People become rich and successful because they work hard and make wise decisions (unless you’re a Kardashian-Jenner). Each day brings new challenges they have to overcome in order to improve* their careers and achieve their goals.
Being successful in business doesn’t necessarily mean a person has equal success with other aspects of life. While it’s easy to assume rich people have it easy with relationships, the latest study showed otherwise.
Rich People And Relationships
Associate professor of psychology at the University of Waterloo, Igor Grossman, and his team of researchers carried out a study whose objective was to examine the link between social classes and reasoning. The goal was to investigate how people of different socioeconomic status deal with relationships in their lives.
Note that the term relationship here doesn’t automatically indicate a romance, it can also refer to friends, coworkers, and family members.
Before the beginning of the study, scientists hypothesized that class is inversely linked to a propensity for using wise reasoning in interpersonal situations. Wise reasoning refers to the ability to recognize limits of their knowledge, consider the world in flux and change, and acknowledge and integrate different perspectives.
Grossman and his team conducted an online survey which included 2145 people from different parts of the United States. In addition to the survey, scientists carried out in-person interviews with about 300 residents of one county in Michigan area.
Each experiment, survey, and interviews, gathered people from different socioeconomic backgrounds and financial status ranging from nonworking people and low-income households to middle- and upper-class citizens.
Participants were asked to recall some recent experiences in their lives or to think about some hypothetical situations that involved coworkers and friends. Additionally, they had to answer questions which helped scientists determine how much participants engaged in wise reasoning.
Published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, results showed that person’s who aren’t rich tend to make wiser decisions in terms of relationships with other people.
Five Aspects Of Reasoning
In order to determine the quality of relationship-related decisions that people make, scientists evaluated five aspects of wise reasoning, such as:
- Look at things from someone else’s viewpoint i.e. the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes
- Recognize that the world is in flux and situations can unfold in multiple ways i.e. that your way isn’t necessarily the right (and only) way
- Recognize the other side’s perspective in argument i.e. accept someone else’s opinion
- Search for ways to compromise and resolve conflicts
- Practice intellectual humility or recognize their knowledge has limitations
Why Are Rich People Bad At Relationships?
Findings revealed that higher social class can weigh individuals down by undermining their ability to reason wisely. Affluent persons achieved their success through hard work and great decision-making, but they don’t have necessary skills that allow them to reason wisely about interpersonal conflicts.
Previous studies showed that rich people tend to be more narcissistic and they draw happiness from their own accomplishments rather than strong relationships with other people. Grossman explained that findings show a lack of social structure and mobility in the US society. Scientists advise well off to take a third-person mindset from time to time in order to be wiser and function better with friends and family.
The latest study showed that rich people don’t make good relationship decisions compared to persons from lower socioeconomic status. Several explanations could play a role including the fact they don’t adopt the third-person mindset and they obtain happiness from their accomplishments while decreasing* the value of relationships with friends, family, and coworkers.
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