What is it Like to Have a High IQ?
Hint: It's not all that great, really.....
I recently found out that I have a very high IQ: high enough to qualify for Mensa, the international high IQ society. I am relieved. I am relieved because I have always felt "different" and actually thought that there might be something "wrong" with me.
Just because you have a high IQ, it does not mean that you will be rich or famous, or even happy. It does mean that you probably feel different than most other people. And, if there is no one else to help you to understand that and to guide you, you may feel confused and lonely. Yes, really!
Is an IQ Score a Valid Measure of Intelligence?
I so often see and hear this question. In my opinion, the strict answer is, "No." After all, what is intelligence?
According to my own experience, a person's IQ score indicates how they think and how they perceive the world around and within.
Testing for IQ Levels
I feel it's important to say up front that you cannot determine a valid IQ by taking an on line quiz. Testing for IQ is really quite complicated and involves many different sections. There are a few different validated IQ tests which are used. They consist of more than questions for you to answer and are administered in person, usually by a neuropsychologist or someone trained in this particular testing. You will be misinformed by taking one of the many tests or quizzes presented on line. Mensa is one legitimate group that offers this testing to the public.
Trying to Understand
My goal in writing this is to help people understand how it can feel to have a high IQ. I feel that it is very confusing to the general population. People think of it as "being smarter" and, therefore, being "better" in some way. This is not the case, as I will explain. I also want to help others who have found that they have a high IQ and are still trying to figure "it" all out. This will be an adventure and an exploration for me as I share with you what I am discovering that is true for me.
Here is a long phrase someone used recently to search for information on the web. Their search landed them here on this page. How very accurate this statement is!
"people with a high iq often find themselves a little lonely among people who just don't think in the same ways. people with high iq's are in no way better than others. they just think in different ways"
High IQ does NOT make you perfect, or even close
One thing I know is that your IQ is only part of who you are. It does not determine your wealth or your happiness. It does not make your life easier and it does present many challenges, especially if you don't know why you are different.
Many times in my life I have thought to myself, "I just want to be normal"! I felt so often unhappy, isolated and misunderstood. When you think differently than most of those around you, when you see the world through an alternate lens, when you "see" even more than meets the eye, and no one else can understand you, you FEEL less than normal. People don't relate to you. Some may even scorn or laugh at you. And, it can stop you in your tracks. If you do not know what is happening and why, your self esteem can suffer and you can become paralyzed. You can fail to move forward. You can give up.
This is why I want to help others who are also dealing with having a high IQ. When only 2% or less of the population can think the way that you do, you DO feel different and if you do not know why, it can be hard to find your way. It may be that the way you need to steer your "boat" is much different than the way most others do it. You may need a guide to help you learn to navigate effectively.
A Perfect Description of Having a High IQ
from the late author and philanthropist, Pearl Buck
"The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:
A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.
a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.
Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create - - - so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating."
There is so Much Beauty in the World - I want to take it all in...
...roll it around in my mind, hold it, know it, understand it, relish in not understanding it, and....I want, so much, to help others see it, too.
Characteristics of Gifted Adults - From the Gifted & Creative Services of Australia
Here is a list of characteristics of gifted, or high-IQ adults. I definitely have felt and do experience everything on this list. You will see that it's about much more than "being smart". It is really more about being highly aware and able to easily see connections between ideas, events, people and on and on.
This list is from the Gifted & Creative Services of Australia, which offers information on the experience of being a gifted child or adult. Click on the link in the following section for expanded info from this group.
- perfectionistic and sets high standards for self and others
- has strong moral convictions
- feels outrage at moral breaches that others seem to take for granted
- is highly sensitive, perceptive or insightful
- is a good problem solver
- has unusual ideas or connects seemingly unrelated ideas
- thrives on challenge
- fascinated by words or an avid reader
- learns new things rapidly
- has a good long-term memory
- is very curious
- has an unusual sense of humor
- has a vivid and rich imagination
- feels overwhelmed by many interests and abilities
- loves ideas and ardent discussion
- can't switch off thinking
- is very compassionate
- has passionate, intense feelings
- has a great deal of energy
- feels driven by creativity
- needs periods of contemplation
- searches for answers in life
- feels out-of-sync or out-of-step with others
- feels a sense of alienation and loneliness
More High IQ Traits
The following are links to website pages which offer good lists of or comments on the personality characteristics and common life experiences of gifted adults, or people with a high IQ. I can identify with them all. Note how there are several I've already suspected and mentioned in regard to feeling lonely, misunderstood and isolated. I don't think most people realize that these are major issues for those of us who have a high IQ.
- Gifted & Creative Services of Austrailia
Click this link to read more about the list included in the section above.
- Gifted & Creative Adults
Here is the website of Lynne M. Azpeitia, M.A., a counselor from Santa Monica, CA who specializes in helping gifted adults.
- How Being Gifted Means Being Different
Oh my, this is a wonderful essay written by Rebecca Trotter back in 2008 on the site called Word Press. Here is a quote lifted from the essay, but please click on the link and read the entire piece. "This fundamental different-ness combined with a l
When and How Did I Learn of My High IQ?
Because I was having a bit of trouble with my memory, my doctor referred me to a specialist for psycho-neurological testing. The tests revealed that my memory was normal, however, we had to check my IQ because memory correlates to IQ. In other words, if you have a high IQ, your memory should be similarly high.
The testing revealed a very high IQ and indicated that I was, indeed, having problems with my memory, after all. My memory should have been above normal to correspond with my IQ. It also showed that I did not have any degenerative neurological illnesses. That was good news. And, through a process of elimination, it was determined that lack of sleep was the culprit in terms of memory issues.
I do remember my mother telling me, when I was in high school, that I had a high IQ, but I never heard any numbers and it never occurred to me that it might be something to pay attention to. In fact, I had forgotten all about it. Now I knew about my high IQ and I wondered what, at this point in my life, it might mean to me and what I could do with it.
Mensa International - A Resource for IQ Testing and more
Here is one of the sources for determining your IQ. Mensa, the well-known international high IQ society, offers their own IQ test which is administered, in person, by one of their representatives. Belonging to Mensa makes it easier to find and socialize with others who have a high IQ and offers you many other benefits, as well. The only qualifying guideline for membership is having an official IQ of 130 or higher.
- Mensa International
Click on this link to learn more about Mensa!
Is It Really Good to Be Gifted? - Unique challenges of the highly gifted
I can track what people who view this page have searched for in order to find it. Most of those searches have read as follows:
"children with high iq missing out on life"
"does high iq makes you feel less"
"very high iq problems"
Like me, it seems others have had a difficult time of it with their high IQ trait. Check out the article below.
Not So Great? David Palmer, PhD explains…
- Optimal IQ and the Flipside to Giftedness, by David Palmer Ph.D
This interesting site has quite an array of information about raising a gifted child, and this particular article helps to explain just how challenging it can be to be "gifted" with a high IQ.
The Gifted Adult by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen
Most of what I read in this book by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen confirms what I have been experiencing my whole life. For instance, being overwhelmed by lots of sound and activity is a common occurrence for me, but I hadn't realized that it might be due to having a high IQ. Now it makes sense. With a higher IQ, the book explains, you tend to have a greater sense of awareness and notice many more things than most people. What might be perceived as fun for the people you are with, can, instead, be overwhelming for you. At times like those, I felt like there was something wrong with me. It's great to have an explanation now.
There is, included in the book, a self-scored test which you can take to determine what some of your personal characteristics are. I do feel that the test is too simplistic and too dependent upon you being very self-aware and very honest with yourself, but that is minor.
The Gifted Adult is a great book and I highly recommend it to everyone.
Why So Sensitive? - It's All About a High Level of Awareness
Do you often ask yourself why you have to be so sensitive? Do you introvert yourself in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed or frustrated? Do people often tell you to just "get over it"? Being extra-sensitive goes hand-in-hand with having a high IQ. It can be very disorienting. Until you understand it better, it can be downright confusing. But, once you understand this as a trait, you can try to turn it into an advantage.
I can remember telling one of my bosses that, within the company, I was like the canary in a coal mine. I knew this was true. I would tend to be sensitive to and aware of a problem long before others. I wanted to help by sharing what I could so easily see. How presumptuous of me. She did not want to hear it. There were, indeed, big problems which finally surfaced and the business eventually had to be sold, but not before much discord and unhappiness ensued for everyone.
At least I understood what was going on and was able to keep things in perspective. And, I "got out" before the changes took place.
Here is some information to help you better understand this trait.
- Emotional intensity in Children with a High IQ
Here is an article by Lesley K. Sword, of Gifted & Creative Services in Australia, on one of the least-understood traits of people with a high IQ: hypersensitivity. This particular piece focuses on children, but it is true for adults, as well.
- Gifted Children: Emotionally Immature or Emotionally Intense?
Here is another article on the same subject and from the same person who wrote the one above. Each article has it's own merits.
