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Highly Intelligent But Socially Handicapped: The Psychology Of The Nerd


My son in his mid-30s, is extremely intelligent, has a Ph.D. in Chemistry, and is a postdoctoral researcher at an Ivy League University. He has significant social-relationship problems. He does not know many of the rules of social interaction, and lacks confidence in social situations. Some of his actions are often considered eccentric. He is interested in developing social relationships. But, he has had no significant romantic relationships with the opposite sex (though he has had a couple of brief ones). He does have male friends but none very close. He also has non-romantic relationships with the opposite sex (even more-so than with male friends). He has some minor eccentric behavioral mannerisms. His almost always carries a backpack with him, often to the most inappropriate places, his dress awareness is weak (by any convention), and he has developed other minor unusual mannerisms, which discourage potential female partners. He is, though, generally considerate, kind, and gentle, he is attractive though short in stature (about 5ft2”). He is well aware of his problem and makes an effort to deal with his situation (sometimes they are clumsy and sometimes with varying degrees of success). He is well liked and respected by some of his academic peers, and his research results are impressive but he is often not invited to participate in social events because he is seen to ‘not fit in’. He interacts well with his family and has a loving relationship with his parents and siblings. He lives away from home (near his university) and speaks often by phone and visits his family occasionally. He is not generally depressed (he has many professional successes and is quite respected), but his clumsy social skills and lack of romantic relationship do depress him. He is generally kind, rational, and forthcoming. He readily seeks advice from his close family. He is easily insulted in social situations when his is confused or reacts inappropriately. When in his element (chemistry, history, politics, or near his family) he is confident and imposing, and often humorous (he has a keen sense of humor). His main concern is that he will not succeed in finding a life-partner and will not raise a family (which he dearly wishes to do).

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The implicit question here is "what can be done to help my son?" The answer is, that I don’t know exactly, but we can explore some ideas about what might be wrong and what a helping process might look like.

Before trying to address a problem it is generally best to first know what is the cause and nature of the problem. So, the first part of my response will be to offer you some ideas about what might be happening to your son. None of the ideas I’m going to explore here are necessary descriptive of your son, but they might help to organize our thinking.

Your son is a member of a social class often described in colloquial terms as nerds. I mean no insult by using this term! I use it in the sense of the second of the Answers.Com definitions for the term:

A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.

Meant in this way, the term nerd has utility. It allows us to talk in general terms about a group of individual who have similar social awkwardness issues. Since I can’t think of a better term to use to describe such individuals, let’s talk about the psychology of the nerd.

Nerdiness exists on a continuum. Some people are a little nerdy, while others are very nerdy. The more nerdy you get, the more you tend to be oblivious of yourself as a social object and to behave in socially awkward ways such as dressing badly or failing to take subtle hints. Nerdiness is developmental in some fashion. It tends to come on early on in life. People grow out of being nerds; they don’t become nerds in later life.

Because nerds are awkward and un-smooth, they tend to be rejected and isolated by peers, and because it is emotionally painful to experience such marginalization, they tend to push themselves to be excellent in aspects of life that do not require social skills. If they are at all smart, they tend to go whole hog into some intellectual pursuit. Computer science is a big one for many nerds (or that subspecies of nerd who proudly call themselves "geek"), but any non-social intellectual pursuit will do. Chemistry fits the profile as would most any academic pursuit. The strategy at work is a variation on the theme of making a weakness into a virtue. Nerds can become very good at their chosen fields because they have very little to keep them from devoting all of their energy to those fields. These are not balanced people with rich social lives. Instead, these are people who spend holidays writing papers. I know this because I used to be one of these people.

