Dating Advice: I Like Nerdy Guys, But They Don’t Like Me.


I am in dire need of your wise advice. My self esteem keeps taking a fantastic header over and over again and it’s starting to get frustrating. While I was blaming the guys, I’m starting to wonder what’s wrong with me.Here’s the scenario: I’m attracted to the kind of guy who’s… well, nerdy. The kind who’d prefer to stay home on Friday night than be out “living it up”. But of course these types are also usually virgins, or guys who’ve not had any real relationships. That’s not the problem though. These guys are always posting in dating forums and on their own journals about how they can’t meet a girl, and they’ve never (or rarely) had a girlfriend, because girls don’t like nerds, and they don’t initiate the first email, and they don’t respond to their emails, blah blah blah. Yet, when I email these guys, I either get no response or I get one of those responses that are obviously just them trying to be polite… and then they go back to complaining that girls don’t message them. I’m no super model, but I’m decent looking and I always fit, personality-wise, what the guy says he wants in his profile. It’s frustrating that a guy who can’t otherwise get a girlfriend doesn’t even want to talk to me online. Is there something I’m doing wrong? Am I chasing the wrong guys? Are they just hypocrites? And how does a girl keep this from bursting her self esteem every single time it happens? Patti

The people I like don’t like me. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Dear Patti, You’ve pretty much summed up the dating process: The people I like don’t like me. Wash, rinse, repeat. Our entire single lives are spent rejecting people who like us, and chasing people who don’t. It can be, suffice to say, exhausting and emotionally draining. Especially when you’re doing your best and asking tough questions like: ‘What can I do differently?’Alas, I don’t have a magic bullet for you. You sound bright, self-aware, and personable. You sound like you value an underappreciated portion of the population: nerds. (In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few nerds reading this want to figure out how to contact you). But that doesn’t solve your problem. It’s really difficult to feel like you’re doing the right thing and not get any results. Like dieting and exercising without losing weight, it makes you say, ‘What’s the point?’Without talking to you or evaluating your online dating profile, it’s impossible for me to tell you specifically what you’re doing wrong. What I can say definitively is that there is some sort of disconnect between how you see yourself and how these guys see you. Don’t take that too harshly: we ALL have a disconnect between our private vision of ourselves and others’ perception of us. This is not to say that nerds are above hypocrisy. They can state all day long about how they’re looking for someone to watch Battlestar Galactica and play Xbox with them, but, like most guys, they’re powerless in the face of a Maxim model.

Like millionaires (workaholics), tall, hot guys (narcissists), and brilliant men (stubborn, arrogant and neurotic), nerds are going to have their downside, too.

And, as I think this through, I would guess that this is going to be your biggest uphill climb. Guys who’ve been around the block, like yours truly, eventually, HOPEFULLY, come to the conclusion that it’s not all about initial attraction. Guys who have no experience with women have nothing BUT their fantasies. And if they’re picturing Tricia Helfer or Jeri Ryan or Olivia Munn as their dream partner, well, then, a cool down-to-earth chick like you doesn’t stand a chance. But you can’t control that. All you can do is be aware of it: you’re dealing with adult men who revel in adolescent behavior (sorry, nerds). Like millionaires (workaholics), tall, hot guys (narcissists), and brilliant men (stubborn, arrogant and neurotic), nerds are going to have their downside, too. As to your flurry of questions at the end of your post: you should not let your esteem get battered in online dating. There’s way too much volume to take any interaction personally. Approach it with the same detachment as buying a lottery ticket, and you’ll have a lot more fun. And whether you are coming across well in your photos, profile and emails, my guess is that, if you’re like most people, you can stand to use some improvement. I can’t tell you how many people are convinced that they’re doing a good job in online dating until they talk to me. It’s like being blind, until a friend lets you try on her glasses, or being a smart kid who finally took an SAT prep class. Which is why, if you really want to improve every aspect of how you’re dating online, I’d highly recommend It is literally the only system in existence that answers every single online dating question you have, including how to deal with rejection, self-esteem, profiles, emails and everything in between. Please come back and let me know how it goes.

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  1. 41

    my daughter has Asperger’s (20). She flirts like crazy but has no interest in dating or ever getting married (she says).

