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If You’ve Found A Nerd, Congratulations!

If You’ve Found A Nerd, Congratulations!

My seventeen year old step-daughter has been in a deep relationship with a Nerd for nearly two years.  He’s a nice kid, gangly, polite, and obviously deeply introspective. I like him.

“What”, I asked her, “is the attraction to your Nerd? He seems a little dull.” Her reply was both poised and nuanced.

“You just don’t understand him, but if you took the time to get to know him, you’d see he just sees the world differently. I like that in a guy. And he’s smart.” At this point I realized I needed to learn more.  What exactly is it about Nerds that makes them so lovable?

Nerds Make you Laugh

Having a bad day? Nerds have a warped and twisted sense of humor that can turn the darkest moment around.  Their jokes are drawn from the perspective of the outsider, a lens can turn even ordinary events into comedy.

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You can find lots of great nerd jokes on reddit or many other web sites.  Here’s a classic joke that Nerds enjoy: Descartes is sitting at a bar. The bartender comes over and asks, “Can I get you a drink?” To which Descartes replies, “I think not” and promptly disappears in a puff of logic.

You can be yourself

Sometimes we all feel like imposters in our own skin. Say that cute girl walks by, and suddenly you’ve wondering what your boyfriend sees in you. If he’s a Nerd, he’s with you because he loves the person that you are, and while that other girl may get a look, that’s all she’s getting.

While I didn’t probe this sensitive issue with my step-daughter, I took a poll among my Nerd-enabled friends about what they thought of their nerd as a lover. The answers were overwhelmingly positive. Nerds think about their partner’s needs and can be amazingly adventurous when they come out of their shell.

You can have real conversations

Let’s face it, some relationships are not so much about the talking as the… umm… moving. When you finally tire of ecstatic sex it’s nice to be able to look over and have your partner say something more than “babe, that was like totally awesome”.

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I think Carl Sagan put it best when he said:

“It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon, there’s a couple lying naked in bed reading Encyclopedia Britannica to each other, and arguing about whether the Andromeda Galaxy is more ‘numinous’ than the Resurrection. Do they know how to have a good time, or don’t they?”

Eventually we all crave communication, we need to be loved and to be told we are loved. Nerds can do this, and still expand upon the imminent collapse of humanity due to the Hadron Collider. What’s not to like?

You can learn new things!

A Nerd knows stuff. They get math, physics, computers, as well as the arts and music, and a wide variety of other topics. They are the renaissance people of our time. Who else will give you an impromptu lecture on Chinese pottery of the 4th century or a review of how copper wire is made and then cook you an enjoyable dinner?

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Living with your Nerd can only make you smarter; it’s like having a permanent tutor!

Quaffable Beverages are always a priority

For those of us who are addicted to the mood altering juices of life having access to a Nerd is a godsend. Starbucks will never satisfy a true Nerd. Instead they seek out local single origin beans that have been roasted at precise temperatures and burr ground into a perfect powder. As the water heats they zap the surface with an infrared thermometer to get a precise read and then carefully, oh so carefully, decant the sacred liquid into appropriate vessels.

If stimulants aren’t your thing, consider a brewing Nerd.  They are connoisseurs of craft beer who understand the finer points of mash and fermentation, as well as keeping an encyclopedic knowledge of all the locally available brews. Chances are they have a pretty well stocked cellar to boot!

Final Thought

Nerds are sensitive thoughtful people who may be a little gawky and rough around the edges, but their core is squidgy gold.

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I leave you with this final thought:

“If you like nerds, raise your hand. If you don’t, raise your standards.”
― Violet Haberdasher

Featured photo credit: SilverLeaf via pixabay.com

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Colin Rhodes

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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