The big lie that a nerd tells him or herself is that they will make a satisfying life for themselves based purely on their intellectual pursuits. For some minority of nerds, this may be possible, but I think for many others, the "life of the mind" becomes excruciatingly lonely after a while. The problem is though that by the time such people realize that they are in trouble, they don’t know how to fix themselves. They are so very competent at what they do intellectually that they cannot stand the thought of having to go back to being an absolute beginner and trying to figure out how to be with other people. The whole idea of being an adult who is a virgin (or a relationship virgin anyway even if not a physical one) is deeply shameful and embarrassing and people tend to avoid dealing with what is deeply shameful and embarrassing. What happens is that they know there is a problem but when they try to deal with it, they get so painfully emotional and threatened that they become defensive and back off the project and retreat back to the ivory tower where they stay until the next time they get lonely. The other academicians around you sharing office space in the tower are by and large also nerds and also socially awkward and so they can’t help much. They are good for mutually reinforcing the idea of how great it is to work on the chosen field, but they aren’t good for intimacy. Too bad because intimacy is, for most people, ultimately what gives meaning to life.

I don’t think anyone has developed a comprehensive theory of what causes people to become nerds, but any such theory will have to take the following concepts into account if it is ever written.

Some people’s nerdiness is a function of a condition called Asperger’s Disorder which is a mild pervasive developmental disorder on the same spectrum as Autism. We’ve got a very comprehensive article about Autism and Aspergers available here, but the thing to know about this sort of condition is that it involves language and communication deficits which have a basis in neurological deficits. The prototypical person with Asperger’s learns language reasonably well, but doesn’t seem to experience language the same way as a normal person. Some quality of emotional transmission is missing. People with Asperger’s can talk in odd cadences and/or they may fail to understand social reciprocity such that they may manifest an "eccentric and one-sided social approach to others (e.g., pursuing a conversational topic regardless of others’ reactions) rather than social and emotional indifference." (DSM page 80). The character of Toby in the movie "American Splendor" is one reasonable portrayal.

An alternative kind of nerd is someone who develops a condition known as Schizotypal Personality Disorder. To say someone has a personality disorder in general is to say that they have grown up with some important part of the normal human coping toolkit missing or undeveloped. People with personality disorders are developmentally delayed in important social-emotional ways that cause them to be "one trick ponies" who can only react to the world in a narrow and rigid set of ways. When such a person is in their element, all is fine (because they know how to cope with their element), but when they go out of their element, they lack the flexibility to know how to cope appropriately and experience significant problems as a result (or for some personality disorders, other people experience significant problems).

Schizotypal Personality Disorder is defined in the DSM (page 701) as characterized by, "A pervasive pattern of social and interpersonal deficits marked by acute discomfort with, and reduced capacity for, close relationships, as well as by cognitive or perceptual distortions and eccentricities of behavior…". The definition of eccentric behavior typically characteristic of Schizotypal PD is beyond simple cluelessness about how to dress. It involves the presence of minor sorts of delusional beliefs (such as a belief in UFOs or ESP), odd perceptions and sensations, odd mannerisms and speech patterns, and mild paranoia. Recall the character of Kramer from the television show "Seinfeld" and you’ll have a good idea of what this looks like. People with Schizotypal PD are thought of as eccentric, weird, strange, or different. People tolerate them and may find them amusing but always tend to consider them an outsider.

Having a diagnosable disorder such as Asperger’s or Schizotypal PD might qualify a person as a nerd or a geek in some circles, but the reverse is not true. There are many nerds who don’t qualify for any diagnosable disorder. They may be the way they are for other reasons. One primary reason that could push a person towards nerdiness is the presence of simple but profound social anxiety. Social skills are learned through interaction with other children and adults during childhood and adolescence. If you are a very anxious child and avoid developmentally important social interactions, you will tend to remain delayed in your social-emotional skillfulness. If, because of your social anxiety you cease to push yourself to interact and instead channel your energy into socially avoidant pursuits the problem becomes compounded. Not being a member of intimate relationships means you are cut off from important feedback such as how to dress appropriately or when it is not good form to wear a backpack. The true nerd will rationalize his or her odd social behavior, I think for defensive purposes. It is simply very painful to admit to yourself that you are essentially incompetent in this very important aspect of life.

