Originally Posted by Momesq
Hi Everyone,
I'm the parent of a gifted adult son who is struggling with social issues. He's in the first year of an md/phd program and just can't find anyone like him in his medical school class. He is terribly lonely and sad. As gifted adults yourself can you provide any insight into how I can help him? I have sent him the link to Hoagies for a start. He needs to accept his differences but he needs advice on finding his "peeps." I will try to get him to post here but don't really expect that he will. Thanks

I'm wondering if there might be some misplaced expectations here. When he talks about his "peeps," what does he really mean? When he looks for someone "like him", how much like him?

I would expect to find a significant number of gifted individuals in a medical school environment. But because gifted kids are so intense in their pursuits, and led by whatever interests them, there is much more variety in the gifted community than you're likely to find elsewhere.

Plus, gifted kids have a natural resistance to conformity, preferring to do their own thing. Other kids find "their peeps" and begin to conform to a collective set of common interests, which manifests itself in common dress, speech, music choices, etc. These collective behaviors reinforce the bond among them, and they become just like their friends in a lot of ways. This process does not happen with gifted kids... they think it's stupid.

So, if he's walking the campus and wondering why he can't find that group that he fits perfectly with, he's not going to find it, because the people just like him don't fit with anyone, either. A group of nonconformists will naturally not conform with each other any better than they conform with any of the conformist groups. After all, if they conformed with each other, they wouldn't be nonconformists, would they? That would be a tautology.

The answer to this dilemma is, "Don't try to find people like you. Just try to find people you like." One benefit of nonconformity is that you can find common ground with just about anyone. Share those common interests, and respect each other's differences. If he does this well, he doesn't end up with one group of friends who are his "peeps." Rather, he ends up with multiple groups of friends, some incompatible with each other, with whom he shares different kinds of experiences.

The only person I've ever found who seems very much like me is my own daughter, so tell him that if you can't find anyone like you, you can always try to make one.