For a long time, the stereotypical cool girl steered clear of nerds and dated jocks. Now, things have changed.
Today, there is nothing more interesting than dating a nerd. Why date the guy who will end up working at his father’s gas station when you could pursue a future Elon Musk?
But dating a nerd can be difficult.
Just like dating a smart girl, dating a smart boy who is interested in all things sci-fi, chess, space, and fantasy requires some social and emotional adjustment.
If you’ve always gone for the finance bro in a suit and now find yourself lusting after tech guy in a black hoodie, here are a few tips for how to date a nerd.
14 tips for dating a nerd
- Don’t be scared to make the first move
- Get used to awkward silence
- Say what you mean
- Don’t make fun of him
- Respect his space and habits
- Learn how to compromise
- Get used to being the social one
- Talk to him about his interests
- Don’t text him unless you have something to say
- Keep your sense of self
- Get to know his friends and family
- Don’t be offended by his lack of interest in certain things
- Set clear boundaries
- Celebrate your differences
For whatever reason, men who are smart, good at math and science, and interested in fantasy worlds tend to be a little awkward in social settings.
Whatever special insight they have when it comes to coding a computer program is balanced out by their utter confusion when it comes to navigating small talk.
But that does not mean they aren’t highly attractive. Guys who are into reading, computers, and chess have a mysterious, quirky quality about them that is particularly alluring to certain people.
If you’ve set your sights on a nerdy guy, here are some tips to help you navigate dating him.
1. Don’t be scared to make the first move
Because they aren’t always sure how to act in social situations, nerds will frequently wait for the person they like to indicate a clear interest in them before they even consider making a move.
Instead of waiting around, why not approach the guy you like and let him know how you feel. If he’s smart, passionate, and kind—which many nerds are—your reward for taking that initial step will be getting a date worth keeping.
If you’d like to go on a date, just ask him out yourself. He may need a minute to figure out how to respond to someone asking him out, but if he likes you, he’ll be extremely happy that he didn’t have to make first move.
2. Get used to awkward silence
Nerdy types tend to be comfortable sitting in silence. They often think that there is no point in speaking unless you are speaking about something concrete.
So, while other people like to fill the silence with small talk and chatter, nerds are quite content entertaining themselves with their own thoughts.
Besides, they often aren’t particularly confident that they know what to say and may even struggle with something as seemingly straightforward as how to respond to “Hey” from a girl.
Many people believe there is a connection between geekiness and autism, which means that nerdy guys tend to exhibit behavior that is typically associated with being on the autism spectrum.
For many people on the spectrum, socializing can be quite taxing and is something they need to relax from. So, if the nerdy guy in your life spends hours at a time playing online chess and not speaking to you, don’t worry, it’s totally normal and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t like you.
3. Say what you mean
Nerdy guys are often very direct. If they don’t like your outfit, they’ll tell you. If they don’t like the food you’re sharing, they’ll tell you.
Because of their direct way of speaking, they assume that other people also always say what they mean.
So, if you’re hoping the geeky guy you’re dating is going to pick up on hidden signals and be able to tell when you mean what you say and when you don’t, you have another thing coming.
Instead of playing games, just say what you mean. If you want him to do something for you, ask him explicitly.
If he asks if you’re cold, don’t say no and hope he gives you his coat anyway. He probably won’t!
Practicing effective communication is a good idea if you are dating a nerd. It’ll make your life easier.
4. Don’t make fun of them
While many nerds have a good sense of humor, they may get offended if you make too many jokes about their interests or habits.
I mean, a 30-year-old man reading The Lord of Rings may seem ridiculous to you, but to the nerd in your life, that may be just another Saturday morning.
So be careful not to hurt his feelings by making fun of the things he does that seem unusual to you.
That isn’t to say that you have to lose your sense of humor completely when going out with a nerd, it just means that he may be sensitive if he feels like you are ridiculing the things he is passionate about.
5. Respect their space and habits
Many people who seem geeky have very fixed and established habits, schedules, and routines.
