What science, engineering, math, and other nerds get wrong about talking to women

Science, engineering, math, and other nerds often care foremost about correctness, and their conversation shows their main priority, but “caring deeply about correctness” is unusual… in conversation, most people, especially attractive women, care about creating a positive vibe, laughing, group feeling, finding hierarchies, showcasing values, yeeting the outgroup, etc. Being factually right and learning new things is less than secondary, less than tertiary. This divergence in interest and purpose leads to a common failure mode between nerds and attractive women, and the conversation often goes something like,

Cute girl: blah blah blah blather…

Nerd: Excuse me, but, actually, I need to interrupt to say I know that, in reality, if you look at the fossil record and consider what this one paper says, you’ll see…

Cute Girl: No one cares! Like I was saying, Tommy said that Bobby said this crazy thing about Bree…

Male nerds think gossip is stupid, and then discount the conversation of most attractive women, and in doing so reduce their chances of sleeping with those attractive women. Male nerds might be right or wrong about gossip being stupid, but gossip is how women determine rank and hierarchy, and thus who to f**k. Attractive women seeking good vibes are going to care a lot about fluency and how a man makes them feel, and not so much about the precise content of the man’s patter.

In contrast, someone focused on factual correctness in conversation will often stumble and pause, regroup to think, choose words carefully, stop to overwrite himself, etc. He’ll be less fluent but more accurate. Women often interpret nerd conversational style as weakness or stupidity, though it may be the opposite, as the nerd is groping towards correctness.

Listen to Elon Musk speak and you are listening to engineering mindset, not “fun guy” mindset. Early Mark Zuckerberg, same way (I’d bet against 95% odds that he hired speech fluency coaches to help him become a better public speaker). Then, on the other side, listen to film and TV celebrities speak. They are super fluent and charismatic, but, if you read what they say, they often say nothing substantial. They can’t build anything new, and they have nothing useful to teach anyone interested in the physical world.

I’m thinking about this after reading a technical guy observing the tribes around him,

a number of people have pointed out to me that the tall, successful, people they’re surrounded by say things with very high confidence (often incorrect things, but said confidently) and also have mannerisms that convey confidence and authority.

Other physical factors also seem to have a large impact. There’s a fairly large literature on how much the halo effect causes people who are generally attractive to be rated more highly on a variety of dimensions, e.g., morality.

He talks about how baseball players were often chosen based on how scouts thought the baseball players looked, instead of how the baseball players played. Baseball scouts, the guys paid to pick good players, couldn’t see past the perception of how a baseball player plays. The writer guy goes on to say,

I found it odd that so many people who have good technical judgment, as evidenced by their ability to do good work and make comments showing good technical judgment, highly evaluated so many people who so frequently said blatantly incorrect things and produced poorly working or even non-working systems).

I guess some people with good technical judgment are influenced by the same things normal people are, like whether someone is conversationally fluent and makes them feel good.

In my experience, nerds who do well with women often develop two conversation strategies, a conversational “code switching” if you will. In the business, technical, nerd environment, they care heavily about correctness and accuracy. Getting things right really matters there, and the smarter peers will judge a person based on technical accuracy and completeness. Your machine works or doesn’t. Nerds who do well with women, however, will also develop their social conversational skills, where technical accuracy isn’t important, and instead those things mentioned above (creating a positive vibe, laughing, group feeling, finding hierarchies, showcasing values, yeeting the outgroup, etc.) are paramount. It’s hard to maximize both conversational styles but I’ve met nerds who do both well. At work they judge people who say “blatantly incorrect things” and people who are “very high confidence” and “incorrect” harshly. In everyday life, particularly in flirting with women, they switch to the other mode, where what you say matters very little and how you make her feel matters outrageously much.

Chances are you’ve met frustrated male nerds who are great at their jobs, and often very high income, but do poorly with women. Bodi seems to have been like that. You’ve heard nerds say “sales” is bullshit, and salesmen are bullshit (guys who get interested in game and pickup as matters of formal study cite sales training as being useful). Often, those nerds bring their male nerd substance and style of conversation to women, who don’t care about whether strongly or weakly typed systems are better. They don’t care about whether a material scientific breakthrough is likely to improve the energy density of a battery above 200 Wh/kg at low manufacturing cost. Please, male nerds, don’t point out in the comments that “energy density” is more correctly termed “power density.” That you are thinking about that incorrect statement shows you are missing the point, right now. Those frustrated male nerds wish women would be attracted to their achievements, which are often very real, but most women don’t care. It’s true that most women prefer higher incomes to lower incomes, but she’ll forget everything about you except how you make her feel.

It’s possible for male nerds to become sufficiently famous or rich for their social deficits to become irrelevant. A lot of male nerds also come to analyze why they’re doing poorly with women, learn how to code switch, and do better with women. Many, but not all, do. Unfortunately, our media society and educational establishment works hard to obscure an obvious fact, that men and women are different, on average. “On average” does lots of work there, I’ve met women with great technical skills. Accept that men and women are different on average and many other aspects of human life become clearer. Media and education skew female and thus those fields believe that by saying something often enough, like “there are no inborn differences between men and women,” you can make it true. Control the narrative and you control the reality, they think. If you “control the narrative” that spaceflight is possible, that’s not going to get your rocket in the air. Instead you need to do the work, which requires understanding physics, gravity, thermodynamics, etc., and none of those topics care about your feelings, whether you are oppressed, etc.

