How to Recover from The Discovery That You Are an Outlier

Someone ghosting you is not the same thing as an outlier. Ghosted is a metaphor for when people just flat out stop all contact with you. Back in the day, we called it “being dumped.” Ghosting aside, you know when it happens.

But, it is possible to be unaware of the fact that you are an outlier until wham – it hits you smack between the eyes. Modern-day definition of an outlier is a person who is excluded or different, superior or inferior from a group

The discovery is usually accidental, or in my case it was, and on the minus side of the equation to boot. Not being well versed in outlier speak, my first reaction was pain, followed by anger, then curiosity.

How does one find oneself in that landscape and who decides which team you get to play on?

I think the path to being on the different side of the spectrum begins early on.

Maybe as early as first-grade when you like to have your crayons grouped according to the color wheel, or you color outside the line, just because Miss Heard said you couldn’t.

Later on when you discover memorizing multiplication tables and anything to do with math is agony and reading is a godsend, but dummies can’t do the math.

Sunday school marked the incident that sealed your fate when you question the holy trinity, and how it works and Mrs. Nesbitt responds you must have faith, and you wonder how that helps, and wish she’d just answer the damn question.

The ability to recover from the discovery depends on the point of view. Could it be the teachers were the outliers and arranging crayons is just the thing to do?

As time rumbled on it occurred to me that exclusion is not always a bad thing and being an outlier is liberating.


  1. This is great. I was always weird as a kid. And always thought it was bad. It took me years to realize that it was good. We’ve taught our grandchildren it’s good to be weird. Embrace the weirdness!


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