Understanding your lovable geek

See how happy they are?

Last week, I wrote a post on how to live amicably with one’s spouse.  It was pretty popular (thank you for reading), so I have been trying to come up with some good follow-ups.  This the first one; hopefully it’s good.  🙂

Are you dating, in a relationship with, or related to a geek?  Do you sometimes have trouble understanding his or her idiosyncratic tendencies?  Does he or she drive you nuts as a result?  Fear not, for I am here to help you!  Read on, weary traveler, and I shall endeavor to guide you on your journey of discovery.

First off, you should know that geeks are just as diverse as non-geeks.  There is no one qualifying and uniform attribute that makes one a geek, so it’s a near impossible term to fully define.  As such, I will try to hit on some of the more popular geeky traits in this post.  Take them all with a grain of salt, because what is true for a lot of geeks isn’t necessarily true for ALL geeks.

Also, we’re human, we all interpret things differently based on our own perceptions, so keep that in mind too.

All that out of the way, here we go:

  • Gaming and other time consuming hobbies
    Geeks get very attached to the things they love.  For me that’s gaming (both video and tabletop).  The thing that’s tricky to understand is that, if I can’t get at least SOME time in for gaming, I go kind of stir-crazy.
    See, gaming is my way of unwinding.  I de-stress, I let my mind reload, and I feel better afterward.  It’s cathartic.

    Remember, just because your geek wants to sit down and spend a few hours playing a game, or building a computer, or flying an RC airplane doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t want to spend time with you.  It doesn’t mean you’re less important than the hobby in question.  Let your geek play a little.  The result will be a happier geek–one that works harder to make you happy too.

  • Geeks will give you all the information you can handle
    If you ask a geek questions about something he or she loves, you will get long and detailed answers.  We will literally keep going until you tell us to stop.Geeks love to share their love of geeky things with anyone who will listen.  We hope that, if we tell you enough about it, you’ll start to love it to (whatever it might be).  Then we can geek out together, and everyone is happy.

    If you don’t want the long story, let us know.  If we keep going, find a tasteful way to interrupt, and let us know that you get it.  We understand.  Just be nice about it.  🙂

  • Geeks aren’t, as a rule, socially inept
    Look, I’m not a social genius, but I can carry on a conversation, and I can generally interact with people on a daily basis with some measure of success.  Why do I bring up this rather obvious point?There’s a social stigma about geeks (that is gradually going away, thankfully) which paints us all as Urkelesque (not that there’s anything wrong with Urkel).  As a result, I think that some people, once I proclaim myself a geek, make several assumptions that aren’t necessarily true.

    So, what I’m asking here is that you keep in mind that geeks are all human.  In any given social interaction, all parties need to find ways to communicate with one another effectively.  Geeks are no different, though the conversation may not flow like ones you’re used to (especially if you ask me about books, cars, or games because I will talk your ear off–see the point above).

  • Don’t be afraid to admit you’re a geek too
    Are you obsessed with makeup?  Well, you’re probably a makeup geek.  How ’bout cars?  Sports?  Movies?  You can definitely geek out about those things too.That’s right, you might be a geek.  Don’t be afraid of the term–embrace it.  The popular definition includes such fine attributes as highly intelligent, knowledgeable, and highly desirable (I may have added the last one).

    My point is that being a geek is more than OK in today’s society.  It’s becoming a term of endearment, or simply a descriptor for someone who is extremely interested and knowledgeable about a particular subject.  Own your geekiness and be proud.  Your geeky significant other will love you for it.

  • Geeks (some of us) tend to be absent minded
    Just because I forget to mow the lawn, or miss the fact that there are dirty dishes to be loaded into the dishwasher does not mean that I’m actively ignoring my duties as a helpful husband.Geeks (not all of them) tend to be absent minded, and I think I know why.  We get latched onto something and it sort of absorbs us.  If we’re interested in it, we have to know as much as possible about that thing right then and there.

    I’ll give you an example.  I sat down the other day after work and looked something up on the internet I had read about earlier. It had to do with eBook accessibility.  Soon, my wife gets home and asks what I had been doing as she spies the mess in the kitchen from the night before (I’m pretty sure I told her I’d clean it up).

    I look up and say, “I just got home.  I’ll do it right now.”

    She looks at her watch, then at me.  “It’s 6:50.  You’ve been at home for over an hour!”

    Oops.  I thought I had sat down for 10 minutes.

    Yes, it’s annoying, but please bear with us.  We get sidetracked.  Hell, sometimes my mind will simply wander off on strange abstract tangents (like why Einstein suggests there is a universal speed limit).

    The cure for this is patience and (nice) prodding.  It never hurts to remind us of things we’ve forgotten, just try to be nice about it and don’t do it constantly.  It’s not that we’re avoiding the work, it’s just that we’ve been distracted.

  • Join us!
    This goes back to a point I made in my other post.  Give some of the things we like to geek out about a try!  You’d be surprised–you might like them too.Be sure to keep an OPEN mind when going down a new geeky path and make sure your geek doesn’t get overly enthusiastic and throw too much at you at once (because we will if you give us the chance).

That wraps it up for now.  Remember, your geek loves you, so please do your best to not let him or her drive you nuts.  It’s 100% possible to live harmoniously with a geek, even if you aren’t one yourself (or if you are a geek with an opposing point of view).

Let me (and others) know what you think

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