How to date an intellectual man: 15 key things to know

These days it’s popular to say you’re a sapiosexual: somebody who is attracted to intelligence.

But if you’re going out with a brainiac guy there are some things you need to know.

He’s not like other men you may have dated before: his heart and mind works differently.

Here’s how to decode his romantic Rubik’s cube! Don’t worry, this is all going to work out…

How to date an intellectual man: 15 key things to know

1) Choose your topics wisely

When you’re out on a date with a smart guy it can be intimidating. I totally get that, since I’m a smart guy.

At least in some things!

On dates I get bored easily, I drift from small talk and I admit that I judge quickly if a girl is not interested in much and only talks about very basic topics or the weather.

Call me judgmental: it’s true.

If you want to know how to date an intellectual man, you need to be prepared to take at least some interest in things which inspire him.

He should certainly be prepared to care about your passions too, but you’re not going to score a second date if you sit down and talk about your love of the Kardashians for an hour.

Looking up the latest titles on Oprah’s book club and quizzing him is also going to fall short. Try going a little deeper than that.

Google Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Nietzsche, Neils Bohr or a summary of the French Revolution. I’m sure that will provide some unique fodder for conversation.

Tailor it to whatever he’s into, but never fake it. Just look up something that he loves that also interests you.

As Deanna Sletten advises:

“Ask him about books he’s read recently, the most interesting place he’s ever visited or why he chose his career field.

“Share with him a few topics that interest you to see if you have any interests in common.”

Sletten says it’s good to stay away from political or religious topics, but I disagree.

An intellectual guy will love talking about these and it will give you a great insight into who he really is and what he values.

2) Don’t overdo your makeup and style choices

It’s great when a woman goes all out and does her makeup perfectly, donning an exquisite outfit and doing her hair in a bewitching way.

But if you overdo this too much, an intellectual guy can often get the wrong idea about you and see you as “basic.”

The irony is that in making this kind of snap judgment he’s obviously not being very intelligent, but here’s the thing.

As people who often had (and maybe still have) trouble fitting into the crowd, intellectual men have had to learn how to make quick calls about who someone is so they don’t waste their time.

If you outwardly conform to the kind of people he sees as not being “his crowd” then he may write you off before you even get a chance.

Dress sexy and do your makeup, for sure, but try to tone it down a little when possible.

3) Be honest with him and don’t toy with his emotions

Intellectual guys can sometimes be naive about attraction and relationships, but they don’t like to be toyed with any more than the next guy.

Do your best to avoid things which could be easily misinterpreted such as delaying answering messages for a long time, being overly vague with him and so on.

Even if you’re not trying to play games, he may take this the wrong way and decide you’re not really that into him.

But rather than chase you, an intellectual guy is likely to quickly give up on you if you seem hot and cold, because he’s already had enough romantic mismatches in his life.

He’s going to be interested in you if you’re a step above the rest, not just another one of the disappointments.

“If they feel like they’re being toyed with, jerked around, or subjected to rules they don’t understand, they’ll just walk away,” notes Jessica Wildfire.

“They have lives. They have things they care about.

“And even more importantly, they know they don’t have to put up with bullshit.”

4) Let him know you’re smart, but don’t be a cyborg

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All of us are smart in various ways, and an intellectual guy likes to see your smart side.

But he’s not looking for a cyborg (and if he is that’s a whole other issue…)

The point is, that it’s good to show him you’ve got a few neurons firing around in your head, but you don’t want to try to rattle off a Ph. D. level monologue on the stock market or ancient Greek philosophy before he’s even had time to order dinner or take his shoes off after work.

An intellectual man is often looking deeply for love, but is in a tricky balancing act.

On the one hand, he wants someone who appreciates his intelligence and passion for various topics.

But on the other hand, he’s exhausted of people only coming to him for intellectual reasons and he craves the kind of emotional connection and romance that he may have often felt is out of reach for him.

That’s why you should let him know you’re smart while also trying to.

5) Focus on connecting with him emotionally

That’s right…focus on connecting with him emotionally. Yes, show him you care about the consumer price index and the future of AI.

But also tease him about his shirt and give him an affectionate stroke on the arm.

This kind of amorous attention will be pure gold to him.

Combined with topics he’s into while also showing that you see him in a romantic way is catnip for an intelligent man.

He simply can’t resist.

Dating coach Bobbi Palmer knows what it’s all about here:

“Smart men want to hear about your successful career and want to know that you can keep up, even surpass them, intellectually.

“But men deal with the alpha-side of women all day long.

“At home, they want a lover, not a colleague. If this man is going to drive home anxious to see you again, you don’t just want to stimulate his mind; you want to stimulate his spirit. (And, yah, I know what you’re thinking…he’s looking for stimulation there too.)”


6) Be interesting

I know that telling you to be interesting is like saying “be pretty.”

How the hell are you supposed to “be interesting” other than being who you are?

My suggestion here is to imagine you’re in his place:

You’re a successful software engineer, a professor, a writer or a cultural theorist who’s meeting a woman for a date.

You don’t expect a miracle, but you’d love it if she has a mind and personality of her own.

If you start reading off the talking points from CNN or talking about how frustrating it is to call the bank on the toll-free number, there’s a good chance his patience will rapidly run out.

So when I say be interesting I don’t mean that you have to babble a mile a minute and fill his ears.

Just pick subjects and conversations that actually mean something.

He’ll definitely notice.

Like Tina Fey notes, far too many women act boring around an intellectual guy.

This quickly saps any interest he might have in you.

7) Go slowly with him, romance isn’t easy for him!

Intellectual men were often the “nerds” in high school and may have struggled with female attention.