The really important question is what can be done to turn this sort of ship around. In order for your son to become more able to realize his dreams he will need to get through his avoidance and confront his social deficits. He will need to learn how people actually perceive him (and he will need to remain able to care about this perception so as to be motivated to do something about it). He will need to alter his lifestyle so as to make a commitment towards putting himself out there in the world with regard to eligible women partners. He will need to become less inwardly focused and to learn how to see himself as the social object he is. This is going to be painful work. He is likely to feel very vulnerable while engaged in this work and perhaps at times quite pathetic. In order to best help him make his way through this painful learning process and ultimately through the universally awkward and painful dating process it may benefit him to have a guide in the form of a psychotherapist or other high quality "life coach" with whom he can form a trusting relationship, who can give him the social feedback he needs, and who can be a stable and comforting force in his life as he makes awkward mistakes.  This will need to be a long term process I think as the learning that needs to take place is basic and the avoidance of this learning is deeply ingrained. To the extent that your son’s problems are caused by an actual diagnosable disorder such as Asperger’s or Schizotypal, the same goals might apply, but the goals to shoot for should be more circumscribed and more modest, and the coach figure should an actual licensed therapist experienced in working with individuals with the disorder in question.

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  • Anonymous-1

    Geeks/Nerds/Highly Intelligent people in general do not have that core characteristic that you always get in bad boys/jerks/ladys men/the average guy. You are either born with this or not. Cant develop or create this characteristic unless you try gene therapy...? What is this characteristic: Difficult to explain clearly or to pinpoint it, but ALL women are attracted instinctively ONLY to men who have this CAVE MAN mindset/personality. What do I mean by this? I mean the following: machoness, dominant attitude, aggressiveness, bad boy attitude. Now if you take a real Geek and give him all these attributes he will STILL fail with women, they will STILL not be interested in him. These attributes are only side effects of having the special characteristic which I mentioned above... The brain of a typical bad boy is wired differently from that of a geek/nerd/typical nice guy. Now, about the social difficulties: 1) Normal people are uncomfortable to socialise with geeks/nerds. They also tend to look down on them for social reasons. It's because geeks/nerds think on a different level, and the normal people cant synchronize with this... And this in turn makes the geeks/nerds feel awkward and uncomfortable in these social situations. BUT throw a hundred geeks/nerds into one room and they will socialize happily without any awkwardness etc! So it's NOT that geeks/nerds/intelligent people have problems mixing and communicating socially, it's because they communicate on a different level. They find normal people strange sometimes too! Lastly, normal people's thinking is strongly emotionally orientated, whereas geeks/nerds/highly intelligents thinking is strongly rationally orientated. If you're in a social situation with normal people, you need your emotional side of the brain in order to socialize well. Unfortunately, highly intelligent people cant just switch off their rational side and think like normal people do, mostly with their emotional side... Take ANY normal person and put them in a room with a hundred highly intelligent people and you will see who's feeling awkward now, and who's having difficulty socialising now! I'm a Geek, and I know all this from years of research and my own experience combined.

    Editor's Note: Thank you! I think you make some very good points, particularly the part about it being a mismatch of styles rather than a simple deficit that keeps nerds from social success. I don't think that is the whole story, but it is a part that I missed in my answer.

  • Marie

    One of the biggest problems is that people who are "nerds" (also those who are highly intelligent) tend to be interested in concepts and ideas. The rest of the world is drawn to people and experiences.

    In a social setting, the nerd is comfortable discussing particle physics or perhaps philosophy, whereas the average person would rather talk about where they went on vacation or what they saw on television.

    So-called "normal" people are often uncomfortable around nerds because the nerds tend to be interested in subjects which, at first glance, seem to be rather esoteric and conceptual, and usually unfamiliar to those in the mainstream. This makes the nerd "different" when compared to everyone else.

