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5 Ways to Help an Anxious Nerd (and Hopefully a New Friend):

5 Ways to Help an Anxious Nerd (and Hopefully a New Friend):

This week’s article is to honor November 13th, which is World Kindness Day.  

The term nerd has become a cultural trend more so now instead of just merely a label.  The thought is they are odd, different, in their own world, often would rather be in a fantasy or their interests than the real world.  And, honestly, from my personal experience, this is not fully wrong.  I proudly will proclaim myself as a nerd.  I am weird and timid, overly colorful, and awkward, deep in my passions.

But what nerds are like can be labeled differently by different people.  I know people who are in love with sports, but that is not my forte.  I could classify them as a nerd, an extreme lover of their sports ball.  Even though sports are more mainstream typically than let us say Star Trek or anime.  

Fantasy.  Sci-fi.  Anime.  Tabletop and trading card games. Video games (until recently).  Comic books.  These are just a few broad examples of how most of the masses see us nerds.  And hey! You are on GEEKY KOOL.  An outlet for all things nerdy.  A safe haven.  That is wonderful.  Even if you are not a nerd, you are welcomed.  All are.

Today, I want to address a topic that is not pleasant, but one I am sure all of us, especially nerds, have experienced:

Bullying.

During my day job, I am an elementary teacher.  I love watching my students become engrossed in superheroes, using their imaginations to fly spaceships, writing stories about magical adventures.  Honestly, I think a nerd is someone who kept their childlike wonder and outlook on our beautiful world.  I think that’s a treasure.  It is hard to watch them grow and transition into someone who judges.  I know not everyone is like this, but bullying comes from wanting to be in control, be powerful, maybe to make ourselves feel better.  Bullying comes from a lack of understanding.  Not just in heart, but also in mind.

Bullying does not sit well with me, as someone who has been bullied for things outside my control or for things that I love.  I am not here to lecture, to teach you, or make you relive anything.  What I wanted to do was to give a resource to those who might not know how to encounter us nerds or someone different.  I would also love to hear your thoughts.  And if you need someone to talk to, to quote Toy Story, “you got a friend in me.”

#1. Ask Questions/Do Research:  I never expect everyone to know all the Sailor Scouts attack poses by season as I do.  But when I wear a necklace from the show and someone compliments it, I feel good.  Even my ‘normal’ friends might ask me what Sailor Moon is or some more information about it.  I could easily talk about it for hours, but I do not want to bore them! Ha! Still, when you show interest in others’ passions, it means you respect them and see them as a person.  

Each one of us has different loves too.  I will be blunt; I am not a huge DC fan.  However, I would never diss someone who likes it.  Agree to disagree or a friendly discussion could be okay if you can keep it civil.  The fact we are all unique makes this planet truly incredible (okay; sorry that was flowery).

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#2. Listen: Simple rule for life.  Listen when someone is speaking.  Look at them. Talk to them about not only their passions but their lives (what they are willing to share).  At our core, we are all humans of this Earth.  We want to be heard.  Just having someone who will listen to you for simple things can make a huge difference and is patient with you in your toughest of times.  When my anxiety captures me, I have people who are there for me, a shoulder, an ear, a hand to lift me, someone to bring me up, and offer a hug, no matter how long it takes.  I do the same for them.  We can do this for anyone. Communication is key to society and listening is the central hub.

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#3. Wave or Say Hi:  My father is an educator and he taught me that even if you have issues with someone, as fellow humans, we should always be courteous to each other.  So I will ask everyone I see or pass how they are, wishing them a good day.  Or at least give a wave or a nod if I do not know that, attempting a smile.  It is amazing how many times people look at me confused, but then wave and smile back.  An easy gesture of being kind and noticing someone can make someone’s moment, a ray of sunshine to store when needed.  Be it nerds, normies, or every special person in-between.

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#4- Walk Away if you Can’t Say Something Nice: The most elementary rule in the book is truly ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.’  If you truly cannot get along with someone or their interests bothers you, then just walk away or say nothing.  You do not have to make a big deal of it, but being rude just because someone does not like the same things you do hurts.  Trust me on this.  I liking “Twilight” still or the fact anime and manga brings me so much comfort is not hurting YOU or affecting YOUR life in a negative way.  If you don’t get it, listen to the Beatles, and “let it be.”

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#5- Join in and Be Open To Try New Things and a New Friendship:  If you see a nerd that you feel you can get along with, then do more than ask about their interest; join in! I know in some medias, that is easier said than done, but start small.  Even if you don’t like it, being respectful and willing to means a lot. 

Without my best friend at work, I never would have loved Marvel films.  He also made me watch two Batman films.  I didn’t like them really, but they were special to him so now I understand him better.  Slowly, I am going to get him to watch a Studio Ghibli film and he likes to collect cards, so Pokemon cards may be the next step.  We like the person behind the interests the most, but trying new things makes a stronger friendship and builds a stronger you, trying new things.  Especially with someone at your side. 🙂

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With my students on this day, I always show them clips and lessons that Mr. Rogers taught the world.

Expand your world. Brighten everyone’s world! Let’s try to understand each other and always be kind.

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Educator of young minds by day, super nerdy savior of justice, and cute things by night, Morgan Straughan Comnick has a love for turning the normal into something special without losing its essence. Morgan draws from real-life experiences and her ongoing imagination to spark her writing. In her spare time, she enjoys doing goofy voices, traveling to new worlds by turning pages, humming child-like songs, and forcing people to smile with her “bubbliness.” It is Morgan’s mission in life to spread the amazement of otaku/Japanese culture to the world and to stop bullying; she knows everyone shines brightly.

For more information about Morgan and her works, check out her website, which also has links to all her social medias: http://morganscomnick.com

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