Listen up, ’cause this one’s comin’ from a fellow nerd. That’s right–I said it. I’m as dork as dork can get. And I don’t just mean that I’m blinder than a bat, and my glasses are thicker than my thumbs.
I’ve always just been on the non-traditional side in all of my interests. In high school, I performed in plays instead of doing sports. I read books instead of going out on the weekends, and my idea of a good time usually involved binging my favorite movie series.
So does this automatically make me a geek?
No! Because if we’re being honest, most of those terms date back to the days of judgemental school bullies who don’t like anyone who is even mildly different from you. I proudly use nerd as a self-described adjective because A) I just don’t care anymore, and B) When all my friends are accountants, I’m a freelance writer working in my pajamas.
And yet the idea of geek, nerd, dork still exists, and even if you’re not at the point of saying it proudly like I am, I think it’s important to consider what qualifies someone as nerdy.
So let’s look at why you might want to date someone like you and how to go about doing precisely that in the online dating world. So wipe off your glasses, gear up, and let’s geek out!
Get Nerdy with It!
First, let’s look at what makes you so awesomely dorky.
A person who is nerdy might be enthusiastic about learning and exploring new topics and may spend a lot of time reading, researching, or pursuing their interests.
In these cases, a nerdy person might be enthusiastic about collecting memorabilia, attending conventions or events, or engaging with other fans. It can also be associated with having a strong passion for something and being willing to invest time and energy in pursuing that hobby.
And this is why it’s a term used with pride, as it reflects a commitment to learning and exploring new things.
So get ready to wear that geeky title, just like that gold medal you won when you placed first at the fourth-grade chess competition.
There are several common connotations associated with the title, so let’s get into it. Just keep in mind this is a general list of common stereotypes and doesn’t mean it has to define you.
Yep, those straight A’s are for a reason, friend. Nerds are often associated with high levels of intelligence and knowledge, particularly in academic or technical fields.
2. Social Awkwardness
I hate to say this, but it can be true. We’re usually introverts, and as a result, interacting with people can be a pain in the butt when you’re not ready for it.
Nerds are often stereotyped as being socially awkward or lacking social skills, which can make it difficult for them to fit in with mainstream culture. But the word is stereotyped for a reason–it doesn’t mean that’s who you are.
However, if you struggle with social anxiety, it can make it difficult to start conversations or feel comfortable interacting with strangers online.
You may worry about how they come across or feel intimidated by the prospect of putting themselves out there. This may cause you to lack confidence in yourself or your dating abilities, which can make it harder to put yourselves out there and pursue potential matches.
You may feel you don’t fit the mold of what a typical dater looks like, which can be discouraging.
3. Passionate Niche Interests
Nerds are often passionate about specific interests or hobbies, like comics, video games, science, anime, or technology, and may spend a lot of time and energy pursuing these interests.
Often, this centers on a particular interest that not everyone shares. This can make it challenging to find potential matches who share your passions or find someone who relates to your interests.
Nerds may be seen as non-conformist or counter-cultural, rejecting mainstream trends and norms in favor of their own unique interests and perspectives.
This is my favorite because, honestly, doing things the traditional way is boring, and going against the grain of society makes life that much more interesting. The geeks of the world are often associated with a high level of attention to detail, precision, and accuracy.
Of course, not all nerds fit these stereotypes, and many people who are not considered dorky may exhibit some of these characteristics as well. Nonetheless, these are some of the common assumptions associated with being a dork, and understanding them can help you learn how to move forward and make successful efforts when venturing into the world of online dating.
The key is about staying true to yourselves, focusing on finding someone who shares your passions and values and being patient and persistent. So how do you go about doing just that?
Using Fandom References
Using fandom references refers to the use of references to movies, TV shows, books, video games, or other media that are part of a particular fandom or subculture. Being a geek doesn’t have to rule your identity, and while being part of a fandom may qualify you as such, trust me, plenty of non-nerds will also do this in their profile.
