How to date an intellectual man: 15 key things to know

For many of us, intelligence is a thing we’d like to see in our partners—some even identify as sapiosexual.

But it also has its own set of challenges, some of which might not be that obvious at a glance. So before you get yourself involved with someone especially smart, it would help for you to be prepared.

And in this article, I will present to you 15 key things you need to know about dating an intellectual man.

1) He will know when you’re trying too hard.

You will want to avoid trying to pander to him or to pretend to be something that you’re not. Don’t do a quick Google about the topic simply so that you can pretend that you know more than you actually do.

He is going to figure out exactly what you’re up to very quickly and he won’t like it. In fact, he’d be quickly turned off by it.

Just be honest with him instead. What’s sexier is confidence. Be okay with the fact that you don’t know anything about certain topics and that this doesn’t make you dumb. Don’t let his intelligence shake you!

But you know what the sexiest thing is for intellectuals?

Curiosity.

If he’s talking about something you know nothing about, then just ask him to tell you more. Then of course, a smart thing to do is try to do some research after the fact to verify what he has said just so your conversation about such a topic would go deeper.

2) He’ll tire of small talk.

The thing with small talk is that they’re shallow and empty. At its best, nothing gets done and no new ideas are shared or made. At its worst, it’s filled with gossip that can get quite harmful.

Unless, of course, you know how to convert small talk into smart conversations.

Intellectuals can tolerate some small talk, but it wears on their patience very quickly. He isn’t going to be interested in talking about how your neighbor Sally had six children, none of which actually belong to her unwitting husband.

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Instead, he’ll want to have mature discussions about substantial matters, like history or arts.

If that is too out of your depth, you can always ask him about his interests. And if the two of you have some interests in common, go for those and nerd out all night long.

You’ll want to avoid questions that force him to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. He’s going to be motivated to explain in depth. Instead, try to ask him open-ended questions.

3) You might end up feeling overwhelmed by him.

It might not be his intention, but it’s inevitable for you to feel less intelligent around him sometimes.

This can still happen even if you’re pretty intelligent yourself, and it’s even worse if you never really thought of yourself as an intellectual in the first place.

You’ll find yourself slapping your forehead and going “why didn’t I think of that?!”

And he may mean well, and he may try to be understanding, but he can still get impatient when you just can’t keep up or figure out things he didn’t have difficulties with. After all, if he had no problems figuring it out, then surely you won’t have a hard time with it either.

When things like these happen, it’s best for both of you to keep your emotions in check. Avoid snapping at him, or else you risk starting an argument. And it’s hard to win an argument with an intellectual.

You have to be a little patient but call him out when he starts to berate you.

4) Speak up! He’ll appreciate it.

You might not be a Harvard graduate but he’s going to appreciate it a lot if you speak up and give your two cents.

Try to share your own philosophies and opinions if the topic just so happens to be philosophical in nature. Ask for him to elaborate if it’s about a topic that he knows about.

He’s probably used to people shutting up and just letting him talk as they might also be intimidated by him, so having someone talk back would be a pleasant change of pace for him.

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If you respond to him properly, that tells him that you’re actually listening to him and not simply letting his words enter one ear and leave the other.

People who actually bother to listen like so are few and far between, and those who would challenge their intellect even more so. Be both of these, and he will appreciate you a lot.

5) He isn’t necessarily smart at everything.

Just because he’s an intellectual doesn’t mean he knows everything that there is to know. Anyone who claims—or acts like—they know everything is lying. It simply isn’t possible.

He might be knowledgeable about food and culture, but he could also be very bad with math and art.

And he can put an order for sixty-six studies on music theory, but he’s not going to be a better composer than a self-taught musician who had been composing for over 30 years.

Of course, he might not be perfectly aware of this fact all the time, and be ready to be frustrated when he overestimates the depth of his knowledge. It requires a little patience on your end if you truly want to be with them.

6) He’s fussy and critical (especially towards himself).

He is most likely aware of just how people think of him, and what they expect out of him. Chances are that he would feel pressured to live up to those expectations and judge himself very harshly.

In other words, he’s probably a perfectionist.

One of the reasons why intellectuals are the way they are is because they see the world through a critical eye, so they tend to get fussy with small things—things that others might not even notice.

He would be his own worst critic, and you might need to reassure him from time to time that everything is alright.

If he’s into baking, you can expect him to keep detailed spreadsheets with information on baking temperatures, proofing times, and the right ratios needed to create the perfect cake.

If you don’t find this trait endearing, it’s time to leave because you can’t change this guy.

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7) He might be prone to overthinking.

Some people waltz through life without giving much thought as to what they’re doing, where they’re going, and what the world is coming to.

Not him. Intellectuals spend a lot of time thinking and studying because they aren’t content with simple answers or the absence of an answer altogether.

This unfortunately makes people like him especially vulnerable to overthinking. This can be frustrating, especially when you’ve been trying to reassure him for the tenth time this week that everything is going to be alright and that things are not as bad as he thinks they are.

He will not trust his instincts. At least not the same way as other people would.

He would spend a lot of time doubting them—if he even hears them at all, because chances are that they’ll be drowned out by all the thoughts shooting through his head.

And because of this, things that are simply common sense to most of us might not be immediately obvious to him.

8) There’s a high chance that he’s bad with people.

It’s very likely that, when he was young, the other kids treated him differently for being an intellectual.

