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As strange as it may sound, there is a vast difference between geeks, nerds, and dorks. The uninitiated see them as all the same, but the careful social commentator will notice the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in these underappreciated social groups. If it’s time to purchase a gift for a geek, a nerd, or a dork, it’s important to figure out what category the recipient falls into in order to be sure to avoid offending them.

Most people who fall into these categories are self deprecating enough to proudly proclaim what they are. If the classification isn’t readily apparent then use this quick guide to figure it out, or consider simply taking the boyfriend or girlfriend out do dinner and getting to know him or her a little better.

What is a Geek?

Geeks are in to comic books, films (not movies but films), video games, television shows, and just about anything pop-culture related not found in the pages of US Weekly. They probably have some sort of ironic t-shirt collection of Midwest-state themed t-shirts, obscure foreign sports teams, and bands no one has ever heard of. If the geek spends more than 15 minutes looking into a mirror in the morning, his girlfriend is probably dating a hipster and should consider leaving before it’s too late.

What is a Nerd?

Sure they might like a lot of the same things as a geek, but they don’t hold these things on the quasi-religious level of geekdom. It’s more likely to see nerds watching a Modern Marvels marathon than re-runs of the Smurfs. Nerds are interested in high-tech gadgets, scientific breakthroughs, and amassing semi-useless knowledge. They are also less likely to have ironic-for-irony’s-sake t-shirts as they are to have a collection of plaid collared shirts, khaki shorts, and label free clothing.

 

What is a Dork?

They’re not trying to be cool in their own little world like geeks, and they’re not exactly smart enough to be nerds. They’re dorks – socially awkward, usually wearing one of the same three outfits every day of the year, and not caring much about being accepted. Most of the time, dorks stay in their own circles when it comes to dating, so don’t worry about reading this article. Just buy two of the next model airplane kit, a gallon of modeling glue, and a six-pack of Zima and have a blast. Dorks almost never date outside their social strata, and normally become geeks, nerds, or serial killers if forced to evolve beyond dork-hood.

Now that it’s been determined what group the person falls into, there are some articles on what to avoid and what to purchase for the geek, nerd, or dork. Good luck and good job snagging one of these very special social misfits.

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