How Can a High School Nerd Navigate Social Interactions with Non-Nerdy Peers?

  • Thread starter FredT
  • Start date
In summary: It sounds like you're well on your way to becoming a 'normal' person, FredT. Just take it slow and be patient.
  • #1
FredT
7
0
Hi,

It might seem weird for this to be my very first post here at PF seeing as how it has nothing to do with physics, but I wanted to find a place where there might be other people in my position... and as a bonus, I really do like physics, and I'm sure this account will come in handy in the future.

Anyway...

I'm a junior in high school and this year I'm happy to have settled into my own little niche. I spend the day having great conversations with great people... we complain about our difficult classes, discuss literature, make plans to put together a supercomputer cluster after school, argue about politics, talk about quantum mechanics, etc. I enjoy spending time with these people a lot, but there really aren't that many of us. And no girls, haha. :frown:

The point is, while it's nice to be friends with these people, I can't completely isolate myself from the rest of society. When I find myself in a situation with your average teenage kids I can't exactly say "what's your opinion on the future of alternative energy?" and expect an enthusiastic response. When I'm with my close friends I can make cracks about Java and pop music and I'm humorous and well liked, but when I'm in a "normal" group, I can't find anything to say! How am I supposed to go from nerd to normal? Has anyone else had this problem? Does anyone have any advice?

Thanks in advance. :smile:
 
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  • #2
Kinda strange a physics forum is the first place to look for social advice.

It's great to branch out and network. First I'd say make sure you treat yourself as an equal and don't put other people that aren't in your group on a pedestal. We're all normal but different. And don't immediately expect to be able to get along with the "normal people" as your current friends. It' takes time.

Kinda shallow, but dress and groom fashionably. It makes a big difference.

For more specific advice, this site might help:
"www.succeedsocially.com"[/URL]

But honestly it's mostly practice practice and learning from each horrible social mistake while staying positive. Advice only goes so far.
 
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  • #3
Welcome to the forum, FredT, I hope you'll like it here :smile:.

I bet many of us PFers have had similar problems when we were teens. I'm happy that at least you found some friends with whom you share common interests. But as far as branching out...well it may be tough until you get to college. There, two things happen: the kids who screwed off all through high school are (mostly) not there (they'll be working at Wal-Mart), and everyone who is there is a *lot* more mature than your average high school student. So in general, the pool of people you'll be rubbing shoulders with will be easier to socialize with.

caljuice made some good points too. Would you have any interest in joining a club, for example, as a way to branch out?
 
  • #4
For me if I don't find people interesting I just don't speak to them. I think I've probably gone 2-3 days before without saying a word to anyone. One of the reasons I'm looking forward to University in the fall is meeting people who have something to talk about other than parties, drinking and cars.
 
  • #5
I haven't made any assumptions about your gender but it seems common on pf to assume people are male until confirmed otherwise. People used to think I was male when I started posting too.
 
  • #6
I seem to read one thread and reply to another. Getting used to the new crackberry.
 
  • #7
Moonbear said:
I seem to read one thread and reply to another. Getting used to the new crackberry.

Easy on the crackberry, Moonie, don't OD :-p!
 
  • #8
"How am I supposed to go from nerd to normal? Has anyone else had this problem? Does anyone have any advice?"

first, don't worry too much about it---as long as you're doing the things you like and are interested in, and not stray from your goals in the way of peer pressure
 
  • #9
Moonbear said:
I haven't made any assumptions about your gender but it seems common on pf to assume people are male until confirmed otherwise. People used to think I was male when I started posting too.

:smile:

Questioning the geek's sexuality, eh?
 
  • #10
FredT said:
When I'm with my close friends I can make cracks about Java and pop music and I'm humorous and well liked, but when I'm in a "normal" group, I can't find anything to say! How am I supposed to go from nerd to normal? Has anyone else had this problem? Does anyone have any advice?
You can't speak 'Normal' until you understand 'Normal'. The first step is listening, figuring out what they're saying, understanding what information they're conveying at what level. Google body language and paralanguage. It's estimated that 70% of pertinent information is conveyed by these rather than by the actual words spoken.
 
  • #11
I think you should just be yourself and I don't see why you can't say "what's your opinion on the future of alternative energy?" just understand that people have different opinions. However I do understand that some of the time saying something like that can get you in trouble. Practice makes perfect they say and I believe it can help with meeting people even. I know a few of my friends back in the day where pretty good dancers and I didn't realize how they got so good till one of them told me they spent a decent amount of time trying to come up with new dance moves ect...
 
  • #12
I love talking about nerdy stuff, too. But I do act really differently around different people. I'm telling you to conform or anything--you should be yourself--but I think everyone is multifaceted, and you can choose to express one side of yourself to some people and a different side to other people. Hope that helps.
 
  • #13
zoobyshoe said:
You can't speak 'Normal' until you understand 'Normal'. The first step is listening, figuring out what they're saying, understanding what information they're conveying at what level. Google body language and paralanguage. It's estimated that 70% of pertinent information is conveyed by these rather than by the actual words spoken.

This is genuinely sage advice. Listen, and be a chameleon if you need to be, but don't lose yourself in the process. Recognize that you will eventually find yourself in groups of peers, and don't worry too much. People are judgmental no matter what, and being nerdy is nothing terrible. Learning to speak to most people is an exercise in adaptation and teaching, neither of which are bad to learn.
 

Related to How Can a High School Nerd Navigate Social Interactions with Non-Nerdy Peers?

What causes difficulties in interacting with people?

There are many potential causes for difficulties in interacting with people. These can include social anxiety, past negative experiences, communication barriers, and differences in cultural backgrounds.

How can I improve my social skills?

Improving social skills takes practice and effort, but it can be done. Some strategies include actively listening to others, asking open-ended questions, and practicing empathy and understanding. Seeking therapy or joining a social skills group can also be helpful.

Is it possible to overcome shyness?

Yes, shyness can be overcome with time and effort. It may involve stepping out of your comfort zone, facing fears, and building confidence. Seeking support from loved ones and seeking professional help can also aid in overcoming shyness.

Are there any benefits to improving social skills?

Yes, there are many benefits to improving social skills. These include better communication, stronger relationships, increased self-confidence, and better job opportunities. Improved social skills can also lead to a more fulfilling and enjoyable social life.

What can I do if I feel overwhelmed or anxious in social situations?

If you feel overwhelmed or anxious in social situations, it's important to take care of yourself. This may involve taking breaks, using coping strategies such as deep breathing or positive self-talk, and seeking support from a therapist or loved ones. It can also be helpful to identify and challenge negative thoughts and practice relaxation techniques.

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