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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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My daughter doesn't fit in

She's 17 nearly 18, drop dead gorgeous, very funny and quick witted, kind and thoughtful, a little shy but not overly so, but definitely introverted by nature. She is very bright and set to go to a good university this autumn. She finds academia easy and struggles connecting with people who are not academic. She isn't into modern music or social media. She likes the 80's and listens to obscure bands nobody has heard of (not even me). She watches programs from the 80's/90's and has quirky fashion sense. She hates wearing makeup and hates shopping.

There is a girl she made friends with at the start who now seems to have a poor attendance record. She likes her but they have nothing in common. This girl comes and goes to be honest. So she found a new friend who is very nice and kind, intellectually on her level. She sits with her in classes and they talk and pair up for class work - they text each other occasionally, but they don't have lunch together or see each other outside college.

There are 2 girls she sits with on the bus who she likes and chats to, but they never invite her to anything. But they are really friendly.

She's spending more and more time eating lunch on her own. She has started coming home for her 'frees' because she can't stand being at college anymore. It upsets her when the others talk about parties and getting drunk etc. It upsets her when the other girls have boyfriends.

She has been volunteering for a charity for about a year which has been a success, she likes the girls but hasn't really made any friends. They are all nice and friendly but she just hasn't clicked with anyone.

I keep finding her sobbing into her pillow .

I am worried that she may not be able to make friends when she goes to Uni in September (she will be leaving home). Any advice please?

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 01:01 PM
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

Your daughter sounds a lot like my daughter in the way you describe her. Extremely pretty and extremely intelligent, but introverted and self-loathing. I have no idea where she gets it because we, and many others, have done nothing but give her praise and reassurance. Although she does have a couple of really close friends, she has trouble connecting with other girls (and boys) her age at the university she attends. At 19, she is still a virgin (a good thing), doesn't date. She is a perfectionist, as well as borderline OCD -- characteristics I have no idea where she got. She's slowly getting better. I just chalk it up as immaturity, and keep encouraging her. She is getting much better, though the process is slow. She'll grow out of most of it.

My younger daughter (16) is totally different. While she is extremely pretty and extremely intelligent, too, she is also very outgoing, friendly, and popular (though she is also a virgin and doesn't date). They are so much different that I wonder what we did differently as parents at times. I've come to the conclusion that their personalities developed from outside of what we did, and that each were predisposed to be who they are as people. I think my younger daughter's playing sports from the time she was about 6 certainly helped her overcome most of her social anxieties, but I don't think that in and of itself was what made her so much different. My eldest waited until she was in junior high before playing sports. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

All in all, I just don't think there's anything you can do except encourage her, be there for her, talk to her like she's an adult, give advice, and let her figure it out on her own. She will likely grow out of most of it. It's just going to take time and experience.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 01:22 PM
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

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She's 17 nearly 18, drop dead gorgeous, very funny and quick witted, kind and thoughtful, a little shy but not overly so, but definitely introverted by nature. She is very bright and set to go to a good university this autumn. She finds academia easy and struggles connecting with people who are not academic. She isn't into modern music or social media. She likes the 80's and listens to obscure bands nobody has heard of (not even me). She watches programs from the 80's/90's and has quirky fashion sense. She hates wearing makeup and hates shopping.

There is a girl she made friends with at the start who now seems to have a poor attendance record. She likes her but they have nothing in common. This girl comes and goes to be honest. So she found a new friend who is very nice and kind, intellectually on her level. She sits with her in classes and they talk and pair up for class work - they text each other occasionally, but they don't have lunch together or see each other outside college.

There are 2 girls she sits with on the bus who she likes and chats to, but they never invite her to anything. But they are really friendly.

She's spending more and more time eating lunch on her own. She has started coming home for her 'frees' because she can't stand being at college anymore. It upsets her when the others talk about parties and getting drunk etc. It upsets her when the other girls have boyfriends.

She has been volunteering for a charity for about a year which has been a success, she likes the girls but hasn't really made any friends. They are all nice and friendly but she just hasn't clicked with anyone.

I keep finding her sobbing into her pillow .

I am worried that she may not be able to make friends when she goes to Uni in September (she will be leaving home). Any advice please?
I'm not trying to judge here but would your daughters intelligence be causing resentment with her schoolmates.She doesn't appear to have much in common with them either fashion wise,music appreciation or even wearing make up.I am talking from experience here but I was a lot younger than your daughter when something similar happened.When your daughter goes to college she will be starting afresh as it were and it will not be as obvious if she is smarter than her classmates.Jealously among young people can be displayed in many different ways and her not being invited to after school activities is one of them.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 01:38 PM
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

This is a different situation in a great many was: decades of time, different genders, and I'm not super-attractive, still there are similarities:

I was a smart, but socially awkward kid in HS, with few friends, no romantic partners. I was completely miserable in HS.

