Are lonely people more sensitive than others

Psychological counseling and psychotherapy in Zurich


Many people dream of being intelligent above average: How they would impress other people with it and how they would be admired for their intelligence everywhere. Few think about the negative side of high intelligence. Above-average intelligent people often feel lonely because they cannot share their thoughts with other people. If they do, they often come across as arrogant, know-it-all or are considered nerds. Giftedness is not an isolated trait, but a character trait that shapes a person from early childhood.

There are two different paths in the development of a highly intelligent / gifted child into an adult:

(1) The extraordinary talent is recognized: The child is encouraged, receives enough spiritual 'nourishment', moves at least part of his time in the circle of other gifted people, with whom he can be himself. His being is trained to deal with giftedness from early childhood, the people around the child get used to it, and giftedness can thus become normal.

(2) Giftedness is not recognized in childhood: gifted children have the feeling early on that they are different from the others. He constantly adapts to the level of the other children with all his might, which costs a lot of energy. It cuts back its performance in school or in a group, as it has had the painful experience of otherwise attracting negative attention, being teased or marginalized. The gifted child is of course not aware of why they feel so much like an 'alien' among the other children. Self-esteem begins to suffer, and so it may well be that the child, paradoxically, performs mediocre or even poorly at school and no one thinks that the child may be particularly intelligent. There is a great risk that this child will become depressed or develop unfavorable behavior, which in turn can lead into a negative spiral.

Positive and negative sides of giftedness

In addition to the ease of learning and acting, giftedness in adulthood also has many disadvantages that the gifted person often cannot deal with. For example, it can be difficult to find a life partner, as one can feel very lonely in a relationship if the partner is unable to follow the thoughts of the gifted person. If a gifted person doesn't always want to have to withdraw, sooner or later they have to point out their giftedness. With such self-characterizations, however, the person concerned often does not meet with sympathy.

In the vernacular, gifted people are still characterized as 'nerds', as 'freaks'. This is not entirely wrong, as the gifted can actually spend a great deal of time with themselves and their intellectual or creative talents. So-called flow experiences (phases of high positive concentration that last for hours) are important moments of happiness for them. The not uncommon price they pay for it is increased difficulty in dealing with other people.

What are the typical symptoms of giftedness?

  • Frequent questions, pronounced curiosity.
  • High level of detailed knowledge / very good understanding of relationships.
  • Learning by linking, not by memorizing.
  • Difficulty memorizing things (because too boring).
  • Perfectionist claims.
  • High moral standards or a strong sense of justice.
  • Boredom or even refusal to work for routine tasks.
  • high motivation and desire to understand difficult relationships.
  • Abnormalities in kindergarten and school (e.g. unfocused, bored, aggressive, misunderstood, etc.).
  • Preferring independent work, high goals.
  • Even the child feels misunderstood as an 'alien'; among the others.
  • Frequent feelings of loneliness.
  • Intellectually very well developed, emotionally but at the age-typical level.
  • critical questioning of authorities.
  • Choosing significantly older friends.
  • Difficulty fitting in or subordinating to groups.

High sensitivity

Sometimes, but not always, giftedness can be paired with high sensitivity. Then life can become even more exhausting for those affected. High sensitivity describes an overly strong sensory perception. Noise, light, feelings of other people and other things are perceived earlier and to a much greater extent. Highly sensitive people are involuntarily inundated every day by thousands of perceptual stimuli that they cannot always process to their full extent. For these reasons, contact with other people can be exhausting for a highly sensitive person, but for the other person contact with highly sensitive people is usually very pleasant; Highly sensitive people are often popular, but they can also get exhausted more quickly.

Symptoms of high sensitivity include:

  • Above-average ability to empathize with other people.
  • Often compulsion to empathize with other people, even if you do not want to in individual cases.
  • High intuition.
  • Rapid assessment of the psychological state of a counterpart.
  • Rapid perception of moods in a room or in a group.
  • Above-average intensive experience of interpersonal relationships.
  • Constant 'monitoring' of your own moods and feelings.
  • Simultaneous perception of many details in a situation.
  • Diverse interests.
  • Great enthusiasm for people and topics.
  • Own mood can be strongly influenced by other people.
  • Frequent overstimulation and thus susceptibility to stress and excessive demands.
  • Great need for sleep.
  • Greater sensitivity to light or sound.
  • Greater sensitivity to smell, touch, or taste.
  • Rich, multi-layered inner life.
  • Again and again a strong need to be alone.
  • Very jumpy, e.g. from noise and touch.
  • High conscientiousness.
  • Harmony is important ...

What can psychological support achieve?

In addition to the treatment of individual problems of gifted people, therapeutic support can guide them to cope better with their own abilities and to learn to create a balance between fulfilled relationships and sufficient demarcation in dealing with other people.