Best Friends

In the immortal words of Winnie the Pooh, “A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.” Yet, friendships can be hard to make and harder to maintain especially for 2e kids.

In last summer’s Variations2e, doctoral students at the University of South Carolina reported their research about the difficulty many 2e students have in making friends. We thought this merited further attention as the school year is now fully underway and anxieties about classwork may be getting manageable (hopefully). This is also a time when many parents ask, why doesn’t my child have friends? As with all questions regarding twice exceptionality, it’s complicated.

Making friends is never all that easy, and when the skill of reading body language and subtext is not well-developed, it can be stressful. According to Molly Bloom, Rachel Garrison, Michael Huesmann, Rebecca Smith-Hill, Jacqueline Viotto, and Thomas Hébert in their Variations2e report, many 2e students suffer from social awkwardness and have difficulty communicating feelings. One child in the study lamented that he “was always saying the wrong things.” Making small talk is not something 2e kids do readily, yet that sort of conversation—“How’s it going? What’s new?” etc—leads to potential bonding. Again, these are universal issues, but for 2e kids, particularly those who feel “introverted” or “shy” or “socially awkward,” the uncomfortable can become a nightmare.

A separate recent study by Seon-Young Lee and Paula Olszewski-Kubilius in the Journal for the Education of the Gifted, found that asynchronous development of the kind we often see in 2e kids can be a disadvantage because students are often “mismatched” with their environment and their p...


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