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  1. #1
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Default Questioning people's motives

    This thread http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...l-trouble.html has spurred me to think again about some of the situations that appear on the forum regarding advice threads.

    I feel like this is a good thread because this a very concrete, specific, and somewhat contained situation in which I get a chance to see how much people really question people's motives. This thread isn't about that other thread, but I would like to use it as a starting point.

    I hear so often that people on this forum question the motives of other's but when offered a situation that is ripe for motive speculation but is encased in a feel-good triumphant candy shell, those that do question are called negative. This happens to me regularly in real life, which is why I very much contain this type of talk to two people who I know won't think I'm a negative Nancy and to the forum where the stakes are pretty low and have nothing to do with my real life.

    When you question someone else's motives (or your own for that matter), does that automatically translate into thinking the other person is lying or being deceptive? IOW, that one word people like to throw around so much here: WHY?!?!?!

    I feel like that's just part of being aware of a person or a situation in 360° and seeing it from as many angles as possible. It's like to even wonder about someone's self-interest, personal agenda, or stake in a situation gets everyone upset. This makes people untouchable and that's really dangerous. Just because you have a self-interest or personal agenda does not automatically make you the second coming of Machiavelli. I feel like by asking people what their stake aids communication, openness, and transparency as in "how can I get what I want and how can you get what you want so we'll both be happy."

    My experience has shown me speculating about why someone may be doing something for their own self-interest or shining light into the shadowy places of human behavior causes people to be very uneasy. I have some reasons as to why this is so but I'd like to hear some opinions first.
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  2. #2
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    Its in the tone which is hard to tell online. I do it all the time to people jokingly. I dont ever go very far with it and since it is jokingly I dont keep bringing it up or explain or go into any detail. There are times where I seriously bring up motives and these times are very obvious. From experience this is better done one on one because in a group setting they get uneasy when you nail the motive on the head, with me in a one-on-one I am so laid back that they know I am not gonna make a big deal about it or get upset.

  3. #3
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    What a good question.

    Yes, we deceive ourselves all the time and as well we harbour illusions.

    But then we entrench our self deception and illusions by identifying with them and defending them as we defend ourselves.

    So how can we distance ourselves from our self deceptions and illusions?

    Well it is much easier to see self deception and illusion in others. And seeing them in others may lead us to suspect them in ourselves.

    So first of all we project our self deceptions and illusions into someone else. In this way it is a bit like looking into a mirror. And all we need is the insight to see that we are looking at ourselves.

    At first it is quite a shock to see yourself for the first time, and know it is yourself. But after a while you develop a taste for self discovery and make a meal of it.

    Bon appétit.

  4. #4
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    This may not be what you are looking for, but here is my $.02.

    I tend to question people's motives much more in real life, than I do on the internet. When I question a person's motives it is not that I necessarily think they are up to no good. Rather I want to know what makes the person tick and how they communicate their thoughts. So when I'm interacting with someone in real life I listen to what they say and then look at how they act and try to see how those two things fit together (assuming they do fit together). After that I usually find that the person either a) has their actions fit their speech (most typical of TPs), b) communicates differently than me but has their actions fit their speech once I figure out their communication style, or c) they are full of crap. I also try to discern what the person's motivation is, because I've found (for basically everyone) that a person's motivation is a much better predictor of their behavior than their speech. (I also want to add that I very rarely am trying to figure out if this is a good/bad person, because I'm a xxTP and have no need to label people as such. I just want to predict what their behavior will be.)

    The reason I usually tend to take a post on the internet at face value is that I can't observe the person's behavior, so I have little choice but to accept what they are telling me.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member LostInNerSpace's Avatar
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    I think people's incompatibilities cause friction. One of my roommates is an ENFP. I've had a dog as a roommate before, he belonged to another roommate. The experience is comparable. Not relevant to what I'm about to say.

    When we argue about something he will make up some completely random shit. I know it's shit but he presents it in such a fashion that what he said is plausible and it's usuaully about something I don't know enough about to immediately shoot down. That offends my sense of symmetry annoys the ebee jeebees out of me. I've seen that over and over again here, but in a slightly different form.

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    half mystic, half skeksis jenocyde's Avatar
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    This is a great question protean. I've always wondered why people are so reluctant to say that something matters to them, even if they are simultaneously thinking of someone else's welfare. Everything everyone does is rooted in self interest to some degree, in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    The reason I usually tend to take a post on the internet at face value is that I can't observe the person's behavior, so I have little choice but to accept what they are telling me.
    +1 to your whole post, especially this.


    Quote Originally Posted by LostInNerSpace View Post
    I think people's incompatibilities cause friction. One of my roommates is an ENFP. I've had a dog as a roommate before, he belonged to another roommate. The experience is comparable. Not relevant to what I'm about to say.

