When People Find Your Intellect Intimidating — A Guide For Gifted Women

photo courtesy of Sabrina May, Unsplash

You don’t do it on purpose.

Intimidate people.

You’re just being you.

In fact, you’re holding back. Slowing down. Smiling. Being gracious. Stifling your curiosity and your perceptions. Carefully selecting from the scores of effervescent thoughts that continuously swirl around in your brain.

If they only knew how much you’re NOT showing.

Oh, boy.

And yet, you still scare them.

If they only knew that you just love to learn. You just love reading and research. You’re a pacifist, for heaven’s sake. You slept with the dictionary when you were five. (Unless, of course, your dictionary was on your phone. Then, you slept with Charlotte’s Web and Darwin’s Origin of the Species. But I digress.) How is that scary?

You’re not out to humiliate anyone or prove that you’re a superior being.

It’s just your nature to think a lot, to feel a lot, and to know a lot.

It’s not your fault.

So, you want to know how to be less intimidating?

That’s tricky.

It may not be in your control. It may not actually be necessary. But here are some suggestions, just in case. See if any fit for you.

If you’re interrupting folks with your creative ideas, let them finish before you share your thoughts; imagine designing the next electric car while you’re waiting. If you’re showing how bored you are at meetings when no one can agree on the obvious solution that you shared at the beginning of the meeting, bring your knitting or the New York Times crossword to stay occupied. Let people have their bad grammar and their mixed metaphors; the world will probably not end. Explore various ways to communicate with individuals based on their capacity to receive your insights and view it as a playful intellectual puzzle; there will be some people who won’t be reachable no matter what you do. Exercise your love of debate by running for office. Look for the humor in any situation as a way to entertain yourself and plan your memoir.

If you’ve grown up thinking that you need to be perfect, begin to unravel that belief; your vulnerability will be appealing to others. Feed relatives your terrible cooking. Invite friends to your messy house. Play games that you can’t win. Don’t hide your klutziness. Ask for help from people you trust.

Know that your rainforest-y peeps are out there and they will not be intimidated; they will be thrilled. Keep looking for them.

What I really want to tell you is that as you experience humans finding you scary and intimidating, you may need to accept that not everyone can handle life in the jungle. It’s pretty intense in there with all of those 2,500 different species of vines and 10,000 species of ants. It can be kind of scary, intimidating and overwhelming.

Even to you.

But, remember.

The rainforest also keeps everyone breathing. You are needed and wondrous just as you are. 

(Note: Just in case some of you might be inclined to misinterpret me, I’m not saying that you should change who you are for people who are intimidated. Noooooo. I’m just giving you some suggestions that might help make life easier for you in particular situations where you need them. As you know, I support you in being the fabulous radiant rainforest-y darling that you are. That’s what my blog is all about!!)

___________________________

To my dear bloggEEs: Are people intimidated by your intelligence? Have you found any good solutions? How would this post be different if it were the smart man’s guide? How would it be the same? I think gifted men also scare people, but differently. I wonder if the issue for gifted men is more that they can’t show their sensitivity. What do you say, dear readers? Thank you to the bloggEEs who inspired this post. And men, I promise a post just for you, soon.

 

 


Related Posts

Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

151 responses to “When People Find Your Intellect Intimidating — A Guide For Gifted Women”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. Gigi Avatar
    Gigi

    I experience this all the time. I do not consider myself gifted with intelligence, my IQ is above average. I went to college and completed a bachelor’s degree. I find myself in situations where I feel I need to dummy down so others are comfortable. One older gentlemen would constantly say how smart I am and would say to my boyfriend how smart I am, always loudly, in front of many people and I would be embarrassed.

    I love this article. Thank you!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      You are welcome, Gigi. Keep reading! There is more.


    2. June Avatar
      June

      Wow, for a minute I was wondering if I wrote this myself! I feel exactly the same way. I know my IQ is in the gifted range, but it’s at the bottom of the gifted range, so I don’t consider myself that smart. People do tell me I am smart all the time, and it actually kind of confuses me. I think anything I can do is obvious and easy, so I actually worry about people thinking I am dumb. I also cannot understand why they cannot see things that seem so obvious. Although looking back on what I just wrote, I seem to have trouble with that, too!


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        If you read more of my blog, June, you will see that many RFMs do not acknowledge the actual level of their intelligence. And one reason is, like you say, if something is easy for you, you think it’s easy for everyone, so you are not all that smart. In fact, things that are easy/obvious to you, may actually be difficult for others.


  2. Carol Avatar
    Carol

    I’ve always felt like I was the wrong shape being crammed into the wrong hole in that kids dexterity puzzle. So I have used a hammer on myself over and over again … because I am the common denominator in every one of my less then stellar human interactions. It doesn’t work, I actually like the tools that I use in my world, I am confident and comfortable with them and they work with a high degree of accuracy and effectiveness. I find myself debating whether my mind can actually do what it does frequently … especially with Alpha male. I just had yet another complaint from a suitor that I overthink … his exact phrase was that he feels like he is under a microscope … and I just had an epiphany … I am probably the microscope … but I am just observing to optimize the connection and our relationship. Nothing sinister in it … unfortunately now I can see that it feels controlling. I was once told there is never a casual conversation with me by an Army boss of mine … I think he is also correct. Data has infinite uses … the more you have the better the decision making with the most accuracy. In my dating world, this is a nightmare waiting to happen.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I’m sure others will relate to what you say here, Carol. My guess is there are some people who will love your curiosity about them. Who will feel seen under your microscope. Look for those people!


      1. Carol Avatar
        Carol

        Can we start a dating site …. finding each other is hard … especially when your services (unbiased analytical feedback) are in high demand. I know it’s a jungle but finding other unicorns in the mix makes the world around me present like a kindred spirit desert. Maybe a retreat … I think I would pay handsomely for that.


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Others have made that request, Carol. It would be a HUGE undertaking. Even though it is needed and a great idea, I am not wanting to take it on. You??


  3. A K Avatar
    A K

    One thing I’ve noticed recently is that some people find asking a lot of questions makes them feel like they’re being interrogated. I try not to lead the answers, so there can be a lot of why, why, why, when I’m trying to get deeper into someone’s thinking. I’m more aware of when someone might have had enough now 😂

    Also, some people find me having a different opinion threatening – like I’m challenging them personally rather than their ideas. Again, I’m trying to be more sensitive to that, but usually those are people it’s best not to have those conversations with at all (or just keep it very top level).


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yes, AK. It’s hard when you are just curious and wanting depth and the person is uncomfortable or threatened or overwhelmed. Yes, it helps to find other RFMs who will love your depth and questions!


  4. Do Not Stop Caring–Fifteen Reminders For Tender-Hearted Smart People | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] not stop caring. If you have been told that the feminine thing to do is to be quiet and look pretty. (Are we still saying that in 2021?) Give that little child in […]


  5. Yusi Avatar
    Yusi

    Hola. En mi país, nos dicen “mandonas”, a las mujeres con un poco de liderazgo y eso no es bueno. No sé si soy muy inteligente, pero tus palabras me dan tranquilidad, toda la vida me he sentido como bicho raro, no encajo en ningún sitio y siempre estoy sola. Los prejuicios aquí dicen que estar sola implica que soy una persona fea, que nadie me acepta. Ahora entiendo que no es así, podría ser solo que soy diferente, pero no un bicho raro, hay más cómo yo y eso me da tranquilidad. Incluso pensé que sufría de depresión, aunque si he experimentado ansiedad. Consulté con un psicólogo y me ha dicho que definitivamente no tengo depresión. Seguiré buscando quién soy y buscando ayuda. Por ahora he tenido que ceder mi lugar con el psicólogo a personas que verdaderamente la están pasando mal por la contingencia.
    Gracias, nuevamente por tus comentarios.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Hola Yusi. Thank you for sharing.


