Socially, my life has been a little empty lately. I finally spent the day with my best friend, who hesitantly informed me that one of my three friends, who hasn’t been talking to me much, doesn’t like me anymore. She decided she doesn’t like me because she thinks that I think I’m better than everyone else because I’m very smart.
I am very smart, and I know that. It’s endangered a lot of my relationships in the past for that exact reason. Historically, I’ve made a very concerted effort to make sure that everyone knows I think they’re just as important and smart as I am. I always ask others questions and put them before myself, and do my best to validate all of their feelings and make them feel special.
The problem is, at my school, I have a reputation: I’m that really smart, really successful girl. And people make assumptions about people who excel. People assume that I’m cocky, stuck up, and think I’m better than everyone else (I don’t). The same applies to really beautiful girls, really athletically talented girls, amazing singers, anyone who’s amazing at anything. We assume these people think they’re better than we are because we think they’re better than we are.
As humans, we tend to think that people who are “better than we are” at certain things agree that they are better in general. We resent these people both out of jealousy and our perception that they feel superior. We choose to ignore, insult, or avoid these types of people; I’ve done it, too. Although people are against judging others, we find it perfectly acceptable to judge those we deem better than us.
The truth is though, even celebrities and world-class athletes and writers and scientists and doctors are people too. They deal with exactly the same feelings and thoughts as everyone else. Chances are, they don’t think they’re better than everyone else; they actually just want to belong and be accepted and loved, as all humans do.
From my experience, being exceptionally smart has obviously been a huge advantage, and will get me far in life, and I’m so grateful that I was born with the gift of intelligence. At the same time, though, my success and intelligence has isolated me from a lot of people. People judge me before they’ve met me. My intelligence coupled with my shyness makes people think I’m stuck up and think I’m above them, and that’s made a lot of relationships fall apart for me.
I’m by no means complaining about my gift; I wouldn’t give up my brain for the world. It’s just important to note that people with special gifts also do struggle from stereotyping and judging that most people would never even think about.
So before you judge a person as being stuck-up, cocky, superficial, aloof, or self-absorbed simply because of their gifts and success, remember: maybe, like me, they’re just looking for friends and people to belong with, and they’re struggling to in their own way, just like everyone else.