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Class Teaches Nerds Social Skills

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the geeks-need-love-too dept.

Education 639

PeterAitch writes "According to Reuters, Potsdam University in Germany is now teaching social skills as part of their IT courses. This is intended to 'ease entry into the world of work'. The 440 students enrolled in the master's degree course will learn how to write flirtatious text messages and emails, impress people at parties and cope with rejection(s)." The class is taught by a superficial model, who will fall in love with the nerdiest student at the end of the semester after realizing that he is beautiful on the inside.

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This can be improved by removing some text (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417857)

"According to Reuters, Potsdam University in Germany is now teaching social skills as part of their IT courses. This is intended to 'ease entry into ..... a superficial model, who will fall in love with the nerdiest student at the end of the semester after realizing that he is beautiful on the inside.

Fixed (5, Funny)

RockMFR (1022315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417905)

According to Reuters, Potsdam University in Germany is now teaching social skills as part of their IT courses. This is intended to 'ease entry into ... a superficial model, who will ... love ... the end ... after realizing that he is ... inside.

Re:This can be improved by removing some text (3, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417915)

I don't think there's a response to this news article that could be better than the parent's.

Re:This can be improved by removing some text (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418081)

This is intended to 'ease entry into ..... a superficial model, who will fall in love with the nerdiest student at the end of the semester after realizing that he is beautiful on the inside.

Don't you mean to say that he'll discover how beautiful she is on the "inside"? ;)

Nah Buy a Boat! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418105)

I can't believe you fucking morons waste your life here. Listen, this is your LIFE. You need to be living with real human beings. You need to go find a girlfriend and spend time with her. You need to find happiness. Happiness is not in your online games or crappy manga books, it is in other people.

Do you really want to be 40 years old and look back to your 18-25 years and realize you pissed them away in fits of loneliness playing RPGs and crying yourself to sleep? I know most, if not all of you, had no real childhood or high school experiences because you were too busy being antisocial losers. Change that, now. How much greater would your life be now had you worked up the courage to talk to that one girl and go to the prom with her? Wouldn't high school have been amazing if you actually went out with friends on the weekend and saw movies? This is why you people love anime so much, because it portrays these perfect people going through high school living the lives YOU wish you could have lived back then.

Stop wasting your time on the Internet. Look outside and see the trees and the sun. Please. There is a world out there. There are interesting people all over. Why do you want to throw away what is left of your life playing fictional RPGs when real life is one big RPG with real consequences and relationships?

Are you just afraid? I mean, look at me, I own this NICEboat.

Alternativeley (1, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418195)

Alternatively take a leaf out of the parent's book and piss your life away being an internet troll.

Re:Alternativeley (2, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418329)

Alternatively take a leaf out of the parent's book and piss your life away being an internet troll.

Says the person who is feeding him......

Re:Alternativeley (2, Insightful)

beckerist (985855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418463)

nom nom nom nom

Being a nerd implies a lack of social grace. Being a nerd also implies a thirst for knowledge. It's hard to "learn" behavior if you've already been socially (and mentally) stamped into a box. I personally think this is a cool idea for a class. Just think how YOU would respond if they brought in Jeri Ryan [imdb.com] as a guest speaker!

Re:Alternativeley (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418763)

I personally think this is a cool idea for a class. Just think how YOU would respond if they brought in Jeri Ryan [imdb.com] as a guest speaker!

I would have asked her why she kept playing a role [wikipedia.org] that sucked and how she feels about being the final nail in the coffin of the last Star Trek series (Enterprise doesn't count) ;)

Re:This can be improved by removing some text (5, Insightful)

clam666 (1178429) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418323)

When it comes to "hot chicks" and being rejected, just remember...

Somewhere, someone is tired of her shit.

Re:This can be improved by removing some text (1)

ElvisGump (1018396) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418497)

I just want to know, is that picture of Charles Nelson Reilly as a boy or what?

Re:This can be improved by removing some text (5, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418593)

"According to Reuters, Potsdam University in Germany is now teaching social skills as part of their IT courses. This is intended to 'ease entry into ..... a superficial model, who will fall in love with the nerdiest student at the end of the semester after realizing that he is beautiful on the inside.

By that point of course, he will have become a handsome and rugged jock on the outside while keeping the smarts and sensibilities of a computer geek, thus bridging the gap and making the world a better place where nerds and football jocks can live together in peace while 80's pop-rock plays over a sunset.

Re:This can be improved by removing some text (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418655)

By that point of course, he will have become a handsome and rugged jock on the outside while keeping the smarts and sensibilities of a computer geek, thus bridging the gap and making the world a better place where nerds and football jocks can live together in peace while 80's pop-rock plays over a sunset.

This will be the start of the new master race. Germany will be the envy of the world with these intelligent, athletic blue-eyed blonde geniuses. And anyone who disagrees....

Class Teaches Nerds Social Skills (0, Troll)

moviepig.com (745183) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418827)

Class teaches anyone social skills. Not sure you can learn it, though...

