3/9/15: Advantage or Disadvantage?

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.

6 thoughts on “3/9/15: Advantage or Disadvantage?

  1. Hope you’ve been well! Good to see you’re still writing.
    What you’re talking about here I see as a really tough one. In one respect while you may not be meaning to seem to do those things, unfortunately perception is reality. Have struggled with similar things myself although at your age, from memory you’re 16, I was labelled a “ladies man” despite being comfortable with talking to girls and not actually having many, if any girlfriends.

    To this day some people that I run into from high school remember those days and although it is what it is, reflecting I realise that in my situation I probably did contribute to this reputation. While I’m not suggesting that you are adding to people’s perception of you, people are likely to judge those who are different to them, be that through fear, jealousy or a combination of both.

    It’s through this hopefully you’ll discover your true friends however a thing I’ve adopted is people being able to give me honest feedback on the way I’m perceived. These are close friends and while I don’t always take it on board if I hear the same types of feedback I ask, what would make me seem less like that trait. Doesn’t mean I’ll definitely adjust the behavior but would at least consider it..

    Wow long comment there :O, my bad!

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    1. You bring up an excellent point, and after reading your comment this morning I’ve been thinking about it a lot. To your point, I think it would be wise for me to start stepping back and analyzing my own behavior, especially around this particular friend, and seeing if I am acting in such a way that makes me come off in a different way than I intend to. Thank you for the thoughtful comment, you always inspire me to look at things in a different way!

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  2. Throughout most of my school life, I’ve been the smart and successful one. However, for the past three years, I have “moved down the ranks” (so to speak) after moving to a much more academic select-entry school. I’ve found myself judging people (out of jealousy, unfortunately), who are successful, and your post reminded me that they too are people, just like me and everyone else. Thank you for this reminder! 🙂

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    1. Of course! I do the exact same thing all the time, and I forget that everyone is just a person, too. I know everyone does it, and it’s just something we have to try to be conscious of. Thank you!

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  3. Reading this is absolutely like looking into a mirror! Especially the part about people judging you before they meet you, but in my case, I think it’s mostly because I’m different than my peers in almost every aspect. Unlike you, I’m known as the socially awkward loner. I’ve known my current classmates for two and a half years now, but I still don’t know most of them and they just ignore me or treat me like a doormat. I hope you don’t experience the same stuff as I do, even though I got used to it and no longer care. I really enjoyed this article, good luck writing more of such awesome stuff!

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    1. I certainly hope you are doing alright! I think it’s always the outliers who people judge without getting to know, regardless of how they are different. I hope you are able to find people like you and aren’t always ignored. I know how hard being lonely can be. I know I’m a stranger from the internet, but if you ever need anything, advice or support, my email is in my about section. Thanks for reading and for the feedback!

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