7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Date a Reader

Reading is sexy, as Rory Gilmore and a million tee shirt designs will attest. Celebrities regularly have photo shoots that “catch” them reading a classic novel to make them look even more attractive. A couple of years ago, “hot girl books” was trending on BookTok and beyond. Pop culture can’t seem to decide if the nerdy, thick-rimmed glasses, stereotypical librarian look is irredeemably uncool or undeniably alluring.

It’s no surprise, then, that even non-readers can find the mention of bookishness on a dating profile to be a green flag. Here is someone who reads. They must be thoughtful, intelligent, focused. They’ll probably ask you insightful questions and actually remember your answers.

And sure, readers have a lot of positive qualities. While there is a wide variety of readers out there, I feel confident that we are — on the whole — a clever and compassionate bunch. Reading nonfiction teaches you more about the world, and reading fiction teaches you about what it’s like to experience life from a different perspective.

That being said, there are plenty of downsides to dating readers, too, and I think it’s time we’re upfront about them. Before you swipe right on a reader, heed these warnings.

1) We’ll hold you captive talking about the book we’re reading.

A sacred duty of being a reader’s partner is listening to them vent or praise the books we’re reading. If we think we can convince you to read it, expect to sit through a lengthy sales pitch. If you’re a lost cause, don’t think you’ve escaped: we will recount to you in minute detail every plot point of the novel we’re reading and every weird fact from the nonfiction book we’re in the middle of. If listening to the synopsis of an endless list of books you have no interest in reading sounds like torture to you, swipe left.

2) We’ll keep you up at night reading.

Dating someone who stays up all night with their nose in a book might sound cute — until you’re trying to sleep with the light on because your partner just has to finish those last five chapters. This is even worse if you date an emotive reader, who is going to be giggling and kicking their feet at their latest romantasy read when you’re trying to get some shut-eye. If you decide it’s worth it to date a night-time reader, invest in a good sleep mask and gift them a reading light.

3) We’ll spend the grocery money on books.

Not every reader is an obsessive book buyer, but let’s face it, many of us are. For the non-reader, the cost of a reading lifestyle comes with some serious sticker shock. Fast readers can burn through a $30 hardcover in a matter of days — and that’s not to mention the mandatory stockpile of books we buy intending to read them someday in the future. Make sure your reader has a library card, but you’ll also have to accept that books are going to have a permanent line on the budget.

4) Our book collections will take over every inch of space.

The problem isn’t just the money spent on books: it’s a well-known fact that books multiply to fill any space. Expect to have stacks and/or shelves of books in every room. Books stacked on the stairs are not just acceptable, but can even be ✨aesthetic✨. If you live with a book lover, expect to be in a constant battle with books for space. New bookshelves can buy you some time, but they will always fill up. Good luck carving out enough space to move around: it’s the books’ home now. (Oh, and speaking of moving, thoughts and prayers for when you have to move that book collection.)

5) We will sneak off at social gatherings to read.

It’s true, readers are usually introverts. When you do drag us out to social occasions — bars, family reunions, birthday parties — there’s a good chance we will find an opportunity to sneak off into the corner to read instead. You may think your reader partner is just scrolling through their phone while in a group, but they’ve secretly got an ereader app open! Everyone knows that reading in social situations is a heinous faux pas, unlike scrolling Instagram.

6) We will get second-hand emotions from what we’re reading.

Spending time inside other people’s heads comes with risks, and one is that you can easily pick up a fictional character’s bad mood. Not only will you have to deal with us in a funk because our favorite character died, but you’ll also have to keep track of which of our emotions are our own and which have been absorbed from the narrator in our current read.

7) We will always put books first.

There will be a time when dating a reader that you have to reckon with the reality that they will prioritize books over you. If we have to choose between books and you…well, books will always be our first love. It’s best if you accept where you fall in this hierarchy early, to avoid any uncomfortable misunderstandings.


Personally, I still think dating readers is worth the risk, but keep these warnings in mind before you commit. For a counterargument, here are 7 Reasons Why You Should Date a Reader.

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