This story, from years ago, is about me noticing an opportunity and sort of picking up an older woman who was on a date with a guy telling her about Bitcoin…she was visibly uninterested in the conversation and visibly intrigued when I opened her while he was in the bathroom. Joke is on her and me, though; he’s a millionaire many times over, I’m still a wage slave, she’s a spinster, and he might’ve paid for her IVF. While injecting my seed into her a few times was fun, did it really matter over the long term? She would have been better served by giving nerdy Bitcoin man a chance, instead of following my charming song into her biological doom. I don’t know what happened to her, the thing was kind of exciting but also very sad. I’ve heard other technical guys turn off women with their talk of technical subjects, which women don’t care about. Today, maybe the Bitcoin talk would work, but back then normal people hadn’t heard of it or thought it weird. The man who would have been better for her than me made her vagina dry up with boredom. “Attraction is not a choice,” players say. Attention is the only tool men have, and many nerds use it poorly.

Sometimes the question is, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to get laid? Do you want to talk more, or do you want to get laid?” I have answered wrongly myself.

I can’t think of any TV or movies in which the characters have sustained conversations about even slightly technical matters. Something like A BEAUTIFUL MIND has a short summary of game theory but focuses overwhelmingly on John Nash’s struggles with mental illness, not his struggles to be factually right. “Talk shows” are an overwhelmingly female phenomenon, as is “reality TV.” Men like watching other men play sports, which is also dumb, so I don’t want to pretend women have a monopoly on moving-picture stupidity. I do want to say that nerdy men should realize there are different conversational purposes and that the conversational purpose most attractive women follow is not accuracy or correctness, it’s about feelings. Learn how to make her feel and you’ll be able to open up her secret. Fail, and her secret will remain closed to you forever.

Author: The Red Quest

How can we live and be in society?

10 thoughts on “What science, engineering, math, and other nerds get wrong about talking to women”

  1. Some martial arts training can help a man to learn that reality is impervious to his beliefs about ‘what *should* count most’ and ‘what results his movement *should have* gotten’ etc. [Some martial arts training misleads the students to become deluded about how well prepared they are to prevail in a real fight.] In both martial arts teaching and the teaching of game, there is a lot of inarticulate vague gesturing toward the point to be learned; leaving the student to do a lot of flailing and floundering; learning by trial and error until he instinctively starts doing it right (and even then he can’t fully explain why his actions are effective, which may reduce his ability to repeat his success consistently). This process can be so discouraging, it needlessly reduces a student’s chances of attaining the skill level he wants. He might conclude that he’ll never succeed, or that the price is just too high. I bet a lot more people would stay fit if they learned that exercising effectively can be reasonably enjoyable — rather than concluding that it’s just too much of a drag. It seems many think their limited experiences with exercise are the only options for how to do it. That’s unfortunate. They’re missing out on a lot, because they assume it doesn’t exist.

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    1. I make sure to gloss over details of work or whatever on dates, or even new guys I meet for that matter, and just let obviously wrong understandings slide… if they’re really interested in being correct about correlation vs causation, I’ll figure it out and correct it later *if it needs to be done*.

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      1. It’s also useful to think about end goals and how important being factually right is in a given moment. If you are working for Tesla then being factually right is extremely important. Many successful companies orient around being as right as possible, not around being pro-social and creating good vibes… the “good vibes” come from being right, profiting, changing the world, &tc.

        If you’re on a date, often being “right” is less important than creating the mood and making the chick feel good. Most chicks have enough of “being right” and learning and information while they are at school or work. At play, they’d rather talk about astrology, tarot, whatever, how cool Coachella is, &tc. Don’t you know how hard it is to be a chick??? If not, they will tell you how mean their boss is to them, and how their friends don’t really care about them, &tc.

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  2. Awesome post, as always. I often don’t comment because my only comment would be, “um, yeah”.

    It’s true that you have to learn to talk to women. Mostly what they want is playful banter. When I finally figured this out at around age 30, I was bored giving them the banter that they wanted. It’s just stupid and inane! I no longer think it’s stupid and inane, it’s just how the game works.

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  3. Agree with all the above, it’s made me think about some of the times I’ve daygamed and been too analytical when trying to stack/ tease the girl and ended up sounding like “Elon Musk” as you describe. What I would add though, is displaying intelligence and even rational thinking can sometimes be attractive to girls, particularly on dates, but it has to be in an area that they’re interested in and deem it of value

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    1. “displaying intelligence and even rational thinking can sometimes be attractive to girls, particularly on dates, but it has to be in an area that they’re interested in and deem it of value”

      Absolutely. One has to know when, where, and with whom that makes sense. “Intelligence” is also a lot of things, including humor and social awareness. Is the girl really interested, or being polite? Who is she? Is she capable of understanding whatever the thing is? Is she interested? Intelligently showing intelligence is excellent. Unintelligently showing “intelligence,” which is how a lot of nerdy guys do it, doesn’t work and is counterproductive. What’s the guy’s goal? Is it to be right, to show mastery of esoteric subjects? Or is it to get laid? There can be tension among different goals. Many super smart guys don’t maximize the goal of getting laid.

      Every girl has a different set of preferences and interests. Surveys show that women say they are attracted to intelligence, which is true. Then nerdy guys try to display their “intelligence” in ways that turn chicks off. So nerdy guys are like, “See! Chicks don’t care about intelligence.” But there’s a synthesis of those seeming opposites.

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