Every guy geek has been there and I’m assuming girl geeks have, too. Even OGs (old geeks) have been known to succumb. You’re so unaccustomed to having members of the opposite sex interested in you, you think that any girl who is the least bit nice to you and in your age range is a romantic possibility and you start to obsess about her, hang out in front of her house, just “happen” to be at the mall in front of the store where she works just as she’s leaving — in essence, stalk her! If you haven’t gone that far lately, there probably was a time when you did. This common phenomenon is known as the geek crush.
Geeks have problem with romance. We can’t distinguish between romantic interest and just someone being polite. Be honest now, how many times have you been absolutely positive that the girl teller in the bank or the barista in Starbucks was interested in you? And when you finally worked up the nerve and suggest that you drop by when she gets off to go out for a beer, you discover that she’s married and has a baby and was only being nice. How humiliating and worse, you can’t go back to that Starbucks any more.
Recently, a friend of mine, a woman who is a retired music company executive, told me the story of her CPA, an OG, who had unilaterally decided that “our feelings for one another are getting out of hand.” She had become friends with the OG and his wife and had socialized with them on occasion. Once, when the OG’s wife was out of town on business, my friend had gone to a movie with the OG on a Saturday afternoon. As far as she was concerned, they were friends and he was her accountant.
One day, literally out of the blue, she gets an email from him saying “our feelings are getting out of hand, they’re threatening my marriage, we have to break it off.” My friend was stunned. She had never even touched the OG, let alone given him any indication of romantic interest. She wrote him back and said that she was sorry if she had given him any wrong ideas but that, although he was a great guy, she hoped that they all could remain friends. He emails back that “it’s gone too far and I have to break it off.” She writes him back and says, I’m shopping for a new accountant.
The OG accountant lost a big client who handled literally a million dollars a year in residual payments and he also lost a friendship. What was this guy thinking?! Geek crush.
This is coming from my own personal experience but I think that most geeks have such a bad self-image of themselves in terms of romance that, even when they’ve become more successful and have their lives worked out, they still feel the need to prove to themselves that they’re worthy and it can have dire consequences.
I suggest in business or at your job, simply avoid romance. It just complicates things. You can be friendly without going any further. It also makes networking a lot easier when you don’t have to worry about romance. I’m married and faithful for many years and I still encounter women at meetings or conferences and have that feeling of “is she interested in me?” Just make it a rule that you don’t go there and life is far easier. Geeks have a difficult time recognizing boundaries and what fits where in the first place. We think if someone likes us, they love us and we’re not interested in woman or men who are interested in us because, as Groucho Marx said, we’d never join a club that would allow us to be members.