It all began with a simple comment.
“You know what? You have the strangest skillset I’ve ever seen,” Tina said.
The conversation around the table died down for a second. I looked up from my drink, and smiled at her.
“Good strange or bad strange?” I asked.
She paused for a second, then giggled.
“Definitely good strange!”
Addressing the others at the table, she asked: “Did you guys know that Rami plays the harp?”
All eyes turned to me. Here we go again.
Specializing is boring
You know what bores me to death? Specialists.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they exist!
When I need my taxes done, I’m glad there’s an accountant who knows everything there is to know about crunching numbers. When I’m out of ideas at the comic book store, the owner is always there with a new obscure series that I’m sure to enjoy. And when I’m diseased, I sure as hell hope the doc is specialized and gives me the right diagnosis.
However, when I’m sitting with a specialist at dinner, and all she wants to talk about is her passion for chainsaw manufacturing, I get bored. FAST.
The first time I actually noticed this phenomenon was in college. My brother and his buddy were watching basketball, while I read a comic book. As luck would have it, my brother had to leave halfway through the game for a work emergency, so I hung out with his friend.
“So…” he began. “You like basketball?”
“Not really,” I replied.
“What about football?” he asked.
“Nope,” I said. “I don’t watch any sports on TV.”
“Oh.” He paused. I could see the struggle on his face, as he tried to figure out what else to talk about. I was also struggling – with not laughing out loud at his dilemma. Holding it in, I decided to offer him a way out.
“What about you, do you watch a lot of sports?” I asked.
“Yes I do!” and he breathed an audible sigh of relief. He then regaled me with a whole bunch of stats about his favorite teams, events, preferences, opinions and more.
Heh, specialists. What a funny bunch.
Multiple interests are sexy
Now, what’s interesting is what happened next. Although I started off by humoring my brother’s friend, and being a polite host, it didn’t last long.
Within minutes, the multipotentialite inside of me woke up, and I started being intrigued by these so-called “sports”. I asked him questions about players, what makes a team better than another, why football and soccer are known everywhere else as American football and football (hint: soccer is the short form of association football).
All of a sudden, I was interested. Damn my curious nature. I ended up learning a lot, and even watched the rest of the game with him while having a beer.
A few days later, my brother came home from the bar, and said his buddy was asking about me. His friend thought I was super cool, and told my brother to invite me out next time so we could all hang out.
All I did was be curious, and that’s the first lesson for today: curiosity is attractive.
Are you into (insert thing here)?
Being super specialized is useful for work, but it’s often a detriment socially. Multipotentialites tend to know a little bit about everything, rather than a lot about one thing, which makes us great conversationalists.
We can jump from music to sports to that new cat video to why your fingers look wrinkly when you go swimming (hint: osmosis) to videogames and back to music, all without skipping a beat.
This is a beautiful thing. It means you and I can relate to 90% of the people out there, simply because we know a little bit about what makes them tick. The other 10%? Like my brother’s friend? We can relate to them too, because our curiosity compels us to know more about whatever obscure thing they’re into.
Like sports. Heh.
In order to know more, we become incredibly good listeners. We ask questions at the right time, pay attention, and store it in our memory banks for future reference when we need it.
I’m going to say it again, curiosity is attractive.
Build attraction with CURIOSITY
Arguably the hardest part about meeting new, potential partners, is creating a connection. Two strangers who know nothing about each other need to figure out what makes the other person tick, and connect to them.
It’s difficult at first, because we all have a nice shell up to protect us from letting scary people in. The best way inside is usually through a superficial connection through common interests.
Sometimes, it’s as easy as knowing an obscure factoid.
I was once chatting up a cute girl at a bar. She mentioned that her family called her Mookie.
“Oh cool,” I said. “Like the basketball player, right?”
Her jaw dropped.
“I’m 27, and no one has ever known where my nickname came from. That’s amazing.”
After that, there was instant attraction.
But wait, something’s not right with this story. How did I, dude who knows nothing about sports, know that Mookie is a basketball player’s name? Curiosity, that’s how.
In my youth, I was a big Pearl Jam fan. Curious about their name, I looked it up online, and discovered that they were originally called Mookie Blaylock, after the professional basketball player.
Nearly 15 years later, that information would get me a cute girl’s phone number at a club.
Back to the bar…
“Yes, I play the harp,” I laughed. “I’m also a videogame champion, and a super geek Magic: The Gathering player. I run a blog that teaches geeks to get the girl, and I wrote a book while working fulltime last year. I occasionally teach at the university, I used to be an audio engineer, I cook amazing Thai and Korean food, and I love any kind of skating – rollerskates, rollerblades, and iceskates.”
Everyone cracked up.
“I wish I could do that many things,” one woman said.
“You totally can!” I replied. “All you need to do is be curious.”
Do you think being a multipotentialite has made you sexier?… Or at least a better conversationalist? 😉
Rami is the force behind gutsygeek.com, where he teaches geeks the ins and outs of dating. He was terrible with women until his mid 20s, then realized everything that made him weird as a child made him awesome as an adult. He’ll teach you to be confident, win at fighting games, and actually get a date. Find him in the Puttytribe, and like his beard on twitter @gutsygeek.