  6. Domrie Avatar
    Domrie

    I just found myself in your article. Word for tragic word! I don’t think I really have any desire to change, because 1) I am truly happy and entertained by my own curiosity, 2) I am desperately uncomfortable around people anyway, unless I’m sharing something I’ve learned, which never really ends well because they get that glazed over look and make me feel insignificant or overwhelming, and 3) I rarely find anyone who I have much in common with and when I do, I also find them to be overbearing and annoying. There are times when the ostracism still hurts. I already cognitively identify with a lot of the tips you gave, as I have learned them over a lifetime of trying to fit in, but now that I’m comfortable in my own skin, I don’t practice them anymore. Still, it would be really nice to be included and understood. I’ve learned to just keep to myself and stay quiet. Of course, they interpret this as moodiness or conceit then proceed to talk about it amongst themselves. If they only knew. My ex husband loved this about me and was always very proud of me but he often said my overthinking was exhausting sometimes.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, Domrie. Good to be “entertained by [your] own curiosity.”


  7. Aakash Avatar
    Aakash

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I have felt like I was almost gaslighting myself around this issue in my life, thinking that there was something physically or socially repulsive about me in certain situations and relationships.

    It has been helpful for me to reframe the visual and emotional connotations of the word “intimidation” and “scared”. When people are feeling intimidated or scared, they may not visually exhibit those emotions in a clearly defined or expected way. However, they will show it through their actions (escaping, flaking, lack of reciprocity, etc).

    I’m not trying to change myself to make other people feel more comfortable around me. Rather, I recognize that being myself and being part of a community is a forever negotiated process, where there are opportunities for growth and growing out of ways of being.

    It is tough, sometimes, to bite my tongue and quietly listen when I see the obvious solution or way forward. In these moments, however, I have found that I can learn about the way others think and see the world, and that in itself is valuable.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      This makes a lot of sense, Aakash. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  8. Ricky Bobby Avatar
    Ricky Bobby

    Hit me so hard I forgot the gender of the writer. This was after almost passing on the article due to my own gender. Hopefully this helps answer your question about female to male translation.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for sharing!


  9. stanglifestyle Avatar
    stanglifestyle

    💚My husband says he fell in love with me bc I’m so different but I tell him being different means people are scared of me. I’ve had to play myself down in work environments because people become threatened by me.

    Our society is not created for gifted people.


    1. bethplanetbethcom Avatar
      bethplanetbethcom

      I so agree. When I am feeling especially estranged, and because I don’t have any truly close friends for support/encouragement, I look outward for inspiration from those who have blazed their own trail. It could be in any line of work or endeavor. Like their autobiographies especially, I’ve found inspiring. Right now, I’m reading Henry Ford’s ‘My Life and Work’. It is SO fantastic. He clearly was a gifted and unusually farsighted man. I picked the book up at my library on a whim, because I didn’t know a thing about Ford from his own hand. And I’m so glad that I did. He basically invented a whole new system of manufacturing. He had his share of enemies and doubters. A constant stream of them, as a matter of fact.


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Autobiographies. Yes! Thanks, Beth.


    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      It sounds like you have a husband who gets you. Yes? And still, it’s hard to be gifted and in relationships. Thank you for sharing, stanglifestyle.


      1. stanglifestyle Avatar
        stanglifestyle

        My husband loves me quite a bit. He sees my giftedness as a super-power (so to say) 😛 He never quite understands why I’ve struggled in the workforce, or why supervisor after supervisor just want me to get the job done and not ask so many questions about bigger pictures. I’ve been enjoying your blog and am glad I stumbled upon it. It relates to most of my life.


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          I’m so glad you’re here, stanglifestyle. As you read more, you’ll see how others struggle at work in similar ways.


  10. Meredith Avatar
    Meredith

    I am actually always afraid people will think I am stupid! I have often gotten comments from people that I am very intelligent, but I worry nonetheless. I never really know if something I have done or said is smart or not, because if it was easy or obvious for me, maybe it’s just easy or obvious!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      That’s a challenge, Meredith. Understanding that if it’s obvious to you, it may not be obvious/easy for someone else. It can be hard to discern.


  11. medbright14 Avatar
    medbright14

    Oh my query is how do I get support from others if they can’t understand my ideas(business concepts). Recently I designed a conglomerate business model. Now I have tried to reach out to people but every one tells me it’s a paradox because the individual businesses involved cross over different sectors such as banking/finance, retail, market entry, manufacturing, etc. There are about 15 companies all integrated to support one another and also serve the public. I know I can’t build all 15 at once n it will require step by step building bt i do need someone who can at least understand my vision or give me direction. I have reached out to some people online but no body replies. Now am thinking am stuck bcuz this is something that I want to implement, it will keep me busy for a while and I can also expand on it. Plus it’s going to change the lives of people in some way on the entire African continent. What advise would you suggest. Please note that I don’t have any MBA or degree, I am a healthy ENTJ who loves design n how to bring different things together to work in synchronicity. Any help will be much appreciated.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I’m not sure that I can help much with this, medbright14. One thought is to keep looking for other RFMs so that you can find someone who will understand your model.

      There is a book Rebels at Work by Carmen Medina and Lois Kelly. They talk about how people can improve systems at their workplace. Not what you’re asking but I wonder if you went to their site and contacted them, whether they’d have ideas for you. They are both very smart and compassionate. You could tell them I suggested it! They also have a community of “rebels.” You might see if there are some people there who would have ideas.


      1. medbright14 Avatar
        medbright14

        Thanks Paula, just needed that kind of confidence and advise. I hope they can also help me understand how really my mind works so that I can understand myself more. Thank you again. Cheers


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          For how your mind works, you might look for articles by Jennifer Harvey Sallin on http://www.intergifted.com. Some of what she writes might be helpful.


          1. medbright14 Avatar
            medbright14

            Thanks Paula, I was at their site, intergifted. I identified myself as a High+ Gifted based on what they explained. It also led to a coaching program that I will make a plan for. Afew years ago, the gifts “activated” n my life froze, I wasn’t running the show anymore,😂 something else was but it took me to a place where I dealt with my past trauma and depression, without any sort of therapy, just reading things so that I could fix myself. And I did come through n that’s wen my creativity boosted n my mind began racing. I somehow started being aware things I found “peculiar” abt me. I was a smart ass/rebel before the “holistic” intervention…hehehehe bt no its just…cant find the word to use. I have accepted that am gifted and somehow grown into a better version of myself, just sorting out what exactly my mind is and how it works so that I can have the progress/fulfillment that I desire.
            Nevertheless am grateful that I found others like me through ur blogs.


  12. medbright14 Avatar
    medbright14

    Hi mi and Paula,
    I am male bt get exactly what @mi is saying. That is the case with me although it nolonger bothers me as it used to. The thing u have to understand is that those people are NEVER ever going to understand you and they might never ever have multiple perspectives like you do. And yes, we want to protect those being misunderstood because we are always being misunderstood, it’s within our code. My revelation came wen my pals were drunk n yet somehow alcohol doesn’t affect me like it does for them, lol. So I pushed the guys into opening up to tell me how they perceived me. Hehehehehehehe, sorry I had to laugh 1st,it was quite a shock. These guys were like pleading with me to take it down a notch or three. They said things that I was oblivious to n I came to understand their limitations and why they don’t get me. Am not saying that they are innocent, no these guys tend to want to manipulate me, selfishly push me for insights and all n wen I refuse they act up “funny”, among other things. So just b thankful for ur high+ gifts (read it all on Intergifted) and know that u r 1:1m n continue to support those that are being misunderstood. I analyzed all the thinking patterns of my pals n saw how far back they are so wen they do “silly n funny” things I know input their actions and deduce their reasons/reactions to being absent minded to their intelligence. So they are doing things that they don’t understand n can’t explain why they do what they do. If u confront them ul see that u overwhelm them n they don’t want to admit to you that they don’t click wat u saying in fear u will judge them harshly.

