It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Intelligence Inadequacy,” a sophomore in college who felt like an idiot around her boyfriend and new friends whom she felt were much more knowledgeable in topics like the “theories of reality or the origins of civilizations in ancient South America.” Keep reading to see if she still feels inadequate around these people (and if she’s still hanging out with them).
Thank you very much for the response and advice! And thank you commenters for the great encouragement, feedback and general entertainment. It’s only been (about) a semester since I wrote in, and a lot, and a little, has changed. I’m feeling better about myself and my struggles with feeling/sounding intelligent. I’ve come to accept that I may never be able to wrap my head around certain philosophies or theories, but I’m intelligent and knowledgeable in other ways. And, sometimes, my lack of understanding is something I play on to make people, and myself, laugh, which I find I really enjoy. Also, for clarification to some commenters, I was in no way suggesting that these friends were being condescending and that I hated them or something. In fact, I wanted to be like them! Another thing, I’ve decided to hang less with these people who talked a lot about those subjects. They were mostly my boyfriend’s friends, and although I don’t avoid them, I don’t seek them out either. I’m still working on making my own friends, but I’m comfortable and open and just trying not to focus on it 24/7 like I used to. I’m also trying to become more aware of current events, random news stories, developments, etc., and actually…it’s super interesting. I’m glad that this was suggested, because I feel like I can contribute a whole lot more with, you know, actually realizing what’s going on in the world.
As far as my boyfriend, I never brought up my insecurities to him directly. I sort of danced around the question of if he’d rather date someone in his field, but I thought it was silly, like you pointed out, Wendy. He’d totally be whispering ancient Mayan lingo in another girl’s ear from his lab five months ago, if that was the case. Funny thing, I met a girl in his same major (she’s graduated) and asked her if she would date a guy in her field. She said, “I’ve never dated another anthropologist. My fiance is a chef! Anthros tend to like things different from themselves. I don’t think I would be happy with another anthro.” I was surprised! Not that this is significant for everybody, but it was encouraging to hear this.
Also, I don’t know exactly what triggered some confidence in me, but my boyfriend and I were on some topic of the government considering tomato sauce a vegetable in school systems, and that led me to actually giving my two cents without being self-conscious and wondering if what I said was sounding “intelligent” enough. This led to longer debates, and I think that was the first time I spoke my mind in a while without shying away. And although I’m not sure if what I said was 100% correct, I felt really good about saying something. Not to say I don’t still have my bashful/unsure moments, but I’m working on it.
This seems pretty long. I’ll end here. But thank you all! I really appreciate you actually answering my cry for help. I can’t say everything is super peachy keen, and I have yet to find that group of friends that I click with, but who knows. I’ll keep working on it and myself. Please wish me luck. I hope you all get your letters answered too!
Thanks for the update! I’m glad we could help you find some confidence.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.