and exciting.

While not a single black woman, I am single and almost black. I strongly sympathize with the plight of attempting online dating. The dating stories seem eerily familiar. And the advice Victoria gives on being a friend to yourself is good advice. It happens I a friend posted on Facebook on why she hates the question, “Why are you single?” so I referenced a quote from this book.

Somehow after decades of being single, I think I am happy. Well, happy-ish. There is room for improvement. It is good to know there are others out there working on the same issues willing to talk about the challenges.

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