    When we argue about something he will make up some completely random shit. I know it's shit but he presents it in such a fashion that what he said is plausible and it's usuaully about something I don't know enough about to immediately shoot down. That offends my sense of symmetry annoys the ebee jeebees out of me. I've seen that over and over again here, but in a slightly different form.
    I don't know how this post is relevant or why you chose to write something similar in my blog, but I really can't for the life of me imagine what is so wrong about dogs...?

  7. #7
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    You've given me something to think about Protean, but for now I'll just answer the question.

    First, in the case of the "candy coated shell", if they are happy, why can't we just let them be happy? Because we learn more by questioning? Not necessarily. It can be done to close your mind from greater truths just as easily as it can be done to explore the shadows.

    I didn't question the motives of the author in the marriage thread. Why? I had more to learn from accepting the story at face value than to assume otherwise. We all know of the cheating man and the delusional wife. We've heard that story 100 times. Of course it's a possibility! To explore that motivation is simply to once again call upon a well known and tired cliche. It was much more interesting to take the story at face value and explore the ramifications of that to me. By doing that, I learned something new.

    Sometimes we spend so much time exploring shadows we miss what's in the sun.

  8. #8
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    My experience has shown me speculating about why someone may be doing something for their own self-interest or shining light into the shadowy places of human behavior causes people to be very uneasy. I have some reasons as to why this is so but I'd like to hear some opinions first.
    My impression is that people online are generally inclined to question motives, but that specific article resonated with an autonomous ideal. I share some of your skepticism about the article and would be interested to read a parallel article written by each family member including the children.
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  9. #9
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I do think that ENFJs tend to be motive questioners generally. I know my mother certainly is and she often is correct in her assessments, whether they are stated or not. This makes people feel very exposed and defensive. This has happened in two churches we were in. She also has been very influential in creating schooling options within our province because there was no questioning of the negative new things being introduced in the main system.

    She is extremely warm, respectful, friendly, positive, supportive and hard-working in school and church environments, but she doesn't just accept whatever comes down the pipes without thinking about it first. People interpret this as being negative, even if what they are accepting without thought is actually very hurtful to some individuals within the organization, or in conflict with the beliefs that the organization espouses.

    The type of people that do question motives, tend to be look down the road types, seeing where that could lead. They also are vocal because they cannot in good conscience not be (even if they don't want to say it, they have to) while others are not willing to take the fall or stand up and be counted.

    Her and I share some similarities, although we go about things in a much different way. I may see the same things, but try to quietly exert force from the inside and speak to people one on one. I think she is quicker at reading other people's intentions. Sometimes though she needs to pick which times are worth trying to say something. I do not speak up enough. She probably tends towards too much.

    She is not at all what I would call meddlesome, but when there have been things going on in my brother's family that were going to impact the kids very negatively in the longterm, she felt compelled to speak up. Even when she doesn't speak, both my brother and sister have attributed certain thoughts or judgements to her. As a result of their frustrations at home (where they have a heavy load to carry and very weak partner to share the load) and because she has had the courage to both give the most (superhuman amounts of time, effort, love, money etc) and also speak the most (my dad is quite a passive ISTJ), she has also received very undeserved flack and unloading from them.

  10. #10
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I think Toonia's right as well - the jury really isn't in on whether or not the way this lady handled things was effective in the long run and we haven't heard what other members of the family have to say. I would have been reluctant, had I been her, to write something before another 20 years had gone by, or at least I would have written it less prescriptively.

    However, I think it had some merit in that it is a very unconventional way of handling that problem. I think it was useful to hear how an experiment such as that seems to have worked out so far. Although in the short term it was very damaging, perhaps in the long term it saved their happiness. Alternatively, in another 20 years, she may feel that she only prolonged the inevitable.

    What people need to be careful about doing, however, is assuming that their situation is the same as hers. It's like one person who has taken a previously untested drug and has had good results in the short term. There needs to be a wider sample population, with more variants and long term testing before the results are truly valid. At the same time, if someone came up with what appeared to be a cure for cancer and tried it on the first person, don't you think there would be millions of people who want to believe that is the cure and who might volunteer to take the risk regardless? If there's a likelihood they'd die anyway and this offers even the slightest chance of living, it would be worth any negative side effects and the possibility of failure to try it.

    This is not just a feel good story, because even if they continue on in their marriage, trust has been severely shaken. It appeals to people though because 1) They want to feel that it is possible to redeem even the worst marriage, particularly if they're going through/have gone through that 2) They can't themselves imagine having what it took to do what she did 3) There are children in the mix and anyone who's been through that has felt the negative effects that it's had on their kids. By questioning the motives within it, people feel that you are also shooting down those hopes that they hold dear. Therefore they respond much more negatively that one might expect.

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