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Trouble interacting with people

  1. May 27, 2010 #1

    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.


    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:
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2010 #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:

    But honestly it's mostly practice practice and learning from each horrible social mistake while staying positive. Advice only goes so far.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  4. May 27, 2010 #3


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    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?
  5. May 27, 2010 #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.
  6. May 27, 2010 #5


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    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.
  7. May 27, 2010 #6


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    I seem to read one thread and reply to another. Getting used to the new crackberry.
  8. May 27, 2010 #7


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    Easy on the crackberry, Moonie, don't OD :tongue2:!
  9. May 27, 2010 #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
  10. May 27, 2010 #9


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    Questioning the geek's sexuality, eh?
  11. May 28, 2010 #10
    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.
  12. May 28, 2010 #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...
  13. May 28, 2010 #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.
  14. May 28, 2010 #13
    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.
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