Nerds don't need this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26417871)

we are happy the way we are

Re:Nerds don't need this.... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417989)

No.

Though, I wonder how much this helps. Theory of how one is supposed to be and personality is rather different things. I also wonder if this should really be teached in class, sure social skills is good for your work but trying to get laid?

Though on the other hand I've never got myself a carrier since I've been looking for love & friendship instead but never found any...

Also I guess this may help much more than a useless Aspergers syndrome diagnose.

Re:Nerds don't need this.... (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418233)

Though on the other hand I've never got myself a carrier since I've been looking for love & friendship instead but never found any...

It sounds like a modem problem to me.

Re:Nerds don't need this.... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418723)

I knew it might had been wrong but I didn't know what the correct word would be and I was too lazy to check it up. Made sense though since the swedish word is "karriÃr."

Career, better? :D

Not my native language and I made assumptions, though I knew the modem word.

Re:Nerds don't need this.... (5, Funny)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418295)

I also wonder if this should really be teached in class...

Like English? ;)

Re:Nerds don't need this.... (2, Funny)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418471)

I also wonder if this should really be teached in class...

Like English? ;)

Shut up, kidspeak is a legitimate dialect, just like ebonics and legalese. /satire

Re:Nerds don't need this.... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418773)

Tought? Feel free to complain on my spelling when more than half of your population know on what side of the USA the atlantic and the pacific rest ..

Re:Nerds don't need this.... (3, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418557)

Aspergers is the psychiatry honeypot of the next decade. It's a measure of the confusion when you get an economy that screams "specialize" with a guy too busy specializing to talk to babes and catch bass off the coral reef.

But since all four of the major economic industries just melted, specialization will be the way to survive, in weird little eddy current niches.

Re:Nerds don't need this.... (0, Flamebait)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418605)

Who here sees the irony?

German teaching social skills?

Anybody who lives in Europe knows about German "social skills"

1) Queues? Who needs them, I will just jump ahead.
2) Reserving lounge chairs with towels at 5 AM! Yeah that makes sense, I will reserve something when I am not even there...
3) Taking a vacation anywhere in Europe only to hear the noisy drunks, and people asking, "why can't they get real bread or real sausages, like we have in Germany." When I was living on the French Riveria, German friends brought their own food. I asked why? They said, "French can't make food like Germans can." Oh YEAH, the German cuisine is known for its good taste! Better than French (NOT!)

Germans are good at many things (building [insert product name here]), but social graces is not a German trait. But then again, maybe this course is typical German! Pushy, want to right the system and think on how they have social graces...

For those wondering, I AM GERMAN (born there, have the passport, though lived for the most part in Canada and the States)! Right now I live in Switzerland. And yes I have problems living with my own "country kin".

Re:Nerds don't need this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418837)

Heh, Germans can queue real well...

Then again, one German tosser once caught in line in front of me at a gas station, I said, "excuse me, I was here first, (bla bla)" he said "yeah yeah, that's fine." dismissively.

So I followed him outside - he was walking to his car - wondering what action I can do. I noticed saliva was gathering in my mouth... so, he got to his car, I stood in front of it, and hurrggh, spat on his windshield. That was satisfying. Walked away backwards with one middle finger raised.

Top Gear's hypothesis that all wankers are now driving Audis seems to be true too.

Re:Nerds don't need this.... (5, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418709)

You know what I want?

Logic skills taught to those people who have "social skills"

While I can understand the desire to teach social skills, I wish people would stop thumping on people with strong technical abilities.

For example, say you are a born classical musician, and are quite good. They would say you are cultured and have everything life needs. YET, if the same happened to a mathematician, well then they are not balanced.

Really? Not knowing how to calculate yourself out of a wet paper bag is balanced?

So sure I will take social skills, so long as the others take logic skills.

MAYBE THEN we have rational discussions....

Hey! (5, Funny)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417883)

I flirt with that hot female blood elf on WoW, you insensitive clod!

Re:Hey! (5, Funny)

DeadPixels (1391907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418205)

I *am* that hot female blood elf, you insensitive clod!

Re:Hey! (4, Funny)

Blindman (36862) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418333)

I flirt with that hot female blood elf on WoW, you insensitive clod!

I *am* that hot female blood elf, you insensitive clod!

Yep. Nothing wrong here. Geeks and nerds everywhere are going to be just fine.

For the first lesson: (5, Funny)

Mhtsos (586325) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417891)

Don't start conversations by shouting "first post" after someone mentions a subject.

Re:For the first lesson: (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418637)

Don't start conversations by shouting "first post" after someone mentions a subject.

I'm sure FROST PISS will go over SO much better :-)

Actually, it will if you're offering them a REALLY COLD beer. "'ave some frosty piss"

Hosted by Ryan Seacrest (2, Funny)

Woundweavr (37873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417895)

PeterAitch writes

"According to Reuters, Potsdam University in Germany is now teaching social skills as part of their IT courses. This is intended to 'ease entry into the world of work'. The 440 students enrolled in the master's degree course will learn how to write flirtatious text messages and emails, impress people at parties and cope with rejection(s)."