Examples of how a child with a high IQ can feel
When I was about 7 or 8 years old, home alone with my mother and feeling bored, I decided to write some poetry. I remember that one of the poems was about a parrot. I wish I could read it now, but I destroyed it soon after I wrote it. I had shown it to my mother and she told me that I hadn't written it -- that I must have copied it from somewhere. I was bewildered and confused, feeling as if I had somehow done something wrong. It may sound odd that I would have that reaction, but I was young enough to not understand what was happening. I admired my mother and felt that I had disappointed her.
In 4th grade I made a 3-dimensional map of the US out of homemade play-doh-like clay for a class homework assignment. I carefully shaped all the states, including elevations, and added color. I worked very hard at it and had a great time doing it. I proudly took the map into class and my teacher failed me on the project. She told me that my mother must have made it for me and that I had cheated. I was very confused and I couldn't convince her otherwise. Even after my mother called her to complain, she still insisted that I couldn't have made it.
During classes in elementary school, when the teacher would ask the class a question, I always knew the answer, but was careful to not raise my hand. I didn't want to be different. Initially, I had felt that when no one else in class raised their hand, I must be wrong. If no one else knew, and if what I thought was the answer had come so easily and obviously to me, it must not be correct, but it always was. Eventually, I didn't want to draw attention to myself and I didn't want to get in trouble for always knowing the answers when none of my classmates did. Elementary school was very, very confusing for me.
Am I Good Enough, Smart Enough?
A confused and misunderstood mind can create a mental block which keeps you from achieving success.
- The Trouble With Bright Kids - Heidi Grant Halvorson - Harvard Business Review
For Harvard Business Review, Heidi Grant Halvorson cites research and writes about problems in self-esteem that can develop among the highly intelligent.
Helping Gifted Children
I feel that the best kind of person to recognize a high IQ child is a high IQ adult. When I see and recognize a child with what I can see as a high IQ, and I know that they have no one helping them cope with it, my heart breaks a little.
I was intrigued to find this school which caters to profoundly gifted young people.
- Davidson Academy of Nevada - Reno, Nevada
The Davidson Academy of Nevada is a free public school for profoundly gifted middle and high school students. Located at the University of Nevada, Reno, Davidson Academy students can develop their intellectual abilities at an appropriate level.
What You All Want to Know
...makes me feel sad
As I already mentioned, I am able to view the words people have typed into the search engines in order to find this page. They confirm what I have been experiencing in my life--that having a high IQ is not easy. Here are more of the phrases used in readers' search for information:
"Does having a high IQ make you lonely?"
"Feeling isolated with high IQ"
"High IQ feeling different"
"Does having a high IQ make it hard to have friends?"
"How to cope with high IQ"
"How to feel normal with High IQ"
"Help for high IQ feeling lonely"
"Hard to communicate because of high IQ"
"Gifted adults misunderstood isolated"
"High IQ guide to living well"
"I just found out I have a high IQ"
"Gifted adults lonely misunderstood"
"Higher IQ higher standards in love"
"Vivid imagination high IQ"
"Self esteem in adults and IQ"
Generally speaking, I find people will make jokes about my high IQ or feel threatened by it. Because of this, I hesitate to let others know about it. Most people have a preconceived idea about what it means to have a high IQ and it is nowhere near the truth. I hope that by writing this, there can be a greater understanding among those who read it. Please pass it on!!
Do You Know Your IQ?
Depression & High IQ
Misunderstood, frequently bullied, judged harshly...I think that depression in those with a high IQ results, in large part, from social interaction. I've even been made fun of by my own "friends". Then, there are the boyfriends who broke up with me saying, "I'm not good enough, smart enough, clever enough (or some version of that) for you. You deserve more." Break my heart.
Then, if I deny "who" I am, I get depressed because I'm suppressing an important drive within myself.
Join me on my journey as I continue to learn more about myself and what having a high IQ is all about. Keep checking back for new material.
Scroll down past the promotional posts below to reach the spot where can read and also make comments.
Thanks For Reading
And, give us your take on high IQ, giftedness, or this lens.
© 2011 Nancy Graham
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Gregory Dean on November 16, 2017:
I am 58. I just found out that my IQ is 127! Your article is very interest! I’ve been doing more research lately. My gift is in perceptual organization! I was born with (agenesis of the corpus callosum). I discovered this 10 year ago! Google it!
anonymous on April 15, 2015:
I find this article (along with other articles of similar nature that describe the experiences and lives of High IQ people along with their traits) really interesting, but I have begun wondering myself how IQ and personality of a person are affected. Hear me out.
My whole life (which is not that long, just 17 years) I felt alone and isolated, whether I had friends or not, something that has begun to be mitigated (is that even the correct word? in any case, please do excuse me; english is not my first language/mother tongue). I was always amazed (and who isn't really, when you assign to it names such as Creation, Paradise, Heaven,Hell,Cosmos words with such deep meanings) by the world and sought to understand it in my own way. Meanwhile, I also had a wide range of interests and still have (at first from a really early age I was really interested in politics and then gradually became really interested in history, the sciences,philosophy and other sectors of knowledge).
However, despite the fact that from what I have gathered many of the characteristics of High - IQ people fit with my personality and way of life most of the time (weird sense of humour, innovation, can't stop thinking and oftentimes I sort of "close" myself from outside "transmissions" and start thinking about my own matters. Many other characteristics don't, like blue eye colour, blonde hair or alcocholism/drugs.) I consider myself slow and dumb. My fear of taking an IQ test stems from the fact that I can't bear to see how low the "score" (for which I had nothing to do with as it was mostly biological) will be. I often times feal jealous of people with a high IQ, both those that are recorded by history as great men/women and those who aren't, not because of the legacy and the success that some people associate with the world but because I too want to understand the world. Perhaps I am the exception: the personality of a person that inquires about the world but has not the intellectual capacities to comprehend it. The problem also lies from the fact that perhaps I look up to Mr. Einstein and Hawkins, and I also want to become a theoretical physicist or mathematician, something for which I oftentimes doubt my ability to do.
I sometimes can't help but imagine myself on the other scale of things, being an ignorant person with little to no interests and a rich social life, but that would be hell for me indeed. What should I do? Should I pursuit my interests in all sectors both inside and outside the educational institutions of my countries in a meaningless (because I don't have the biological capacity) effort to understand the world or should I ignore all that and become a mediocore and meaningless existence anyway? I love and want to help people through my work and hobbies (indirectly at least), but I often times feel despair and that I won't be able to do so.
Toby on February 14, 2015:
It is very hard, I agree. Stuck at home.. People don't care or understand global issues unless it's along the lines of simplistic dialogues.."kill the terrorists!" Or some other perceptions on topics that they do not really care to understand or but will support whole-heartedly without even bothering to research the subject themselves, having those beliefs created for them by biased sources with an agenda. I can't be in a conversation without being showered with racist propagated statements beliefs that are supplied by other intellectuals through media, obviously I must disagree with the close mindedness over & over, or they may just be bewildered by what I know & usually do not like threats to their belief systems which by most others are endorsed daily, mostly they don't care & unless the core of these important issues ever glances them personally, without only perhaps trying to understand or deal with the ripples of an issue instead of the stone that was causal to the effect. They will never understand them. It's up to someone else, somewhere else & it's mostly a passing conversational piece if anything, ultimately deemed irrelevant. It's a backwards world, What is the point, yes contemplating these topics excites me & these important topics are very fascinating & complex... Not being able to converse about my thoughts is isolating when faced with ignorant, ill informed & people whom are condescending to those who do care. It sucks
Nick on January 05, 2015:
Glad I found this site. We share similar circumstances. From the grades of k-2 the faculty tried to convince my mother to advance me a grade each year but she always refused. She says it was for my social well being, so I would be around people my own age as I grew. Like you, she told me this when I was a freshmen in high school. I took just sort of, put it out of my mind. What does that even mean to an 14yr old who hates school?Anyways, about 6 months ago I took a test, that my therapist at the VA suggested I take, got a number, that number spiked my curiosity immediately, as they tend to do. I started looking for what it meant, and ended up here, and I must say, I felt a rush when I started reading, then relief that I, in fact, am not an alien or broken, and others deal with these things. Thank you for taking the time to do this.
Nancy Graham (author) on January 02, 2015:
Bah ha ha! If it's crap, why did you bother to go all the way to the comment section and write more crap?
Tristan on December 22, 2014:
Anybody with a high iq wouldn't talk so much crap
jbendler on July 17, 2014:
I'm glad I found this page. It was a good read and helped to validate the feelings I have always had. I am 50 now; and, about to start a new chapter in my life. This new chapter is not related to anything specifically, just a new phase. During this phase I am trying to reconnect with myself. I have become more solitude as I find it increasingly difficult to cope with the mainstream. I try and try to be tolerant of the things I see around me; but, in the end I end up feeling even more alone. I think a positive step would be to research out some chat sites, or pages like this (although, this page doesn't seem to get a lot of action), to try to reach out to like people.
