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Monday, October 24, 2005


Finding Friends

As a followup to my last post, I thought I'd answer another common question which comes up when I'm talking about my work. If IQ doesn't have all the answers, then how do we know whether someone's gifted or not? If we're all hiding our talents to fit in, how will we find each other?

As I've mentioned, the gifted are often very guarded because they've had their reality denied so many times. Yet they can show their real brain power by their sentence structure, vocabularly, leaps of thought, or ability to hold conflicting points of view concurrently; even if English is not their first language. Most people move step-wise from one thought to the next, on a clear and logical path. They tend to have a fixed opinion, or no opinion as yet. Their jokes are easy to follow.

Gifted people tend to have a more kangaroo-jump approach - the connections between their thoughts may not be clear, even to them. Their opinions may change from minute to minute; if they don't have one yet, they will make one up on the spot, or start grilling you on how you got yours. They are most disconcerting to argue with because they may start agreeing with you at any time. Their jokes may be unintelligible to anyone without their particular background, or they may be hilarious and incredibly insightful. And most gifted people get terribly excited if they meet someone else who gets it.

On mailing lists I've been on, identifying other gifted-in-hiding has come up many times. Look for analog watches, tags torn out of clothes, and people hiding in the bathroom/library/anywhere with books. Some people say there's a special sparkle in the eyes! Most agree that they are adept at recognizing the people who are gifted in their same way. It's a little harder if you don't know their talents from the inside.

There's another way I do it - my intuition. When I'm talking to someone, I'm listening with all my might to what is said and not said. I don't want to sound too woo-woo New Age about it, but I sense a kind of calm space, an observer who is watching the whole thing. Occasionally I will drop a depth-sound type comment or joke, playing simultaneously on the level of small-talk and something a bit more meaty. If I get anything but polite laughter, I know I'm on the right track - even when the reaction is negative.

I would like to say, if you're hiding, come out and play, but I know that's just not possible for lots of people. The amount of suspicion and prejudice against giftedness is truly amazing. But if you sense someone trying to get through, take a chance, and throw out a line. The research is clear - we need each other!

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Hi Joanna,

Thanks for coming over and commenting on my blog! Boy am I ever in hiding. It took SO many years to learn how to fit in! In fact, I feel a little nervous just having those gifted links up over on my blog. But now that I am starting to admit it, I am noticing a sparkle coming back into my writing. You are very brave. I'm looking forward to reading your blog. I am longing to hang out with people like me. I LOVE it when people get my sense of humor. That's how I know. :)

(Oh yeah, and the tag thing! I didn't know other people did that. Do they have to put their socks on inside out too?)
You know how they just recently started making tagless shirts? This got me very excited:) I don't wear my socks inside out but I often turn them that way to clean out the lint before putting them on.

I'm sure you understand how liberated I'm beginning to feel. A weight lifted.
I discovered your blog yesterday, thanks to technorati. It usually turns me off if a blog is an adjunct to a professional site, but your blog stands on its own. Boy, does it! I downloaded your entire archives so I could read and make notes. I'm so encouraged that one more gifted adult is "coming out of the closet" and standing tall.

I have a fairly new blog, Gifted Minds, http://www.livejournal.com/users/mindmatters/

that's intended to cover major issues for the gifted, particularly those that aren't dealt with elsewhere. I see your blog and mine as being very complementary, and have added your URL.

We think so much alike in so many areas, even if we are exact opposites, temperamentally. I have notes from your posts and would love to email you with my thoughts, but you may have enough on your plate already. On the other hand, part of the function of the web, as I see it, is to enable people like us to get together and get some juicy conversations going.
Thanks for the great positive feedback, everyone!

It's so great to know we aren't alone, isn't it? But embracing a gifted identity can be hard...I'm planning to post about that tomorrow.

Catana, I checked out your blog and really liked what I saw. Please don't hesitate to share your thoughts with me, through blog comment or personal email - and that's true for everyone who visits. I'm all about making connections and building community. It's a hugely important part of reducing the isolation that can be so crippling.
Thanks. Will get in touch with you in the next day or so.
The tag thing...I thought my family and I were just really touch sensitive. Look in our drawers (No, Jethro, not those drawers!) and you will find no tags. Socks inside out? We just try to avoid ones with seams. Damn, sock seams can be so irritating!

As for hiding inside books, there can be nothing finer than losing yourself in books - to a point. My elderly, widowed, closeted gifted mother-in-law does nothing but read. I reserve her books online (which I suppose makes me an enabler) and the library delivers them to her house. She reads approx. 15 books per week. The library called me yesterday to complain she had too many books on reserve. Encouraging her to explore life, any life, outside of books has resulted in a big, fat NO! To twist a biblical quote, "Why does she seek the living among the printed?"
Hi Soh,

About your mother-in-law, sometimes you have to intervene, but sometimes I think a, "whatever gets you through the night" attititude is the compassionate way to go.

My lost-in-books era was as a child, it was the healthiest route I had available to me at the time. I can't imagine how many books I read.
Me too! My mother used to say that a bomb could go off whilst I was reading, I wouldn't stop. For me it was escapism and mental stimulation. I found more people like me in books (characters and authors) than I did in the outside world. I could enjoy them and be spared any pain of interacting with them and being misunderstood or rejected.
Come to think of it, I do have a pair of socks or two, where the seam at the tip does seem a tad bulky under my toes. Perhaps I should try them inside out! But my biggest and most frustrating tactile problem however, is in tracking down custom frames for eye glasses, C-PAP masks two, that will not touch the bridge of my nose. It's like the Chinese water drop torture! And lighter frames are actually worse, only the more ticklish.

I wanted to check out your blog, Catana, but it has actually been purged! So I went to the Wayback. My aren't you a chatty Cathy! -or you where in 2006...

Find my own failed gifted outreach at: http://www.FoolQuest.com
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