The class is taught by a superficial model, who will fall in love with the nerdiest student at the end of the semester after realizing that he is beautiful on the inside.

Each week the nerds will be tested on a combination of technical ability and geek trivia to win immunity to the social challenge. The loser of the challenge will have to leave the show to the bellow of Ogre from "Revenge of the Nerds."

You forgot the Shatner Gambit. (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418623)

"That contest has no way to win. So, I changed the game."

Everyone *else* will try to answer those geek questions. I know the "model" is Mrs. Doubtfire's daughter, and not what she seems.

The class is produced by Ashton Kutcher (1)

PrimeWaveZ (513534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417949)

Because banging Demi Moore is the best way to know that you're not just another biochem nerd.

Re:The class is produced by Ashton Kutcher (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418139)

The class, however, is only available for punks.

Grades...? (4, Insightful)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417977)

It must suck if/when you fail it though....

10 years too late... (5, Insightful)

Xerolooper (1247258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417981)

Where was this course when I went to college.

Social Intelligence is a skill that can be taught and learned. That is how most people get it although somewhat unconsciously. Inherent personality does play a role which is why "Nerds" have to work harder at learning it.

Because the majority of the world runs on Social IQ more than we like to admit.

Re:10 years too late... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418215)

Very true. You could be right but if you are jerk then no one will want to listen to you.
My main question would be is it also focused towards people of different cultures or just German. Have worked with Germans (and other people with different cultures) I have learned to not take some things so personally, and expect a more direct evaluation from them vs. say an American or British person who will try to smooth the evaluation, or a Russian who befriends you after having a very heated argument with him.

Re:10 years too late... (3, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418229)

Social Intelligence is a skill that can be taught and learned. That is how most people get it although somewhat unconsciously. Inherent personality does play a role which is why "Nerds" have to work harder at learning it.

So is quantum mechanics, but like with social skills some are just basically hopeless.

Because the majority of the world runs on Social IQ more than we like to admit.

When was that in question? I work with a number of very smart people who I wouldn't even think of putting in front of a customer. Of course, there are also smart people who can hold a real conversation, so I think this stereotype is overplayed.

You have to know your stuff, but if you can't express it you'll always be the guy they stick in a cube where he'll never interact with anyone. That guy also has his ideas stolen quite often, unfortunately.

Extracurricular activites (4, Informative)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418235)

A lot of homeschooled kids end up socially disfunctional because they aren't put into extra curricular activities where most socializing happens even in public schools.

You could probably learn just as much as the class teaches by joining clubs and sports teams. You learn how to interact with people by being around people.

A lot of it is just getting past your fears and putting yourself out there. The more you do it the more your fear lessens or at least your ability to deal with it improves.

Re:Extracurricular activites (3, Interesting)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418381)

It's an odd toss-up, and the one mistake many people make in homeschooling - the social isolation. However, there are good reasons to keep them out as well - so many of the kids in schools are also socially stunted with crazy, short-term priorities and morals and values that are absolutely worthless. Self-control is frowned upon.

I've heard of some other curious instances, like elementary kids being homeschooled for a few years and then placed into schools, where they nearly immediately assume leadership roles in their classroom and don't have the self-esteem issues from being picked on so much.

There's also something to be said from learning social skills from adults rather than other immature kids.

I'm planning on homeschooling, btw, if I cannot afford a good private school.

Re:Extracurricular activites (5, Interesting)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418507)

If you do homeschool I'd really encourage you to find a way for your kids to regularly interact with their peers. I spent 5 years working with high school students. Every kid that came in that was homeschooled took at least a year to stop being socially retarded. It was almost impossible to have a conversation with them when they first started coming. After a year or so you could actually talk to them about something they were interested in and they had developed sufficient social skills to build friendships with the other kids. Obviously my experience isn't scientific, but I'm not exaggerating - Literally ever homeschooled kid, literally over a year.

Re:Extracurricular activites (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418757)

If you do homeschool I'd really encourage you to find a way for your kids to regularly interact with their peers

There are many home school organizations that put together such programs. I've even seen home school baseball teams.

Re:Extracurricular activites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418831)

I send my daughter to a private school that meets 3 days a week. The other two days they send lesson plans home so we can homeshool her. It works out really well for us.

Re:Extracurricular activites (0, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418573)

I've heard of some other curious instances, like elementary kids being homeschooled for a few years and then placed into schools, where they nearly immediately assume leadership roles in their classroom and don't have the self-esteem issues from being picked on so much.

These people are obviously not jewish, catholic, or asian : P

There's also something to be said from learning social skills from adults rather than other immature kids.

someone needs to assume temporary residence in a city outside the coastal megalopoli.