All you have to do is express your enthusiasm and passion for your favorite show or movie. It’s an easy way to connect with others who share your interest and can signal membership in a particular subculture or community and establish common ground with others who share similar experiences and perspectives.
You can use quotes from your favorite TV shows, movies, or books, mention favorite characters, moments, or episodes, or even share fan theories or opinions about a particular fandom.
If you and your crush are both into Star Wars, you could use a quote from the movies to start a conversation. You could say, “I’m not the droid you’re looking for, but I’d love to chat with you!”
Perhaps Lord of the Rings is your go-to. Try out, “If you were a Hobbit, I’d be the butter to your bread.”
How about the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Try out a theory: “Prove me wrong: Loki is the best villain in the MCU. What do you think?”
Or if video games are your wheelhouse, throw in a ‘Legend of Zelda,’ by saying something flirty like, “You must have the Triforce of Wisdom, because you seem to know just what to say.”
However, using too many fandom references or relying too heavily on them can also be seen as exclusionary, particularly if others in the conversation are not familiar with the referenced media.
As with any form of communication, it’s important to be mindful of your audience and not just flood your profile with one aspect. There’s more to you than just one singular passion you may have, so don’t be afraid to show other aspects, too.
Showing Off Knowledge
The trick to this one is subtlety. Part of being a nerd is being smart, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you say something the wrong way, it may come off like you’re bragging. Remember to use your knowledge in a way that’s playful and engaging and not condescending or arrogant.
This is a great tool if they’re interested in something you already know a lot about. Mentioning little-known facts or trivia can be an engaging way to keep the conversation going and can also let you bond with your new match.
If your match is into comic books, you could say something like, “I’m planning to go to Comic-Con next year. Have you ever been?” Or perhaps they’re into Sci-fi. Recommending books, movies, or games within the same fandom or genre always works: “If you’re into science fiction, you should check out The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin. It’s one of my favorites.” See? Subtlety is key.
You’re not giving them a book report on themes of mortality and connecting it back to societal problems. You’re just telling them one of your favorite books and therefore showing your knowledge of the genre.
But if it turns out they’ve read the same book, you can get into the meanings of it. You just gotta feel it out. The key to explaining complex concepts or ideas is digging into them once the conversation has already started and you’ve established shared interests.
Asking Thoughtful Questions
This one’s important even if you’re not a nerd. But it’s especially important if you’re introverted and uncomfortable with breaking the ice with a new match.
Remember this key point: people love to talk about themselves. If you’re unsure how to start the conversation, just ask them something about themselves. It doesn’t even have to be about your interests because chances are, once you get them talking, they’re going to turn the conversation around and ask about yourself and what kind of hobbies you like.
If you’re unsure where to start, try inquiring about personal experiences or asking open-ended questions to encourage discussions. You can also use hypothetical scenarios to spark conversation or ask for recommendations or opinions. Once you get it rolling, you’ll be surprised how easy it will come.
Remember to listen actively, don’t interrupt them, let them finish speaking, and respond back with a point of your own. Then in no time, you’ll be in the center of a thoughtful conversation.
But don’t just ask the questions and move on–show genuine interest in their responses, and use their answers to continue the conversation in a meaningful way. By asking thoughtful questions, you can learn more about your crush and deepen your connection.
Remember that being authentic means being true to yourself and your interests and not trying to be someone you’re not just to impress others. Embrace your geeky passions and quirks, and show your crush that you’re confident and comfortable in your own skin.
You don’t need to interject into every aspect of the conversation but don’t shy away from it if it comes up or if you want to talk about it.
I’ll tell you a secret. Good conversations, either online or in person, are less about the topic and more about the vibe. When someone asks me what I do for a living, I say I’m a writer. And sometimes, if they seem interested–and I’m not talking too much about myself–I’ll go into future story ideas I want to write.