This happened to me in 6th grade:
The teacher decided we were going to play a game to associate the letters of the alphabet with names of animals. When it came my turn, my letter was 'W'. Remembering the National Geographic wildlife show I had watched with my family the night before, I proudly said 'Wildebeast!'. I was so pleased with myself; and, I had really enjoyed watching the show. I was proud that I had learned something and 'knew' it. And, then... The teacher promptly informed me that there was no such animal. I immediately objected! I told her that I had watch the nature show the night before and had just learned of this animal. No dice... She had not heard of it, so it wasn't so!!
That hurt. And, the memory is just as strong today as it was the moment it happened (Obsession not implied).
Do you ever 'know' things; but, you don't know how/why you 'know' it?
kova88 on July 09, 2014:
I find it relieving to find this blog!
It's wonderful, inspiring, deepâ¦perfect!
But I see that loneliness is pointed out in every article. I don't think that it is a bad thing, not at all!
I've never had problems with fitting in because, after embracing me being different (which happened rather early), I've been observing everyone around and by comparison recognised my differences. As I was a child while doing it, I tried really hard to push those differences down, in order to fit in, but in adolescence age I found no more sense in doing it, and decided to be very different in order to grow in a way I thought was the best. There I found my interest in behavioral psychology, and observed all those simple small funny people as a research. In the meanwhile, I found a way to copy and live like everyone else, but turning home as a different person, elaborating everything that took place that dayâ¦
Of course, as a hyper sensible and hyper empathic individual, people loved me back!
Yes, I was lonely, just as I am now, and sometimes I couldn't cope with a fact of having so many sincere friends and lovers and still feel like the loneliest creature on the planet. I found a way of dealing with it since I found out I had a very high IQ. It was comforting enough.
Later on, I was trying to find a way to truly focus my unstopping brain into something useful, without forgetting to feed my soul at the same time. Not with a sensation of success or power, but with finding something greater in everything I do. It works sometimes, and it truly is fulfilling when it does.
Now I find it a compliment if someone gives me 'the eye' in a way of saying "freak!!", 'cause I'm absolutely certain that my conscience is pure, that I'm not wasting my life, and that I'm, not only smarter, but a better person in everything I do.
Being alone gives me TIME to let my brain work in full capacity, and being 'lonely' in a way that people get lonely, gives me free space for my thoughts, without someone else's borders or confines.
It's wonderful being the way we are, it only takes time to find a way to figure it out and embrace it.
I apologise for my funny english, as it's not my first language. I hope I made my point in spite of it.
elutherious on June 18, 2014:
I resonate so much with the comments on this subject. As a child, I was often frustrated when adults and other children could not keep up with my rapid thought processes. I was told I was speaking out of turn, that I had a temper, that I was a smart ass. I became a victim of bullying. My response was to withdraw into my mind and attempt a low profile. In my mid forties, I discovered I had a high IQ. That is when I remembered something that had been said after some testing in grade school, but of course it was believed improper to share test scores with a kid! Yes, I know that all IQ tests are in some way subjective and largely (and unavoidably) culturally biased. I also discovered my short term memory was only high school level, but my other scores were very high. It seems I had learned to compensate for that memory limitation. I went to university and graduate school, and breezed through. I read four to five books a month. Now at age 76, I have decided I will no longer conceal my membership in Mensa (I suppose I came out of the closet!). I keep my eyes and ears open for signs of "above average" children and attempt to assist in some way that will make their lives easier. Despite difficulties in the journey of life, we rise above them. Pax et bonum.
Islandia on March 12, 2014:
@annapolyanna: My heart goes out to you. I did my university degree late in life and graduated just before my 60th birthday. I was able to get a fee help. I am 66 now and only just learning about my above average intelligence, so the degree studies were not just a fluke. I am now doing a self-directed course on literature by Susan Wise Baeur "The Well Education Mind" which means I can do it in my own time at my own pace. There are some free options for study but without the accreditation at university level -
Islandia on March 12, 2014:
@annapolyanna: My heart goes out to you annapolyanna. I discovered I had high IQ and intellectual capabilities recently and I am 66! I did do a degree online though and excelled, graduating on my 60th birthday. Having discovered who I am now I am tackling some self-education extension via Susan Wise Bauer's book "The Well Educated Mind". I thought poetry would be a good challenge as I have always wanted to know how to write it to express more. I have just begun and am certainly enjoying it, as well as doing it at my own rate. There are also online options for free courses through US universities, without an award at the end of course, but much stimulation anyway.
Have a look at www.coursera.org, www.edx.org www.udacity.com
annapolyanna on March 10, 2014:
I read this and felt quite sad because I learned or confirmed v late in life that I hav a high iq and it explained a lot from past experience. I was always told I was stupid not like others too unusual etc. I was taunted a lot by family parents in particular and not encouraged to read or learnwhat interested me most. I had a lot of anxiety in learning as a result because while having high iq v self conscious v afraid to be noticed as it attracted scorn at home. I recently took a state exam to return to University at 44 and came up in the top 5 percentile in the country with five offers of interviews in chosen colleges. But as soon as I had begun the work of interview prep and selections I was forced out by circumstances try as I could I could not overcome and much of why was rooted in hostility to my attempt to pursue something academic. I dont know why there is such hostility to people for simply being different in this way. It is not any guarantee of an easier life .
HazelCharm04234 on February 28, 2014:
I am intellectually gifted and i have to say that this is very true. I totally agree with what you've written especially the how you've described how lonely it can be to be gifted.
yuichiro on December 14, 2013:
I've been diagnosed as being in possession of what psychologists call " intellectual giftedness", along with some other other problems that might be detrimental to my social life. Being told that my intelligence level was within the top 1 percent of the general population, I decided to give up on understanding some of my friends because it would be such a hard task. This is not a self narcissism, but rather a logical way of thinking. Then I joined Mensa Canada and I was given many opportunities of intellectual exchanges, which I felt extremely stimulating. I am looking forward to finding more friends in Mensa who will eventually be my life-long fellows that can support one another with problems only accompanied by extreme intelligence.
I completely agree with what the blog said by the way. The bell curve indicates the prevalence of one's intelligence, and that determines the number of whom he'd consider like minded peers.
ricky12345xht on November 29, 2013:
@kh2013: kh2013, I'm usually a little over 150 myself - a little more with raven type tests, a little less with the rest. I mosly agree with Seadream above, but perhaps you expect more from your partner and might not settle for a less intelligent man.
This is just an example with many variables that might not apply here, but time and again I've seen two very intelligent friends of mine (not as smart as you, though, more like 120-130) get into serious relationships (seemingly, at least - living together etc) with lower IQ men, and from the ouside it looks like a big compromise. From where I'm standing, it's clear that they're trying hard to convince themselves that this is what they need to be doing.
Every single time they drop these chaps after a few years. Women in their mid thirties now, they want kids after sorting out all their phd/career stuff, and they'll probably just do this with the next guy that's a convenient fit. I've known them for a fairly long time, and there sure seems to be enough of a pattern there to suggest that this is what they'll do.
As anyone married long enough will attest, the key to any successful relationship is patience, understanding, and compromise (with a capital "f"). Both these women in my example are a little spoilt growing up with pretty much everything provided by daddy whenever they wanted (like many of us in the western world), which might not be directly related, but it does look like it plays a big role in their reluctance to be with a strong man. I use the word ''strong'' here because it seems like a much more relevant term than "intelligent" in the context of this discussion. Let me clarify though that I'm not talking about someone with low(/er) IQ.
It appears to me that my two friends are too quick to make the initial compromise of being with an easier partner, which at the beginning is indeed very convenient, but they're not prepared to deal with the daily matters of a long term relationship. To my knowledge, the problems that arise in any relationship after the initial spark are the same regardless of intelligence levels, and things only become harder when communications suffer.
Having said all that, I wouldn't know if any of it applies to your situation.
In any case, though, another option might be (if you "have time" or "are lucky enough to meet the right person", because these two are very real issues, too) to try it with an older high IQ fella (say, 3-7 years older, depending on your age - I'm assuming that you're young) provided that he's really into you and not too fussy himself. Someone like that will probably be relaxed and experienced enough to give the relationship a fair chance.
If he is willing to do the work (because the high IQ combination sure requires more intellectual work) then be patient enough to figure out how to press each others' buttons just right. Explain this to him clearly so he's working towards it. Doing so might take a bit out of the "magic" but it's the healthy thing to do. I can't imagine that this won't be far more rewarding than being with someone less intelligent (all other things being sort of equal - if that's ever impossible...), and in the long run the advantages only become greater.
Large deviations from a "reasonable" IQ balance in a couple become an exhausting compromise a few years down the line (as much as other things - has to be said, that's just one of very many things that can break a relationship). Surely not great for the kids either, though one can argue that it prepares them better for the real world.
eiodopet on October 11, 2013:
As one with a high IQ myself, I know how lonely life can be in real time. The virtual world can be an oasis. Unlike more sensible folks of similar intelligence, I cannot claim truthfully that I've had reluctance in dating, but it has come at a dear price. I am a walking cautionary tale. I have compromised myself in a trade off that is tragic, where each pairing is a mirage. We play the cute couple, but I am lonelier in my relationships than alone. Showing that possession of intelligence itself and even innate wisdom doesn't always equal wise choices. Call it fatal attraction. A poem...