Every city and county between new york and san francisco is filled to the ears with "adults" who never grew up. (that's not to say there aren't a fair share IN those cities, but the ratio is far higher in what is colloquially referred to as "middle america".

Re:Extracurricular activites (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418749)

Every city and county between new york and san francisco is filled to the ears with "adults" who never grew up. (that's not to say there aren't a fair share IN those cities, but the ratio is far higher in what is colloquially referred to as "middle america".

Ah yes. I can from your stat...wait...oh...wait. No statistics were provided. Hrm...

Re:Extracurricular activites (0, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418769)

Ah yes. I can from your stat...wait...oh...wait. No statistics were provided. Hrm...

Would you like me to get the statistical analysis to prove the sky is blue too?

Re:Extracurricular activites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418431)

All I learn from that is that a lot of people are assholes.

Re:Extracurricular activites (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418489)

I went to public school and did not engage in extra curricular activities because they were all boring sports and band crap (at least boring in my opinion). Many home schooled kids do in fact engage in extra curricular activities. In larger areas, there are home school organizations that organize such things for those who belong to the organization. That's how a lot of home schooled kids engage in phys. ed. as well.

If you want to fix the problem through extra curricular activities, you'll need to demand better offerings at the public school, otherwise you will get garbage in/garbage out.

Re:Extracurricular activites (1)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418659)

A lot of it is just getting past your fears and putting yourself out there. The more you do it the more your fear lessens or at least your ability to deal with it improves.

That's exactly why a class like this could be valuable. For a lot of people (myself included), social engagements can be extremely uncomfortable because we don't know what to say, and are afraid of being in a situation where conversation is called for, and our minds just go blank. We don't believe we're capable of being socially engaging enough to carry on our part of the conversation, and so we have a great disincentive to get involved in social interaction in the first place.

If the class does what it says it will do, it may be able to give its students more confidence that they can hold up their end of a social interaction, and therefore make them more comfortable trying to get involved in social engagements.

Re:10 years too late... (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418321)

Social Intelligence is a skill that can be taught and learned. That is how most people get it although somewhat unconsciously. Inherent personality does play a role which is why "Nerds" have to work harder at learning it.

Seconded. And for me, when I graduated college two and a half years ago, I went into the job market with not experience, but with code samples. If you're starting out at entry-level and wanna have a damn good chance of getting the job, you gotta have an app of some sorts that you can demonstrate to potential employers so they get a better idea of your programming style and whether you were able to apply the concepts that you learned to that said app.

The way I managed to get my code samples was through my Senior Project, in which I wrote two J2ME demo games for two different handsets (both MIDP1 and 2). One month after graduation, I interviewed for a mobile game developer and had my samples on hand to give to the employer. As a result, I was hired by them shortly thereafter and managed to hold on to that job up until early last year when I was let go. Even after that, I still had connections to the mobile industry and I was taken care of with more work up until last summer, but at least I came away with experience and contacts, something valuable in this economy. Without those code samples, God knows where I could of ended up, probably doing code for some dodgy come and go Hedge Fund, but the fact remains the same: just like artists have samples of their work, so should software engineers. said app.

Also, OP should broaden his search and not just focus on IT given the state of this dismal economy. In other words, build up your digital portfolio to showcase to employers when interviewing for whatever entry-level software engineer position matches your skills. The important thing right now is to get your foot on the door and pop your cherry with some professional experience. Best of luck to you in this fierce job market.

=Smidge=

Re:10 years too late... (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418411)

"Where was this course when I went to college."

I don't know. In my university it would have been resented. Sure, there were probably 4 or 5 guys out of 90 that needed help, that were the stereotypical geeks that lived in the lab and should have washed more. The rest of us were fine though, thanks. It would have been a colossal waste of time and effort.

Are there really places where the majority of CS undergrads need this?

(Side note - outside of the us it's not that commmon to *have* to study a "humanity" course with your engineering or science degree)

Re:10 years too late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418473)

I had this course in college, it was called "go outside and talk to people". College should be different than high school because

Re:10 years too late... (4, Insightful)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418679)

Where was this course when I went to college.

It's called "parties" and "extracurricular activities" and "sports" and the millions of other opportunities that college provides.

(For the record I'm not trying to troll...just give me a sec.)

My freshman year of college, I spent a lot of time in my dorm room. I played around on my computer, I studied (a lot), and...that's about it. Yeah, I did a little martial arts here and there, but not really. I didn't have any friends to speak of.

Then, after a good kick in the pants by this guy called "Life," I realized I was wasting a very valuable experience. So, I put down the books (sometimes), shut down my computer, and I went out and experienced life. It was, without a doubt, the best decision I ever made. I forced myself into social situations which I was uncomfortable in. I made myself apply for an RA position just so I would be forced into more social situations.

Without going into too much detail, it paid off. For those of you in college, take advantage of everything that it provides. You don't necessarily get those type of opportunities once you leave.

Social Engineering skills would be cool (4, Interesting)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417983)

Remember, Kevin Mitnick was a computer hacker, but an even better social engineer.

