Let's face it, nearly everyone who is single would like to be a more successful dater. Sadly, geeks often need a bit more redirection than others. Maybe this is a result of society's marginilization of those with specialized skills and interests, or maybe it's because computers do, by nature, breed solitude. Either way, we here at wiseGEEK thought that it was time to throw our hat into the ring of fire and help out our fellow geeks.
First things first: These five ideas are pretty basic tips. If they're not surprising to you, then maybe you should re-examine your need to pursue dating advice--seems either you don't need it, or you're not listening. If these are surprising to you, then we're glad you've come.
Also, there is a strong possibility that you will read the list of tips below and find yourself thinking, "I can't do that," or "that's not me." A truth that few geeks seem to understand is that for many of these things, just doing it makes it who you are. Like black coffee, the first time may make you shudder, but the more you drink it, the more you will enjoy it. If that doesn't make you feel better, then follow the advice of one of the ultimate geeks: "Do or do not. There is no 'try.'"
One more small disclaimer before we proceed. These are dating tips. This is not relationship advice, and this will not help you if you have other more specific goals.
1. Be Confident
Seriously, even if you're not, just pretend you are. Not too much, though, because there's not a person on the planet who can't recognize arrogance as overcompensation for insecurity.
What makes geeks who they are is specialized skills, interests, or hobbies. The best thing you can do is be confident in those things. Be proud of them. Be honest about them. Don't waste your time worrying about coming off as nerdy--a nerd is a geek who is insecure about how he or she spends her time.
One of the biggest pitfalls that geeks are prone to is self-effacing comments or jokes. This is a huge no-no. Talking candidly about your deep insecurities or your perceived shortcomings is never, under any circumstances, attractive. Just look at Woody Allen. Saying things like, "I have really bad hair," or "I'm girl repellent," will only make them truer, and they leave nowhere for your conversation partner to go, except phony affirmation. Better to just leave it out.
2. Be Direct
Many have observed that geeks, more than any other brand of person, have a tendency to skirt the issue. They become friends, they pine away from afar, or in the worst circumstances they become stalkers. Though we are certainly advocates of being friends with the person you love, it's the issue of ambiguity that we're addressing here.
If you're asking someone out on a date, make sure you use that word. If you have romantic interest in someone you encounter in a chat room, ask them to meet you for real and tell them why. Don't be intimidated by this, because simple, direct language is the easiest to think of: "I'd like to take you out on a date," or, "I think you're neat. Can I buy you dinner?"
This is important information for geeks who think that hanging out for coffee is a date. Well, if you said it was a date, it is. If you didn't, then no one knows. You'll both be wondering if you're on a date, and wondering if your attendance status would have been different had you known ahead of time if it was a date. This condition breeds insecurity, misunderstandings, and anxiety. Like bad scallops, these things are to be avoided in potentially romantic settings.
3. Be Observant
Although this skill seems somewhat easier for females, geeks are who they are because of their ability to focus and learn. The key here is to understand what you are observing and act accordingly. Looking carefully at the way someone reacts to you and vice versa can tell you volumes more than listening to their words. Watch, listen, and then believe what you learn, whether it be good news or bad.
A few hotspots to be aware of:
- Body language: If you are leaned toward each other, mirroring each other's posture, or inching closer, these are all good signs. Read the signs.
- Eyes: Is he focused on his beer? Is she glancing up every time someone passes by your table? Uh oh. Our eyes subconciously reveal what we are thinking about--if the person across the table is looking at you, you have their attention and you should feel good about that.
- Physical contact: Duh. Touching is good. Spontaneous, unnecessary touching is really good. Avoiding physical contact is an early bedtime.
- Voice: Again, it's not what they say so much as how they say it. Han understands Chewie, Timmy understands Lassie, and everyone seems to understand that Korean guy on Lost. It's tone, intonation, volume, and cadence that tell the real story.
4. Be Curious
This is such an important point. Geeks are notoriously good learners, thinkers, and problem solvers--why not put that to work in a romantic setting? This plays out in two ways. First, ask about the person. Everyone likes someone who will listen to them, so being interested in their stories and hobbies will help you. Don't fake enthusiasm--find something you can be enthusiastic about. If you can't, then what are you doing there, anyway? Second, be candid about the things that you are curious about in your own life. Share things you're learning and thinking. This is a good way for geeks to gauge if the person they're interested in is a fellow geek, or if they're geek averse.
5. Be Honest
Under no circumstances is dishonesty going to help you. If you need to lie because you think it will help you look cooler, see #1. If you think that lying will prevent someone's feelings from getting hurt, you are wrong. Be clear about what you want, and honest about what you don't. Period.
So there it is. Simple, straightforward, and not nearly as easy as it sounds. The good news is that if you really want to find someone who likes you for who you are, then you have an obligation to actually be who you are. There is no better strategy than being yourself with someone who makes it easy for you to be yourself. If you are hopelessly insecure, self-centered, self-concerned, and selfish, then you need more help than we can offer.
Otherwise, follow the advice of a Jedi master.