Being pragmatic, I turn a blind eye, the whisper to follow me: "don't be that guy".
SBPI Inc on September 17, 2013:
Years ago, in the 60s, I passed the test that someone in Mensa asked me to take for the fun of it. Well! the expression on her face was unreal - she immediately invited me to one of their meetings and having never heard of the organization/club at the time I thought it would be something I would earn about. (Was actually hoping to find some good chess players. LOL) Meeting was set for 7:00pm the next evening and when I showed up there already were about 7 or continually 8 people there, I was the new guy. Sitting in a circle each person took their turn introducing themselves, probably for my benefit and in listening to them I was gaining a perception of what was actually happening at these meetings. After introductions, they open conversations about their way of life, thoughts on life and living and it became more clear to me that I really wasn't interested in joining but I made no decision at that time because I wanted to consider it for myself by myself. Upon reflection, I really felt that this particular group, not speaking for any other group or for anyone else, seemed to have the need to, let me say it this way, 'continually pat themselves on the back to validate their feelings of superior intellect'. May have received an erroneous perception from this meeting but that was how I felt and that was not what I wanted to do or need. Not judging Mensa as that particular group may not and probably was not representative of the organization but, for me, that was not a chance I was willing to take nor a condition I wished to continually experience.
kh2013 on June 27, 2013:
@seadream: This is great feedback! Thank you!
The last guy I dated was lower in IQ, but I had a similair experience as you did. It was actually a good fit. I tend to become agitated and impatient, and he was able to slow me down and make me see things from a different perspective. So what you say makes perfect sense.
I've come to realize the "high" IQ vs "lower IQ" measurement means our brains are wired differently than the "average" brain. My brain needs to be fed all the time, and this can get exhausting for people who are not wired similarly. But as you point out. it can also be an exciting surprise for the right relationship.
Thank you for taking the time to comment!
seadream on June 21, 2013:
@kh2013: My IQ is similar to yours and I have dated both 'higher' and lower. I put higher in inverted commas as I don't actually think their IQs were higher, but they were intelligent and challenged my mind. Unfortunately I found the 'higher' IQ men more difficult as they constantly wanted to prove that they were right and I was wrong about things that I knew I was right about. I think they found my IQ threatening and I found them difficult and patronising. I broke off relationships with men whose lack of interest in the world and intelligence for want of a better word because I didn't find them stimulating enough. I have married a great man with a lower IQ than me who knows that I'm 'smarter' than he is, so he doesn't bother challenging me often and this is great. I have foibles that he deals with and he is an open minded, forward thinking man which is great. I love to open new doors to him - as he does for me. I would definitely recommend dating someone with a slightly lower IQ as it avoids clashes and makes for an easier and much happier life! Let your IQ be a surprise that a man learns about as he gets to know you, after all it is only part of who you are.
kh2013 on June 19, 2013:
I am writing a second post because I really like the comments posted on this site. I feel like I am on the outside looking in a lot, and here it feels different.
So - I would like to throw something out there. .....I'm interested to learn about how high IQ people are experiencing dating....
When I was younger, I used to drink my way through dating, as it seemed to "dumb" me down. (Of course, the relationships didn't last....eventually someone got sober).
Now I have LONG periods between getting dates (I'm drinking less). I'm want to figure this out. This simple task of hooking up seems to eluding me.
So - my question to you all is - Men: what is it like dating a women with a high IQ? (mine is only 142, so it isn't like I am off the charts or anything). Is it different than say, a 120? Women: do you think you are better off dating a guy with a higher IQ than you? Are you dating? What is it like?
I am anxious as always to hear people's comments.
Nancy Graham (author) on June 19, 2013:
@SparksKaliope: Yes! Very true. The fact is that someone with a high IQ is able to understand and master so many things and it becomes a problem sometimes. And, as far as making choices about careers...well that can be challenging because you see so many options and what you want to do one day may not be what you want to do the next. We are extremely focused and "on task" and once we feel complete (in our own way), we want to move on to something else. It can be frustrating for those around us. And, I find it to be actually painful to be doing something in which I have no interest. It's difficult for others to grasp and they can come to conclusions and make judgements that aren't accurate. They don't understand the pain. Instead they may see you as scattered, weak, lazy or even disabled. Well, anyway, I'm rambling on here. And, yes, the movies and other media make high IQ seem like something celebrated and wonderful. It's not that way in the "real" world.
Nancy Graham (author) on June 19, 2013:
@anonymous: Oh, Ethan. Thank you!
anonymous on June 19, 2013:
just recently i found out how much of my trouble was related to my IQ.
Thank you very much for the great article, everything in it was very true for me, i ordered the "The Gifted Adult" book and i hope to gain more insight and control over my feelings and thoughts through it.
Big hug from me! <3
SparksKaliope on June 06, 2013:
Thanks for writing this. I recently read many articles and felt relief. But now reading yours I'm feeling the same relief. It makes me realize that the old self-image of being foolish for not fitting in isn't easy to drop even when you know what's going on. I think it's a long process of self-understanding and self-acceptance.
Another challenge that I don't think you mentioned is that it's stressful to be good at a lot of things. You don't feel satisfied with one major in college because it means you're not doing something else that is equally as important to you. I've been reading a book called Refuse to Choose that's helping a lot in that area!
It's really sad how many people are feeling so mis-understood. The movies make it seem that intelligence is automatically recognized and nurtured. Your search terms have made me realize how rarely that happens.
Kimberly Schimmel from Greensboro, NC on May 28, 2013:
I agree that Living with Intensity is a great resource. It helped me to know I wasn't alone with my weird childhood and helped me better understand some of my children. For example, I have a teenage son who is unusually sensitive to noise and to touch--and extremely bright.
Nancy Graham (author) on May 19, 2013:
@anonymous: No, it does not necessarily make you a lonely weirdo. I'm not a lonely weirdo, so I know that. Being a swift problem solver... is not an accurate description of high IQ. It is heading in a valid direction, however, the descriptor would more accurately include a clever, natural or innovative problem solver. Swift is so limited and one-dimensional and that we are not. There is so much more to having a high IQ. Did you really read this whole page? AND, that opening phrase, As someone with high IQ you should have known..., is uniformed and is one of the things people say that invokes an immediate groan of frustration from those who have a high IQ. Having a high IQ does not mean that I know everything. Having a high IQ does not mean that I somehow magically can access all knowledge. I am an individual and have my own areas of interest and expertise. Even then, I don't know everything about those. I think differently. My brain is wired a bit differently, or so it seems, and the loneliness can be very real and prevalent in those with a high IQ. I am an individual. We are all unique. We are different from each other and we are the same as each other. Don't judge me using my IQ as a target. Seek the joy of exploration and discovery, not the disillusionment and loneliness of judgement and scorn.
anonymous on May 14, 2013:
As someone with high IQ you should have known that correlation does not necessarily imply causation. Being a swift problem solver (this is what IQ is all about) does not necessarily make you a lonely weirdo.
anonymous on May 04, 2013:
Pearl Buck put it nicely. Isolated? Who do you tell when you find a mistake on an IQ test? I mainly just play dumb much of the time but don't really try to fit in. When things are obvious I generally keep my mouth shut. My new girlfriend was astounded when, while watching a movie, I answered "who really invented radio" before the character in the movie did. I explained that I used to be a genius but I grew out of it. Now that I'm 60 I find that I can relieve my creative obsessions by doing hard, manual labor. It helps to be too tired to think!
anonymous on April 29, 2013:
@kh2013: I think fast, work fast, get bored fast, get depressed fast, get out of depression fast, get anxious fast - it seems like my brain simply will not stop.
That is me 100%. I am sitting at work now googling "high IQ bored at work." I have never had a job that challenged me. I switch jobs frequently, get promoted quickly, and then 2-3 months later find I have mastered that new position and am now bored. By the time I have been at a job for 18 months, I am restless and depressed.
kh2013 on April 18, 2013:
I am so glad to have come across this site!
I am struggling my high IQ..... I think fast, work fast, get bored fast, get depressed fast, get out of depression fast, get anxious fast - it seems like my brain simply will not stop. It is very very aggravating.
Employment has been a struggle - I am 50 years old, and have had many jobs over the years, and they all tended to end the same way. I seem to be incapable of performing in a 9-5 environment. I am by no means lazy, I just cannot sit at a desk for no apparent reason, or go to meetings and not speak my mind, or take much of what is said seriously. I can't NOT know it doesn't mean anything.
So - I have been self employed for years, but it is rather aggravating....
Anyway, enough whining, I guess. I really appreciate njg's attitude - I tend to lean toward the glass-half-emply side recently, and working on changing that.
Thanks for listening!
anonymous on April 14, 2013:
Thank you so much. I can't even begin to describe how much I relate to everything you said, and how comforting it is, so I'll just briefly say this--I was searching for "feeling out of sync with others" and found your post after yet another awkward happy hour. I like my co-workers mostly, and do try to be social. However, at these bigger social engagements, I always either 1) Weird people out by what I want to talk about, and see them looking around the room/trying to leave the conversation, or 2) Engage in completely boring conversation, and leave angry because I feel I've wasted by time. The best I usually do is to be the token oddity/make fun of myself before anyone else can. Oh well.