Beautiful on the inside... (2, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417993)

he is beautiful on the inside.

... And he has the X-Rays to prove it.

If humanties are required anyway, then why not? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418009)

Back when I went to MIT, the normal class load was four classes per semester and one of those classes was required to be a humanities class (strictly speaking, you didn't actually have to take exactly one per semester but you had to end up with equivalent totals).

I suppose that there were a variety of justifications for that requirement. At a pragmatic level, a lot of the HR and management types would probably resent someone who didn't take any humanities classes in college. The official justification for the policy, though, was that it would somehow help with social skills.

In retrospect, idea that studying ancient literature, for example, will actually help a student's social skills is questionable at best. My attitude these days is that if MIT had really wanted to improve their student's social skills then they should have had them take such classes directly.

While much of the classical Freudian psychology is of dubious value, there are aspects of modern psychology that take a pragmatic approach to interpersonal relationships, and managing emotions generally, and these modern approaches can actually be quite successful.

So, while I'm skeptical that science and technology students should be required to take humanities classes at all, if humanities classes are going to be required then they might as well actually be useful - like how to get a date (and deal with the rejection).

Re:If humanties are required anyway, then why not? (2, Interesting)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418511)

Humanities classes are definitely useful, whether they're designed to give you specific skills you need or not. Having some knowledge of techniques, theories, and discoveries from fields other than your own, and a basic knowledge of the art and literature of your culture (or even other ones) can give you different perspectives on your work and help you understand what's going on in the world. Similarly, math and logical reasoning skills are important for writers and musicians, and colleges usually make them take classes in those subjects. The classes most engineers take in the humanities are usually at about the same level as the ones most musicians take in math, just scratching the surface of the subject in question. Sadly, neither group tends to take these classes very seriously, and misses out on opportunities to think in different ways.

Re:If humanties are required anyway, then why not? (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418805)

Bingo.

It's not that HR depts directly see the humanities courses; those are shoved into the major on the weird off chance that someone might need to branch into a tangent field. I once heard the phrase "It's not that Dickens is the greatest literary figure alive; it's that by *learning how to study a text* is a skill that works differently from number crunching."

The surpise is, very suddenly Dickens is proving to be a topic for me to revisit because he had his finger on the pulse of Riches-to-Rags stories which will be cropping up next year. That is a very ethereal brand of education that could give you small tips to avoid social blunders, and by starting "neutral" rather from a disaster, will save you scary scores of cash.

Funny - I thought my colledge screened for Soc. Sk (0, Troll)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418017)

I always thought my engineering school only allowed in students with no visible social skills. That seemed to describe 80% of the student body.

You can't teach people to be jerks. (3, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418021)

> ...how to write flirtatious text messages and emails...

And get arrested for sexual harrassment.

> ...impress people at parties...

"Impressive! I bet he took courses in being a boor!"

> ...and cope with rejection(s)...

Sulking works fine. Go away and leave me alone.

Re:You can't teach people to be jerks. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418191)

Kutcher and Senftleben are trying to make you into first class Schleimscheisser,no?

Get the TV crew ready (1)

styryx (952942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418031)

FTA

The 440 students enrolled in the master's degree course will learn how to...cope with rejection

Yeah, that last point, can't help but feel that will be 90% of the lectures.

Re:Get the TV crew ready (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418163)

Leraning how to cope with rejection? Fuck, what are those students going to do if they fail that class?

God forbid they have to struggle through life like the rest of us... FUBAR was meant for this kind of thing.

Re:Get the TV crew ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418649)

Not surprisingly, national TV is here.

You cant teach tact. (5, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418045)

Many of the "nerds" I know are not socially inept because of lack of training. It's because they have a disorder or disease. Not bathing, incredibly wierd behaivoir, etc... The "hot chick" is not going to date you because you are...

1 - dressed like a wierdo. Sorry Emo/Goth is not cool.. It's as bad as dressing in a star trek shirt.

2 - Social tact, you have to actually have some.

3 - Hygene.. good god, take a bath, discover toothpaste, and deodorant, cheap cologne is not a substitute.

4 - There are no good pick up lines. Stop trying, stop reading the speed seduction books, they do not work if you do not understand human psychology and look like a "hunk" or at least semi cute to a woman.

5 - Nerdy = dorky and repellant. the second you mention you're a top notch national MTG player they will ask to go to the bathroom and never come back. Magic the Gathering is NOT COOL, nor any of your really nerdy activities.

Now all bets are off if you find a nerdy girl. I strongly suggest never even trying for the hotties and look only for nerdy girls. Librarians tend to be nerdy and incredibly sexually creative. Honestly a HOT CHICK is not worth the pain of their upkeep, and maintenance.

Find a nerdy chick that is a bit of a sex freak and you got a incredible relationship.

Re:You cant teach tact. (2, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418115)

Honestly a HOT CHICK is not worth the pain of their upkeep, and maintenance.

