“I hate to say it but my 11 year old nephew is a real nerd. He had NO Friends at all and really does not talk to anyone other than his teachers. He used to be a friendly little boy but liked to talk about things that were quite strange and really had no interest to kids his age. He became an outsider at age 7 and never really recovered. His IQ is at the genius level but his memory is poor so he gets only C’s in school. He is terrible in sports which makes him even more of an outcast because that is what gives kids prestige at his school.
His parents send him to all kinds of organized activities but no one has anything to do with him. So he participates in silence. I tell my sister she needs to send him to get professional help but she disagrees and says no one can learn how to make friends or have social skills, popularity is just something you have or not.
So, do you think professional help can make the boy have friends?”
The whole thread
-I love the phrasing “do you think professional help can make the boy have friends”
It betrays the Loud perspective that friendships are above all social artifacts one accumulates to seem normal.
As for ‘professional help,’ since most people define themselves and all others by the standards of society, then failure to belong can only be seen as a sickness that needs to be cured.
It is only a matter of time before this kid is given some pills to purge him of his ritual impurities.
-“He became an outsider at age 7 and never really recovered.”
Isolation begets isolation. In a loud society, all social involvement is competition. A child who falls behind at any point has no chance of competing. Even those who are caught up must struggle to survive.
“His IQ is at the genius level but his memory is poor so he gets only C’s in school.”
-Blissfully unclear on the concept. Schoolwork tends to drop in priority when you are the odd one out and everyone around you is a potential enemy. There is always pain and fear. One’s guard is always up.
“He used to be a friendly little boy but liked to talk about things that were quite strange and really had no interest to kids his age.”
This kid had clearly different values and different interests from the start!
Anyone becomes less responsive and friendly when living for years in a hostile environment. Though well intentioned, the poster is clearly disconnected from empathy and understanding on even the most basic of levels.
Every school has that one kid who is not willing or is not able to respond appropriately to social norms. Usually it is a combination of both.
This kid grows up as a pariah, never able to forget that he does not belong.
Then as an adult he is more or less left alone. He has his private domain in which his activities are hidden, life is good. He thinks the past has been left behind. He tries to tell himself it’s just an inconvenient experience he went through as a kid.
Yet these were the formative years. Such a person has been shaped by rejection from childhood. There is more pain and anger there than he would ever be willing to acknowledge.
He has a good job contributing to a society that tried to destroy him from the time he was able to walk.
For all his life he lives under the surface, always hiding his full potential under a bushel.
He might very probably have a stable marriage and children. But nothing ever really changes the fact he is an Incorrectness that never got weeded out.
Zygmunt blogs at Kingdom of Introversion.
Sound Familiar? appears here by permission.
[image via Flickr/Creative Commons]