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Hello - A slight problem

  1. Nov 5, 2009 #1
    Hello all. I am Vincit, a new member to the Physics Forums.

    I'm 15, and i got into the 'game' when i was quite young. I started learning Newton's Laws when i was 9 years old. I also started doing complex experiments such as creating haemoglobin molecules with stick magnets and metal balls. I'm a Japanese-American and, quite stereotypically, my mother wanted me to start learning science and math at an early age. Some would say I benefit from such an aberration, while others would disagree.

    But I have certain social problems, and I find it hard to communicate and interact freely with people of my age. My mother tries certain tactics, such as forcing company onto me. This doesn't work, and I can't help my social problems. My mother eventually abdicated with these methods, which was a relief to me. However, I realised I could conversate easier with adults.

    Can anyone suggest any methods of talking to people my age?

    Thank you,

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2009 #2


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    Hi Vincit, welcome to the forum!!

    It is not unusual to have issues with social situations at your age, especially if you are exceptionally bright.

    Hopefully, you will get some ideas from others here from how they handled similar issues.
  4. Nov 5, 2009 #3


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    I never had much of a connection with my peers. I think if you have to work hard at it then you probably won't derive any enjoyment from it. If you get on better with adults then fine. If you manage to find someone your own age with a similar world view then thats fine too. Don't force yourself into others company because you think its what you have to do.
  5. Nov 5, 2009 #4


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    I first want to say; there is nothing wrong with you. It is healthy to desire improvement in one's communication skills, but not to see oneself as "flawed" in any way.

    When I was younger, I too had a hard time "connecting" with my peers. I was not interested in the same things, so I didn't really feel as if there was much for us to talk about. It wasn't until college that I found people who shared my interests. As Evo mentioned, it is common to have this issue at your age.

    The best advice I can give is to practice.

    Being an intellectual, I would have rather just read a book about communication, studied others communicating, been tested to make sure I understood the concept(s), then took to the streets; ready for any social encounter that came my way. Unfortunately, this is not the way it works, in my opinion. I had to continuously force myself to go to birthday parties, bowling, movies, things which I myself did not really enjoy as much, but it helped me connect with people my age and it gave me the opportunity to practice communicating.

    Find someone with whom you feel the most comfortable, and practice. :smile: It won't be this hard forever. It gets much easier the more you do it!
  6. Nov 5, 2009 #5
    I'm 15 too. I kinda of have a social problem too, but when I force my self to talk to other people I actually start to enjoy social situations (as long as I'm talking to people who aren't jerks). The more you try to talk to people the eiser it becomes.
  7. Nov 5, 2009 #6

    Chi Meson

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    If you want to find interesting people to talk with, find a group of people who are interested in the same things you are.

    I also recommend getting good at something athletic. Maybe out of the norm, like fencing, Aikido, climbing. Make sure it is something you want to do. That way, the people you meet will have something in common.

    And when you do start conversations, have a healthy interest in what the other person is doing.

    Where are you located? I assume you are in high school. Public school?
  8. Nov 5, 2009 #7
    Hi vincit, I think the key is with finding others your own age with common interests, as has been mentioned already. Because there are probably not that many people as gifted as you and hence have those same interests and mindset it may be better to 'force' a common interest and meet people that way and sports really is a great way of doing that. The chances are you will really enjoy it too.
  9. Nov 5, 2009 #8


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    Just to reinforce some of the suggestions... If you can find a sport or two that you enjoy, that will make an amazing difference for you. You might even start to fall into the category of "scholar athlete", which is a heck of an award to earn. At the very least, it will help you get to know some of your schoolmates some, which is a great starting point. It is also good to work your body into better shape, and try to maintain that better shape throughout your life. You will find that your stress level is generally lower when you are working out regularly, and high school is a fine time to get into the habit.

    If there are any clubs at your school, look into them to see if they might be interesting. My high school had a speech competition club, which I really ended up enjoying. In addition to getting to know some of my classmates better, I got to interact with other competitors from other schools, which was fun. It also helped give me some communication skills that I've used all through my life -- being comfortable at public speaking, even in front of very large crowds, is a skill that will serve you very well in life.

    View your intellectual gifts as just one component of your life, and branch out to explore some of the other things that are available to you.
  10. Nov 7, 2009 #9
    I am home-schooled, which just enforces the problem.

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I will take all of them onboard. I'm also looking to take on Kyudo, which is the Japanese art of archery.
  11. Nov 7, 2009 #10
    Archery is brilliant fun, I did a short course on it once.
  12. Nov 7, 2009 #11


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    That's unfortunate, because I was going to suggest that you might find some friends with common interests by joining some of the academic clubs in school.

    On the positive side, your problem is not unique. One person who really comes to mind as you talk about your problems is someone I went to high school with...well, actually, he was a few grades younger, but because of the way his parents pushed him, he ended up in the really awkward situation of taking all his math and science classes with students several years older than him, but then stuck in English and gym classes with his own age group (his parents were not native-English speakers, so he was always weak in English due to lack of practice at home). He was always very socially awkward in school. There was a small group of us who did form friendships with him, but it was limited to during the school day since he really wasn't allowed to do anything after school but go home and study. His parents were VERY strict about allowing him to visit friends or allowing friends to visit him. (I remember it being a huge deal the year about 10 of us were invited to his house for his birthday...rather than a typical high school party with lots of noise and games and stuff, we spent most of the time gathered around the piano while those who could play performed classical music selections.)

    Anyway, this whole story is more to show you the light at the end of the tunnel rather than to give much advice about what to change now...your parents will likely continue to hinder your social progress, especially if they are not even letting you attend school! But, my high school friend went on to college and had much more success making friends there. Like you, his parents really pushed hard on math and science and he entered university as a physics major. He kept pushing himself until junior or senior year, and finally stood up to his parents that he might be very good in the subjects, but just didn't like them. He had taken one linguistics class as part of his general education requirements, and enjoyed that. He wasn't as naturally good at it, but I think that was part of the enjoyment, that he had some challenge in his academics again. He went on to get a PhD in linguistics. Throughout college and grad school, he made a lot more friends once unhindered by his parents' strict rules, and as he met other people with common interests. I lost touch for a long time, but recently have caught up with him again...something went right, because he's now happily married with kids. So, feeling socially awkward in your teen years and dealing with overly strict parents does not mean you will be friendless for the rest of your life.

    And, you're right that this is a big cultural issue with Asian families recently immigrated to the US. On the plus side, that means when you get to college, if you join some social clubs for Asian students, you will find many other students with the same experiences who will provide a "secure" environment to start developing more social skills. It's just a different cultural experience that leads to developing socially a little later in life after you've established your academic discipline, not something that will prevent you from having a social life forever.
  13. Nov 7, 2009 #12
    There are many research opportunities for young people, I am sure that you would enjoy them. Personally, I always prefer the company of (really) old people.
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