    Normal people have a difficult time wrapping their brains around these ideas because they are not tangible or within the realm of the everyday. . . and that is exactly why nerds enjoy these subjects, they are different and exciting.

    So at a party, the normal people might want to discuss that a certain celebrity is in rehab, and the nerd finds that boring and rather superficial. The nerd would rather discuss the evolution of technology or terraforming Mars. The nerd cannot understand why the average person is not interested in stretching their mind beyond the mundane.

    Most normal people wrongly believe that nerds want to be more like them.

    Sadly, society reveres those who conform to its standards and abhors the outcast. Nerds exist somewhere on the edges of the bell curve and provide much-needed texture in a vanilla social structure bent on conformity force fed through the media.

    Even if you make a nerd more acceptable in their dress and social skills, they will likely be dissatisfied dating someone from that world, simply because they find the pursuits of the mainstream as rather shallow and often uninteresting.

    There exists a dating service for science types like the gentleman discussed in the article. It's called Sci Connect. He'd probably do much better there than leaving his backpack at home.

  • Edgard

    I've been trying to find where do I fit.

    I never had problems talking with people, making jokes, teaching, playing sports. But somehow I have the tendency to focus too much and for years in just one target and I try to achieve it with all my energies.

    I'm 27, grad student, never had a gf in my life (I always wanted one, but they ended up in my daydreams). I did have a bad formation related to intimacy, so whenever I developed friendships they always finished when my friends started to ask about past relations, etc, etc. I would simply dissapear.

    For some unknown issue, I can't get intimate with anyone, so I can't say that I have true friends, or a very close relation with my parents. That doesn't mean that I don't love them, that I don't talk to them, but I developed this kind of wall that shows up anytime I have to start talking about my past girlfriends.

    I think I've been very immature, I should have realized this problem way ago, sadly, since I had no friends no one did noticed this before.

    The first impression people get from me is that I am a normal guy, that tells jokes (non-geek), that is updated about everydays news, a guy that have a political and social opinion, a guy that can even be trust when counceling in career issues (this depress me, I can help other people, but I can't help myself).

    Suddenly I woke up, and find out that I missed one of the most important experience of a human being, intimacy, a loving relationship. Now I'm kind of depressed and anxious because I don't know if I can recover what I never had. The quality to love and find love.

    So what I've decided to do is to force myself to date, meet new people, etc, but I really think that my possibilities of finding love decrese as the time goes by.

    I really feel like a very late bloomer, I discovered all this problems by myself, sometimes I feel hopeless, anxious, depressed. I don't know where to start. I'm gonna see a psychotherapist in 2 weeks but being a foreign grad student won't help me to reach more than 3 months of weekly sessions.

    I've been living since 17 by myself, or with roomates, so I don't have a "mommy's son" complex, I can take care of myself easily, but yet I feel now that none of the things I've done, like being career driven, get my PhD, play sports, being in shape, know how to take care of me, etc, matter at all if I have no one to share my life.

    Does a condition like "love numbness" exist?, I feel like love had past in front of me so many times (girls still approach to me, and find me attractive) but I never catched it. I have a high sexual drive, I feel attracted by girls, but somehow this intimacy wall always shows up when I get too close to people, specially girls.

    I met many nerds in my life, I definetly don't fit in their category, but yet I'm suffering the same thing as the guy mentioned in the article. Maybe he's totally fine with it, in my case not, I've been half of a social person (I do enjoy teaching and volunteering, helping people) all my life. I'm in a journey now to find the other half.

    Is there any hope that society will forgive me for my selfish wasted years?. I feel like my case is very rare, I feel like someone wanting to grow up, but trapped in a society that won't allow me to do it cause it is too late.


    p.s.: Because the anxiety I'm in now, it has been very difficult to continue my studies, the psychotherapy may help me, but I still have to wait. Do you know self help books that can help me to overcome this?. I joined a group of people with panic disorders and social phobia to learn how to deal with my anxiety (although I find myself giving more suggestions than learning), they think I don't fit there (they told me this in a nice way, I can still attend if I want), but at this point I just want to fit somwhere and I want to start talking about my problems with somebody. This is scary.