You forgot to mention that most nerds don't make enough money to afford the maintenance of keeping a hot chick ;)

Re:You cant teach tact. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418211)

If they do make that much money they are by definition not nerds since money is the penultimate aphrodisiac.

Re:You cant teach tact. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418439)

What's the last one, then?

Re:You cant teach tact. (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418243)

Speak for yourself, dude.

Re:You cant teach tact. (1)

biscuitlover (1306893) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418193)

a HOT CHICK is not worth the pain of their upkeep, and maintenance.

Whatever credibility you may have had at the start of your post was lost when you made dating a hot chick sound like running your own linux server.

Re:You cant teach tact. (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418539)

You mean IIS server.

My Linux server's cost me exactly $0, and not all that much work on getting it going, either. ;)

(Using parts lying around FTW.)

Re:You cant teach tact. (1)

ozamosi (615254) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418669)

Yeah, totally not the same: I can pretty much ignore my linux servers for weeks, and they still keep serving my every request.

Re:You cant teach tact. (3, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418273)

Many of the "nerds" I know are not socially inept because of lack of training. It's because they have a disorder or disease

ProTip: Nerds are not that way because most, or even because a majority, have assburgers syndrome. They just don't care. They've convinced themselves they are above the rest of the world with their little societal rules. There is no disease or disorder, they're just stupid.

As a corollary, having Asperger's syndrome is not cool. It's not a badge of honour. It's not something to be proud of. If you are, you don't have it.

Re:You cant teach tact. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418477)

mod parent troll. the clue is the nasty deliberate mis-spelling there.

asp is about peeps hatin cause you're sorta smart but not the right type of smart to outmaneuver them politically in their clique.

Re:You cant teach tact. (2, Insightful)

nieske (998571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418453)

Wrong! You can definitely teach tact. Your points 1-4 can all be improved. Point 5 is more difficult: if you're willing to give up your "nerdy" hobbies, sure, more chicks might like you, but I'd say that's way too much of a sacrifice. However, if you work on points 1-4, you'll definitely do better in the dating world!

Also, not all "hot chicks" are as superficial as you're implying :)

Re:You cant teach tact. (1)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418487)

Librarians tend to be nerdy and incredibly sexually creative.

Which of your porn flicks did you discover that from again?

Re:You cant teach tact. (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418529)

Nothing you said counters the idea that a person could improve their social skills through study! Personally, I believe it is possible... to a degree. 99% of people, nerds or otherwise, do not and never will have that "it" factor that makes people swarm to them. But improvement is possible.

Re:You cant teach tact. (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418563)

I knew my wife was the right one when (while engaged) she was scored tickets to a Weird Al concert, an was singing along to the songs during the concert...

You can't teach self-esteem (5, Interesting)

Loundry (4143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418565)

The reason why nerds have that weird behavior is because they can get away with it. This is because they essentially have nothing to lose, and the capital that I'm referring to here is acceptance and validation by his peers. Since he knows he would never "get anywhere" with them anyway, he has no incentive to have the hygiene or tact that you mention.

If his self-esteem is even lower, then he claims those "outsider" social trappings (emo/goth) as part of his identity. This is a way for outsiders to gain companionship, but, inside, many of them want out.

The only way for an individual to gain self-esteem is to earn it. It can't be given to him by teachers who hand out "Good Job!" stickers to all students regardless of effort. An individual has to meet people, make friends, take chances, stand up for himself, refuse to be abused, be positive, and be funny. If he's rewarded for that behavior with more friends, then he gains self-esteem.

High school teaches us nerds all the wrong things about human interaction. Being punished for our choices drives us farther into seclusion and "nerdy" behavior.

Teaching "social skills" won't fix anything. Instead, send people to therapy and help them find ways to rebuild their destroyed self-esteem. Telling a nerd, "Bathe every once in a while!" is not going to do him any good if, inside, he says to himself: "I'm not worth the effort."

My self-esteem was destroyed when I was 12. It took me until I was 34 to earn it back.

Re:You can't teach self-esteem -- addendum (4, Interesting)

Loundry (4143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418633)

At very bottom rung of the self-esteem ladder is furries. No matter who you are or what you are into, you will be accepted into a furry community. It's a great big love-fest over there. It's no surprise that there are so many gay guys and nerdy guys among furries: both of them have traditionally had their self-esteem utterly ruined by the time they graduate high school. The furry community provides them with a perfect escape from the hell world they've grown up in -- this escape is a fantasy world where everyone loves them.

Re:You cant teach tact. (1)

ForShizzle (1365021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418567)

Actually, it doesn't matter how you dress or how 'nerdy' you come off so long as you have one thing on your side: Confidence. Women respond to a confident man more than anything else. If you believe you can have her, you probably can. The instant you start doubting yourself is the first sign that you don't stand a chance.

Re:You cant teach tact. (5, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418571)

Add to the list - work out.