  2. 42
    Herp derp

    I have to say, when it comes to GIRLS being nerds, I personally can’t imagine how they haven’t attracted the attention of every man who has ever picked up a videogame controller. (ALL OF US) at that point I couldn’t see why they wouldn’t think like me: that chick built a sweet gaming computer……. I SHALL BEGIN MY TRIAL TO MAKE HER MY WIFE!!! I swear, nerdy girls no matter how they look turn me on and instantly force me to gravitate toasted them.

    When it comes to this dastardly shyness, be unbelievably direct. I mean seriously blunt. Get up in his face, shut off his game of Starcraft, grab him by the collar and say: WE SHALL BECOME ONE!!!

    Me and ALL of my friends are addicted to computers, my friend has built about a dozen computers, two of which ran him 2500 dollars, another friend has a flashy 4000 gaming laptop and I’m planning to build my own “rig” (got to know the terms girls, rigs are the crazy machines real nerdy gamers build for intense hours of gaming action!!!) soon myself. The point here is, we are the most extroverted nerds possible. Not all nerdy dudes are stuck on blogs or streaming star trek podcasts, but regardless you should approach them ALL with the force of a brickwall with a lambourgini’s engine.

    For example: me and my close pals run around my highschool (yep, best advice straight from the frontier of the hormonious teenagers) chanting all of the Internet Menes and yelling like wackjobs while sprinting to class. Needing is not a kind of person, it is a culture in itself and must be carefully approached during intimate negotiations but met strongly during the introductory phase!

    My final point is: if being a need (as stated) is some kind of way of life, even if your lifestyle is different, should always be met with the strongest form of yourself. There is a fine tuned and specifically cultured man in the people you try to date, but you can only bring them out if you push to be EXACTLY who you are as well. These nerds you see are always in tactical retreat, well guess what? LEAVE NO SURVIVORS and grab that sexy videogamin’ freak and tear out who he really is by showing what you can do as well.

    I hope I have made myself clear as my ultra nerd HD screen, and yes, this kind of “offensive dating” will work, but just remember: the best chance at snagging that guy’s love is when you first meet him.

  3. 43

    “I have to say, when it comes to GIRLS being nerds, I personally can’t imagine how they haven’t attracted the attention of every man who has ever picked up a videogame controller.”

    Heh. That’s been my experience, as a “girl” (at 38 years old, I really prefer “woman”) nerd. Nothing gets you so much male attention as being a reasonably attractive woman reading “World War Z” on a commuter train in Silicon Valley.

    And…I don’t know how it works online, but in terms of 3D interactions, I concur that the direct approach works best with many nerdy guys. My husband and I got together 14 years ago when, during a New Year’s Eve party with mutual friends, he decided to go home. I protested, he said, “Nobody cares if I leave,” and I pushed him up against the nearest wall and said, “Dave. *I* care if you leave.”

    He still left…but on his way home he figured a few things out. After MONTHS of me trying the subtle approach. He had missed every signal I threw his way, but he was in no way uninterested….

  4. 44

    Ms. ‘Looking for Nerdy’
    Please go read this entry and understand that most nerdy guys when they read this yell F*** You at the thought of it.
    These guys don’t want to be with you because you are giving off signals of requiring that they ‘man up’. Nerds (of either gender) don’t want gender dichotomy. Simple as that. Nerds are looking to be real, and make mutual honest decisions together and share in all aspects of life.

  5. 45

    Patti sounds awesome id totally date her 😀

  6. 46

    This post helps me a lot and reaffirms I’ve been choosing the wrong guys. lol See I think a lot of the guys I date are on the nerd/geek side and beta, yet they usually just want to be friends or friends with benefits with me. Meanwhile they complain how they girls they like are “mean” or just want to be friends.

    I’m discovering these types of guys are indeed better as friends for me. I guess once again it proves that your complement is better than a clone . I’m a bit nerdy myself (although I don’t look the stereotype) I’m introverted, quiet, not aggressive, a librarian, love video games, conventions, Star Wars and comic books, etc. On the surface you’d think nerd guys would love me. But most nerd girls into this stuff that the nerd guys like are extremely bubbly, some are rather loud, “direct”, aggressive ,etc. Plus I also have non so called nerd hobbies like traveling, dancing, and cooking. Either way this post gave me something to think about with my choices in guys 🙂

  7. 47

    As a fellow recluse myself, I have a Medical Doctorate and not once has a female been into me or tried any sort of approach. So to those nerds that can’t succeed in this ‘love game’ no matter how hard they try to change their social ways; surrender and focus on your own lives and what does make you happy that you do have. Don’t listen to pathetic cliches’ such as “Their’s someone out there for you.” or “There are plenty of fish in the sea.” That doesn’t mean you will catch or even find someone. So just hold out and stay off the market and eventually, possibly, you might get lucky. If not, you can say you have had decent friendships with females and die unreasonably wealthy in intellect or money.