    I hope av put some light on it. Remember that what you think is NORMAL to you is….. I can’t find the word…let me use extreme though I feel that would be also extreme, hehehehehe(having fun). I am African, I live in Uganda n people here live by traditions n small egos n very single minded though they are very good people, so u can imagine what I deal with. People misidentify me to be “white” or not Ugandan/African which is rather sad. Cheers and thanks to Paula for this RFM analogy, it’s quite brilliant, make it be felt by the world bcuz u r on point n very honest in ur explanations. We love you and thank God/The Universe for you. Mwaaaah


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for being here, medbright14, and for letting us know you’re in Uganda. I’m always curious to hear how folks around the world are experiencing their giftedness. It’s so hard to be with people who can’t understand your more complex thinking processes. I’m glad that you’ve found us and that the analogy works for you!


    2. Meredith Avatar
      Meredith

      That’s interesting that they can’t explain why they do what they do. I often wonder about that. I believe that I am pretty perceptive about others’ motivations , and my own. probably less aware of my own than I would like to be, but I try. What I observe is that it seems that the vast majority of people never really look at themselves and therefore have no idea why they do the things they do. Which is a shame, because if people don’t acknowledge why they do things, they can’t change the things that need changing, e.g. violent or abusive behavior.


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Yes, I wish all people would do more self-examination. Inner work. Thanks for sharing, Meredith.


  13. mi Avatar
    mi

    Hi, I came to your site trying to find something about when others don’t seem to have the capacity to being open to see an alternate perspective in the way that someone with an extremely rainforest mind operates. So instead, they mis-label and make assumptions based on what they think they see or know – which ends up creating very derogatory situations.

    Please forgive that it’s difficult to explain this abstract concept, but I’ve found that others don’t often have the ability to see dimensionally-alternate perspectives, sometimes which are at a more holistic ‘level’ (for lack of a better word). And that attempts to shift those perspectives, or address it even by explaining that’s not what’s meant – or trying to inform that the derogatory perspective of what the person is saying is being based on inaccurate assumptions – fail, and lead to further derogatory situations.

    I’ve done all the self-examination and while I know where it goes awry, I’m also pretty certain my perspectives are valid, they’ve been externally reflected enough as accurate, over long enough time – and if others react to someone else the way they do to me, I recognize it and get to the core and try to help support the one being unheard or misjudged, seeing a larger, different view than it seems others get stuck in. (In other words, it’s not “just me in my own head.”) Even if, for example, there’s an instigating disrespectful behavior that the person is in fact reacting *to,* even if it’s something unusual about what they’re seeing or saying or asking, or how they’re saying it, I can identify that in the dynamic and see the “heart” of it all and what’s really going on, when others may be seeing only one aspect or misinterpreting the reaction.

    This concept of seeing things much more holistically and differently is very difficult to describe, but I think you may have discussed it somewhere…

    You (generic “you”) can’t know others’ capacity (and it’s not like this expression is on a scale that can be dialed up or down that way)… and just being authentic tends to lead into disaster. Even among others of intellect or gifts… If you even try to explain or bring awareness to a different dimensional perspective of situations, it’s taken very poorly. You could even justify the perspective with an in-depth fact-based play-by-play analysis of exactly what occurred, what misinterpretations or assumptions occurred when and where, and why, and how it went askew, and which way – but that of course also just negatively feeds the situation and is still seen as deserving of derogatory reaction.

    Because it isn’t a dial that you can change at-will, you don’t really know when you’re going to get into these situations until they’re already occurring and it’s too late. Which leads into feeling like it’s not possible to interact as the authentic self, as it becomes basically a vicious and crushing cycle of wrong, when that’s not even where it “comes from” in the first place. So interaction becomes something to avoid entirely. Not because you’re actually a jerk, but because what seems so obvious to you is basically on a different plane than how others tend to see things, and it’s not like it’s a “lower” plane that you can just jump onto and inhabit, but it’s simply conceptually altogether different but more limited and less open.

    Do you have a post about the different holistic vision and dynamics comprehension alignments?

    Thank you.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I don’t have a post that describes this so specifically. My explanations of misunderstandings are more general. I wonder if you’re coming from a highly/exceptionally gifted place where the differences are particularly noticeable. You might look for writing by Jennifer Harvey Sallin on http://www.intergifted.com or writing from Patricia Susan Jackson. They both write about people on the higher end of the spectrum, which may be what you’re describing. Perhaps someone reading will also comment here. Thank you for sharing.


      1. mi Avatar
        mi

        Thank you


  14. Antigone Avatar
    Antigone

    I would like some tips on how to talk to my adult son about his Rainforest Mind. He ticks all the boxes!! Many attempts to enlighten are treated as needing to lighten up as you say Paula. I would dearly like to pass on my learning.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Hard to know how to approach your son, Antigone. Do you know what they say about talking to young males? They do better when we aren’t looking directly at them. Better, for example, when we’re driving or playing a game and then more casually chatting while doing something else. Also, maybe you just share a blog post with him that seems particularly relevant. Or perhaps you talk about what you’re noticing for yourself and he’ll get curious. Maybe he’ll notice your changes and he’ll wonder how you’ve done it… Just a few thoughts. Maybe others will have some suggestions.


      1. Antigone Avatar
        Antigone

        Good points Paula. Thankyou.


  15. Antigone Avatar
    Antigone

    How lovely to find this blog! I am in my early 70s and so over being seen as “different” in regional settings my whole life. I rejected a mother who couldn’t “get” me and have struggled on since then. I have a son who is also a “rainforester”. I did a degree in my late 50s and loved it. Because I have struggled so with the ostracism it has taken me a long, long time to return to study as my home. I am about to begin post grad in writing and know it’s right!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      How great that you keep learning, Antigone! Very rainforest-y of you. 🙂 Glad you found us!


      1. Antigone Avatar
        Antigone

        And I you! Have ordered your book and can’t wait. 🙂


    2. bethplanetbethcom Avatar
      bethplanetbethcom

      That’s awesome, Antigone! I’m very much a supposed ‘late-bloomer’ myself. My career path, if you could call it that, resembles more a wandering path in a forest, than a straight and smooth sidewalk! I really do believe that it’s never too late to strike out toward the real ‘YOU’, despite apparent obstacles. We just have to change our strategies. I’m about to start a Paralegal Studies program part time this summer. After nearly 2 years of soul-searching and information gathering, this option appeals to me on different levels. Good luck to you!


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Of course, Beth, a RFM would walk a circuitous path. No sidewalks in the rainforest! Good to hear from you!


        1. bethplanetbethcom Avatar
          bethplanetbethcom

          Thanks Paula!


      2. Antigone Avatar
        Antigone

        Good to hear Beth. The real “you” truly is the journey after being lost in the forest and finding the path. And after long wanderings we do find a path if we have persistence – one of our traits ! Wishing you well.
        By the way I am in Australia and we need more “rainforest” stories here!!!