Anyway, I hope you post again, and thanks!
Nancy Graham (author) on April 04, 2013:
@anonymous: Please dont be so hard on yourself. I understand your comment very well. I have felt the same way--probably still do. It's actually a common trait of those with a high IQ to find a deep interest in everything. We tend to be great at starting things, but we aren't very good at following through and completing them. This is, in part, because once we've created the idea or started a project,, our interest is then directed to the next concept, or to creating something else. We jump from one thing to another, perhaps because we are easily bored once the creative part is over. It's hard to settle on one thing and follow through because we are so highly aware. We see this and then we see that and then another. It's challenging to keep our focus on one thing and then follow through. It's hard to pick one idea because we see so many possibilities. This has been very true for me and I feel as you do. Most people would look at my life and say that I've accomplished so much, but we are perfectionists and I expect much more of myself. And, I have felt isolated (you call yourself "hermit") and confused about how to communicate. My sister told me recently, "You live inside your own head a lot. Daily living is not creative, but it's necessary. Make daily living easier."
I have felt like you many times: that I just want to give up. Please don't give up. You are too valuable and I'm sure you have done more than you realize.
Nancy Graham (author) on April 04, 2013:
Thank you so much for writing this! For SO LONG I have felt different than others, that I just have a really weird, strange mind even though I'm still social and well-accepted. For a while, I too thought there was something wrong with me. Like a social disorder or something. I always felt like I couldn't really relate to people in their most common conversations, and people couldn't relate to me in my most common thoughts, ideas, or choices for conversation topics. Then I found out that I have a Mensa-qualifying IQ as well. My brother also has a high IQ and we can talk for hours and hours in ways I can't talk to others. It's a blessing and a curse, and it certainly makes me no better than others. I really appreciate your honesty!
anonymous on April 04, 2013:
So sad. It's killing me. Gifted even among the gifted, qualifying for the Prometheus Society (99.997 %ile as opposed to Mensa's 98 %ile), 45 years old and I haven't done a damn thing with my life. I want to be erased, to never have existed.
cleansweeping on March 26, 2013:
I love your lens! The information is so true! I teach exceptionally gifted students and my children are gifted, if not exceptionally gifted. Great job!
deathrydeauthor on March 05, 2013:
Great post! Pearl Buck hit the nail on the head. I did not like school and was very restless... even had a propensity for disruption, but later learned that my IQ was geared for greater things.
anonymous on February 28, 2013:
I got here via searches for "high iq and loneliness." It's somewhat comforting to see that I'm not *truly alone, and that my feeling "out of sync" isn't necessarily about my personality. Still, the reality of the matter is that, in most settings, I can't bring you guys with me :( - I'm beginning to fear that I will forever feel lonely and frustrated, because I can see things others cannot (or can "connect the dots" others cannot), and I can't stop stop myself from seeing them. It really sucked in childhood, and I eventually threw in the towel, preferring to just fit in and be "cool" (TOO cool). Now, after getting my life back in order and feeling "sharp" once more, it's happening again and at a higher frequency. -- Anyway, sorry for venting. I hope you're all having a better time with this than I am.
anonymous on February 25, 2013:
Thanks - yes yes and yes.
anonymous on February 25, 2013:
Lonely!!! All my life I have had a VERY difficult time with ppl. When I was young I thought everyone was thinking the same THINGS at the same time to put it all in a broad perapective. WRONG!!! Mean or not, this world is full of lower intelligence. Only recently I have begun to love more and expand an open mind for God's creations of other ppl. There is a reason and beauty for each persons existence whether they accept the beauty challenge or destroy it with evil and neglect. I also am self diagnosed with ADD. In high school a bipolar/ADD friend gave me adderall 60mg. Taken at night made me a super genius the next day. I remembered, verbatem, every word this pompus and arogant teacher straight out of college said. I was failing his class I hated him so much. I also wrote every word down in my notebook, incredible! The down side was seeing my pupils the size of my iris and feeling like I was now a drug user. Later though I resorted to marijuana to try to dumb down and therby relate to others, fit-in! That does NOT help. I eventually smoked by myself because those I smoked with didn't understand anything I spoke about. Always waaaay over there dumbass heads. There it is a lil mean again. I became a reclusive introvert dwelling on large ideas like the meaning of life, inventions or what could be done in obscure probable situations. Well, after a while of that I really did feel stupid for about two months and I accepted it with a side of depression. I decided to look for an IQ test and found out after the exam that I'm not a dumbass and am classified as 1% of the population. There goes the lonely factor again. Ya, it does suck to have so much energy for anything, life inside, ambition to do and a heart to help anyone understand even though they won't get it really. I prefer this though than to be just another sheep in the prairie. Life is awesome with this mind. Most Ppl can't do what I do: I appreciate; understand; invent, discover, investigate etc, unlike 99% of ppl. I don't know if this has anything to do with our gift but I can feel energy too. When I was two years old I could feel my family members walking in the house, getting closer or further. Since then I've only felt evil when I meet someone really bad or if they just pass by me. Two nights ago I had an occurrence when a person walked in front of me. I could feel them walk past me with a positive feeling. I didn't say or do anything but then they passed me again and felt the same thing. I had to stop them and find out what this was about. From the inquiry I gave I found nothing to be out of the ordinary or extrodinary. I made no further steps to follow up with the individual. Or basically was shot down before I could begin a full investigation. Yep, it was a girl at a bar who said she was married, without a ring on!?!? "it's complicated she said". They all seem so suspicious and untrusting. Well I just felt like saying I was lonely because there was a tear in my eye when I read this page, plus some sappy music was on my Pandora station. May love, hope and peace be with all of us! -Jason from STL email is Walkingthroughglass@yahoo.com
Loretta Livingstone from Chilterns, UK. on February 20, 2013:
I did an IQ test a couple of years ago, and even though I have ME which can make me a bit dull, I scored 128. Not quite bright enough for MENSA, but I think it must be quite trying have a high IQ, so I'm pretty happy with my score. You probably struggle to understand why most folk have trouble grasping things which you 'get' pretty quickly, and which seem obvious. I think it must be quite stressful. But make the most of your asset and use it to create beautiful things. All the best.
anonymous on February 09, 2013:
I'm planning on taking an official IQ test in the next few months to confirm my suspicions. After reading this you've only solidified my guess that I have a high IQ. Though all of your listed characteristics define myself I found these ones in particular hitting very close to home.
has an unusual sense of humor
has a vivid and rich imagination
can't switch off thinking
perfectionist and sets high standards for self and others
has strong moral convictions
feels outrage at moral breaches that others seem to take for granted
Nancy Graham (author) on January 27, 2013:
@anonymous: Yes, Tonia. Big deal, huh? Sigh. I don't think he read the whole thing, or certainly didn't absorb it if he did. Some people can only manage to judge: is it black, or is it white?
anonymous on January 27, 2013:
Thanks again for posting this, I appreciate the resources and knowing that I am not alone.
anonymous on January 27, 2013:
@anonymous: Ever hear of a little thing called a "T Y P O"? You are a prime example of someone who feels threatened, as mentioned in this article...
seadream on January 22, 2013:
This was so interesting to me and to have my personality listed was great as I've never seemed to fit a 'type' before. My IQ is 145 and it is only recently (I'm 40) that I have been exploring how it has shaped who I am. I have lots of lovely friends that I can have great discussions with but I often long for someone to have indepth discussions with. It used to be my father (his IQ was 165!) but he recently passed away. I have a happy life but it often feels unfulfilled as I am always thinking, searching and questioning. At least I now know why, but sometimes I just fancy taking a break in someone else's brain that isn't as busy!
