Well, I seem to have bombed on this topic. First, I managed to piss off some people, which really wasn't my intention; and secondly, my list of things smart people were no good at has been critiqued and found wanting.
So let me clarify (and pay attention: there will be a quiz at the end):
1. I think rating other people's friend potential on whether they have intellectual gifts equivalent to your own is just a very limiting idea. Friendship is SO much more than IQ (though obviously IQ is hardly irrelevant). I freely admit that I would get bored pretty quickly if I found myself with a group of people who didn't want to talk about anything besides the latest episode of "Real Housewives of _______", or who hadn't read a book in the last year, or who had no idea what the Gettysburg Address was. But is that because they are stupid? Maybe, maybe not. I've known geeks who aren't much interested in anything except their own very narrow scientific field--but they were brilliant; I've known very smart people who watch "Real Housewives" the same way Margaret Mead once watched those folks in Samoa. It's hard to explain, but it's like this: I've met some very smart people who didn't know how to be funny, but I have never met a funny person who wasn't also smart. You can go around looking for smart people to be with, and risk ending up with some humorless folks who can discuss Goethe--or you can look for funny people, and know that no matter what, you'll have a good time in their company.
2. Obviously, my list of things smart people are no damned good at was off base, or at least I am told this is the case. My mistake here was in generalizing too much from my personal experience. I do know that at the beginning of my brief career as a PTA organizer, I thought, This will be a piece of cake. Why not? There was no reason to think managing a PTA committee would be any harder than, say, writing a page one story for the Washington Post. But it turned out that PTA work is about 25 percent intellectual and 75 percent interpersonal, and I am a person who loathes meetings and prefers to do everything pretty much on my own. (Plus I have this weird ability to make people mad without even trying, a trait I believe I have just demonstrated.) It gave me new respect for those parents who DO take over PTA organizational stuff, and it taught me that smarts alone is not enough. Or look at Jimmy Carter, who is an extremely brilliant man and prescient in a lot of things he said as President, but who was really lacking in leadership and managerial skills. President Obama is obviously brilliant, but you see him struggling at times to be "just folks" and to tone down his "I'm the smartest kid in class and I know it" enough for people to hear what he's saying.
(OFF-THE-SUBJECT TANGENT HERE: I watched a speech of his in Montreal last week, and since the translation was in French I was free to concentrate on his body language. I am an avid Obama supporter, but now I can see more easily why the mere sight of him makes certain people pop a few blood vessels. It's in the way he cocks one eyebrow, the slight tilt of his head--it all says, "I'm here to tell you the Way It Is." I don't mind it, but I could see how some people would.)
3. I never, ever said that being smart precludes the possibility of being empathic and friendly and all sorts of good qualities. Really. I didn't. (Pause, to allow my critics to re-read.) I did say, and I have told my two very intellectually gifted daughters this, that putting IQ at the top of your desired traits in a friend is ....well, it's not likely to expand your horizons much, or make you a lot of friends.
Okay, now the quiz:
Which would you want on your tombstone:
A."She was a wonderful person"
B. "She had an IQ of 175"
There is no correct answer--only natural consequences.