Skip to main content

Why calling introverts nerds is a compliment

Introverts nerds geeks

Call any introvert words like "nerd" or "geek" and you're bound to get a surprising response -- that is, if you intended to come off as insulting. 

Indeed, we are likely to reply with a zealous "thanks!"

But why would introverts like me not take offense to being labeled a nerd? 

After all, in pop culture -- namely sitcoms like Saved by the Bell and Family Matters -- nerds are portrayed as losers who spend all their time studying and who couldn't land a date to save their lives. 

It's because we recognize that our intellectual inclinations -- devouring books, writing prolifically, consuming educational films and documentaries, virtually living at museums -- makes us unique.

We can't help but to seek intellectual stimulation any way we can. Our curious minds demand it; if not, we get bored and lose total focus. 

That's not to say the average person doesn't do these things every now and then.

But most introverts make a pastime -- a way of life -- out of it. 

So when someone calls me a nerd for being hooked on the show Jeopardy! or for planning vacations around the historic monuments and museums I aim to visit, I take it as being called intelligent or intellectual. 

And rest assured that the vast majority of introverts would rather be known for their smarts than for having a lot of money, for example. 


Because we're deep folk. Where small talk deadens our souls, intellectually stimulating conversations ignite our imaginations.

Discussions that revolve around philosophy, consumerism, psychology, science, space and other profound subjects will find a highly captive audience in introverts. 

Pay a visit to any introvert's home and you're bound to find some or all of the following:

  • Bookshelves stacked with a plethora of books
  • Canvas art/frames featuring geeky quotes about life, learning, and knowledge 
  • Keepsakes/collectibles, some procured while on trips, ranging from globes and fossils to historic documents

The above describes some of the contents that grace my condo, at least. 

I call my home office the "liseum." It is chock full of books on history, architecture, and psychology (my favorite subjects), which lends it the feel of a cozy library. (Surely, the decorative sign on the top shelf labeled "Jeff's Library" makes clear how I want the space to be perceived.)

You'll also find a wide range of ornaments -- a bespectacled cat reading a book, the Thinker sitting atop a heap of tomes, an owl perched on books, a bust of Alexander Hamilton, a sign that reads "Knowledge is Power," presidential memorabilia, city-themed snowglobes -- all of which conjure museum vibes. Hence the nickname "liseum."

Plus, I have historic documents in storage (some real, others reproductions)

That being said, if one aims to deride an introvert, they're going to have to do better than calling them a nerd or geek. 

Many of the world's late and living geniuses -- like Albert Einstein, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Charles Darwin, just to name a few -- fall into the introvert camp. So, if you're an introvert, you're certainly in good company!

If anything, such labels empower us even more because knowledge and ideas make us come alive like few other things in the world can. 


Popular posts from this blog

Introverts, find your voice -- and let it be heard!

Introverts are, by their very nature, unassuming.  The last thing we want to do is draw attention to ourselves, whether it be promoting our accomplishments at work in hopes of landing a promotion, talking up our best traits on a blind date, or speaking up when on the receiving end of someone's unseemly behavior. But finding our inner voice is imperative. We must never let anyone -- and that includes ourselves -- silence it. It doesn't mean you have to turn surly, treating others like they're beneath you.  But you should never let yourself become anyone's doormat either. You're your own chief advocate. If you don't stand up for yourself, no one will.  Never feel too embarrassed or guilty to speak honestly and respectfully in support of your goals, values, and beliefs.  I'm not saying you need to become a masterful public speaker, or that you should pretend to be a Know-It-All.  Instead, what I'm saying is never to let anyone suppress your voice. You have

Do introverts always want to be alone?

It's a common misconception that introverts want to be left alone all the time. Sure, we're not as prone as extroverts to becoming lonely and irritable in our own company, but that doesn't mean we avoid social interactions like the plague. We like to socialize, only in smaller doses than our more extroverted peers.  Here's how to keep us from exhausting our energy reserves: 1. Allow us small breaks to disconnect every now and then . Don't take offense to our wanting to go for a walk or take a nap. Perhaps we're drained after spending the day in drawn-out meetings.  2. A stampede of people? No, thanks.  Keep it to a small group of no more than 5 to 10 people, if possible. Introverts feel far more in their element when they can engage in one-on-one conversation. For us, more people usually translates to small talk on steroids. Needless to say, there aren't many things we loathe more than mindless chit-chat. 3. Don't block the exits. Heavy noise and commoti

My bumpy road to discovering I am an introvert

From an early age, I knew there was something about me -- my personality, my temperament -- that differentiated me from my peers. I just didn't know what it was. I sensed I was more retiring, less hungry for attention, and more at ease in solitude than most people.  Now that I'm an adult and comfortable in my introversion, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm proud of my uniqueness, and every introvert on this page ought to be as well.  That isn't to say the road to self-awareness has been an easy one.  Whether at school or work, I've lost count of the number of people over the years who've either questioned or criticized my quiet, unassuming disposition.  In the workplace, supervisors and co-workers have pulled no punches with their biting sarcasm, saying things like "Hey, keep it down over here. You're too loud!" For whatever reason, it makes some folks uneasy when there's someone at work who keeps to themselves. They might suspect they&