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Friday, November 18, 2005

The Intelligence Dilemma

David recently posted a comment someone made to him:
"You are one of the most intelligent people I've ever met in my whole life."

It made me laugh. Not because it's not true, although I suspect it is, but because I have had similar experiences. Recently I have had a lot of the "wow you are intelligent" type comments. I assume they are meant as a compliment, but that is not how I take them.

For some strange reason people seem to think I am very intelligent. Which is fine. They can think what they like. The annoying thing is when they say it as a compliment. I just don't find compliments about how great my brain is very complimentary. Why not?

First, of all I am not that intelligent. I have done tests that prove it.

Second, so what?

Third, being perceived as a very intelligent female is not a good thing. I suspect I intimidate guys. Only intelligent guys interest me. And, despite what they say about wanting an intelligent female, I think most intelligent guys really only want an intelligent female as long as she is less intelligent than they are.

Fourth, it feels like they can't think of anything else to say, so they are fumbling at the bottom of the compliment barrel. So if someone says I am intelligent then obviously they don't think I am interesting or cool or fun or attractive or any of the other more important things. You don't tell girls that they are intelligent. You tell them that they are pretty. And if they are not pretty, then you find something nice to say about their appearance, or you don't say anything at all.

Fifth, people have expectations of how I should think. For example sometimes I get the feeling people think the following: "I am intelligent. Suze is intelligent. Therefore Suze should think like me." Then they get upset when I don't think like them. I know I shouldn't worry about what other people think, but I don't like upsetting people unneccessarily. If they thought I was stupid then they wouldn't get upset about me thinking "stupid" things. I don't like feeling like I am not allowed to think and believe dumb things.

Sixth, although it is meant as a compliment, it actually makes me feel left out. It makes the "not belonging" feeling larger. It makes me feel like I am a freak.

And really... I am not that intelligent!!! Just look at all the dumb things I say on this blog.


Comments:
For some strange reason people seem to think I am very intelligent.

As far as I can tell, you are.

The annoying thing is when they say it as a compliment.

It is neither a compliment nor an insult, it is a simple statement of fact.

First, of all I am not that intelligent. I have done tests that prove it.

But you know how full of shit tests can be. I put no credence in them.

Second, so what?

Spot on.

I think most intelligent guys really only want an intelligent female as long as she is less intelligent than they are.

Then they're not really that intelligent, are they? I know I enjoy when a woman can challenge my intellect.

So if someone says I am intelligent then obviously they don't think I am interesting or cool or fun or attractive or any of the other more important things.

Nah, it's because most people don't run across obviously intelligent people, so it's a surprise that most people don't know how to handle, except to say, "duhhh, wow, you're smart"

they get upset when I don't think like them.

Then they're not as smart as they thought they were.

It makes me feel like I am a freak.

Spot on. "Um, ok, I'm intelligent. What am I supposed to do with that statement?"

I am not that intelligent!!!

That statement merely confirms your intelligence :)
 
Spot on. "Um, ok, I'm intelligent. What am I supposed to do with that statement?"

I suppose it is like those "You're tall!" comments I get. I suppose I should just ignore them.
 
You're tall? Funny, from your photos on Flickr, I didn't get that impression...
 
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