Nancy Graham (author) on January 19, 2013:
@anonymous: Wow! That's a mouthful! I suggest that you take an IQ test so that you know what your score is. You can be tested by a neuropsychologist for IQ and to see if you do, indeed, have ADHD. Bipolar could very well be an issue for you, as well. I say this because of your intense drive and lack of sleep. You may have more than one thing going on: high IQ and Bipolar Disorder, for instance. Please consider this so that you can receive some help to regulate your energy and channel your creativity in a healthy way. I have had several friends in my life who were Bipolar and your text reminds me of them, though I'm not an expert. I'm just saying that it's possible and I encourage you to explore it further. One of my friends used to recognize it herself and would raise her hands in the air above her head and say, "Help! I'm high. I'm high!" All the best to you. I'm glad you found this information helpful.
anonymous on January 19, 2013:
I give much thanks to you ! Oddly I found this page typing in search words you already listed..lol...My search was for High IQ and Excessive Energy..as I kept reading down the page..I kept saying that is me...I do that..I was diagnosed with ADHD but my energy levels are extremely high and I couldn't find anything to describe what I experience..but as I was reading about the drive to create..create..create...that describes me perfectly..Hypersensitive..Isolated..Photographic memory..I was musical in elementary school, band chorus , I also played first trumpet and drums. .I read books upside down for fun in class, I was good with learning French and I love symbols, shapes and anything that pushes my thinkingâ¦I independently study Psychology, Philosophy and I adore reading Aristotle before bed (which some people find odd?) , I was interested in Cake Decorating in high school and that is how I started drawing in general...I did attend college..I did very well in ethics and before I quit college mid semester.. I had a 100 average in accounting..the reason I dropped out was I could not grasp algebraâ¦so I couldn't go any further (I have always had a problem with that). At the age of 20 I redesigned the social service system and suggested people work for their benefitsâ¦I was completely laughed at..but within a few years afterâ¦ Workfare was just starting and nothing like it should have been. I began to focus on my drawings..which lead to painting..painting lead me to wood burning, which lead to making ornamentsâ¦ and hand painted candleholdersâ¦I also built plans for a business. I developed physical limitations..that lead me to the internet..and Facebook..I also study Astrology..Numerologyâ¦and joined groups of that natureâ¦I was making and designing individual pics to reflect what colors based on Natal chart information a personâs energy might look like..That was when My desk was so cluttered and disorganized I decided to to tear the books apart and reassemble them in a order that made sense to me, so I started making what I call ADHD friendly books.. From May 2011 to December 2011 I made 9- 3 inch binders full of redesigned books..1 ccokbook..2 Western Astrology..2 Personality Profile & Temperament , 2 General Numerology Including Chaledean and 2 Numerology Companions. In 2012 I made 9 more books.. 2 Chinese Astrology, 1 Cherokee Astrology, 1 The Sign of Pisces, 1 Aquarius, 2 Complete ADHD and 2 ADHD Companion books I designed and assembled them in 18 days complete with personality testsâ¦.I still have 11 more zodiac books to design (There is a 13th sign)â¦.as I have been typing I was thinking objectivelyâ¦thatâs a lengthy list lol..! In 2010 I painted a Flag on my Dadâs garage door..it is the biggest paint project I have done and everyone says itâs beautiful..I have to admit I admire it every now and then. I hyperfocus on things I am interested in..and that is how I get things done. There is soo much more..I have helped others with forms, personal complaints..and one Judge said my work was better than a Lawyer! To me that was a pretty big compliment! My ADHD Volumes were compared to a college course. Andâ¦lol..I read Tarot cards with 99% accuracy in my spare time to help others..free of charge Ican write and draw with both hands. I am looking for answers because my drive is starting to take a heavy toll..and it is very hard to sleep on a schedule and I am currently physically exhausted and still have the create drive..it is tiring and yet my mind never shuts offâ¦ I was Diagnosed with Adult ADHD in 2008 and I was fairly content as all of this finally had a name and I could study and learn..the high energy, extreme sensitivity,creativity, my grounding to nature and my love of the moon ..stars and universe that all made sense to me and seemed to fitâ¦so what lead me here was a doctor who is just meeting me said I was Bipolar and dismissed ADHD entirely..I took in some of my work to prove what I was saying was true..he all but dismissed it ..and he is the only psychiatrist ..so I pointed out the broad range of creativity and once again he dismissed it. If anyone can help me understand all this..I would be most greatfulâ¦I will give my facebook page..feel free to contact me.. Just send me a message and mention ADHD..if I donât reply.. I donât have internet so it could take a bit for me to get it..but I will repy..Once again thank you..I am glad I found your page..right now it is a blessing! in thank you..I am glad I found your page..right now it is a blessing! ...good luck to everyone!
anonymous on January 16, 2013:
Thank you. I am both isolated and lonely, behind a hidden mask. I quietly wonder to myself why other people are not interested in interesting things, and conversely, why I am curious of everything while they appear to be curious of nothing. I'll be taking a test shortly, to see if I can find people similar to me in mensa.
Nancy Graham (author) on January 13, 2013:
@anonymous: Aha! Thank you. I have corrected this. And, yes, I made an error. I love it when I'm wrong. I can exercise my skills in humility.
anonymous on January 13, 2013:
From the Gifted & Creative Services of Austrailia ?
Always thought the correct spelling of the country down under was A U S T R A L I A . . .
Found this a little funny considering all the IQ/smartness being thrown around here.
anonymous on December 27, 2012:
@njg: Yes njg, That is beautifully stated. It helped me realize that's where I am, nice to see it put in words.
I was diagnosed with a 176 in 8th grade after suffering from autodidacticism for quite awhile.
I keep looking for the one thing that will keep me interested, and am starting to feel really burned out at 50 feeling like I'm 150.
I had a teacher tell me "you can be anything you want!" that sent my mind reeling, and in retrospect was a very damaging thing as I knew how many different things there were, but couldn't identify myself with any specific job as I had too many interests to combine into one concrete self-projection.
Thanks again for putting this info out there for the unknown members of the "one in a million club". :)
Nancy Graham (author) on December 02, 2012:
@anonymous: Shelli: I love your comment. Thank you. Sounds like we'd be great friends! Nancy
anonymous on December 02, 2012:
Thank you for posting this article on the internet. It is refreshing to read. You combine detailed academic descriptions, useful links and touching anecdotes that reveal such passion and commitment. I am impressed.
I can relate to your story. However, I grew up knowing about my creative and intellectual "differentness", although knowing did not change the challenges learning how to mesh them with the way the majority of the people in the world go about their day-to-day.
Fortunately, I've been blessed with 3 like-minded children...so they "get me", so to speak. We jokingly call ourselves "aliens"....jokingly of course. More in the sense of being minorities in a cultural fringe sense...It's a way to conceptualize the experience of thinking and feeling through the entirely unusual set of lenses individuals on either end of the spectrum possess.
Isn't this why the world is so beautiful? Best of luck in all your pursuits!
anonymous on November 15, 2012:
I had a girlfriend who was a 157 but she drank too much and was depressed most of the time (which came first?). We were happy for awhile, and had our own special language and understanding, peace being alone together.
I miss that. (snif)
I hated school, it was boring. I would read all the schoolbooks through at the beginning of the year and coast. The teachers wouldn't call on me because I would refer to chapters that hadn't been covered yet, or to other books related to the topic and they would often accuse me of purposely disrupting the class. So I would read outside materials to stave off the boredom, but that was a no-no too. My parents didn't understand at all and would punish me for it also, so I got a double whammy.
Thanks for letting me get some of this off my chest, I think there are some here who finally understand.
The correlations are immense, and yes, real. I don't know what to do about it either. My head hurts. Thanks all.
anonymous on November 15, 2012:
@joanhall: Hi Al! Yes NJG I also get bored to tears and very depressed when I'm not into something new all the time.
Nobody knows what I'm talking about., and I've become quite a misanthrope because of it over time. Anytime people get an edge on me like bosses -etc. they seem to take delight in ripping me off, slandering me, giving me the dirty jobs just to be mean.
My Aunt found out I had taken an IQ test back in 8th grade and wanted to know why the teacher didn't tell me the results, the teacher told her that she didn't want me to lord it over my classmates. My Aunt found out and told me that it was 176, she enrolled me in Mensa but I didn't care much for it at that age and didn't mean anything to me back then but over the years it has explained a lot. -esp. after reading this! Thanks also to those who have posted their experiences I have been mentally starved lately and went online in search of understanding my condition. The list above from Australia fits me to a "T". It also explains my lack of ability to find a wholly compatible partner at the half century mark. Florence King says the only partner for a hi IQ misanthrope is another hi IQ misanthrope!
anonymous on November 06, 2012:
@anonymous: The best place to start with Wilber's work is "A Brief History of Everything" (Forgive the title ...). A summary from the San Francisco Chronicle: "In the ambitiously titled A Brief History of Everything, Wilber continues his search for the primary patterns that manifest in all realms of existence. Like Hegel in the West and Aurobindo in the East, Wilber is a thinker in the grand systematic tradition, an intellectual adventurer concerned with nothing less than the whole course of evolution, life's ultimate trajectoryâin a word, everything. . . . Combining spiritual sensitivity with enormous intellectual understanding and a style of elegance and clarity, A Brief History of Everything is a clarion call for seeing the world as a whole, much at odds with the depressing reductionism of trendy Foucault-derivative academic philosophy."
You can read the book on your computer via Amazon or Google Books.
Wilber's done a lot to clarify my sense of the world ... Hopefully he can be of some help.
anonymous on November 06, 2012:
@anonymous: Here is a good summary of Wilber's work: www.integralworld.net /rev/rev_bauwens.html (The URL is broken up so that I could post it)
Again, his subject is the nature of reality. Definitely take a look at the article, I think you'll find it valuable.
anonymous on November 06, 2012:
You should definitely find someone to speak to, perhaps a therapist. If you feel any stigma, remember that these are just other human beings who want to help. You might be surprised at how much just talking about it changes things.
Down the line, you may want to consider meditation. With that, you can gain freedom from the suffering imposed by confusions of the mind.
And if you're looking for answers to the question of the nature of things, you might want to look at the work of philosopher Ken Wilber: www.shambhala.com /expert-picks/ picks-integral.html (The address is in parts, so I could post it).
