About once a month I see a Google query from someone wanting to know how to tell if an engineer loves them. Google, for reasons best known to Google, directs them to my post  How to Argue With an Engineer. I don’t know if this is always the same person but their answer is a perfect lead for Valentine’s day.

Before I even attempt to answer this question, I’ll ask the reader to be very sure this is what they want. As my wife could tell you, living with an engineer is not always easy. Over the years she’s learned how to interpret my moods and actions but there are still a number of quirks that make no sense to her. On reflection, it’s easy to see she loves me, she still tries to understand me.

Engineers come in all personality types. Some are even very comfortable expressing emotion. For this response, I’m limited to personal experience. Read my Engineer’s Perspective post, if this sounds like your engineer we’re good to go.

One last warning, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t really know what love is. If I were to write an algorithm for an artificial intelligence program, it would go something like this:

If sum of all desirable_qualities  >  love_threshold
then love = TRUE

Desirable_qualities would be all the qualities I found attractive. For example, in my wife’s case some of the qualities were  red hair, strong personality and intelligent. Each one would have a maximum value and would be scored on how closely she came to the ideal. Notice that I am saying love is either TRUE or FALSE. While there are different degrees and different types of love, the fidelity of my algorithm only covers waking up one day and realizing you’re in love.

This is how an engineer thinks, are you really sure about this?

OK, we’ve established that you really want this and that reading this post might be of value to you. If you look at what sets engineers apart it comes down to a few main traits that you can use as guidelines.

Social ineptitude – At first this seems like a very clumsy tool to judge a relationship. If he’s my kind of engineer, we already know he’s socially inept. The key here is to see if he makes any effort to improve. I took singing lessons, I had my wife teach me to dance (part of my overall campaign to win her over), I even mingled with strangers. I understood that these were important to my wife so I made the effort to improve my abilities.

Problem Solving – An engineer can no more pass up a problem than a toon can ignore “Shave and a Haircut” (Who Framed Roger Rabbit). We’re defined by the problems we solve. The one exception is emotional problems, we are abysmally poor at those.

A word of caution here,  an engineer often will try to provide a solution to your problems even if he doesn’t care about you, he’s drawn to the problem. Don’t mistake that for love.

If the engineer spends time with you, takes the time to get to know your interests and then offers you solutions involving him, you know you have his interest. In true engineering fashion he’s preening in front of you and using his engineering ability to impress you.

An automatic reflex to avoid emotional situations – Take him to a movie you find emotional. As you start feeling emotional, watch his reaction. If he moves away from you or gives an embarrassed laugh, your relationship is not where you want. If he notices your emotions and holds your hand or gives you a hug, rest assured there’s hope for the relationship.


I hope this helps and everything works out for you and your engineer. We engineers need all the help we can get.

Update 11/25/2013: If you’ve read this far and still think you’re interested in an engineer, please read A Caution On Considering An Engineer As a Companion.


© 2013 – 2019, Byron Seastrunk. All rights reserved.