  • chemist

    I think it has been fairly well demonstrated that socially successful people can train socially inept people to be ladies men. All you have to do is look at the seduction community. Through endless drilling, analysis and imitation, they learn to reflectively do the socially acceptable or even socially admirable thing and eventually start becoming comfortable and then successful with women. At this point they often realize something that the ladies men always realized: women may want to be respected or even worshipped, but they don't admire it...they admire men who other people admire.

  • Only Me

    Well, this is kinda to Edgard but also general comments. I am female, 41, with a Master's in a science. Many of the answers Dr. Dombeck provided can apply to me, especially being an only child. I have often blamed this on what I call "inadequate" social skills. I am giving and sharing, not the "all about me" only child. I do feel though that due to not developing certain social skills, like fighting over a toy and working it out and even just conversing, I have had to learn these on the fly. I still have issues conversing in groups of people. I do much better one on one. I also consider it a timing issue. Who is going to talk next and when. I really don't get along with many females and God bless my best friend who I share everything with and seems to understand me. I am fairly atractive and even had laser surgery to lose the nerdy glasses. I may appear normal but I am not the overly personable, socially dynamic person that seem to land the top manger roles (due to their people skills no doubt). I am not big into conversing about things other women tend to talk about and don't like to sit around and gossip much. I get along best with men and their more analytical minds.

    EDGAR - advice my friend - try to date educated women, maybe in your field. Don't dwell on the past. And especially, don't talk to her about other women. Call often. If on a first date, a call the next morning, even better, a text message (not too clingy that way) works wonders. Then wait a day or so. I can't say what the right balance is, but there is one between being too aloof and being too clingy. I tend to be the clingy type. The guy I am dating will go out after work without me and then not call me. I don't like it that he has time and energy to do this but not have or make time for me later. Just be yourself. I have had many failed relationships including marriages. I think I get too flattered that someone likes me and then go overboard. Try to treat a girl you date as though you are thankful she is interested in you. It is her choice to see you and discover what a great person you are. But also it is up to you to show her that you really like her too.

    Another point - don't worry about dating. From my perspective, many relationships and several marriages, you need to find happiness with yourself. It makes me feel confident to be out in world and do what I want. I make my own money, decide how to spend it, and decide what I want to do to entertain myself. You seem to have a full life and even solid seeming marriages can lack true intimacy. Also, you have heard and will find that everyone enjoys hanging out with a happy person. To be in true intimate relationship you will need to think about the other person and their feelings all the time. You have to apologize for things you did even if they were unintentional or you didn't realize you hurt the other person by doing them. Life I guess is hard either way. I struggle to be happy with or without someone. They both have pros and cons.

  • Dr.T

    Very interesting, yet sad stories. I have also experienced situations like this in my own life, but only because I'm a sort of introvert who would prefer to be in the company of one who is similar to me. I like music, yoga, reading, and doing things that most "home-bodies" do. Although I can be rather exciting when the time strikes! As a female psychology student, I find that most of my life is geared toward learning and experiencing in a variety of ways and that sets me apart from "social life." I have set my mind on greater things than socialization and so I developed into an adult this way. I wouldn't consider my life lonesome nor would I consider it boring. However, there are times when I'd like to have companionship of some sort. But even though I have a few friends, we are constantly growing and changing and thus we can never seem to find each other either as interesting as we once did or we have out-grown each other somehow. This happens often and has nothing to do with a deficit or a problem with you. In fact, whether you recognize it or not, we as human species are not as equal as we'd like to think. In other words, we all come from different walks of life and have different ways of percieving things. Therefore, the absence or accumulation of relationships can never really be a determining factor of how socially astute or socially "aloof" you may think you are.