You can find a way through this. You just have to trust that.
anonymous on October 25, 2012:
Thank you for writing this article. I came here with search words something along the lines of "not reaching high IQ potential." I have always done well in school, I have an MS in math, but at the moment I'm a stay-at-home mom trying to make some extra money as an artist in my spare time. I often have feelings of depression and guilt that I'm not using my education. As one of my tenets is "know thyself," I landed here seeking answers. I had no idea that so many of my other issues are most likely the result of high IQ. I just found out that I qualify for Mensa (submitting my application soon), and I am so glad to find that so many other Mensans are artists, too, because I really enjoy it. There is so much good information on this page I have been reading for over a day now, thank you once again for putting it together. It has really helped me.
Nancy Graham (author) on October 19, 2012:
@anonymous: Hi! First of all, I was an exchange student to Brazil in 1967. I lived with a family in Rio. I stayed in Terrasopolis for a short time. I spent a lot of time on Copacobana Beach! As far as the memory problems, I'm really not certain why I hav memory trouble. The tests were never conclusive. Sometimes I just tell myself it's the result of a creative mind.
anonymous on October 19, 2012:
NJG, thank you very much for all these material that you share with us! I just found myself here!
I'm from Brazil (sorry in advance for my bad english) and I did the Mensa Brazil test in 2009 and was invited to participated but I didn't applied that time. However, I always felt as you described above and after read your post I'll contact the Mensa because I'm feeling that this is a way to contact people who will understand me.
Also, let me ask you something. Did you discover something more about your memory problem? I'm asking you this because I have problems with memory too. My memory is not good. I forgot a lot of things! For example, when I'm reading a book, I can't remember what I read yesterday so I always have to read again some phrases to be able to remember everything. Perhaps, do you have this kind of problems?
Again, thank you. You help me a lot with all these material!
Nancy Graham (author) on October 14, 2012:
@anonymous: I don't know where you live, but it seems best to form a group near you. Mensa is made up of many individuals. I'm sure you could find people with whom you can relate. You can even start special interest groups within Mensa. It's just a proven place to connect with others who have a high IQ.
It isn't elitist in that it is closed to only those whom it defines as the "best" of society. It has one requirement only: an IQ of 130 or above. This does not mean you are among the elite, or privileged class of society. It means you tend to think differently than others. You will find people from all professions and backgrounds in Mensa. As in any group, there will be those who have their own prejudices, beliefs, experiences and baggage. But, that does not define the group itself. You have to find in it what is valuable to you, and there is value there, in my opinion.
I don't understand the "selfish" reference, but if you mean that they are not interested in taking steps to make a positive impact on society, then I think you may have misunderstood something about Mensa. Or, perhaps you have had a bad experience.
anonymous on October 14, 2012:
@njg: mensas elitist and selfish. we should be sharing our gift not boxing it up. we should also welcome anyone who is interested.
anonymous on October 14, 2012:
@anonymous: haha @justsomeone: I felt like that before too. If you think of it, you actually don't envy them.
anonymous on October 14, 2012:
@anonymous: Hey Sean, sorry to hear that, what can I say: there are few books I ve read that have allowed to put my brain on hold somehow. I can feel some inner peace. Please reply on this and I can send you the details. R.
Nancy Graham (author) on October 13, 2012:
@anonymous: Hmmm, I wouldn't attribute that to high IQ. There are so many other possibilities. It sounds more like anxiety to me.
Nancy Graham (author) on October 13, 2012:
@anonymous: If you have a high IQ, you think differently than most others. The world is not f'd up because others don't think like you do or fail to meet your standards. The world is, by it's very nature, a combination of numerous, unique and varied things. That's what makes it interesting. And, there is no such thing as your standards being "too high", that is, unless they are causing you distress, whether it be self-directed for not being able to meet your own standards or loneliness from alienating others,
Nancy Graham (author) on October 13, 2012:
@anonymous: If you are suicidal, please seek immediate help. Call a suicide hotline or make an appointment with your doctor. But don't wait. Thoughts of suicide are very serious. You may be confusing high IQ and depression.
Nancy Graham (author) on October 13, 2012:
@anonymous: Already done. Try Mensa!
Nancy Graham (author) on October 13, 2012:
@anonymous: This is why I joined Mensa. Try it. It's a great way to meet others and there is a wide variety of opportunities to interact.
anonymous on October 12, 2012:
Lets form a group that meets already!
anonymous on October 10, 2012:
I have an IQ of 127, but since my initial test, I believe that the number has risen. Also, since the test, I have become increasingly suicidal. I can't stand having all of the questions and no answers; it has gotten to the point that I'm tired of looking. I need to be somewhere where I can keep asking questions. My mind needs to be free. Otherwise... I can't take it anymore. I really can't.
anonymous on October 09, 2012:
We should form a group. I'm tired of feeling alone even with my whole family around me. If anyone else feels like this then you know why talking about it on the web is more of a tease then anything else in the world. I say we rent out some hotel conference room or something. If interested reply to this post, lets actually take action im sick of feeling helpless.
anonymous on October 08, 2012:
@anonymous: yeah its scary. I found myself wondering if feeling like my dates were less intelligent was just a defense mechanism of mine. This in turn would get me even more down on myself, i just wanted to relate and not feel so intellectually unsatisfied and alone. Its refreshing to hear this coming from a woman, thanks "bungalow".
anonymous on October 07, 2012:
Just keep writing and sharing. Much appreciated. One of my favorite books is Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet. Rilke writes about how to be true to self and how to create a life as a gifted person, even though he never uses the word gifted. I'm 61 and still working at it.
anonymous on October 03, 2012:
Often, I envy fool people.
anonymous on October 03, 2012:
Often, i envy fool people around me.
anonymous on October 02, 2012:
@anonymous: Wow, that's especially hard. I've had the same thing over and over again. Bosses assuming I cheat or something, teachers and so forth assuming I'm incapable of intelligent thought. I had one school COUNSELOR laugh at me when I was 16 because I was reading the New York Times, seriously! How backward is that? Remarkable achievements here and there and then people turn their back on them, use them, or steal what I've done and obtain fame, wealth and so on. Insane. It DOESN'T get better.
anonymous on October 02, 2012:
I hate the loneliness. I'm 50 and still have trouble with the loneliness. Where people assume factually discerned and probable observations somehow become judgements, where my standards are way too high...the list is endless. Therapy helps, but only so much. I hate the loneliness. I'll tell ya, we live in a really f'd up world if MY standards and how I live my life are unusual and are too high.
anonymous on September 29, 2012:
I have been feeling alienated all my life. I have been bullied, and having conversations with people is difficult because they felt i was trying to impress. I hate myself for being super sensitive about the feelings of others. I recently took a Mensa test and got a score of 160, So? It has brought me nothing but pain. Sometimes I wish i could be one of the normal folk, enjoy the things they do, be much less sensitive and generally be happier. Thanks to this article i understand more now.
krakensquid on September 26, 2012:
A fascinating read, you explain those things really well.
anonymous on September 19, 2012:
Hello there, my IQ is not nearly as high as yours but is above average (118) I actually searched because I recently found that out, and I always have trouble sleeping ... was wondering if this could be the reason? I'm always tired even when I get 8 hours and my mind seems to wander and explore things that I have no business thinking about at 3am lol can you help?
anonymous on September 19, 2012:
Thanks for writing this. I have some questions for everyone... When i was in elementary school and middle school I always had great grades, wrote the best speeches and narratives in my classes (however ive never had a liking for math what-so-ever but always had a B or A). I could spit out facts about almost any subject. I obsessed over the history and discovery channel and people often criticized me for my difference in liking and being a "know-it-all". I once had another kid, somewhat of a bully, yell at me and my closest friend for why we talk "so smart". Obviously i didn't understand why he thought this and i perceived my own speech as normal. Anyway, my teachers during elementary school told my parents to have me tested for the gifted program (which my bestfriend was in). My parents agreed but for reasons that neither my parents, or I know, i was never tested. Over the years although i was not at the top of my class in high school i always thought those ranked above me were in no way "smarter" than me. I merely thought that their ranking was attributed to a studying regime created by their parents and the intense fear of "failure". Currently im 20 in college and have "ramped up" my efforts and am in the top 15% of my college in GPA with 2 majors being sought. However i never studied one night in high school and i study a couple hours right before my tests in college... and they seem mild as far as how challenging they are to me. If i don't know the blatant answer, i usually can probe my brain and create a logical solution that matches. Ive ALWAYS wondered what my IQ was but have never been tested. I feel like all of my friends and others talk so slow and simple and i easily understand everything they are trying to convey in moments (including my parents). My girlfriend has an IQ of 129 and i easily understand everything she explains in seconds and sometimes she becomes upset because she thinks i try and make her feel "dumb"...which is not my motivation. I spend countless hours researching random information and history over the internet and in books just to gain the information. I feel like i want to understand everything. If i don't understand something or don't know something i feel very upset and angry with myself and "not as good or smart". When im in deep thought i don't hear anything around me and i have complete focus on that thought...(yet im always thinking regardless)... I feel compelled to have lists of books i desire to read and usually have many laying around... My grandmother's IQ was somewhere around 150 and my cousin is just high enough for MENSA (Only family members tested). However, although i know im very intelligent i always feel like i could be smarter and i feel "imperfect" with myself. Also, another negative is my inability to act like certain things are "interesting" or funny to most people and as a result i feel very uncomfortable and awkward. However there is a good bit of time when i can be very charismatic and the life of the party...I've found i can make drastic shifts in extroversion and introversion almost on demand. I suspect i have a very high IQ but i always have reoccurring problems of confidence in my intellect.