  16. sadiesins Avatar
    sadiesins

    I just wanted to say how grateful I was to find this post in the cyber world today, and to know there are other intelligent souls struggling to find human interaction without also sacrificing genuine self. I don’t know if it’s possible fully, but I’m glad to know at least it’s not a purely me problem.

    It is so difficult to turn it off when I’m in a group setting. I want to know the things people normally don’t want to share–my mind just digs away seeking the things that interest it–and I’m sure it’s not fun to feel like a bug under my microscope. I think it’s especially hard for women because in group settings we’re asked to be mirrors, to set the norms for each other and forever compare and conflict in some pointless, ancient ritual of social competitiveness. I compliment freely and get insecurity back because the ritual I think is pointless, others are living as truth. If you’re incapable of being a mirror because of willful spirit or lack of reflective empathy, you’re perceived as an outsider. And if you see you can simply use being a mirror to reveal the inner depths of another person’s vulnerability, they tend to freak and not enjoy that sort of interaction after the fact. But the other options seem to be talking about the weather, or random pop culture, or paint drying on the wall–or just words for the sake of words, even if they make no sense, but they just keep spilling from people’s mouths because they’re intimidated by the silence even more. So the game is to figure out what makes people tick while they talk about the mundane if only to give my brain something to keep it interested.

    It probably sounds sociopathic, but I’m pretty sure society is too flawed to be set as a norm of healthy behavior anyways. When you realize total strangers react with defensiveness whenever you speak, where every insecurity they have is suddenly about you because your existence feels like a threat to their perceptions of reality and security, or they try to turn you into the role of therapist or mirror or less than instead of just letting you be yourself… It’s a tiring existence, and being alone is so much easier. But I like to enjoy life with others some days. So thank you for the positive jungle spin on a rather difficult existence. It might not be the answer of how not to freak people out, but at least I feel less isolated in this particular problem.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I hear you, sadiesins. I’m so glad that you’re here. I’m sure other readers will appreciate what you’re saying here. You are not alone!


      1. sadiesins Avatar
        sadiesins

        Thank you, Paula. ^.^ What you’re doing for people is fantastic, and I really hope it has an impact.


  17. Gabriela Montoya-eyerman Avatar
    Gabriela Montoya-eyerman

    I know this is a post from a few months ago but I just think of that song now, “You might not like me”. It’s a pretty simple song but the message is not horrible.


  18. Linda Cai Avatar
    Linda Cai

    Haha I am usually the person who is intimidated by (me a female btw). It’s usually really not the other person’s fault. Cannot endorse more on sharing one’s vulnerability and initiating conversations if one wants to be less intimidating.

    Adding 1 data point: I usually get intimidated by people who are more knowledgeable in my subfield (which is Theoretical Computer Science), do not seem to have interest to speak to us lesser human being (the person has not granted me the right to speak with them — ahhhh), and refers often to their better-than-most record when others are struggling (e.g. a TA comforting us that he wrote his hw in 20 hours when he took the class, and takes 4-5h now to write a complete solution — when we just mentions a lot of people took 40-50 h).

    Really the problem is myself. Being in a subfield with a a large number of gold metal winners in competitions and geniuses, I often question whether I have passed the IQ gateway to be permitted to choose this field (I did not even get into Putnam top 500, which is a university level math competition). Anyone who seems to support the idea(in my head) that I am hitting the rock with an egg makes me intimidated.

    One day I will be a grown up and fix it! Meanwhile big thank you to those who have been caring enough to reduce their intimidation level!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sounds like a very competitive field that you’re in, Linda. I can see how it might be intimidating. Thanks for sharing your viewpoint.


      1. Linda Cai Avatar
        Linda Cai

        Thanks for your understanding! Most professors in my subfield are in fact surprisingly friendly, displaying very few intimidating behaviors. Even the phds attempt to be welcoming (my TA is too awkward to be of any success in this). Computer Security is probably the most competitive subfield in CS — for them it’s about who is the smartest. Fortunately it’s a proven fact that there are infinitely many math theorems. The difficulty comes from making any real contribution, and wondering if one can ever make any. I think I will be more confident once(if) I have actually figured something out :p.


  19. Yaz Ramos Avatar
    Yaz Ramos

    Eureka! I understand why I was recommended, by my supervisor, to be a better listener in my most recent job performance :p


  20. Heather D. Avatar
    Heather D.

    I was having a conversation with a friend just this morning about how I see my teenage daughter becoming isolated socially because of others being intimidated by her – so this blog discovery was very well timed! Because others find her intimidating acquaintances often do get to know the beautiful soul that she is – either by not approaching her, inviting her, etc – and this has made her lonely. I’ve encouraged her to reach out to others, be the “inviter”, etc. Realizing that others find her intimidating and that this is why others don’t approach her (rather than not liking her) has been helpful. I also see so many of the suggestions used by both her and me (she carries her bullet journal with her everywhere she goes, I observe human behavior and challenge myself to communicate in a way that creates stronger bonds as I found intellectualuzing all my conversations (knowing the outcomes of conversations before they happened and focusing on this) made me listen less to the others, which minimized the emotional aspect of relating with others. Rather than flexing my intellectual muscle in conversations, I am trying to exercise and build my emotional muscle. I find this makes me much less intimidating and connected to others.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I think you meant “don’t get to know….” Thank you for the suggestions Heather. And for sharing here.


  21. Sarah Avatar
    Sarah

    The one tactic not mentioned in the article is to discreetly plant your ideas in other people, especially before a group meeting type setting. Then they bring it up, you help flesh it out, and everybody wins. You may not get “credit” but you get to see the results in the end. (I’m mostly thinking of volunteer organizations here, not sure how it might backfire in paid employment.)


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for the idea, Sarah!


      1. kim wilbur Avatar
        kim wilbur

        Paula, reading this about not “getting credit” reminds me of a 3×5 card I kept above my desk, for umpteen years. I heard this quote and wrote it down for myself: “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do, if you don’t care who gets the credit”. I hope it’s true. I don’t know who said it, originally.


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Great quote, Kim. Thanks!


  22. Pascale Scheurer Avatar
    Pascale Scheurer

    Thank you for this Paula, it really resonates! It reminded me of a recent study that showed that if you are up to 30 IQ points above your peers, they respect you (e.g. as a boss), but more than that and they resent you. A boss with too high IQ is rejected. (I would expect this to be even more the case for women.)
    We discussed the findings in depth in our online Mensa FB group. It seemed a common experience. So in terms of how you deal with it, one suggestion could be that if you have an IQ of 160 you’d need to be hanging out with people of IQ 130+ (i.e. top 2% of general population) to not be resented. And of course you’d want to have people of IQ 190 around you to learn from too!


    1. Pascale Scheurer Avatar
      Pascale Scheurer

      The study is here. More precisely, it showed that “the optimal IQ for perceived leadership will appear at about 1.2 standard deviations above the mean IQ of the group” http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2017-14279-001


    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for sharing the study, Pascale. It makes sense!


  23. Sydney Avatar
    Sydney

    Paula, my eyes welled up with tears when I read your article. Wow! Everything you said was spot on. BUT by the time I was done reading, I was laughing! Those are some of the mechanisms I’ve had to use to survive. Does your book have more suggestions? And why do people have to be so easily intimidated and can’t be glad that others are curious about life? Thanks for publishing this!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yep. My book has many many suggestions! Thank you for crying and laughing with us. And for being here, Sydney.


