I feel like there are some misconceptions of 8w9's. First I will present my thoughts, then I ask for your perspective.
1. They look scary
Most of the 8w9's I've met (at least under the age of 20) have been the least scary people I've met. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they're the kinds of people who people would often mistake kindness for weakness. One kid I used to know in the military, either 8w9 or 9w8, would say "I refuse to fight back" and people would just pick on him constantly and he would just put up with it. We felt sorry for him and at the same time were frustrated and would tell him, "dude... kick the guy in the nuts... do SOMETHING." In this respect he's very very stubborn. Its hard to say if he's 9w8 or 8w9. Another guy I knew, people would say "He's the dumbest f***ing person I've ever met." He was an ISTP 8w9, very jolly and incredibly nice (almost too nice) but as time went by his smile started to turn upside down.
I myself have had people tell me to stand up for myself, when my response to that is, "I don't even know when I'm being attacked!" or "Its exhausting to have to keep my guard up constantly!"
In high school I used to be the same way. I didn't want to fight, and I wanted non-violence. But over the years I started to realize that not everyone appeals to the golden rule and I've had to take measures to defend myself. One, by taking tae kwon do so I could physically defend myself, and two, by becoming a gymnast to get stronger and more physically capable than anyone in high school so I could defeat any of the "breakdancers" and conquer the competitive realm.
With that being said, I think the idea that most 8w9's are walking clones of clint eastwood and charles bronson is bollocks. (I'd even be willing to argue that clint eastwood is a 5). I think some of these guys who said "I refuse to fight" feel as if its not a big deal because they can tolerate the pain and don't actually care (whether that's true or not, 9 neglect? ).
In the military there was a saying, "watch out for the quiet ones." The reason being, their capabilities are often overlooked.
2. More powerful than 8w7's
This might be because 8w7's are more prone to openly bragging etc, and more on the offensive than 8w9's. The 7 wing brings about an energetic outgoing people orientation which also makes them more energetic, and as head types, more aware of their internal needs. Since they talk more, their strengths and weaknesses may be more visible than an 8w9. But in my personal experience, I've yet to meet an 8w7 who people mess with. I think the 9 wing creates an unawareness of their emotions moreso than the 7 wing, which makes it more explosive and bottled up, which can make them look scarier because its higher in magnitude but less in consistency.
3. Unintelligent, incapable of intellectualism, animalistic brutes
This is simply a misconception that pretense denotes intelligence. For example, someone who says a simpleton phrase like, "I like blue" or "I like you" with no real context, is not necessarily unintelligent... they're just unaware of the context of their own words in a situation or how it makes them look. For example, when I walk into a rec center unshaven with dirt on my face wearing a russian fussy hat and a wrinkled nylon button up shirt with rolled up sleeves, and I say "Where can I find a place to sleep?" They're going to think I'm a hobo and give me 2 free passes to the rec center for showers. (true story, lol).
I've debated the idea that I am a 7 wing because of my love for adventure, "intellectual capacity" and "head energy" as many have pointed out. However I have traits that are unmistakably 9 at my core, such as my ability to meld with dates' personalities to judge if they're worth being with or not. (this causes a lot of 2 week long relationships with no physical intimacy and an appearance of being "extremely judgemental"). My INTJ mother once tactfully reminded me, "yeah you're kinda slow" despite what people on the internet think of me, lol.
4. Being nice makes you an 8w9
Again this is something I think both types can be, however what specifically makes a 9 wing a 9 wing, is the internal force field inside their psyche that deflects any sort of introspection. For example, to me, when I try to think about why I do something, it feels like I'm just sorta diving into a dark nebula and everything is very vague and hard to piece together and I just get lost the harder I think about it, so I often depend on others to tell me what's emotionally best for me because I legitimately don't know for myself (and then I get pissed off when people tell me what's best for me and its not). I find E9's are incredibly hard to type because they never know how to answer any of the questions you ask them about themselves. This is what makes a 9 wing, while I believe a 7 wing is marked primarily by a complete awareness of the self which makes for a completely assertive personality. In a nutshell, I know what I want, and I hate it when people try to stop me, but if you ask me what I want in life, I'll have difficulty telling you, I just know. And my life often feels like a spacial field of gravity wells, where as I drift through space, people try to suck me toward them to join their agenda, when I need to keep on track with my own (E9 melding with other people).
One person on another website, when comparing me to someone else said, "Joe [8w7] feels like a tree, while DJ Arendee feels like a hollow tree with very thick walls." Just a point of view I felt was rather interesting.
5. Dignified appearance
This, I've experienced first hand. On the daily basis I'm just a kid looking to make jokes etc. I'm not very serious, and no one takes me seriously either, and I used to not expect them to.
However, when I teach, or counsel others... suddenly people start respecting me. After quieting a hysterical woman I had several people say, "I underestimated you..." However these teacher/loving/kindness/counsellor moments are few and far between. Until those happen, I'm in boredom central.
I believe the path toward appearing big and powerful is something the 8w9 learns how to do slowly over time based on experience (or very quickly if they're raised in a hostile environment).
So that's all I got, what are your thoughts? Anything to add?
edit: Something I'd like to add, I don't know how it is with other 8w9 instinctual variants, but one description I read said that the Sx/So searches for their soul mate. Once this happens it becomes "us vs the world." The 8w9 Sx/So allows their soul mate into their psychological void, or empty space.
To me it feels like this:
I am the robot that often times remains slow and clumsy until the warlock comes in and uses its psychic power to energize me. Its hard to explain, but I find some NFJ's know how to "power me on" so to speak and I feel what many ESTP's can identify with, feeling "socially indestructible" and I start to feel unstoppable. Though I suspect that could also just be an ESTP thing specifically. Though this could also be a self esteem issue as well. The 8w9 must have high self esteem to be regarded highly by others, and its often readily apparent?