Sunday, March 22, 2009

Social awkwardness

On this morning's CBS Sunday Morning, they had a piece on Mensa, the organization for exceptionally smart people. This group always made me a little sad.

For what it's worth (and it isn't much!), my IQ and SAT scores qualified me for membership. I think the appropriate view of that is... BFD! My problem with Mensa is, and always has been, that raw brain power means very little. Above a certain IQ level, we're all pretty much equal in our ability to succeed (because hard work, imagination and creativity mean just as much). Above that level, it's all what you do with it. The only exception to that are the people who are so extraordinarily smart (such as Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking) that they can conceive of things well beyond the grasp of most of us.

For the average Mensa member, their issue seems to be a lack of social skills. I can relate, but I also wish there were a way to help these folks relate to the rest of the world better.

I never was one of the cool kids. I get along with people well enough, but there always were other people who everyone else wanted to be around. That wasn't me.

So back to Mensa. Watching these folks on TV, I'm happy to see them in a setting where they can enjoy each other's company, but I wish I could help them fit in with the crowd. Perhaps that's overrated, but seeing some of the young kids who already are Mensa members--and hearing these kids talk about being picked on for being so smart--I'd like to give them tools for enjoying life more. In time, I learned how to enjoy the world in ways that work for me, but I wish I'd figured the social things out sooner. That's the thing that isn't helped by Mensa conventions. They still should have their fun together, of course, but I ache to see how awkward so many of these people seem to be.


Joey7777 said...

My father "made it" into Mensa, but only went to one or two get-togethers before he realized it doesn't mean you're going to enjoy the company of those people anymore than with....just anyone. I guess there's so so much else that makes us connect with a particular person : taste, background, etc. I do think smarter (or sharper, or wiser..) people are generally friends with smarter people, for obvious reasons, but not necessarily going by the high-I.Q. guage.

Jess said...

Exactly, Joey. You're right that smart smart people probably connect better with other smart people, but there is so much more.