We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I NEVER want my kids dumbing themselves down. I want them to always be their best and not to pretend to be something they're not (dumb) just to "fit in." Empathy is one thing, I've seen my dds using slower language with other people who don't understand what they are talking about, but they never dumb it down as far as I know. I hope I have raised my children to never be ashamed of who they are or to feel they have to pretend to be someone they aren't.
A few years ago, we were watching something on TV about gifted girls who dumb themselves down to attract boys or be one of the popular kids and my youngest said, "Why would anyone do that?" I agreed with her. My kids weren't raised to be chameleons. I like to think my dh and I have raised them to be themselves. Yes, sometimes they don't "fit in" but as they get older they find intelligence and academic appropriate peers and are much happier.
My kids will never fit in with the cheerleaders or the "popular" girls, but they are always true to themselves. I was similar as a kids, as was my husband and I think we are happier adults because of it.
There's nothing wrong with being the smartest person in the room (someone has to be) if you really are. Just so you aren't a jerk about it. There's no reason to rub people's noses in it, but if I ever caught any of my kids using the term "timezing" or "plussing" or using improper English to "fit in" (because they know better) I'd be one unhappy Mama. Gratefully, they don't do stuff like that. To them (and to my husband and I) a few good, well chosen friends who are similar to you is preferable to being "one of the popular kids."
Being whatever is considered "popular" just isn't that important to my kids. Not enough to change who they really are.
I understand empathy, but one can be empathetic without appearing uneducated.
You did not comprehend my post at all. Did I say anything about being ashamed of ones abilities? No, I did not. Did I suggest children try to appear uneducated? No. Didn't say that either. I didn't talk about fitting in nor about popularity. You are responding to the term "dumbing down" not to what *I* actually said about it. Please do not quote me and then not actually read what I wrote.
Since you would not want me to hold back, I'll explain this more simply. I said that there is a time and place for all things. That, as parents, we shouldn't freak out when our child chooses to pull back in certain situations.... that there are moments when it's appropriate and understandable. Choosing to give others time and opportunity is not equivalent to being ashamed of ones own abilities. I suggested the OP find some middle ground with her daughter in terms of Girl Scouts but that it's pretty normal for a person to compartmentalize their life... having places where they are focused and intellectually assertive and others where one can be silly and enjoy making their 8-year-olds friends giggle.