The Nerd Handbook and Caring for Your Introvert

Rands In Repose’s Nerd Handbook is an essay on understanding geeks; from our insatiable appetite for knowledge to our hard-to-decipher social interaction ‘skills’. The Handbook is at times painfully precise.

The nerd has based his career, maybe his life, on the computer, and as we’ll see, this intimate relationship has altered his view of the world. He sees the world as a system which, given enough time and effort, is completely knowable. This is a fragile illusion that your nerd has adopted, but it’s a pleasant one that gets your nerd through the day. When the illusion is broken, you are going to discover that…

Your nerd has control issues
Your nerd has built himself a cave
Your nerd loves toys and puzzles
Nerds are fucking funny
Your nerd has an amazing appetite for information
Your nerd has built an annoyingly efficient relevancy engine in his head
Your nerd might come off as not liking people

I see a lot of myself here, and I’ll have to remember to send this to any future prospective Mrs Morgans. In fact, while I’m at it, maybe I should also send them The Atlantic‘s article on caring for your introvert… they share a lot in common with us.

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

[…]

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and that you aren’t caring for him properly.

How can I let the introvert in my life know that I support him and respect his choice?

First, recognize that it’s not a choice. It’s not a lifestyle. It’s an orientation.
Second, when you see an introvert lost in thought, don’t say “What’s the matter?” or “Are you all right?”
Third, don’t say anything else, either.