DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: So, before I say anything on the topic of The Grimes Test, I must say I’m not against the idea itself. It’s accurate in every regard. The problem is in how I personally sit beside it.
I’m an extreme introvert – if you can be more introverted than me you’ll be held in a mental asylum. Right now I’m not in my best shape, neither physical nor mental. And, quite frankly, I feel stunted in my ability to have any social interactions that fulfill me. Needless to say, I hate myself and my family for everything.
I feel that the problem is mostly in them. They are themselves a bunch of losers. I don’t say that without pain in my heart but I feel it this way.
And now, about the Grimes test. I saw many people who benefit from “passing it”… but I don’t feel I’ll ever be among them. I’m interested in screenwriting and I’m good at it but I don’t think that will make any difference. I know what you’re thinking – “that means you have an emotional intelligence, yada yada yada…” but I will still object.
I can’t write comedy for example. People only want to laugh, something I’d never make them do. I’ve seen people who are extremely successful just because they have a great sense of humour and are quite open. I’m the extreme opposite of that and I’ll never have it. It’s just my nature.
Honestly, there’s a lot more to say but I’ll leave it here. TL;DR: I can’t be socially successful because of my nature and I feel miserable because of it.
Thank you for listening,
Slime Kaiju Wannabe
DEAR SLIME KAIJU WANNABE: It’s been a while since I last brought up The Grimes Test, so this is actually a good time for a quick refresher.
The Grimes Test is a thought exercise originally inspired by NerdLove Mod Emeritus Gentleman Johnny, and goes like this:
Grimes is a 50′ tall monster made out of toxic waste and slime. He’s pretty cute as far as kaiju go, he’s got a cheery disposition, a good job and a place of his own, but he doesn’t have much of a life outside of work. He’s never hit a woman, he’s never sent pictures of his junk to anyone who didn’t want to see it (not that he has much to speak of), he’s never creeped on anyone, never stalked them or harassed them. He’s incredibly respectful of people’s boundaries and never trashes a city without its consent.
So with all that in mind: what do you have going for you that Grimes doesn’t, that would make a woman want to date you instead of Grimes?
(Also, you can get Grimes merch at the NerdLove Academy store. Just sayin’.)
The point of the Grimes Test is fairly simple: Grimes represents the baseline standard… the average nice guy, as it were. But being attractive to others means having more going for you than just “being nice”. So what do you bring to the table that would make you a catch?
Now, to get back to your question TSKW, I think that you — like a lot of folks — have forgotten something incredibly important: it’s that you aren’t carved in stone. You aren’t a statue, nor are you a fictional character who’s limits are dictated by the nature of fiction. You are a living, breathing human being, which means that you always, always have the capacity to grow, change and, critically, improve. If you feel like you don’t bring anything to the table right now… well, it’s within your capacity to cultivate those things. You have agency, you have control and “you” as a concept are a continual work in progress. There is no point where you can’t learn new skills, acquire new interests or otherwise better your situation.
You’ve made some pretty sweeping statements, man, ones that are so far off the mark that they don’t even qualify as being wrong. You can’t write comedy… ok, and? Comedy isn’t the only genre of the dramatic arts out there; there’s a reason why the two masks of drama are comedy and tragedy. Histories, thrillers, coming of age stories… those are all viable and valued narratives that people adore. Movies like August Rush aren’t comedies, nor are movies like Adaptation or Synecdoche, New York. Neither is The Last Castle, Stand By Me, Any Given Sunday, Hoosiers, 3 Days of the Condor, Thief… I could go on and on. Similarly, the whole “people only want to laugh” is false on its face. While yes, people do want to laugh, that not the only emotion people experience, nor is it the only emotion they want to feel when they go to the movies. If that were the case, people would never have gone to see Kids or Welcome to the Dollhouse. But by that same token, “…something I will never do” is a statement so broad and incorrect that the only way it could happen is if you work at it.
You have the capacity to be funny, my dude. You have the capability to write things that make people smile, laugh or say “awwww”. Declaring that you never will be able to requires that either you choose to cut off that part of your personal growth, or that you have clairvoyance to put Nostradamus to shame.
(And if that’s the case, I’d appreciate the numbers for the Powerball before end of business, Wednesday, thanks.)
However, to do any of that… well, first you gotta take care of yourself. And quite frankly, you’re kind of a mess. Leaving aside the rather radical misunderstanding of what an introvert is — trust me, people aren’t getting 5150’d for being exhausted by social interaction — you sound rather profoundly depressed. And I don’t mean that in the sense of “you have the blues”; I mean that in the sense of “your serotonin uptake seems to be having problems.” What you describe is the sort of thing that you should be talking to a therapist about, not a loudmouth with an advice column. After all, Dr. NerdLove is not a real doctor, he’s a dating coach, and what you need is a trained mental health professional to help you unpick this knot of resentment with your family as well as your self-image.
Here’s the thing: depression lies. Depression tells you that nothing can change, that nothing can get better and how you feel right now is how you will feel for the rest of your life. And I am here from the future to tell you that this is bulls--t. I have been there, I have done that and I have the medical history to back it up. The fact that you feel this way right now — that you may have felt this way for a long time — doesn’t mean anything about what you’re capable of. It just means that in this particular moment in time, you have the voice of depression whispering in your ear. But that can change.
However, for that to change, you have to make the choice to change. Not “will yourself to not be depressed” but to decide that you don’t like how you feel, that you want things to be different and to start taking the steps that will empower you to feel differently. Talking to a counselor is one such step. So too is asking a psychiatrist whether an antidepressant would be right for you, if something like cognitive behavioral therapy might work better, or a combination of medicine and therapy. And while neither (or both) are magic bullets that will instantly transform you, taking those steps is a reminder that yes, you have agency. Yes, you have control over your future. No, your future isn’t written in stone, it’s written in pencil, and you can erase it and write a better one.
You feel like s--t now. You feel like you can never be socially successful now. But feels aren’t reals, my dude. This is just a snapshot of this particular place and time. If you want a different future — one where you can be happy — then it’s on you to decide that you’re ready. And I’m not gonna lie: it’s a choice you have to make every day. But again, I have been in this hole before and I know the way out. So do yourself and your future self a favor: go talk to a counselor.
Your future self will thank you.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org