In understanding some of the most basic characteristics of the engineer, I offer this story:

My wife dropped our son off at a friend’s house one day. We had never met the parents, and after sending our son to the back yard where the friends were gathering, my wife returned and informed me that she still had not met the parents. They were there. The mother was inside getting things ready for a birthday party, and the dad was out front, standing off to the side, under a tree, and making no attempt to meet or greet the parents of the arriving kids. My wife said she kind of waved and tried to say, “Hi,” but the dad just stood there, saying nothing and doing nothing in this forced social setting. I then explained what was going on, for I recognized the signs. The dad of that family was undoubtedly an engineer.

He could not have been a lawyer, unlikely a doctor, definitely not a rodeo clown. His social skills were simply not developed. While not all engineers are like this, most definitely have an aversion to meeting new people, especially ones that may want to talk.

And although my wife was skeptical at my detective skills, when I picked up my son a few hours later, I confirmed that the dad was indeed an engineer.