If you want to date him you have to respect that he’s not always the most confident on the romantic side.

Don’t judge him for misunderstanding certain situations or cues – such as when you want him to make a move on you.

Romance isn’t easy for an intellectual guy.

It can also be hard for his ego, since he may have excelled at many other things but been demoralized to find that love was a much different – and more difficult – puzzle.

“An intelligent man usually has a self-image of being smarter than pretty much everyone else around him and he’s usually right,” writes relationship expert Dan Bacon.

“Yet, maintaining a self-image of being smarter than everyone else and having it all figured out can actually turn out to be a disadvantage to him, especially when it comes to women.

“So, if you are a highly intelligent man who is pretty much right about everything in life, but you’re struggling with women, what you need to understand is that it’s okay to be a beginner at something.”

8) Make friends with his friends

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An intellectual man understands that not everyone is into his own unique world or social circle.

But he’ll absolutely love if you make an effort to be interested in getting to know his friends, his hangouts and his hobbies.

Is he a Dungeons and Dragons fiend? Give it a try even if you never have before.

If his friend Dan has a weird lisp that makes you shudder inside, try to have some patience anyway.

These are his friends and people he cares about!

If he’s smart then you can be sure there are things about these folks that he appreciates and finds admirable…

Which means if you put in the effort and get to know them you’ll also realize that he’s got a pretty cool crowd of brain bros.

9) Let him have his space (and his spotlight)

Intellectual men need their space.

Think of their head as a brewery: but instead of producing delicious and crisp beer that goes perfectly with fish ‘n chips, their head produces beautiful, startling, inspiring ideas.

They make the world go around with their beautiful minds.

And if you’ve nabbed yourself a guy with a beautiful mind and a beautiful body then nobody can blame you for wanting to hold on tight.

But remember to give him his space and let him brew that idea wine.

He’s got so much going on upstairs that he needs space – and sometimes needs the spotlight – so that he can percolate and celebrate his great insights.

As Azad Chaiwala observes:

“If you have been seeing an intellectual person, give him some space. Let him praise himself and present the world according to his perspective in front of you.

“You can enjoy his company once you get to know his preferences.”

10) Learn to live with his sometimes incredibly stupid behavior

Intellectual guys can be really stupid.

I sometimes forget I’m wearing my glasses because I have them on, or try to pay twice in the grocery store.

I’m so absent-minded that my nickname in minor league hockey was Mr. Forgetful.

It’s really hard being this smart, folks.

And for the women who take a chance on intellectual guys, it’s really hard sometimes to watch them do incredibly stupid things.

This can include on the personal level where you may see women try to manipulate him with garish behavior and watch scammers betray his good trust.

Intellectual does not equal street-smart, let’s put it that way.

Many mechanics have gotten rich off a university professor who’s too busy contemplating the foundations of democratic principles to pay attention to how he just got scalped on the price of a radiator.

11) Never fake or misrepresent who you are to him

One thing you should never do is fake or misrepresent who you are.

If you want to know how to date an intellectual man then be the smartest version of yourself.

Don’t pretend to be into Mayan archaeology just because he is.

Don’t fake a resume full of experience in transnational geopolitical analysis because you know he works at a think tank.

Be yourself fully and admit what you don’t know.

Intellectual guys love to teach a willing student and share their wisdom, especially if they’re attracted to you.

Trying to be something you’re not, however, will make him feel led on and bust up the budding connection you have.

12) Be patient when he loses track of time or is late for dates

When you’re full of ideas, you’re not always paying attention to the clock.

Try to be patient with an intellectual guy being absent-minded and losing track of time.

This can lead to a lot of late dates, disorganization and other issues, but be assured it’s never intentional.

He’s just being his brainy self and forgetting that the world’s still spinning.

I love how Sonya Schwartz puts this:

“It can also help to understand that the idea of time is sometimes at odds with a clever guy’s want to learn which is why they can get so carried away to the point that they forget to look at a clock.

“They won’t have an idea of whether they have been reading a book or newspaper for five minutes of five hours.”

13) Encourage him to expand his social life

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When it comes to how to date an intellectual man you should do your best to encourage him to expand his social life.

He may already have a roaring social life with peers.

But if he doesn’t he’ll appreciate you dragging him out of his comfort zone now and then to get to know new people.

Maybe you can even teach him how to do the samba on Saturday night.

A genius doing samba with you on the dancefloor, sounds pretty good right?

14) Don’t take his pickiness personally

Intellectual guys can sometimes be judgmental or picky when it comes to potential mates.

Don’t take this personally.

He’s just trying to find someone he’s attracted to but who also stimulates his romantic and sexual side.

It can be easy to feel he’s deemed you “unworthy” or boring if he loses interest, but if you’re sapiosexual and want a smart guy don’t worry:

There are plenty out there.

They can just be hard to find because they spend so much time in Smart Guy Land or on their computer.

15) Practice your listening skills

Last and definitely not least, if you want to know how to date an intellectual man, practice your listening skills.

Smart men usually love to talk and explain about their passions.

You can be that woman he loves who sits and laps it all up.

As Sarah Mayfield says:

“It is, however, vital that you present yourself as a good listener when dealing with an intelligent person.

“This is because a guy who is considered smart or enlightened will most likely have a lot to say on specific issues.”

Creating smart connections

There’s no one-size-fits all approach to love.

You can read endless guides, stories and analyses, but in the end real life is always going to be unique, confusing and intense!

The road to create and find the true love and intimacy that you deserve is never easy or simple.

What I can assure you is that creating smart connections is always worth it.

Dating a man with more under the cerebral hood is a rewarding experience that actually merits your energy and attention.

Good luck out there!

Paul Brian

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on and visit his website at

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