The list goes on and on, doesn't it? When people realize your special talent for balancing time and resources, or the way creative ideas just flow into your mind, or the way you hate leaving a mess and have an eye for organization or the ways ideas go together.... They grab you and don't want to let go. Let's face it- giftedness is a blessing and a curse. People may not always understand you or even want to befriend you, but they sure appreciate when you can get stuff done.
And then there are the people who do want to be your friend because they know you are someone who is competent, or they think you've got it "all figured out." The ones who invite you to their events, tell you how amazing you are, and then try to fit you into their molds so you can help them figure it out too. But there are only so many things you can talk about or do together before your quirky gifted side comes out, and they realize it's more work to try to contain you in their world than to just let you go. And you end up feeling drained from trying to help people who really have nothing to give you in return. Friendships with true gifted peers become even more priceless, but often are difficult to find. So life is a lot of making do with people who try to make friendships work, and a lot of loneliness.
It isn't a bad thing to be useful, but when the idea of helping others with their hundreds of requests is combined with all the things you need or want to do, plus all the gifted traits that make you intense- like perfectionism, anxiety, a need to solve the world's problems, obsessions and unique interests, and a penchant for asking more questions than there are answers... This all combines to make for a perfect storm, unless you can figure out how to say no, and to limit your commitments.
It's ok to flat-out say you can't do something. The world won't end. And don't worry, you will find other ways to fill your time. Probably more interesting things. And those people you don't want to let down, they will move on to try to find someone else to use if you won't do their work. The ones who are true friends will understand, and they will come back to check on you regardless. It's the ones who tell you that they can see you don't fit their mold of what they wanted you to be, anyway, and that they don't need you after all, that you should be happy are leaving your inner circle. By not allowing people to just use you as their worker bee, you can better screen your friendships. Because, for some reason, gifted people have a hard time discriminating between real friends and those who just want them for their skills.
That goes for deeper relationships too. There are many love situations built on trying to make the other person be someone you want them to be. It works both ways, but gifted people can become "projects" of others, even in marriages. And that shiny gifted mind can seem like pyrite to someone who has no real understanding of what it's worth. If you are with someone who doesn't respect or honor the amazing things you bring to the relationship, and return just as much value to your life, perhaps you got yourself into a long term commitment with someone who just wanted a piece of you, too.
It's hard to initially know when being a deep thinker and a hard worker is truly valued, and when it is not. So it's more important that gifted adults focus on what THEY need. Those projects that others need help with may actually help you too. Is it a resume builder? Does it add emotional strength to your world? Maybe the hard work will teach you skills you need for another part of your life. Maybe you don't mind smiling at someone who is a jerk to you, when you know that relationship will lead you to a promotion or a networking opportunity. Maybe the benefits outweigh the knowledge that you are being used. If any of those things are the case, then all the power to ya. But if you can't even come up with something that far-flung, then get out of there.
We only have so much to give, so many hours to live, and time is more valuable than gold. Gifted minds are a valuable commodity, so unless the situation helps you personally, if someone just wants to take and take and take, at some point we have to reassess and then move on. We have to get feisty and stick up for ourselves. Because, like when Robert DeNiro asked, "do you wanna piece of me," often the answer is yes, and it's a slippery slope before you have to fight for your own sanity.
This article is part of Hoagies Gifted Blog Hop. Please go to the Hoagies page to view other articles on topics related to Multipotentiality!