Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

The Gifted Adult’s Guide to Finding Friends


photo courtesy of Brooke Cagle, Unsplash, CC

photo courtesy of Brooke Cagle, Unsplash, CC

You’re sensitive. Empathetic. Funny. Generous. Smart. Adorable. And yet, you have trouble finding friends.

I’m here to help.

I’ve gathered my five favorite posts on relationships here so that you don’t need to go searching for them. I’d suggest that you read them all to get my comprehensive take on this topic. You’ll be able to pick and choose from the many suggestions and you’ll see that the reason you’re lonely is not because you’re a hopeless weirdo slacker ne’er-do-well. But because you’re gifted.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started:

If I’m So Smart, Why Am I So Lonely  (This one has a link at the end to more posts on relationships written by parents of gifted children.)

Gifted? Lonely? Learn The Argentine Tango  (You won’t want to miss the quote from Maria Popova.)

Lonely? Find Your Pips  (This one has a link at the end by a different group of parents of gifted kids, also on this topic.)

Lonely? Find Your Pips–Part Two  (This is where I get all spiritual on you.)

Single? Lonely? Gifted? Listen Up  (I’m not saying here that you shouldn’t be happy if you’re single!! Nooooo. I’m just saying that if you’re single and want a partner, here are some ideas. And this post also includes ideas for finding friends, too, so don’t skip over it.)

One more thing: When you’re clearer about who you are, you’ll be better able to spot other rainforest minds. If you’re doing something you love, at work or at play, and you spot one who has potential, be brave and initiate a conversation. Ask them questions about themselves. They will thank you! If they lead a busy life, don’t let that stop you. You may have to do the work to build the relationship at first. But if your intuition says they’re a good one, keep at it. Eventually the person will reciprocate and the relationship will be more balanced. I know that this works because it’s how I created my lovely circle of dear rainforest-y friends. But you have to be patient and persistent. OK?

One last thing: Don’t forget the online groups. Also, my book has a chapter on loneliness with even more suggestions. And, if you want to hang out with rainforest minds on a daily basis, well, become a counselor/consultant for the gifted. Start a blog. Write a book.

You’ll be so glad you did.


To my bloggEEs: How have you found other rainforest minds? How do you deal with loneliness? Thank you for being here and for opening your hearts.








Author: Paula Prober

I'm a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label "gifted" is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They're also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I've been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I've written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019.

35 thoughts on “The Gifted Adult’s Guide to Finding Friends

  1. Thank you for linking all your inspiring posts on this important topic together, Paula. Your book helped enormously in clarifying my thinking about myself and how I relate to others, and since then I’ve been experiencing other people differently.

    Especially helpful to me are your reminders about making an effort with other people. As a sensitive introvert it’s easy to feel rebuffed and then not bother pursuing a relationship, but when I look back, all my most meaningful friendships started because the other person took a risk and reached out to me (who probably wasn’t giving out many positive signals and was very busy!).

    I had a wonderful experience recently on a 3 day course with my cognitive hypnotherapy organisation (the Quest Institute). I didn’t know anyone else on the course beforehand except the teacher and his wife. But I felt known, loved and accepted by everyone there from the moment I walked in. I think it was because the values of Trevor and Rebecca (whom I’ve known for many years) cascade down through everyone they’ve ever trained and their entire organisation. It was an utterly transformational 3 days and I know I’ve made at least one friend for life. Now I just need to make the time to stay connected. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paula, hey there. I’m having trouble playing your webinar… as in, I can’t see it anywhere!!! Funny, I watched some of it this morning, but now at home after work, I am unable to. Any suggestions? I was so looking forward to watching the rest of it!


  3. I’ve written about this before, but I grew up and live in a conservative, working class part of the country. This is a place where being different could get you a free ticket to the hospital courtesy of the local rednecks who drove around town hunting “freaks” for sport. It has gotten a bit more multi-cultural, cosmopolitan and tolerant than it was in my youth and early adulthood, but it still has a long way to go towards being a place that attracts more gifted and talented people than it repels. So… yeah, finding friends here is tough, especially ones that have not let this place completely crush their personal weirdness and wild, pretentious dreams.

    But anyway, my own experiences coping with being different among what seems like a majority who dislike the different is simply a lead-in to share my recent accidental discovery of a great little book called “Pretentiousness: Why It Matters” by Dan Fox.

    I assume pretentiousness is a crime that many gifted have been accused of, but the author makes a great case for pretentiousness. It has reminded me that my many lofty, crazy, artsy-fartsy dreams scare me mostly because I have let others convince me that they are scary, so I highly recommend it.

    Liked by 4 people

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  14. Paula are you TAG.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I’m somewhere on the TAG spectrum. I tell people that I’m BG. Barely gifted. It’s kind of a joke but it’s probably somewhat accurate. I’ve known so many gifted folks over the years so I know what it looks like. I’m not at the high end for sure.


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  22. Hi, I’ve stumbled across you. I’m a very lonely 58 year old woman. Husband is husband in official terms, though we share a large house and have remained ‘friends’ me because our two sons are very unusual, gifted, also lonely and I found out 2 years ago , they’re also both gay at 19 and 22. My husband doesn’t know, I can’t share this knowledge with him until my son’s are ready to. I feel devastated about my son’s both being friendless and lonely. I feel emotionally exhausted. I feel totally sad about my failed marriage situation and afraid of being even more alone in the future. I really need some help myself, I regularly help others but they can’t help me. I’d be so grateful for a little support.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope that this post is helpful for you, Lori. It is pretty common for rainforest-minded types to struggle with finding friends and partners. Keep reading other posts. You might find some good resources and just a sense of belonging that will help.


    • Hi Lori – you are NOT alone. It is such a common struggle we all share, being so highly intense in multiple ways, that we tend to alienate most everyone, and that makes finding fulfilling connections with others, too rare. I completely understand your mode of helping others, while not receiving the kind of help YOU need. We tend to have an almost paranormal ability to read people’s emotional states, well at least some of us do because of our depth of emotional perception. And often we want to help, it’s in our nature. Again just another example of what can often feel like getting the short end of the stick. Have you research giftedness online, or read any books? Because that can be very helpful in validating the kind of person that you naturally are, and that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with you. I recently had some interesting conversations with Mr. Willem Kuipers, his website is Go and read it over. Hang in there.

      Liked by 1 person

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