My question to you all is if any of this sounds like your experiences and what is your take on my level of intellect and the "difficulties" i have. Should I get tested for peace of mind and reassurance? Thank you very much and do not fear elaboration.
anonymous on September 15, 2012:
Thanks a lot for writing ths article. I have all my life felt different, I haven't quite been able to put my finger on it. For one, I remember thinking about how the spacial dimensions after the 3:rd were when I was 7-10 or something like that, also learned to count from 10-100 (in Swedish, my native language) on my way to daycare. Could't be more than 3-4 then. Just a few examples, that is.
After reading this I recognize myself prefectly. My parents also told me I am ''gifted'', so they bought classical music and lended books and read them for me from the library.
Recently though I've felt worse and worse, but this text has more or less confirmed for me that which I've longed suspected. While I don't know my IQ, more creditable internet tests have given me reults like 126+ and 130. Although, they are done for 18+, and as of now I am barely 17.
Thanks for making me realise I might not be alone in this ''bubble'' in reality.
anonymous on September 12, 2012:
Thank you for posting this. I find myself thinking "How can they be so dumb?" multiple times a day, which is creates an internal struggle with my compassionate side. Very often, I am unable to find pleasure in movies, books, discussions, television shows, sermons, speeches, seminars and so on because I arrive at the punch line or main point much too fast. Often I have ruined a comedic experience for others by laughing before a joke or story has even developed. I sit in classes discussing literature and am in torture at the painfully obvious observations that are regarded profound. I don't say anything in meetings because people feel like I'm being a 'Debbie Downer' by pointing out what seem like obvious problems and flaws or they are resentful when I come up with a solution no one's ever thought of. I see friends get manipulated and I can't explain clearly enough for them to recognize it themselves.
I cried while reading your post. I read an article before this about how hard it is for Mensa level IQ people to find love. I wonder about that often. To compound things, I am Black. It seems people don't expect me to be highly intelligent and once they realize, it's met with either incredible wonder or complete disdain - both reactions being equally heartbreaking.
anonymous on September 12, 2012:
Wow this article is the closest thing to the truth I have ever seen. It is like I can open my eyes and see that there are other people in the world just like me. I wish it were better for all of us. Some of my friends think that it's cool that I'm smart, but it has never been harder even my middle schools new gifted program is repetitive and boring, we all need help, and this has gotten me this much, closer to understanding who I am and were I belong. PS if you get any time could you write a guide for highly gifted preteens, thank you so much
anonymous on August 31, 2012:
Thank you for writing this. I found myself in your article entirely and completely, I've never felt so related to anything. I've been an alien to my environment for whole my life (just as my picture, as you can see) so now at least, I'm not the only one.
anonymous on August 18, 2012:
Wow, thanks for your honesty. I am 25 and I just found out that I have a high IQ. My search was, "Is it lonely being smarter than the average person." I have experienced similar childhood misunderstandings as the ones you mentioned but lately the hardest thing has been finding a date who can hold his own intellectually.
NorthernDad on August 12, 2012:
@anonymous: I had the same accusations a number of times in school. One high school english paper I wrote took almost two months to get graded because they were convinced I had copied it and they were trying to find where I had copied it from. When they finally admitted it was mine, the teacher had to send it to a prof at the local college to have it graded. The teacher was not too happy when I caught wind of that! haha.
Anyway.... regarding your sadness, many many people with above average intelligence also have emotional issues. Maybe depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder. I'm bipolar. If you think you need some help, info, what-have-you, feel free to contact me. I know of some good support groups and I'm in the process of putting together an online community for people with mental health or emotional problems.
NorthernDad on August 12, 2012:
My parents first had me take an IQ test when I was 12. I passed the Mensa test at 15 (frankly, their standards seem low). The results of both tests had a serious negative impact on my life. As soon as my parents and teachers got wind of the term "gifted" they piled on the pressure. I was expected to get perfect or near perfect grades in every class from then on, whether I was interested in it or not. Seriously, what teenager is going to put that much effort into math and history? As you would expect, it triggered all kinds of rebellion on my part and overall I probably would have had better grades in school if I had never been tested. Or, at the very least, if the test results had been kept secret from my parents and teachers.
Being "different" is fine, being constantly pressured is not. I think much of the problem is that as soon as people hear these terms, they expect you to be the next Einstein. And when they realize that you won't be the person who cures cancer or sends humanity to the stars, then you're a disappointment. Personally, I think calling a person 'gifted', is a curse.
EMangl on August 11, 2012:
one of my favorite lines of a kabarettist where one says to the other:
you are lucky, you are dumb
anonymous on August 10, 2012:
For me it was very different. In my family, it was normal but my parents aren't 'smart the same way' which sometimes confused somebody. The adults at the school told me in 3rd grade and from then on, sometimes I would be separated from the other kids...but usually with other children who had 'the same issue' and we would have our own classes. I liked it. Today, I just found out that my earnings have been pathetic compared to other women with the same level of education, but somehow, with enough help I manage to keep going. I am also a lefty but I got used to having 'other gifted people peers'....Not all of my friends are like that, but I always liked it just because - like in the family, it seemed pretty normal and other people didn't find me confusing for reasons that don't make sense to me...Sometimes it really that they don't understand because it is over their heads but other times it is just caused by my uniqueness. I had mixed feelings about this article: I felt offended, sad and angry that adults failed to appreciate the high quality of your work as a child sometimes. That is so unfair.
anonymous on July 28, 2012:
This looks great, I will have to go back and read the whole thing later (I jumped straight to the comments because I am impatient!). I actually worked with Lynne Azpeitia in when I was in California last year and she helped me a lot. I can't afford her anymore because I work part time but the less I work, the happier I am. I sort of go back and forth between spending a lot of time on the issue (some of my writing is at kokomilgrim.com) and getting tired of it all and just wanting to watch my stories on the idiot box (that would be today).
anonymous on July 26, 2012:
the way I am and if I ever wish for others to appreciate me, I will present myself in a way which they see for themselves and appreciate based on their understanding of what it requires of a person to possess such capacity and manifest it in a way that shows true value, so that those like me and those who are not all see the same picture that I reflect.... Otherwise I live my life just being me.
Nancy Graham (author) on July 25, 2012:
@anonymous: I'm so sorry that you are sad. Sometimes I am also, but I have been able to find fulfillment. It sounds like the experiences you had have left deep scars. I hope you can find a way to heal. My heart goes out to you and understands. I was talking to a friend a few days ago and we agreed that having a high IQ can be like having a disability in this culture. Don't give up.
anonymous on July 25, 2012:
I am just now accepting myself. When I was 18 months old my mother put me up on the Doctor's table and asked what was wrong with me because I was too smart. Recently, she even asked me if my husband minded that I was smarter than he was. I don't understand why if I accept others the way they are, they can't accept me the way I am. Being smart is heartbreaking---I liked elementary school and junior high school and i had teachers who got it--there were a bunch of us and we were an experiment, I think. I am grateful for that--In college I had a professor accuse me of plagiarism, a speech teacher who said I was too good--I was a perfect competitive speaker and he hated competitive speakers and then the entire class bombarded me with terrible comments. In high school I was accused of not writing a paper and of being incapable of such thought. I was driven out of teaching because I was so good at it, became a lawyer--the profs loved me there--there is more--but tonight I am sad again--like some threw a wrench into my heart---
anonymous on June 21, 2012:
@njg: I must thank you for writing this. Honestly it was very brave of you. We know how easy it is for people to misinterpret concepts and ideas. This was definitely an act of courage and I thank you once again for writing it. I will not lie, when I read Pearl Buck I cried. Nothing has ever so accurately, poignantly, and painfully described the particular flavor of the human condition we share.
Nancy Graham (author) on June 21, 2012:
@anonymous: "Hello", fellow traveler! I'm glad this has helped. I very much identify with and understand your experiences and mindset.
Nancy Graham (author) on June 21, 2012:
@anonymous: Yes! I do understand. Not only do I feel that I have so much to contribute, most of which cannot be appreciated or even understood by others, but I also have the same feeling of being an alien---of having arrived here from a different source than most of the people around me. It's palpable.
anonymous on June 21, 2012:
While it is very nice to know that others have similar issues. I find the lack of relatability to be seemingly insurmountable. I do not know how to explain my thought processes to the majority of people at all. I wish there was more material readily available on this subject. Frankly I am incredibly discouraged by the gap created between myself and most others. There are times when the differences are so great, it makes you feel that you are well and truly out of your mind. Deep within...I just wish for a way to communicate with others absent the feeling of being an alien on my own planet.