Guess Who's Horrible at Relationships? Rich People, a New Study Says

Guess Who's Horrible at Relationships? Rich People, a New Study Says

Mo' money, mo' problems. 

By Marianne Garvey

You can possess anything you want, but you can’t keep a friend. Rich people problems.

A new study says that people who have tons of dough have trouble in their relationships. According to psychologists at the University of Waterloo, being of a higher social class is linked to a lower ability to deal with interpersonal conflicts. 'Have money' equals 'make it go away.'

Research says the lack of people skills is because, although they're usually well-educated, rich people don’t have deep wisdom when it comes to feelings and empathy in relationships. What the rich subjects lacked? A person’s ability to recognize that the world is in flux, the inability to see different perspectives, and zero-to-low levels of intellectual humility.

The psychologists write:

“While higher-class individuals may enjoy the cognitive benefits of status, those same environments may constrain their ability or motivation to reason wisely. Conversely, limited resources and other threats associated with lower class environments may promote wise reasoning about interpersonal affairs, enabling greater vigilance and management of uncertainty associated with such environments.”

A two-part study was done to determine the results: In the first, 2,145 people from “different socio-economic backgrounds were asked to recall recent conflicts they had with a friend or in the workplace, then judge whether or not they engaged in one of the five aspects of what the authors describe as the wise reasoning style.”

In the second study, 299 people from Michigan who came from working or middle-class backgrounds were asked to go over “Dear Abby” letters and asked how they thought the situation developed after the letter was sent, why that happened, and what they think the people looking for advice should do.

The results?

Across both studies, people from higher classes were bad at “wisdom reasoning,” because rich people surrounded by other rich people aren’t often in a position where their success hinges on collaborating and cooperating. So when conflict enters the relationship, they don’t know how to deal and often bail.

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