    My great-grandmother use to say "if you fit in too much something is wrong." I can kind of believe her. Very inspiring, whether that be spiritually or intellectually, are those who do not fit in. Some believe that these people are "chosen" by some higher power or destiny to be great and be set apart from others so that they can contribute to this life in awesome ways.

    A romantic relationship is wonderful when its right. "When it's right" is the key word here because even though you may think you need a relationship of some kind right now, doesn't mean it's for you to have right now.

    Those who have gained an education and "lost" social astuteness should not be regretful. You have gained so much more for yourself than you may can see right now. Life is so much more than romance, espeically when you search for true meaning. I would recommend a book called: Beyond the Dream by Thomas Hora. He speaks of being 'awake' and being 'asleep' and truly experiencing. We think we're truly experiencing life when we're in a relationship or doing something socially acceptable, but this is a facad and perhaps even a deceptive tale.

    I would love to become a mommy and a wife. While still in my twenties I hold on to the dream, but I try not to replace my reality with that dream or I could be let down. What I am honestly saying here is that people such as yourselves are special and only the right person can appreciate your uniqueness. Those who cannot, are not worth you feeling socially inept.

    I wish you the best.

  • Anonymous-2

    I too have found myself isolated, do to the nerd mindset. Many people just do not understand how nerds think. Nerds tend to be more interested in books and philosophy(or watever is their cup of tea), but normal people tend to want to "live the moment" somehow thinking on a simpler scale. For some reason I believed that most people were much less intelligent than they truly were. I wouldn't see the fact that they were more "well-rounded" so to speak. I seemed to make up for my deficit in social ability, by being more "book smart." I have had relationships all my life, yet I truly feel I have not connected on the same level as most people, however they believe that they truly understand me. For a while I was oblivious to the fact that I was a nerd, however eventually I came to notice that I was not like most people. I would not really "dress to impress" like most, or act in a socially acceptable way. Subconsciously, I knew it was a problem, yet I failed to directly address it. I lived my earlier life more isolated than most, not experiencing many important key events that help you grow as a social body Since this was the case, I slowly became more and more uninterested as being a social butterfly. Eventually I saw things as they truly were, and made my attempt to fix this "void" in my personality. I made every attempt I could to change who I was, just to fit in with the "in" crowd. After many attempts I eventually found my place in the circle of "cool kids." I believe that the change comes in a 4 step process. Denial, Acceptance, Embarrasment, and CHANGE... Even though I may have fought my instincts to not go out of my safe zone, I eventually came to love what was outside. So all I can say is that deep down, everyone is equal, you just have to let go of the things that hold you back... Hope this little insight helps someone.

    Just remember,

    STAY UP!!!

  • kermit

    this is short and sweet ----have the young man fire up a joint ---relax---kermit

  • Simon Richardson

    As far back as I can remember I was a misfit. I just couldn't understand how other people worked, like I was a different breed. At school I flew through exams easily but couldn't make any friends. I became depressed, dropped out of uni and took to drink for the next 15 years. This caused my family a lot of pain.

    What I started doing was learning magazine articles off by heart to learn what 'normal' people thought about and to learn phrases and ideas for conversation. I found this hard at first because my brain just didn't seem to compute people/ language skills. I practise these articles like you would practise a piece of music.

    It's taken a long time, now in my 40s, but my people skills are much better. I am still improving, I've learnt 11 whole magazines by heart and treat these as my repetoire of ideas and conversation. It also makes learning new stuff much easier.

    Maybe it can work for others.