Respect their right to keep their routines, even if you feel they border on ritualistic. His ordered way of doing things has probably been developed over a long period of time and is probably crucial for keeping him grounded.
If you try to interfere—and this is not an exaggeration—he may choose his space and right to his habits over you.
6. Learn how to compromise
The guys you have dated in the past will probably have had interests that have aligned more closely with yours.
If you find it hard to find common ground when it comes to activities you like, you’re going to have to accept that you’ll have to compromise.
If watching Star Wars is just an absolute no-go for you, suggest watching Black Mirror instead.
Or, if the guy you’re seeing always suggests staying home and watching TV, tell him that you’re happy to stay in sometimes, but that you’d like to go for at least one restaurant date a month.
7. Get used to being the social butterfly in your relationship
Even if you don’t necessarily consider yourself a hugely social person, you may suddenly find yourself the social half of your dating relationship.
This probably means taking the lead small talk with waiters, taxi drivers, and even his friends’ partners.
It also means giving him guidance or a helping hand when he seems to be feeling uncomfortable in a social environment.
8. Talk to him about his interests
What really distinguishes nerds from the rest of us is their specific passion for certain activities or subjects.
A nerd is just a smart person who knows a whole lot about a few niche things and really enjoys doing them.
And while he may not be a huge conversationalist when it comes to general chat, he will certainly be able to speak eloquently about the things he is interested in.
You will bond quickly if you take an interest in the things he cares about. Before you know it, you and the nerd in your life will be saying, “I love you 3000,” and making other geeky film references with each other.
9. Don’t text him unless you have something to say
Just as they dislike small talk in person, nerds aren’t huge on texting.
They are the type to ask you how often one should text one’s girlfriend because they don’t have a natural sense of what would be appropriate.
If you are with a geeky man, you are probably dating a guy who is busy all the time. He will appreciate not being interrupted in the middle of his day unless it is about something specific and important.
10. Keep your sense of self
Because many nerdy guys have such a clear and well-defined sense of self and set of interests, it can be easy to just adopt their preferences when you begin dating.
Don’t do this! For one thing, while it might be easy to say you don’t mind listening to The Hobbit audiobook while you go to sleep for the first few months, it will start to grate on you over time if you don’t actually like it.
Be honest about what you like and don’t from day one to avoid any confusion in the future.
It will be in your own best interests.
11. Get to know his friends and family
Nerds tend to surround themselves with a close-knit circle of just a few people whom they really care for and respect.
Getting to know them and becoming part of the guy you’re dating’s community will speed up how quickly you become a fixture of their life.
Once a nerdy type gets used to having someone around, they find it hard to let go of them.
If you are in with the guy you like’s friends and family, you have already won.
12. Don’t be offended by his lack of interest in certain things
Whatever things you care deeply about—whether they are social justice issues or a way of setting the table—don’t be hurt if the nerdy guy in your life doesn’t take an immediate interest in them or even notice them.
His razor-sharp sense of what he cares about has been developed over many years and it is unlikely to be swayed in just a few weeks because he has met someone he likes.
Additionally, nerdy types don’t always recognize that it might be important to you that they care about the same things you do.
If you want them to do something you want to do with you, tell them explicitly that it is important for your budding relationship that you do a specific activity together.
13. Set clear expectations
Because nerdy guys are often less perceptive about the people they are dating’s feelings, you should spell out what it is that you want from them.
If you need to see them at least two days per week to feel that you are going in the right direction, tell them this.
If you want them to wash up after you’ve cooked dinner, tell them.
14. Celebrate your differences
Most importantly, don’t let your different approaches to life and your divergent interests come between you.
It is wonderful that you have such different preferences and passions! It will enrich your relationship if you let it. So, celebrate the little disagreements and see them as testament to the fact that love can grow in even the most unlikely circumstances.
Hey, it’s me, Steven. Dating and relationships have always fascinated me. On Dategosu, you will find my best tips to make sure your next date is a great success!