2) Intelligence Levels and Social Awkwardness
3) Drivers of Social Awkwardness
3A) Low Extroversion
3B) High Intellect
3C) Complex Speaking Style
4) Optimizing Your Charm
5) Career Options
6) Relevant Reading
7) Further Reflections
7A) Illimitable Man
It is often the case that geniuses are socially awkward; intelligent, yet at the same time incompetent when it comes to charming other people.
Fictional TV shows have been created making fun of this dynamic (see The Big Bang Theory’s main character Sheldon).
Anecdotally, we have all met at least one man intelligent enough to be capable of doing calculus in his head, but who is incapable of simply asking a woman out on a date.
2) Intelligence Levels and Social Awkwardness:
IQ of 120
Smart and socially normal. 90th percentile intelligence.
IQ of 130
Extremely smart and significantly socially awkward. Will have some difficulty charming most people. 98th percentile intelligence.
IQ of 140+
Genius, and hopelessly socially awkward. Will have difficulty charming almost everyone. 99th percentile intelligence.
At an IQ of 130 you are a bridge between geniuses and normal people; you are smart enough to understand the complex things a genius says, and also dumb enough to be capable of learning how to charm normal people.
3) Drivers of Social Awkwardness:
There is of course the question; why are exceptionally intelligent people bad at charming others?
It boils down to 3 things: low extroversion, high intellect, and complex speaking style.
3A) Low Extroversion:
It seems to be the case that IQ and extroversion correlate negatively; most high IQ people are introverted.
Many people perceive low extroversion (particularly low enthusiasm) to be a sign of unfriendliness, when in truth it just indicates a lack of dopamine fueled positive emotion.
The low enthusiasm displayed by many people with IQs of 130+ often causes people to perceive they are unfriendly.
Note: The Big 5 Personality Trait ‘Extroversion’ can be broken down into 2 sub-traits: Assertiveness and Enthusiasm.
It seems to be the case that IQ and Enthusiasm correlate negatively, while the correlation between IQ and Assertiveness is zero.
3B) High Intellect
IQ and Openness (particularly the sub-trait ‘Intellect’) correlate very strongly.
What this means is that high IQ people tend to be interested in abstract ideas, far moreso than most people.
This can often cause some awkwardness when it comes to making conversation; the person with an IQ of 130+ wants to talk about abstract topics such as international monetary policy, Overton windows shifting, and Nietzsche’s theories of Master and Slave Morality. Most people find conversation about such topics to be boring at best and awkward at worst.
Those of roughly average intelligence (a majority of the population) find topics about more banal topics to be interesting; the local football team, the upcoming holiday season, Kardashians.
Note that most Americans do know who Kim Kardashian is, while only a minority know who Nietzsche is.
3C) Complex Speaking Style
High IQ people tend to have a complex speaking style; they use big words and complex sentence structures. However, most members of the population with roughly average IQs talk with small words and simple sentence structures.
When a high IQ person uses big words and complex sentence structures when talking to an average IQ person (most of the population), it may annoy the average IQ person. It could also lead to miscommunication; the high IQ person said something the average IQ person either outright did not understand, or thinks they understood but actually misinterpreted.
4) Optimizing Your Charm:
Fear not; if you’re an extremely high IQ person who is socially awkward, your ability to charm people can be improved. You simply need to develop 2 different modalities of interacting with others, 2 masks.
One can be your real self; low enthusiasm (introverted), makes conversation about abstract intellectual topics, and talks with complex sentence structure.
This ‘real self’ mask can be worn whenever you are alone, or talking to another extremely high IQ person; you naturally mirror them, and so they will be charmed by you.
You must also proactively craft a ‘Social Representative’ mask; this is an inauthentic version of yourself that will appeal to most people (the masses with their roughly average IQs).
This Social Representative mask should be extroverted (high enthusiasm), talk with simple sentences and small words, and be able to make conversation about the banal topics that interest most people (the weather, the Kardashians, etc).
For the sake of dumbing down the way you talk, you will have to omit some complexity, nuance, and information from what you say; so be it.
If you are naturally introverted (low enthusiasm), one thing that helps temporarily boost enthusiasm is caffeine. Be warned, caffeine also has the negative side effect of increasing neuroticism.
5) Career Options:
If you have an IQ in the range of 120 – 129 (you are smart but not socially awkward), it would be wise to enter a profession where both technical skills and people skills matter; Finance, Law, and Sales are all examples. You have both the intelligence and social skills needed to succeed there.
If you have an IQ of 140+, you should enter a profession where technical skills are critical and people skills are as irrelevant as possible; engineering and quantitative trading (hedge funds) are examples. Don’t enter a profession where great social skills are critical (Sales); you are too awkward to succeed there.
At an IQ of 130 – 139, you’re somewhere in the middle.
6) Relevant Reading:
TLDR: Extremely high IQ people often fail to make it into elite professions that require a high IQ, because they’re socially awkward. They can’t pass job interviews and play office politics.
TLDR: The average IQ of a corporate executive is 115; they are smart but not geniuses.
7) Further Reflections:
7A) Illimitable Man:
“Being smart makes socialising harder, you have to learn how to talk like a moron (like Trump) to talk to average people, and use cunning and ego rather than logic (your primary way of thinking) in order to be psychologically attractive to women. Dumb people do this automatically.”
“I know how to talk to people that don’t value intelligence…Necessary life skill. If you say “smart sounding shit” to idiots, they think you’re an idiot.”
“If you’re high IQ, low intelligence people will think you’re crazy/stupid. Why? They cannot understand the meaning behind any of your words.”
“99/100 times we will wager that someone with numeric skills (enough to become a quant or high-level engineer) has social issues. They consistently use logic to explain *emotional* behavior of humans…out of frustration they end up being outcasts, particularly when it comes to dating.” -WSP, Efficiency
“No need for a Rabbi. You really just need to be certain you have strong social skills.
If you’re the guy who got a 4.0, 7 internships… but you are extremely introverted… You’re going to struggle and will not be in the position for a promotion. (Always exceptions). You will likely get ranked at the top performance wise and get mediocre attitude assessments at best. Again, if you are not a likable cool person… It’s going to mean more hours, more face time and likely less pay. (Pi-day sums it up pretty well, more work less pay less options)
The real person to fear within your associate/analyst class is the guy/girl who is somehow able to be part of a frat/sorority and maintains great grades and networks like a champ.
Bet on that guy/girl 100 times out of 100.”