  24. Erin Avatar
    Erin

    Wow, I do ALL of the things in that paragraph! I came to find info about my son (who is five) and now wonder if I shouldn’t be reading more about myself. Thanks so much for the information here; can’t wait to keep reading!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Glad you found us, Erin. Enjoy reading!


  25. Victoria Luckie Avatar
    Victoria Luckie

    My Grandma got me tested and identified as gifted as a child, and had the IQ of an adult at about 10 or 11. Or maybe 9 I can’t remember what the report said fully, only read it once and don’t have access to it now. I have a very difficult relationship with particularly my mother, brother and sister, who now either attempt to manipulate or lie to or about me (which I see through but not everyone does or asks), pump me for information (ditto), or who either speak to me as if I am a half-wit (which is pretty much how I consider them on the whole) or evil and intent on harming them (which is not the case). They have polluted many of my relationships with lies and secrecy and as a result I now find it very difficult to communicate with them. (My Mother is currently asking me to communicate via a partner in a top 100 law firm).

    My mother and brother either fabricate things or try and re-write facts and our history constantly and I find it stressful and exhausting.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this, Victoria. I write about coping with “chainsaw parents” and about psychotherapy that can help. If you use the search engine, you can find those posts. Maybe they’ll help. Thanks for sharing.


  26.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    I find often people either tend to try to pump me for information and suggestions (which they then do not give me credit for and execute badly as they don’t understand the neccessary steps to successfully implement them – sometimes with awful -in my view- consequenses). Or they just pump me for ideas and what they can get rather than thinking of asking about or trying to help with my needs. A few are not like this and those I tend to treasure.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I hear you, Anonymous. I’m glad that you’ve found some treasures!


  27. Sarah Avatar
    Sarah

    This is almost funny. My sister has always told me I intimidate people. I’ve always scoffed. Well, most of the time I’ve scoffed, there have been times when I’ve had to admit she had a point. But it wasn’t until I read this that I got it. You’re tips on managing it? Yep. That’s me. I quit correcting people’s grammar years ago, but I still interrupt with my ideas (working on that, it’s rude, I know but I get so excited) and I sit looking bored in PTA meetings while they ditther about whether we should do green or pink decorations for the next party. I’m guilty. And that kind of finally explains it, so thank you. I know you’re not trying to tell us to behave differently, I do get your point, but by giviing those examples, I feel like I can finallly see where I occasionally alienate people. I’ll probably still do it, because it’s not really conscious, but at least I understand it now.

    Interestlingly, this isn’t usually a problem with men. Well, it is wiith some men, I guess, but it’s more often a problem with women. I’m not particularly ambitious, at least in the worldly sense, so I’ve probably never been a threat to men at the office.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I do think the interrupting can be because of the excitement, like you say, and sincere desire to share and contribute. Also because of how quickly the gifted mind works. So I don’t think that there’s a rude intention for sure. It just can be interpreted that way. (and it can be so hard to wait when you’re continually around people who are much slower thinkers)

      And I do think that it’s different for men. Hopefully, more of our male readers will share their experiences here. Thank you, Sarah.


  28. goatygirl Avatar
    goatygirl

    Funnily enough, it’s only been fairly recently that I’ve realized that I probably intimidate people. Just as I’m getting over being intimidated by how “together” every one else is. Took me a while to realize that just about everyone is looking at the world the same way, with the same self-doubt. In just about everyone, you can find yourself.

    I’ve always been fascinated by people – the why behind the emotions & actions. And I’ve unintentionally developed a way of thinking that analyzes for patterns in everything. Much of my social interaction consists of observation, pattern detection and waiting for the right moment to interject a thought that encompasses a different perspective than the ones being professed in the conversation – tweak it a bit. An example was during my knitting group last week. Most of my friends are older than I am – of my parent’s generation. The other night, these lovely ladies were discussing their dark circles, horrible skin (pshaw!), and wrinkles. When the conversation was slowing down, I mentioned that maybe they were supposed to look like they do. Maybe those dark circles were normal for a human. Conversation came to a shocked stop. With grins. I have a good group of friends 🙂

    So I suggest giving them something to mentally chew on. Spread the love of learning. Make ’em smarter, more curious, more emotionally healthy. Contribute, but don’t dominate. It’s intellectually stimulating for you too.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Fascinating idea, goatygirl. Thank you.


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Oh, and while I’m here, dear bloggEEs, there was a podcast interview of me just released. I’m going to leave it here for your listening pleasure! Let me know what you think. I talk about how I started in this field and about perfectionism, sensitivities, the Argentine tango, parenting, and more! http://www.thefringybit.com/podcast/episode62


        1. ummyaqub Avatar
          ummyaqub

          I plan on listening later Paula, thank you for sharing!


  29. MJG Avatar
    MJG

    For many years, I worked with a group of people who respected and appreciated my depth of knowledge, excellent memory, and ability to problem solve. We were all working toward the same goal, and it was an asset to have me on the team. Even now, years later, my former boss/coworkers will call or email me out of the blue with obscure problems. I’ve even had strangers contact me to tell me that someone (from that time) had suggested they talk to me because I might be able to help.

    Fast forward to my current job. How dare I suggest a way to do something better!! Instead of appreciating that I know things, I’m told, “I don’t need to keep all that useless information in my head, I can just look it up;” Rather than ask for advice up front, the team just blunders along, doing things wrong, and end up resenting me when they have to get me to fix their mistakes.

    Guess what, I’m great at the “don’t be intimidating” game. I go to my office and pretend I have to do research to find the information that I can find in ten seconds. I censure my vocabulary. I putter around in between projects so I’m not always the first person done. Everyone else plays games to win; I play to see how close I can come to winning, while still coming in second.

    The difference between the two groups isn’t *me* and how I play the game. People aren’t intimidated because of my abilities; they are intimidated by their own insecurities.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Absolutely. Intimidated because of their insecurities. Thanks, MJG.


  30. Songs Moon Avatar
    Songs Moon

    For me it’s always, always about my purpose and intention in the moment- just because other individuals are willing to spend the riches that is their life on cheap knockoff crap (such as banal conversations, boring interactions, hours of whittling away at their lives doing meaningless things in mundane fashion) doesn’t mean that’s what *I* am up for. If the conversation isn’t taking me further into my purpose and intention then I have other places and spaces to be- with the modern world’s tech there is never a reason to be engaged in life and inspiration draining activities.

    Load your smartphone with podcasts, articles or videos that you want to catch up on, take a journal and art pens with you, load your scriptwriting software into your tablet, write an article for your gifted community while others are doing the intellectual equivalent of rearranging their sock drawer. What if Frida Kahlo had allowed herself to be engaged in mind numbing boredom for large parts of her day? If the crew you are with can’t handle your fire then you’re with the wrong crew- find the right one, even if it’s a scattered group of individuals online. Find your purpose and passion and practice giving yourself *full permission to go there*, regardless of what others think or feel- there are lots of individuals out there who think and feel all kinds of astounding rubbish, we can’t afford to get caught up in that noise lest we get dragged into the quicksand with them. So don’t!

    Today I am championing your absolute right to be as weird, difficult to handle and outrageous as you wish because you only have this one shining, amazing life right here, with each day one you will never get back. Get a Frida Kahlo (or whoever else inspires you) badge and look at it often, take courage and inspiration from those that refused to allow their light to be compressed for any reason.

    I love Richard Feynman’s quote regarding this idea of not fitting in intellectually- “If I could explain it to the average person I wouldn’t have been worth the Nobel Prize”. Find what *your* personal Nobel Prize is and go for that, because the average person is *never* going to get what you’re doing. Be passionately yourself because nobody else can do what it is you’re brilliant at the way *you* are going to do it. Now that I think about it, I need that Feynman quote on a badge. 😀


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      YES OH YES OH YES!! Thank you Songs Moon.


