Tips For Socially Awkward Geeks (According to Stanford)

bad_adviceOr perhaps more accurately, according to a certain student at Stanford.  Wait, shoot!  I broke the rules!

Philip Guo has a write-up of rules for the successful social interaction of geeks.  Really helpful tips like “Don’t be yourself”, “Don’t get comfortable,” and “Temporarily let go of the urge to achieve absolute precision in speaking”.  In case you were wondering, no.  There is not a footnote acknowledging the irony in that last one.

If you’re interested in geeky social tips, though, chances are you have some hardware to fix or maybe a Settlers of Catan game to play.  So let me sum up:

1.) Recognize that people will know you are a geek from the moment they meet you. Translation: they are judging you.  This is your fault.

2.) Don’t try to change people’s preconceived notions of geeks — When MLK said that all races should live together in harmony, he only meant the pretty ones.  You are not equal.

3.) Don’t get too comfortable and start being yourself — If you begin to feel like maybe you can handle socialization and that the people around you actually like you, this is a surefire sign you’re about to make an idiot of yourself.

4.) Try to talk as little as possible, and when you do speak, only ask superficial questions Shut up, nerd.

5.) But don’t ask questions about things normal people should know Gosh, yes.  House, Private Practice, and Grey’s Anatomy are all different shows.  And of course this isn’t silly or superfluous.  What is wrong with you?  Idiot.

6.) Temporarily let go of the urge to achieve absolute precision in speaking — Do as I say, not as I do.

7.) Don’t correct anyone even when they’re incorrect or imprecise That guy outside with a dead car battery who’s about to electrocute himself with the jumper cables?  If you want him to like you, let him find out the hard way.

8.) Don’t use words that an 8th grader doesn’t understand — People are stupid.  If you are the exception to this rule, you are not allowed to have friends.

9.) If somebody asks you about your job or hobbies, answer in one sentence Nobody cares.

10.) If everyone around is enjoying the ambient music, background live performance, etc., don’t jump in with any analysis Seriously.  Are you still talking?

11.) Never start a sentence with “Did you know that…” — Ok, even I’m with the crowd on this one.  I’ve rarely ever had a time where, when no one’s talking, the phrase “Did you know…” was followed with something that improved the silence.

12.) Never start a sentence with “You should really…” Your expertise and knowledge are useless to the obstinate.  No helping allowed.

So there you go, geeks.  If you want to successfully integrate yourself into society all you have to do is be completely different. Because all that crap about “just be who you are and be confident in who you are and don’t worry about the critics” you heard growing up?  Yeah.  Total bull.

Bob Svenoe’s Tips for Socially Awkward Geeks (According to Stanford) appeared originally at Autistic Disdain, and is reprinted here by permission of the author.

Autistic Disdain is an attitude-fueled gadget blog named after a phrase first used by Gizmodo’s Joel Johnson, in a post that also received some attention here at Shift Journal.

on 04/14/10 in featured, Society | No Comments | Read More

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