And trust me, they’re weird and wild, but the people are interested, not because they necessarily have an interest in stories about dystopian mind control, but because they can tell I’m passionate and excited about it.
When a guy tells me he doesn’t like horror movies, I don’t roll my eyes and tell them that they should start getting into the genre because it will add hair to their bald spot. I tell them why I like the genre, and then I ask them what they like.
Don’t pretend to be someone else just to impress someone, because eventually, if you take this meeting from a dating site to in-person, and it grows into a relationship, then you’re going to get sick of pretending. And you might find that you don’t have anything in common with the person you’re with.
Hit the Breaks and Take It Slow
Taking it slow doesn’t mean being distant or uninterested. It means being thoughtful, patient, and respectful of the other person’s needs and comfort levels.
By taking the time to build a strong connection and establishing trust, you can create a foundation for a long-lasting and meaningful relationship. Building a connection gradually through meaningful interactions is the key to making something genuine.
Don’t try to push for anything too serious too soon; even if you like this person, it’s important to spend time with them before jumping into anything too quickly.
Focus on getting to know each other better first, and an easy way to do that is by setting boundaries and taking time to establish trust. No matter what you do, respect their personal space and comfort levels––and your own. Boundaries are a good thing!
Don’t Be Afraid to Make the First Move
If you’re interested in your crush, don’t be afraid to make the first move. This can be hard for the introverted side of you, but dating sites like Zoosk and eHarmony make it easier with behavioral matchmaking tools.
With Zoosk, specifically, the algorithm will study your behavior on the site and then match you with people deemed to be compatible with you based on the interests and hobbies you’ve expressed. Not only that, but they’ll send the profiles directly to you, so you don’t even have to do any searching.
And then it’s up to you to rip the bandaid off. Yes, making the first move can be nerve-wracking, but once you do it, it gets easier.
When starting a conversation, keep it simple and respectful. Introduce yourself and mention something you noticed on their dating profile that caught your attention. Ask them a question or suggest a meetup in a public place where you can both feel comfortable and safe.
Personally, I won’t meet up with men if the first–or even tenth–thing they say to me is: ‘let’s meet up.’ I like to have a little banter back and forth before I agree to meet them in person. And that doesn’t have to be weeks worth of conversation.
Allow the conversation to flow, and then if the vibe feels right, ask them if they’d like to meet up. Remember that not everyone will be interested–either by saying no or by saying nothing–and that’s okay.
Sharpen up That Profile Pic
There are a few things to keep in mind to make your profile stand out and attract like-minded people. Here are some tips:
- Highlight your personality: Choose a profile picture that reflects your interests or hobbies. If you’re into cosplay, add it! If you like a favorite character and you’ve met the actor, post that pic! This can help attract people who share their passions and interests.
- Use good lighting: Lighting is important for taking a good profile picture. A well-lit photo can make a person look more attractive and engaging. Try to take a picture in natural light or use a soft light source to create a flattering glow.
- Smile and make eye contact: A friendly smile and eye contact can make a person seem more approachable and likable. Try to take a picture where you are smiling and looking directly at the camera. This can help create a sense of connection with potential matches.
- Keep it current: Make sure that your profile picture is recent and reflects your current appearance. Avoid using old pictures or pictures that are heavily filtered. This can create a sense of disappointment or mistrust when you meet your matches in person.
Even after you match with someone, it’s important to be patient and give them time to open up and feel comfortable with you.
It’s important to remember that everyone has their own pace when it comes to building relationships, and some people might need more time than others to feel comfortable around someone they like. It’s also important to respect their boundaries and not push them to open up before they’re ready.
Remember that building trust is gradual and worth waiting for if you want to build a strong and meaningful relationship with someone.
Focus on developing a genuine connection, take the time to get to know them, be a good listener, and remember: Don’t shy away from your nerdy self. It’s exactly that side of you that will ensure that when you end up matching with the right person, that bond will be genuine, long-lasting, and enjoyable.