Tips for impressing the next programmer you date

Developers share their thoughts on how best a date can win them over - or drive them away

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Programmers usually like holding hands, long walks on the beach and talking about XKCD.

Image credit: flickr/Nattu (license)

Do you have a date coming up with someone who writes code for a living? If so, are you wondering what kind of things you should talk about to impress him or her? Should you talk about code or other geeky things? Do programmers even want to talk about programming on a date?

The answers to those questions depend on the person you’re going on a date with, of course. All the same, a number of programmers weighed in on this topic on a recent Quora thread “How do I impress a computer programmer on a date?” While, in the end, everybody is different and there are obviously no hard and fast rules, they did share some interesting (and sometimes funny) thoughts. Based on their answers, here are some general guidelines:

Some programmers would like to know you're a fellow geek.

“Your best bet is probably to demonstrate that you're nerdy and/or geeky.” Travis Hance

“... just learn what a factorial is and mention it somehow.” Toby Graves

“Wear an XKCD shirt. It works every time!” Shams Kazi

As to whether to actually talk about programming, opinions were divided.

"I would really like to discuss any coding exercise anytime of the day - be it bugs, feature - anything that involves programming would turn us on." Shashank Kumar

“... maybe my standards are pretty low, but I'm impressed if my date has even attempted to teach themselves HTML/CSS/JavaScript.” Calvin Huang

“Actually, not talking *at all* about programming or just giving other interesting topics besides programming to talk about would be good as far as I can see. Please PLEASE remind me that there is a living, breathing world out there, that's all I ask....” Sang Young Noh

“Do not talk about programming. For God's sake don't.” Onodje Daniel

Many don’t need you to be a geek; they just want to know that, like them, you have a passion and are curious, with a dash of logic.

“1) Have interests
2) Be passionate about your interests
3) Be able to talk passionately about your passionate interests” Jayesh Lalwani

“The least I can expect from you is to be logical and not argue without valid reasons.” Shashank Kumar

Many seemed to agree that there’s definitely one thing you should never ask a programmer on a date.

“Don't ask us to fix your computer or other electronic widget.” Phil Darnowsky

In the end, just remember that programmers are people, too (believe it or not).

”Computer programmer is a job (or a hobby), not the definition of a person. You don't have to speak to a programmer differently from anyone.” Alexandre Coninx

Any other advice from you programmers? Share them in the comments. Good luck!

Read more of Phil Johnson's #Tech blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Phil on Twitter at @itwphiljohnson. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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