Knowledge@Wharton reports on the intriguing, but perhaps rather disturbing, findings of Professor Maurice Schweitzer's latest research. Schweitzer has studied how people perceive others who appear to be very happy people. He explains the conclusions from the research:
The pursuit of happiness is deeply embedded in our national thinking. Yet sometimes people who are very happy are exactly the kinds of people who are exploited. That’s what we document in our research, where we look at people who are very happy. If they seem more happy than baseline happiness — people who are very happy, always chipper, always upbeat — they strike us as naive. We found that link consistently. One of the most robust findings in our research is that people see very happy individuals as naive, and in our last couple of studies we found that people are more likely to exploit those individuals.
I don't think the implication is that we should be less happy, or stop presenting ourselves as satisfied and content with our lives, jobs, etc. However, perhaps we need to open our eyes a bit, and recognize that others may perceive us as naive at times. Unfortunately, some people may try to take advantage of perceived naivete.