Dear Dr. NerdLove,
It occurs to me to write for your input because of both of your interests as a nerd and a (former) PUA. For many, those two interests don’t go hand-in-hand, yet you seem to have found a comfortable balance.
So here is my trouble. I have many different hobbies, interests, and values that can group me into many different categories: jock, nerd, metalhead, hippie, cat-lady, clubber, crafter. Now, I feel that as I grow and develop, I am learning how to find balance and I happily pre-game for hockey with a Bud Lite, while dancing to Kesha as I pick out fabrics for my next quilt (really, I have done this on a Friday night). However, I am finding it difficult to find people who can share all of these interests with me.
Of course, I don’t expect to find anyone else who enjoys the same mix that I do. The problem is that while interests can be a common ground for bonds, it can also be divisive. For instance, friends that I met in school for my Environmental Studies degree (hippies) do NOT listen to metal. They actually make fun of me for it. In a friendly way, but aside from telling them I listen to metal, I can never actually talk about it with them. This makes my social life exhausting and incomplete. I can never be my full self with any one of my friends. I have to always be aware of who I am with and how we are friends, and tailor my actions accordingly.
Therefore, my question to you breaks down to two parts:
1. Given that I currently have many awesome friends whom I love and respect, how can I start to act more fully myself? Is there a gentle way I could break them in? For instance, find a way to share my passion for quilting with my hockey teammates after a game, and NOT get laughed out of the bar?
2. How do I meet new people who will be more open to someone with so many identities? Do I just keep on keeping on, making friends at each different activity, and hopefully find the random few people cool enough to enjoy the whole me?
Then there is the solution that I will never find anyone who is open to all of my interests. That social awareness is a good thing, and I should hone my ability to have appropriate conversations according to other people’s interests. Like maybe, the guy at the club doesn’t want to hear about how cute my cats looked snuggling together, and he definitely doesn’t want to see the pictures. That could be good awareness, on my part. Or do I show the pictures anyway, and if he has a problem, I’ve selected him out of my dating pool?
This might seem like I’m a myriad and interesting person. But I’ve found that people only want interesting to a point, and then they no longer identify with you. I just want to be able to stop censoring myself because I feel like it’s the only way to keep from aliening others.