When I went to college I realized that it was a entirely new social environment and that I could re-make myself. I made an active effort to be friendly, to talk to people, to basically pretend to be the sort of socially active person I wanted to be. It worked - completely. I made and have kept lots of good friends, was involved in all sorts of social activities that I found to be fun. Women became interested in me - in fact she needs to be careful about not necessarily falling for the first guy who falls for her.

Being socially active doesn't mean doing things you don't like. There are a wide range of people at college, its easy to find a few who share interests. Just learning to talk to relative strangers is a very useful skill. Its very rare to get a negative reaction to just starting up a conversation with someone.

One thing though, she is socially awkward and beautiful. There are men who will take terrible advantage of that. That doesn't mean she needs to be suspicious of everyone but she does need to be aware that there are evil manipulators out there and to reject them at the first sign of trouble.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 01:44 PM
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

I think that your daughter will find more people like her when she gets to the college or university she goes to if for any other reason because there's alot more people there then at her high school. Also college bound kids are more like your daughter, more into intellectual based things then the trendy. My youngest had problems fitting in at HS and found friends immediately in college. My middle daughter is much more introverted but she to had much more success fitting it at college.

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 01:51 PM
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

I'm a little confused. What is the 'college' that she is attending now? Usually college and university in the US mean almost the same thing--an upper-level school attended after high school. Is your 'college' like high school?

One good thing about universities is that they will each typically have a certain student body personality. Some schools are all about greek life and school spirit, others are about quirky individualism. Find a school which fits her personality and she'll have an easier time making friends. Many college selection books will describe the student body to help you narrow down schools . It's usually easier to make friends in a smaller school since she'll see the same people more often.

Also, encourage her to join clubs and organizations. Having a group of people which she sees on a regular basis will help with making friends. And have her live in the dorm for a couple of years so that it easier to meet people studying or whatever.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 01:58 PM
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

I have seen data that indicates that people with extremely high I.Q. tend to have issues with socializing with others, and that these people tend to become more isolated as they mature. It sounds to me like you daughter may fit into this category.

Let me ask you...does her un-sociability bother her as much as it bothers you? If it does not bother her, if she is excelling in school, if she has the basic social skills to get a job and to network with others, if it does not impede on her day to day life functions, then I would not lose too much sleep over it.

I know several people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and THAT is a real problem. These people will be living with their parents for the rest of their lives simply because the part of their brains that allow for normal social maturation do not function. That does not seem to be the case with your daughter.

Please do not project your concerns on to her, or try to make her overly-concerned like you are. She will make her way.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 01:59 PM
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

My daughter had 24 hours of college credit before she graduated high school. She was also valedictorian of her class. She has already completed three full semesters at a university, making the President's list twice, and the Dean's list the other time.

She has gotten more and more comfortable as time has went by. She plays intramural (I guess that what they call it) volleyball and basketball at college. Her focus is on her studies, though, for sure.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

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I'm a little confused. What is the 'college' that she is attending now? Usually college and university in the US mean almost the same thing--an upper-level school attended after high school. Is your 'college' like high school?

One good thing about universities is that they will each typically have a certain student body personality. Some schools are all about greek life and school spirit, others are about quirky individualism. Find a school which fits her personality and she'll have an easier time making friends. Many college selection books will describe the student body to help you narrow down schools . It's usually easier to make friends in a smaller school since she'll see the same people more often.

Also, encourage her to join clubs and organizations. Having a group of people which she sees on a regular basis will help with making friends. And have her live in the dorm for a couple of years so that it easier to meet people studying or whatever.
'College' in the UK is 16-18 where they do 'A' levels - it is also sometimes referred to as 6th form. Then they go on to Uni if they wish.

I had forgotten but YES the college campus that she has chosen have creative writing groups and debating societies which is right up her street. The only issue is it is first come first served with accommodation so we will be F5ing at midnight . We went to an applicant day last week and the other girls looked a bit like her (quirky and interesting I suppose).
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 02:02 PM
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

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This is a different situation in a great many was: decades of time, different genders, and I'm not super-attractive, still there are similarities:

I was a smart, but socially awkward kid in HS, with few friends, no romantic partners. I was completely miserable in HS.

When I went to college I realized that it was a entirely new social environment and that I could re-make myself. I made an active effort to be friendly, to talk to people, to basically pretend to be the sort of socially active person I wanted to be. It worked - completely. I made and have kept lots of good friends, was involved in all sorts of social activities that I found to be fun. Women became interested in me - in fact she needs to be careful about not necessarily falling for the first guy who falls for her.

Being socially active doesn't mean doing things you don't like. There are a wide range of people at college, its easy to find a few who share interests. Just learning to talk to relative strangers is a very useful skill. Its very rare to get a negative reaction to just starting up a conversation with someone.

One thing though, she is socially awkward and beautiful. There are men who will take terrible advantage of that. That doesn't mean she needs to be suspicious of everyone but she does need to be aware that there are evil manipulators out there and to reject them at the first sign of trouble.
I agree with you on her being beautiful and open to being taken advantage of.She may be intellectually gifted but being streetwise is equally important and this needs to be drove home to her.If some handsome dude suddenly starts paying her lots of attention she will not be used to it and could get taken advantage of.