    Just let them come and leave them saying in the words of Caesar: “Veni,Vidi,Vici” as in “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

    1. 47.1

      U do know your comment is very contradictory right? “So just hold out and stay off the market and eventually, possibly, you might get lucky… Just let them come and leave”. You barely seem to know what u want, and your comment is not logical. I’m a little surprised u have a medical doctorate; good for you, though.
      Nerdy guys are hella attractive, but nobody will fall for you when u’re sitting at home. I’m a bit reclusive too, so I can sympathise; it can feel tiring to go out and meet new pple. My fav thing in the whole world are books. But I remind myself, u have your whole life to read books, one day if you’re 80 and find it too taxing to go out much, u can still enjoy reading your bks. But now, u’re young and energetic, it’s a great time to find lots of friends and romantic partners to go thru life’s experiences with. Carpe diem, and all that.
      Hunter’s advice is good, if u lack experience in dating, a dating coach or dating self-help bks could be useful. At the v least, u’re expanding your knowledge and don’t nerds always love that? I do. 🙂 Even if I wasn’t dating, I’d wanna know how to date well, to increase my understanding of human behavior etc., it’s super-interesting.

  8. 48

    @47 max,

    … coach helps…..

  9. 49

    Heh, at the age 37 with a perfect streak of having been single and virgin with at least one or two dates experienced that never have been followed up – I think it’s too late for a guy like me. But for those other geeks/nerds, focus on what you have now that makes you happy. Luck may or may not come.

  10. 50

    Ugh this actually has happen to me as well, i also like nerdy/geeky guys just because i consider myself one, i would like to have a boyfriend to watch Doctor Who and play videogames with, would great to share that with someone since im getting a bit tired of being alone but i havent had any luck with nerdy guys and my perception is that they dont know what to do with a real woman, they are afraid … its very frustrating

  11. 51

    Happily married to a physicist… Why do I like ‘nerds’?
    – smart myself (in fact, scarred by being called ” a brain” growing up.) Average  guys think I am strange, or feel intimidated when I accidentally let SAT words slip into convo.   Nerds get my humor and random comments, make me laugh, are not intimidated.
    – Nerds come on to me less with sexual humor, flirting, boldness. I do not like overtly sexual approaches or having my looks talked about. I find that crude.   I run in the opposite direction from fratboys and alpha males, they scare me.
    To the OP, I would say, don’t come on as too aggressive or sexual…humor goes a long way…suggest quieter activities rather than meeting up at a bar or party. A hike, a visit to a museum, would be more appealing. And I understand your love of nerd types! only I might substitute,”smart quiet nice guys who are technologically inclined.”
    Side perk of nerd marriage – he deviruses and maintains/ upgrades my computer, fixes the microwave oven (not a challenge after the stuff in the lab).

  12. 52

    I am a female ‘nerd’ (also have aspergers) and have spent the last few years spamming myself across dating sites in the hope of finding a male equivalent before I pass 30. I am not that interested in children or marriage, but I would like to find a partner. I’ve tried dating typical ‘alpha’ guys in the past, but we had very little in common and frustrated eachother. I really want someone who is similar to me.

    I’m basically attracted to personalities like Spock, David 8, Sheldon (very logical, scientific, not aggressive), thin bodies and almost childlike mannerisms (childlike is the wrong word, but I can’t think of a more precise one). I have met a few men like this, but they already had girlfriends. I have spoken to others online, but have had little to no response. So I know these men exist, but I only seem to attract the loud, big muscles, macho, ‘alpha’ type. I am told I look and act quite childlike myself, so this is obviously attracting the wrong men. But I don’t know how to change this.

    1. 52.1
      Alexis Rodriguez

      Sudoku are you sure? Are you still looking.   I also have asperger’s syndrome and have to use logic to get by since our intuition is very different from a neurotypicals’ sense of intuition.   I am an otaku and I am learning Japanese (I can read which the aid of a dictionary, and can talk about common things).   I also know Spanish from my parents.

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