  • Anon

    I must confess to a biased opinion. I am a nerd (BSc in Biochem) and perpetual misfit. From my perspective, I am not the deficient one, it is the society I was born into. Look at popular movies and TV shows. Nerds are reviled by the media. Every modern scientist character is incredibly arrogant, and fool-hardy. Every nerd in a TV show or a movie is spineless and wants to be just like the "popular guys". Over the last decade a disgusting host of politically powerful authors and commentators have referred to intellectuals as evil dissidents trying to destroy America. There are those few with Asperger's and the like but the vast majority of nerds that I have encountered do not suffer from some sort of clinically diagnosable disorder. Thus I argue that it is not, for the most part, the nerds in need of treatment, but the society that seeks to marginalize them while reaping the benefits of their intellectual endeavors.

    @OP: Your son will likely be much happier with someone who shares his intellectual interests or at the least enjoys abstract thought. Forcing himself to conform to a societal norm would likely be more damaging to his self-esteem than it would be helpful to him socially.

  • Anonymous-3

    Truly intelligent people tend to become artists or scientists, not psychotherapists.

  • Sandy

    This makes me sad. I lay in bed crying last night because I have finally placed the term 'socially handicapped' on myself. Everything I've read could have been written about me. It is a very empty life I lead. I just don't see the point of life without friendships and relationships. They have been are are nonexistent for me. I'm 54. Seems like there's no hope anymore of living a normal fulfilling life.

  • Anonymous-4

    Anon -

    I think the point of the Dr's responce is to find a balance. Learning to interact with others, no matter the social order or percieved intelligence, is a needed skill. Just like a 'nerd' being good in his/her profession is a needed skill. In some ways both are tallents as well.

    As far as TV and othe media Spiderman was a bit nerdy and awkward and was/is one of the greatest superheroes. Beast from XMen. Sherlock Holmes could possibly be considered a nerd. And there are stories like the newest version of "Chicken Little" who finds that his own tallents and intelligence become highly prized. "Independence Day" nerdy Jeff Goldbloom helped save the world. If you ever watch "Doctor Who" the Doctor could be considered a nerd yet he saves Earth and the universe thousands of times with his intelligence. The kids' show "Phineas and Ferb" prize intelligence and creativity with two children that invent their own fun, literaly. I'm sure there are other shows and movies out there that do the same.

    Alienating society isn't the answer. You still have to live IN it. Learning to interact with society doesn't mean you have to agree with all its quirks that you might not like.

    As for the son in the post I hope he doesn't give up when he feels threatened and keeps trying. He'll get there with the right help and perseverence. It sounds like he's got a good start with his father. :)

  • Anonymous-5

    His problem is his behaviors with women. Period.

    The solution is changing his behaviors with women.

    Start with the book "The Mystery Method" by Erik Von Markovic, AKA Mystery. He will be SHOCKED at how effective it is.

  • GeekLove

    The answer by Mark Dombeck is insulting to nerds and shows how little he knows about the nerds' suffering and mindset. In contrast, the mom who wrote the question shows a lot of compassion, empathy, and love for her son. It's all obvious in her sweet style and her choice of words. Dombeck, however, seems to put all the blame on the nerd. The mom emphasizes that her son is really sweet, caring and gentle. Most nerds I know are exactly like that. They're trying much harder than anyone else to fit in. Their life has been a struggle. They have inner qualities that are far beyond that of "normal" people's. Through a lifetime of being rejected and put down by others, they've developed abilities and talents that are far greater than that of "normal" people.

    I have a close friend who fits Edgar's description almost exactly - down to the age, height, Phd in science, postdoctoral researcher, always with a backpack, odd mannerisms, no girlfriend, close to family, amazingly kind and gentle, etc. I know my friend is an amazing person, but others have no idea. They just see his "outside" - odd, small, socially anxious, awkward - and they judge him, put him down, and exclude him. His kindness, intelligence, compassion, attention to detail, and diligence is unmatched by anyone I've ever come across.

    Nerds are AMAZING and should be EMBRACED and CELEBRATED, not discarded, stigmatized, and thrown away like a piece of garbage. Society needs to learn to love and embrace people of ALL TYPES. Especially NERDS, who are often the sweetest, most giving, smartest people, and they make incredible and lasting contributions to society.


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