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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 02:04 PM
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

Does she try to invite some of the girls to do things with her? Will she be in a dorm when she goes to the university?

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

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Does she try to invite some of the girls to do things with her? Will she be in a dorm when she goes to the university?
No she doesn't. She waits to be asked which is frustrating. She will soon be 18 and have talked to her about a party or an evening out but she doesn't seem interested. She likes hanging out with me which worries me some.

She will be living on campus - they are tiny individual en-suite rooms with shared kitchen.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 02:31 PM
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

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Originally Posted by uhtred View Post
This is a different situation in a great many was: decades of time, different genders, and I'm not super-attractive, still there are similarities:

I was a smart, but socially awkward kid in HS, with few friends, no romantic partners. I was completely miserable in HS.

When I went to college I realized that it was a entirely new social environment and that I could re-make myself. I made an active effort to be friendly, to talk to people, to basically pretend to be the sort of socially active person I wanted to be. It worked - completely. I made and have kept lots of good friends, was involved in all sorts of social activities that I found to be fun. Women became interested in me - in fact she needs to be careful about not necessarily falling for the first guy who falls for her.

Being socially active doesn't mean doing things you don't like. There are a wide range of people at college, its easy to find a few who share interests. Just learning to talk to relative strangers is a very useful skill. Its very rare to get a negative reaction to just starting up a conversation with someone.

One thing though, she is socially awkward and beautiful. There are men who will take terrible advantage of that. That doesn't mean she needs to be suspicious of everyone but she does need to be aware that there are evil manipulators out there and to reject them at the first sign of trouble.
I have to echo this, as @uhtred's experience was almost mine, word for word. @peacem, your daughter will find her people when she goes to university. In high school/A-Levels, the smartest and most interesting people never fit in, but when they go to university--assuming they go to a school that is on par with their intelligence and abilities--they finally find their people. Your daughter will, too. I didn't meet too many people at university who were part of the popular crowd when they were in high school/A-Levels. In fact, the only girl I knew of that was really popular in high school ended up in the ER for alcohol poisoning our second semester--she wasn't making friends or adjusting well (the way everyone else was, all of us nerds and losers), and was drowning herself in vodka to make up for it... the tables had turned on her, so to speak, and she wasn't expecting it at all.

My point is... I think you're daughter is going to be fine. If you hear her crying in her room, go talk to her and ask her why she's upset. Why does it upset her about the parties and the drinking, and the boyfriends? If she upset because she feels left out, or because she sees her peers making stupid decisions and she just wants out of that environment?

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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 02:34 PM
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

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I have seen data that indicates that people with extremely high I.Q. tend to have issues with socializing with others, and that these people tend to become more isolated as they mature. It sounds to me like you daughter may fit into this category.

Let me ask you...does her un-sociability bother her as much as it bothers you? If it does not bother her, if she is excelling in school, if she has the basic social skills to get a job and to network with others, if it does not impede on her day to day life functions, then I would not lose too much sleep over it.

I know several people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and THAT is a real problem. These people will be living with their parents for the rest of their lives simply because the part of their brains that allow for normal social maturation do not function. That does not seem to be the case with your daughter.

Please do not project your concerns on to her, or try to make her overly-concerned like you are. She will make her way.
When I was a young I was having problems in school and the principal sent for my mom.He told her I was not paying attention in class and was bound to fail my annual tests.She asked him how come I had been first in the class all the previous years and he said the work was much harder.My mom told him he was an idiot and the school psychologist was brought in to convince her she was wrong.He did an IQ test and I scored 155.I was ten years old.I ended up in a school for gifted children and graduated high school at fourteen.I would estimate at least thirty percent of the kids in that school could not carry on a conversation about anything other than schoolwork,a lot of them never went anywhere other than school or home,and as for sports forget about it.There was a girl who sat beside me who had an IQ of 162,that was two points higher than Einstein or Stephen Hawking,she hardly ever spoken to anyone except me,and she loved my mother like her own.She was one of the kids who was living (boarding) in the school whereas I was going home every day and she often tagged along and my mother spent hours every week just talking to her and eventually she came out of her shell.She is now extremely wealthy (as in ten figures)and famous but strangely what made her rich is not what she is famous for.She runs her own company but is also a tv presenter and only a few of her closest friends know how wealthy she is.The point I'm trying to make is intelligence and common sense are two different things but if you just keep going it will come together eventually.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2017, 03:09 PM
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Re: My daughter doesn't fit in

What sort of new-student orientation program does her university have? Do they create a small group of freshmen with a mentor? Fun events? Often in the first few weeks of the semester, there will be a lot of various activities specifically designed to encourage the freshmen to be social and meet other students. Encourage her to go to as many of these events as she can. Getting to know a lot of fellow students in the first few weeks will make it much easier to find people she wants to be friends with.
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