They might have alienated him for being a ‘geek’ or gave him too much praise for being the ‘smart kid’. And they would have simply found it hard to relate to him.

Because of this, it’s possible that he simply hasn’t learned to socialize properly. And that, together with his tendency to overthink, would make it incredibly hard for him to get along with other people. He’ll be lost and confused, and either worry too much about what others are thinking about him, or not care at all.

He’s very unlikely to have a huge network of friends. Instead, it’s very likely that he’ll be an introvert with a tight-knit circle of like-minded friends. You will have to be understanding towards him when he freaks out, commits a faux pas, or simply fails to read the atmosphere.

9) He’s an independent thinker

“They said so” is anathema for intellectuals.

They don’t pick up ideas or opinions simply because it’s what the majority has agreed on. They’re independent thinkers—he didn’t become an intellectual person by blindly repeating what other people say.

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And because of that, he may have ideas and opinions that most other people will disagree with, or even hate. He might be used to being dismissed out of hand when he expresses his ideas because of that.

He will like you if you prove yourself a fellow independent thinker. On the other hand, he will be very disappointed—turned off, even—if you aren’t. This includes parroting his own opinions just to impress him.

You can agree with the majority, or you can agree with him. What matters, to him, would be that you can articulate and defend your own opinions without having to resort to “my friend said so” or “my professor said so”.

10) He might be depressive.

You will have probably heard of the saying “Ignorance is bliss.” It’s quite true.

If you don’t put too much time and energy into thinking, you can easily live a life without worry. But ignorance is the intellectual person’s mortal enemy, and in seeking knowledge they burden themselves with just way too many things to worry and fret over.

He will be very keenly aware of the bigger issues that other people simply don’t bother thinking about.

Add to that all the problems that had been listed above—from him being a social disaster and chronic overthinker to being especially harsh on himself. It should not be a surprise that he’s prone to depression.

You will have to offer him a shoulder to lean on when the mood strikes, and offer him reassurance. It’s a trait that can make a man fall deeply in love.

11) It’s especially important that you’re a good listener.

He would feel very alone simply because he has a hard time looking for people who would actually bother to listen to what he has to say. Most people don’t really bother to listen, after all.

They just listen to a few words here and there, think they get the idea, and then react based on that.

And he will notice it when that happens. If you do the same, you’ll just end up disappointing him, especially if he tries talking about sensitive topics in great detail. He would feel disrespected and that his time was wasted simply because he had gone through so much effort only to not be heard.

So try to practice being a really good listener. He will probably never forget you even if you won’t end up together.

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12) Don’t try to play around with him.

Some people like to play games. They’d play hard to get, or try to make their partners jealous.

For most people, it would work splendidly. But an intellectual would only meet such actions with disgust and disappointment.

Try to play games on him, and he’d either just leave you and decide you’re not worth bothering with, or he’ll play your game even better than you did.

So don’t beat around the bush. Don’t play coy. If you ever felt tempted to play games on him, give it some thought and try to figure out why you even thought of it in the first place.

Did you feel like he’s been neglecting you? Did you feel your relationship was moving too slowly?

Whatever the reason may be, he would appreciate and respect you more if you simply tried talking to him about it.

13) He can be messy and impractical

You might think that, well, he’s a smart guy. Surely he has already figured his life out, right?

Not quite.

Intellectual people like him can be so caught up in elaborate what-ifs or overthink problems so hard that they completely miss out on the most practical solutions. And he can be so lost in his thoughts or be so burdened by depression that he will forget to clean up his mess.

To make matters worse, he might be so against the concept of being superficial that he straight up won’t care about his looks.

Smart people can also be quite neat and organized, mind. But there’s a reason why the popular image of the ‘nerd’ or ‘intellectual’ is someone with unkempt hair, messy working spaces, and a manic laugh.

14) He can be quite prideful and arrogant.

He is most likely aware of the fact that he doesn’t know everything. After all, the more you learn about something, the more you realize just how little you actually know and how much you still have to learn.

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But he will also be quite aware of just how others know less than they do. People like to show off their ‘knowledge’, and he will be able to figure out just how ignorant the average person is. Because of that, he is likely to be quite prideful and arrogant… even if he isn’t aware of it himself!

It might not necessarily be what you’d expect. When you think of pride and arrogance, you might think of someone who beats his chest and proudly claims how he’s better than everyone else.

Intellectuals, on the other hand, often (but not always) tend to be subtle—they’d drip sarcasm, or take on a condescending tone.

Sadly, it just comes with the territory. You’ll have to deal with it and hope he sets himself straight.

15) He’s still human, just like you.

When everything’s said and done, it’s incredibly important that you don’t forget that he’s just another human being.

Being smart and well-read does not make him an alien overmind from Mars, or a robot, or a walking encyclopedia. He still has emotions, desires, scars, and weaknesses just like you.

Don’t make him feel like an outsider simply because he’s smart. No singular label will ever completely define who he is, so avoid thinking of him as simply being ‘an intellectual’. It would help both of you if you thought of him instead as ‘a person who likes learning’.

It would make it easier for you to approach him, too.

Conclusion

As a general rule of thumb, intellectual men prefer women who are themselves— confident and smart in their own way.

So if you want to be with a smart guy, you will have to learn to pick up on some of his traits.

But, as always ladies, instead of trying to impress him, he should be the one trying to impress you!

Ask yourself this: Aside from intelligence, what else does he have to offer?

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Enjoy getting to know your new date but don’t bend over backwards just to impress him.

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