  31. Gail Post, Ph.D. Avatar
    Gail Post, Ph.D.

    Great advice – and validation for women who struggle to be true to themselves. Wonderful article!


  32. Vanessa Avatar
    Vanessa

    Once again your post speaks to my experience in a way that few ever have. I wish I had such wisdom and assurance when I was an adolescent. Now I’m raising an intimidating adolescent. I’ve learned the hard way to yield and be quiet and not be frustrated with others.

    I still don’t get how little ol’ me is intimidating but I’ve been told often that I am. It’s hard to understand that everyone else doesn’t live in this dense vibrant rainforest- that in fact very few others do that I encounter. Realizing that I am different has helped the patience factor and to tone down the intensity a bit when necessary.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I know, it does feel normal to be you, so it takes time to realize that you’re different from many. Thanks for sharing, Vanessa.


  33. When People Find Your Intellect Intimidating — A Guide For Gifted Women — Your Rainforest Mind – Suman Freelancer

    […] via When People Find Your Intellect Intimidating — A Guide For Gifted Women — Your Rainforest Mind […]


  34. hksounds Avatar
    hksounds

    Thanks, I appreciate knowing there are others with similar feelings. I write, also, and want to get more of these ideas into my writing but there are so many constraints imposed. How have you managed to overcome them or are you still working on that?


  35. hksounds Avatar
    hksounds

    Here’s where I am now – I hope I don’t sound like a misanthrope when really I am becoming a panbiophile, if that was not a word before, it is now. I look at what is around me and almost everything I see in the human activities, mythologies, religions, societies, economics, politics, architecture, art, literature, entertainment, education, and anything else you can name, leads me to think that almost the entire human species is afflicted with narcissism. We seem to think nothing else matters but us and I simply don’t believe that.

    You see how that can interfere with one’s social life? I can’t bear the self-centeredness anymore. I do suggest to others that we ought to be more concerned with what we are doing on a macro level. Mostly I’m ignored and generally it doesn’t make for the happiest of encounters. I sublimate by teaching my students to think and analyze more, and to be questioners. For most of them, it’s very hard work and I’m not sure just how interested they are in trying.

    Going to Africa last year was an eye opener. I saw the wildlife living their own lives, full of drama, tragedies and delights but with a complete lack of interest in us, people. That was so liberating. It gave me a rare perspective that made me more aware of other living beings and being in a living and breathing environment/ecosystem deeply increased my understanding of the interconnectedness of all life. I went to Africa again in January and I will go back again next year. It’s the only antidote to the sickness I see in contemporary human society.

    (A bit longwinded and I could expand on all of these topics but surely that isn’t necessary.)


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Not too longwinded. It’s hard not to be pretty discouraged by humanity these days.


    2. medleymisty Avatar
      medleymisty

      I like you. I just followed your blog. 🙂

      It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my misanthropy/panbiophilia. 🙂


    3. ummyaqub Avatar
      ummyaqub

      Hi Hksounds, I used to be very much anti investing in me, but, I have learned that not everything that brings us to focus a little on ourselves is really narcissism, sometimes, we can be so opposed to placing ourselves as a priority in our own lives to our detriment. I have learned to challenge my sense of always being the one to sacrifice, always the one to relegate my wishes, hopes and aspirations to the ‘one day, never…’ realm. If our aims are to truly be productive in society, we have to take care of ourselves first, if we are running on an exhausted ’empty’, we really do not have anything left to give. I also learned, we can be super harsh and critical of ourselves, in a way we would never treat any other person, and so, am learning to treat myself as I treat others, Alhamdulillah, life feels much healthier and less bereft of the qualities I love, so I think it is healthy to adopt a care for myself so I can care more for others attitude. I think it is finding a fine balance so we don’t become all about self though, or harm others inadvertently on the way. =) Many people, especially in puclic platforms can be incredibly demotivating, and make us wonder where on earth are we headed? But, I have met some beautifl treasures too. I hope you find yourself surrounded by the kind of people who give you hope and lift you up, and help each other to be the kind of humane people we all love to see more of in the world. =)


  36. RheL Avatar
    RheL

    I need to counterbalance t his in my own life, in my own psyche. I ‘omit’ so much of myself – refuse so much of what WANTS to be investigated or tinkered with or designed out in twenty pages of graph paper – because it’s not normal. Because there is so much else life I’ve been taught must come first. And a little bit because it is intimidating to others when they happen to catch me doing Algebra or studying Welsh (which I do both in public) they don’t even want to IMAGINE the stuff I’m just shoving down and saying ‘it will wait’.. but it’s been waiting ten, twenty years… when will I ever let it wide open, and what am I missing? It’s like holding the closet door shut against the light sometimes… just to keep the atmosphere stable.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yes, let’s open the door to the light! Maybe the atmosphere needs to be destabilized. Or maybe the light will make it more stable, even though we don’t think it will?? And you can open it slowly, if that makes it less scary. Thanks RheL.


  37. emje Avatar
    emje

    i have experienced this…but it has never really bothered me. i don’t mind people being scared of me. my problem is that i attract men who say they love this about me–but then they try to turn it against me–to punish me for it?
    sigh.
    i like who i am. i guess i wish others–whether it scares them or not–could accept it?
    i know…i keep trying to live in a perfect world.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Good to hear that you like who you are, emje. Maybe that’s the first step, or an important step, in creating a better world.


  38. helenjnoble Avatar
    helenjnoble

    Reblogged this on helenjnoble.


  39. Devon Avatar
    Devon

    I love this! Thanks Paula, bought tears to my eyes. I have been trying to get a grip on my finances and have just wandered into the world of the fabulous Lynne Twist, amazing teacher for all things money but also does amazing fundraising/advocacy for the Pachmama Alliance, front line defence of the Amazon forest. Yes, its the source of it all and from it comes our ability to breath and we hack away at it in the very same way we hack away at ourselves. I am working at radical self acceptance, radical self worth, radical self love and in that, perhaps if I’m not hacking so much at myself, others might stop hacking away at our life source. I thank you very much for your support in my endeavours, its certainly a tricky business. Much love x


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I think doing the personal courageous work to find “radical self love” is so important and key to making a larger difference. Thank you, Devon. <3


  40. Anonymous II Avatar
    Anonymous II

    I’ve been well aware of my tendency to unintentionally intimidate others and have at times intentionally utilized this skill in tough situations. Though I was quite surprised recently when two of my close friends (who are both female PhDs as well) confided that they were both initially intimidated when we first met. YIKES! My response: “I thought my gregariousness and joviality set you at ease.” They both agreed that seems to be the solution for me at least. Glad you posted this Paula it’s always reassuring to know I’m not the only one.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yes, occasionally intimidation can come in handy! Thanks for sharing.


  41. hksounds Avatar
    hksounds

    My response is closer to Julia’s as I, too, have the personal integrity bug. I have concluded that small talk has a role in building trust between strangers but I am not sure why that is. Maybe it’s looking for common ground, probably some sort of code words that show you have the same vicious prejudices that they have. Small talk is unbearable. I find that I go immediately deep into the heart of things, always trying to understand and analyze every situation. I think others should do that too. I try to teach my students to do that and you can bet I taught my daughter to do that.