Seriously, people underestimate the importance of looking buff. In undergrad, I was a skinny guy (I used to play in a metal band, which was considered cool by some chicks, but I was still skinny).

Somewhere after grad school, I discovered the gym and sports that I enjoyed (rock climbing, for one). And once I started bulking up, I was amazed at the attention that women give you. To all the geeks out there -- buff up. Stop eating junk, eat healthy, work out regularly, run, get good abs and build some muscle.

You'd be amazed at how much better your chances are. Especially in summer.

Re:You cant teach tact. (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418601)

>It's because they have a disorder or disease.

In other words self-diagnoses Assburgers eh? Get off it. Im sure there are many people with real asperger's but the self-diagnosed WoW addicts arent them. Most nerds I know just have big fucking egos, hate all established social customs, hate anything mainstream, etc. They marginalize themselves just like any rebellious type or hipster. Most of us outgrow it though, but it takes a few years of real world humbling to do the job. Suddenly, the idea of showering daily, cracking a smile or a joke, and not speaking strictly in quoted lines from movies makes a lot of sense.

Adult ADD and tact. (0, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418681)

One of the lesser mentioned symptoms of adult ADD is the propensity to speak out improperly (otherwise known as a lack of tact).

ADD also tends to drive creativity and the capacity to make obtuse connections. This is generally what makes a nerd a nerd.

Get the right ADD medication and some paxil.

Re:You cant teach tact. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418713)

I disagree with the "no pick up lines". It's been my experience that a well placed pick up line will elicit, at the very least, a laugh, which means you have their attention, which leads to conversation, etc. A pick up line has to be followed up well in order for it to be effective.

Re:You cant teach tact. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418789)

I agree find a nerdy girl. But do not underestimate the hygiene factor.
Being a "diamond in the rough" is not as much of a draw back as guys think.
And it is really amazing to watch someone whose "at one" with their passion.

Ease entry? (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418117)

"According to Reuters, Potsdam University in Germany is now teaching social skills as part of their IT courses. This is intended to 'ease entry into the world of work'. The 440 students enrolled in the master's degree course will learn how to write flirtatious text messages and emails, impress people at parties and cope with rejection(s)."
Sounds like a good way to get fired especially if they aren't teaching appropriate context, etc. By sterotype (which would be how this seems to have come about) nerds would have more difficulty with understanding appropriate context than figuring out a good template for a romantic message.
My college called a course with similar goals: Public speaking and it worked just fine. Although we probably could have done with a second course.

Good Thing (1)

zwekiel (1445761) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418219)

It's a good thing that this class doesn't perpetuate any stereotypes about those involved in computer science.

Seriously, not every person involved in the field of computers is a huge nerd in need of social skills classes, and I would say that the majority aren't actually how they are depicted here.

Really folks? (0)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418271)

You have to be taught to take a bath, speak clearly and coherently and say please and thank you? Really, you have to be taught this stuff?

What's next? You have to be taught you have to have money in the bank to buy something?

Re:Really folks? (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418401)

Yeah, whatever happened to that thing called "parenting?"

Yes, you do need to be taught to interact w/others (4, Insightful)

dwheeler (321049) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418767)

Have you been around kids?!? My experience (YMMV) is that yes, kids DO have to be taught to take a bath, speak clearly, and say please/thank you. It's hard for parents to get them to do that, and many of today's parents don't bother (perhaps because they incorrectly think that all kids will figure it out without being taught). The result is kids who are absolutely not ready for "real life". Forget the flirting; a class in the "basics of living in a society" (to raise your social IQ) is a really, really useful course. Stuff like bathing, having a brief conversation with someone you don't know, etc. Historically, the people who were getting ready to lead society went to finishing schools, took etiquette classes, etc. Some of it was bunk, but the basic idea that you need TRAINING to be able to work in a society is true enough. Self-taught can work, if you work at it... but too many people don't realize it's something that needs to be learned.

In Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age", a key part of the book was "A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer". Being able to work with others - instead of offending them before you meet them - is a good idea.

Learning Center in FWB, Florida (4, Interesting)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418291)

As children (4th thru 6th grade) my wife and I attended a once-a-week school for the gifted in Okaloosa County, Florida (think Destin-area) as the gifted program. Not only was it like college, where you signed up for classes in things like Chemistry, Children's Theatre, or Visual Arts - but they had an amazing class called "Looking Good". Dr. Christensen taught one class for girls, and one for boys on etiquette, dating, ballroom dancing, hygiene, etc. At the end of the year, they held a dance at which the two classes would interact. I have to say it left a huge impression on me over the years - and I feel my life, particularly in social situations, was greatly enriched by her program and teaching.

Workplace sexual harrassment course? (1)

nieske (998571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418339)

So in order to "ease entry into the world of work", they'll "learn how to write flirtatious text messages and emails"? Hm. Reeks of a sexual harrassment course to me :) Seriously though: I love this idea. I don't oppose the idea that you can be perfectly happy in your own antisocial world, but still you can't deny the fact that you need some amount of social skills for your career, especially now that the job market is tightening up. A recruiter that has to choose between two guys with pretty much the same amount of computer skills, will definitely choose the one that acts friendlier and looks less scruffy.

