So you've traveled the world, acquired a lifetime of adventure and come back home to tell everybody about it. But actually, nobody wants to hear about your extraordinary experience, and new research from Harvard University suggests it's psychologically healthier to stay ordinary.

"Extraordinary experiences are pleasurable in the moment but can leave us socially worse off in the long run," says psychologist Gus Cooney of Harvard University, who authored a new study in the journal Psychological Science. In a news release, Cooney said he was inspired by conversations he's had with others. We've all been there: Everybody's happily talking about Game of Thrones, and then some dope comes over to talk about his hike across the Gobi Desert. Yeah. Interesting. Wow.

Cooney devised a study that mimics these same conditions. Groups of four participants watched a video. One person watched an exciting video of a talented street magician. Three watched a boring cartoon. Then they sat in a room and talked for five minutes about whatever they wanted. At the end of it, the magician viewers in the groups reported feelings of isolation. The others — even though their video was less interesting — were perfectly happy afterward.

Here's the strange part: Nobody in the groups predicted this. The majority thought the person who watched the more interesting video would be the center of attention and leave happiest. "The participants in our study mistakenly thought that having an extraordinary experience would make them the star of the conversation," Cooney said. "But they were wrong, because to be extraordinary is to be different than other people, and social interaction is grounded in similarities."

So what does this mean? Should we not hike the Gobi Desert, stay home, avoid the best restaurants and keep to the mundane and unenlightened? Ultimately, Cooney says, the question is about happiness. If you are doing something epic and life-changing because you think it will make you happy, this research paper suggests that it may not.

"When choosing between experiences, don't just think about how they will feel when they happen — think about how they will impact your social interactions," Cooney says. "If an experience turns you into someone who has nothing in common with others, then no matter how good it was, it won't make you happy in the long run."

Source: G. Cooney, D.T. Gilbert and T.D. Wilson. The Unforeseen Costs of Extraordinary Experience. Psychological Science. 2014.