    I’ve had good friends in the past but here, in Hong Kong, I don’t really have any. I enjoy doing what I want to do on my own in a city that offers a huge amount of cultural opportunities and I seem not to mind that. I travel everywhere on my own. I find doing these things alone preferable to putting up with unthinking folks who seem perfectly willing to assist in ushering the human species to oblivion taking the rest of the planet with them/us. Small talk, BS, trivialities, going along to get along, staying in your place, don’t rock the boat, etc., are luxuries that life on earth can no longer afford.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Hm. I’m wondering if you all are thinking I’m suggesting that gifted women ARE intimidating and they need to stop being intimidating. Is that how you’re reading this? Eek! It’s not what I meant. (although I guess I do say that you might want to know how to stop being scary to others… it was the question a reader asked in another post.) I want you all to speak up and to be strong and expressive and courageous and true to yourselves. Heck, yeah! What I’m saying is more about giving you ideas about how to manage people who are intimidated when you need to deal with them, which I’m sure many of you do. Does that make sense? Thank you, hksounds, and all of you for sharing your thoughts. You help all of us sort these complex things out!


      1. Ro Avatar
        Ro

        For what it’s worth – I didn’t interpret this blog post that way, Paula.


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Thanks, Ro. I think I just panicked there for a moment, worrying that my words might be misinterpreted.


      2. ummyaqub Avatar
        ummyaqub

        I think it is empowering and emphatic, perhaps our responses are really about how we have been getting through life. One think I learned many years ago, much to my delight, was that when I shook off [consciously] everyone connected to me and simultaneously my toxic ex, I then found that people who I feel comfortable filled those spaces, i was more capable of being social when younger than now. It took me to getting into my 30’s to realise i have a choice about who I spend my time with. Before that, I think I felt obliged to give of myself to whoever wanted to take a bit of me, it was exhausting and depressing. So, after hitting rick bottom, and sitting with a group of people at rock bottom, I decided that was not going to be me, it gave me the will, and strength to rise again. Alhamdulillah. I think your blog is inspiring. Thank you! And timely – for the reasons I already mentioned. =)


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          When someone is gifted, others can want to be around you and to benefit from your abilities. It’s important to allow yourself to set limits with others and set healthy boundaries.


          1. ummyaqub Avatar
            ummyaqub

            Thank you, yes, I’m slowly learning to set limits and to also set stronger limits even within those [I recently has someone offer to buy me a mobile phone so that i can have 24/7 access [or rather, so I can be avaiolable 24/7]. I just said no thank you, it is a conscious decision to not be available 24/7, and that the things I love to do, do not require technology, i grew up as a part of a generation who was not connected at the hip to tech. those times, feel like fresh air and free. =) I’m still learning the art though, and that i can say no, and do not have to answer every question ever put to me. Or be the only source of help, trying to problem solve for every facet of every problem brought to me, I’m even learning to redirect when it is clear that I should, or that I can! Learning to fill my own cup, before I help fill the cups of others. =) <3


    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I agree: “Small talk, BS, trivialities, going along to get along, staying in your place, don’t rock the boat, etc., are luxuries that life on earth can no longer afford.” Thank you, hksounds.


  42. maggiebrown2015 Avatar
    maggiebrown2015

    Paula your advice about staying sane during meetings is much better than the one I feel tempted to use: sticking a very sharp pencil in my eye. In the service of my eyesight, I’ll give your approach a try next time I’m in a meeting. Oh wait – I’ve opted out of meetings! YAY!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yeah, Maggie. Pencil in the eye…not recommended. Opting out of meetings, now that’s an idea!


  43. Kathleen Avatar
    Kathleen

    I think our “too muchness” isn’t a gate keeper for only non-gifted peers. Sometimes having two gifted people together is amazing and incredible, and sometimes it is toxic (sometimes you don’t see the poison until you are too intertwined.)
    I am so lucky to have some really great friends in the gifted world. It helps get through the fake interactions with the people who aren’t so wonderful. Lol.
    Being polite is a great skill for everyone to learn so they can interact with everyone else. There are only ever going to be a few people who truly get you and are your soul friends… the rest are just those you need to be polite to. That’s pretty much life in a nutshell for everyone. It’s just harder for us to find those connections because we have so many intensities and other characteristics that make us harder to match up, and we are way pickier than others because we think more about what real friendship and love look like.
    Thanks for being one of my tribe and for helping remind us all to play nicely. 😉


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I hear what you’re saying. Not all gifted folks are angels. Some are toxic, too! I wonder if there’s some healthy balance between being polite and speaking your truth. Maybe it’s a matter of selecting carefully where it’s worth your time to express yourself directly and where it makes more sense to be kind/polite but limit your time with someone when you’re experiencing “social boredom syndrome.” What do you think?


  44.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Right on target as usual! Social boredom syndrome: I’d like to know how others deal with predictable social encounters in which you know in advance
    what the topics and opinions will be. When feeling that boiling impatience, the rising sensation of wanting to bat away or flee from
    a dully predicable interaction in which language and thought seem to be unmaking themselves. My own response is to want to drop a verbal bomb (bad, bound to result in self-recrimination), or to make a swerve into playfulness which is rarely understood. Or both at once.
    Ideas?


    1. Ro Avatar
      Ro

      Very early on I unconsciously opted to abandon myself and focus on the banal minutiae of everyday living. I can listen intently to others banging on about whatever topic they like, for an hour or more. This side-step away from who I truly am means that most people don’t really know me, potential comrades can’t see me, and I don’t know myself too well either. I’ve also been subject to an alarming amount of attempted religious conversions due to my unwillingness to verbally state a position on almost anything (outside of relationship with my husband and my daughter).

      There may not be a genuine solution for ‘social boredom syndrome’. All I know is that your comment made me laugh – and I’d probably be drawn to you at a social gathering (if I didn’t sense too great a risk of our interaction drawing me out of myself and potentially blowing my cover, that is). Perhaps take a book to combat your boredom or, in service of sociability – a kazoo?


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        a kazoo….hm. 🙂


      2. kathleen Lillard Avatar
        kathleen Lillard

        A day with humor is a good day–your comment made me laugh too.
        I’m going to re-consider my attention-getting, opinionating habits.


    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Not sure if this is helpful but I always bring a book (and paper/pen) wherever I go and I give myself permission to leave places early if I need to. I also always sit on the edge of a gathering place so as not to feel trapped. I like your idea of playfulness but it sounds like they don’t get your humor so it doesn’t work. I hope others will respond with ideas, Anonymous. Thanks for the question.


      1. kathleen Lillard Avatar
        kathleen Lillard

        “sit on the edge of a gathering place”: Yes!


    3. EwaB Avatar
      EwaB

      I find myself turning those meetings into social experiments. just observe who talks to who, who is in charge, who thinks he/she is in charge. who does the catering, is that voluntairy or because of order.
      and if it really gets to bad, take over the catering ,gives you an excuse to walk around and just play dumb going tea, coffee, cupcake what ever.
      even more fun if the food is intricate and then just make up stuff, “well this is goat cheese with thyme and fresh figs” even when it is just a simple piece of cheese on a stick.


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Ha! Good use of your imagination, EwaB!


    4. ummyaqub Avatar
      ummyaqub

      Subhan Allah, you know, that is fascinating, my brother yesterday answered a call of ‘who is the most famous person you ever met’… and i have met and known lots, but, for me that is the wrong question… if you asked me how many interesting and fascinating people I have met, then very few. And, only one was famous, everyone else has been wonderful rare gems [usually much older than me] whose lives have unusual twists or who live by their authenticity regardless of what the world thinks, so very talented, i guess, eccentric, but beautiful people that springs from the depths! =) they wow me more. =)


    5. Van Avatar
      Van

      I didn’t find it boring, I found it confusing. So I spent about a year watching people Do The Social and figured out the Rules for Doing The Social.
      Nowadays, I practice Doing The Social and give myself points every time I pass through without a ripple. Like a diver at the Olympics, I score higher the smoother it goes.
      And honestly it’s fun to know where the conversation is going to go before it goes there. I don’t have to pay 100% attention and it’s still going to be the same. Because Muggles meeting up have the same ways of interacting.