Social Skills are absolutely necessary.... (1)

Faizdog (243703) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418493)

and sometimes (but rarely) sufficient for success in life.

I've seen many technically competent individuals who do not know how to interact, collaborate, and navigate the murky waters of office and societal politics. While their individual work may be good, they do not succeed in their career for various reasons. They do not know how to convince people of the value of their ideas and how to integrate those ideas into larger projects. They cannot maintain relationships with coworkers and bosses. Not sucking up, but perceiving what others need, and assisting them, or doing things as the boss wants to make his/her life easier.

In social situations as well, even beyond the romantic, no man is an island; we are social creatures. Just hanging around with friends, or doing fun activities (even geeky ones like playing games, etc.) is enjoyable and makes life worth living.

Rarely do people just succeed based on social skills, often there is something of value there that those skills complement. But it is nearly impossible to achieve success (defined as either career growth, happiness from good friends and significant others, money, etc.) without some degree of social awareness and aptitude.

Ease entry into the world of work? (0, Troll)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418577)

They will learn how to "write flirtatious text messages and emails" and this is supposed to help them enter the world of work? Now I might not be the biggest social guy around, but even I know that writing flirtatious e-mails at work isn't going to help you out. In fact, it's likely to get you fired. Especially if they are directed at your co-workers. (And, no, I don't know about this from experience. In my single days, I made it a rule never to "dip my pen in the company ink." Not that I ever had the opportunity mind you...)

US HR practices (3, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418607)

Some of the posts here seem to be unwittingly revealing just how religious right fundamentalist a lot of US HR practice can be. The cultural gap is staggering. One US company I worked for in the 90s had a policy that nobody in a plant was allowed to have a "relationship" with anyone else. Husbands and wives in the same company were found jobs at different locations...imagine their shock on discovering that in Japan co-workers were actively encouraged to marry, and that US HR policies could not cross the Pacific.

Surely the point of the training is that some nerds don't know the point at which ordinary human interaction becomes harassment, and because of this either fail to communicate or get into trouble. I didn't know this and then ended up in what was nearly a single sex university (Cambridge at the end of the 60s) - it took several years in the world of work to recover.

It's also worth pointing out that when nerds do get married, which they usually do, it often turns out very well. Low divorce rates, successful children. The application of intelligence to human relationships is not a bad idea.

Course available online? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418641)

For those of us who won't leave their parents' basement.

wtf (1)

jabjoe (1042100) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418657)

Oh come on! You don't join this courses to learn how to flirt. Time spent studying this is time not spent studying IT, the thing you are there to study. It will piss off both people who don't have social problems and those 100% focused on IT, both extremes! What if you gay? Is this 100% hetro? Is this just a way of not having to teach so much IT so you can get by with staff who know less? This is broken in sooo many ways.

You've got it backwards. (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418699)

This will be about as good for them as "Change Your Underwear, Change Your Life," and similar self-help books. Most of what people call "social skills" problems really boils down to self-esteem. I've been to more than a few support groups, talked to a lot of people about their childhood and adolescent learning experiences, coached people on interviewing skills... I don't have a degree as a therapist, but at least in my social circle I'm the go-to girl (for better and for worse!). That said, don't take what I have to say as the gospel -- it's just my own point of view.

First, there's nothing wrong with so-called "nerds", "geeks", or many other classes of people that are bright, insightful, but often shy and hard to approach. They are rarely rude, they don't insult people, they respect another's boundaries if told directly. About the only thing "wrong" with them is that they miss subtlety and sometimes lack tact. Frankly, there's a lot more wrong with people who consider themselves to have "great social skills" than those who don't -- those people are often manipulative, petty, morally underdeveloped, and often destroy group harmony to further their own ambitions. For the girls, I have two words: Queen bee. Guys who have these "great social skills" are often egotistical, inconsiderate, etc. My friends call it the "napoleon complex", after a certain short guy in history who had a real problem with the word "no."

I guess what I'm saying to the people who think their social skills have the suck... Stop beating yourself up. Contary to popular belief, none of us start out equal. And throughout life we never become equal. Trying to move towards normality is like trying to... Well, it's like the Kobashi Maru, you just can't win. So stop trying. Normal doesn't even exist. If you want these mythical social skills--Go someplace where you think there are others like you (or others who you'd like to be like if your self-concept isn't that developed) and listen to them. Watch, learn, interact. What movies do they watch? What phrases do they say? What little gestures do they make? Reason out what it all means and then practice it on your friends and anyone else you can. And don't judge yourself for awhile -- just go out and try things for a bit. The judging part everyone else will do for you (*trust me on this*), so focus on doing it instead of reviewing it. This isn't a question to be answered, but one to be lived. Someday you will find yourself experiencing the answer.

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