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Thank you for sharing your experience, Van.


  45. Beth Heinecamp Avatar
    Beth Heinecamp

    I especially love ‘Invite friends to your messy house.’ Ha ha! I’ve been terrified of people coming over to my apartment, because it’s so ‘weird’. Not at all like what it’s supposed to be like I guess. I mean, I don’t really have much furniture in the living room, nor a T-V. It’s more like a studio space. I have piles of sketches on one end, my cat’s ‘fort’ in the middle, and cat toys all over the place. In one corner is my awesome digital piano, and related musical stuff. I just returned to doing graphic design on the side, and a very high-maintenance client came over to sit with me in front of the computer. My anxiety level at first went sky-high, but over time, I realized she wasn’t a monster and she wasn’t going to kill me. If that sounds weird, it’s because I’ve spent nearly my whole life detached from relations, but have been transforming that aspect of my life s-l-o-w-l-y. I am realizing that for all the reasons some might reject me, others will love what I used to reject about myself. Thanks Paula!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sounds like you’re in a very important healing process, Beth. Your apartment sounds fascinating!


    2. June Taylor Avatar
      June Taylor

      You sound wonderful, interesting, fun and so authentic…just keep being more of who you are…the world needs you


  46. Dorothy Avatar
    Dorothy

    With heartfelt thanks Paula. This topic has really touched me. Even though it is something that I am quite familiar with, seeing it in writing seems to validate the experience in a way that is normalizing and therefore okay. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for the healing wisdom that you share so generously. With much appreciation for your contributions towards my journey in the rainforest.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I’m so happy to be here, Dorothy. Thank you for your kind words.


  47. FredB Avatar
    FredB

    It’s about the same for men. Boys are expected to be active/assertive, that helps a little as long as you don’t show you know too much more than the adults. (Who is this child size space alien with a vocabulary ten years ahead of his apparent age?)


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks, Fred. What happens when the boy grows up and he still knows more than the men around him?


      1. ummyaqub Avatar
        ummyaqub

        Hi Paula, I think partially the answer is they join intergifted! =) !!! I actually have shut down my social media account as I found the level of snide comments coming my way with assumptions of how ‘good, or superior I must think I am too wearing, too tiring, and just can’t find the energy or enthusiasm to keep assuring and explaining myself. But, it is a wonderful energising break =)


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          So sorry for the snide comments, Lisa. I was wondering where you were! Thanks for being here.


      2. Terance Schmidt Avatar
        Terance Schmidt

        The great thing about being a grown-up is that you can choose who you surround yourself with. Once that’s the case, you can apply the idea “when you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”.


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Ha! Yes! Thanks, Terance.


  48. Julia Avatar
    Julia

    Good advice. I could shut more! I get so excited about what I learned I want to share it. Honestly, it’s pretty rude sometimes. I believe if people are intimidated or find my scary that is on them. I’m not going to be smaller, or less inspired, or less courageous, or less playful, or less competent, or less capable so other’s feel okay in their lack or inabilities. Probably in 30 years or so I’ll be dead. It will matter more that I was true than I wasn’t. And when the men get freaked about because I’m braver, smarter, louder, funnier, more capable than them (and they don’t want me to be). I tell them about themselves and shake up their sexist views. Truthfully I’ve never lacked for friends being this way. I feel ultimately people are attracted to honesty and truth (I’m sure my outrageous sense of humor helps) Because we are here to live our soul’s truth!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sounds good, Julia. Thanks for sharing and living your truth!


      1. Julia Avatar
        Julia

        Thank you!


    2. bethplanetbethcom Avatar
      bethplanetbethcom

      Julia, you are so right!! As I age, my perspective is changing radically. Perhaps not for you so much, it seems, but for myself I survived by hiding my light. Then as I started coming out of the closet, taking tiny interpersonal risks, I learned that the real ‘me’ is actually much more endearing and desirable to those who are potential friends. A tiny risk like speaking up in a staff meeting without editing my self, not sitting there stone-faced and looking to others to verbalize first. Or asking a neighbor for help instead of hesitating all day over whether to speak, or not. I tried to be all things to all people, and went to excruciating lengths to not upset anyone because then that would be ‘bad’. As I approach 60, my soul’s priorities are indeed making themselves known.


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        I’m sure that you are endearing and desirable, Beth!


      2. Julia Avatar
        Julia

        This sounds wonderful. Good for you. Brave.


        1. bethplanetbethcom Avatar
          bethplanetbethcom

          Thank you, Julia!


  49. artyplantsman Avatar
    artyplantsman

    I look forward to the male equivalent. Yes, I think men don’t feel able to show sensitivity but especially in the company of other men. I was a ‘gifted’ boy who unfortunately ended up in a rough school where I quickly learned to be invisible.
    With regards gifted women being intimidating. I personally don’t find gifted women any more intimidating than any other woman but I think some men especially can’t cope with feeling like they are the ‘inferior’ one in a relationship if they are rather insecure anyway, and many of us are insecure.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for sharing a male perspective, artyplantsman! Let me know if you have specific questions on this topic.


    2. krpen13 Avatar
      krpen13

      Gifted people, or straight A’s students, learn to like their own company, they have to? Jealousy’s
      a curse!
      Sadly, 1 out of 4 of these type of people experience mental problems later on! That’s why ‘genius is next to madness’, eg Vincent Van Goph, Michaelangilo ,
      President Abraham Lincoln , Winston Churchill, etc etc.
      I call it the ‘Hashimoto’ or ‘ The Hunchback from Notradame’ effect! Then, have a chuckle, and go and walk with my intelligent dog! Lol 😊


    3. Ming On Mongo Avatar
      Ming On Mongo

      Yeah, I think these things work a bit different for men, where ‘intellectual’ can be kinda synonymous with ‘unmanly’, depending on the sorta ‘culture’ we’re around. Though men still value ‘competence’, which can override those issues, but of course that takes time for ’em to know you. I also find vocabulary can be unexpectedly intimidating for some folks, depending on their education, so I try to be more cognizant, sorry, more ‘aware’ of that (…lol)!
      BTW, seems I read somewhere that unconsciously most humans tend to size each other up for status and any ‘threat’ potential. But that unlike other advantages, like strength, speed, size, whatever, which can be adjusted or coped with thru social relationships, and alliances… perceived higher relative intelligence is more often regarded as a continual sorta threat, or at best a source of suspicion, because it’s always ‘on’, and the other person never has any way of knowing the true extent of the ‘potential’ threat.
      Interesting topic and discussion, thx!


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        You’re welcome!


  50. ummyaqub Avatar
    ummyaqub

    <3 Thank you so much Paula, I find I am in the arena of having been asked to not share so much [in a platform for sharing and enabling group healing] I have once more retreated. And, alhamdulillah, for your insight, maybe this is why? Finding that group of in person people to feel part of is so hard. But, I always have my mind to wander in, and it is never dull in here =)


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yes, Lisa. It’s never dull in that mind of yours. Good to hear from you.


      1. ummyaqub Avatar
        ummyaqub

        Thank you Paula, sometimes we need reminding, and I find you do that with finesse and always manage to make me smile along the way, that is a very precious gift. =) *hug

%d bloggers like this: