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  1. #1
    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    Default Musings on NT/NF disagreements

    Ok, so this is a PM I wrote to berberella and amargith after a recent disagreement that we had on that "Does penis size matter?" thread.

    It got me to thinking about the ways NTs and NFs communicate with each other and what might be done to improve this process between us/avoid some common T vs. F misunderstandings. (I imagine we're worse off than SF vs. ST, because Ns in general are much worse about imagining things that aren't there, especially when upset.)

    Here is an NT's perspective on this issue, speaking primarily to to NFs...but I invite anyone with relevant input to share his/her ideas here.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Speaking candidly, often NT/NF disagreements are the result of speaking different languages and neither of us being as fluent in one language as in the other.

    When one of these disagreements occurs, the T response is more like "Ugh, that's logically inconsistent, and therefore kind of annoying." It's not, "OH MAN I AM SO PASSIONATELY UPSET ABOUT THIS!" We simply don't have the same range of emotional depth as you--our highs are not as high and our lows are not as low.

    Unfortunately, we tend to use the same wordings to describe this that you guys use to describe serious emotional responses, and the fact is we simply don't interpret tone/phrasings the same way at all.

    Of course, neither of us is right when it comes to what the "correct" way of interpreting such words is--again, just a function of different languages and interpretations.

    But I would like to point out that I've never seen an NT insist that he knows an NF's thoughts better than the NF does, especially after being corrected to the contrary, and yet I see NFs insist that they know my own feelings better than I do far more often than any other temperament.

    I really don't know why this is--the best reason I can come up with is that some NFs are so ingrained in Fi dominance that they simply don't believe that NTs could possibly be less emotional than they are, and they love to dream up elaborate stories of how it's so obvious that we're clearly extremely upset and in denial about it.

    Often, even if the disagreement was pretty small in the first place and the NT isn't really upset, the NF may actually exacerbate the issue by making the NT genuinely upset, simply by repeatedly insisting that s/he knows the NT's feelings better than the NT does. "You're clearly extremely upset" can become a self-fulfilling prophecy even when the NT was not really upset in the first place.

    Ironically, this is coming from the temperament that's supposed to be strongest at understanding how others feel--when an NF openly declares that I'm wrong about my own feelings, I hardly know how to respond, and it's frankly shocking to me that someone with such strong Fi would fail to understand why such behavior is counterproductive.

    We argue for sport because that's how we learn--through trial and error. We aren't convinced of something until we've run it through rigorous logical tests, including arguing it out with people--try to remember that for Thinkers, argument is NOT automatically a sign of emotional distress. It's one of our favorite forms of communication/learning.

    Nobody likes to be told what he thinks or feels, and I'm sure you, as someone with a gift for understanding other viewpoints, can see how infuriating/totally inappropriate that is.
    If you could be anything you want, I bet you'd be disappointed--am I right?

  2. #2
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    I would love it if there were an entire book -- no -- entire library of resources on NT/NF communication. I don't often see NT's IRL working to improve communication with NF's, so bonus points for you, in my book!

    I look forward to reading this thread and other people's thoughts. Here's to better communication.
    I-71%, N-80%, F-74%, P-96%

  3. #3
    That chalkboard guy Matthew_Z's Avatar
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    I honestly can't relate to the OP. Of all the NFs I've met and argued with, the only one to say they knew my feelings better than I did was my therapist. (INFJ)
    If a deaf INFP falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

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    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Well, one thing NTs do to me, is that they exaggerate their emotions if they express them at all, which causes me to become more worried than I really should. They freak me out and make me think, "Wow, they had a really strong reaction to that," and then later I realize they didn't have a strong reaction and just expressed their feelings in an exaggerated manner.

    They either do this, or they downplay their emotions all the time and unconsciously expect me to pick up on what they're feeling despite their failure to express it (and the ones that do this will either vehemently deny it or get really freaked out and start avoiding me if I point it out). If I just avoid the issue, their frustration/tension builds until they find a reason to project their emotions onto me.

    NTs are okay at expressing the type of emotion they feel, but they really suck at expressing their emotion at the level they actually feel it.

  5. #5
    That chalkboard guy Matthew_Z's Avatar
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    It always seemed more logically consistent to not want your emotions known by the other person whilst you're not expressing them. In general, if I want you to pick up on my emotions, I would have expressed them.
    If a deaf INFP falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

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    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew_Z View Post
    It always seemed more logically consistent to not want your emotions known by the other person whilst you're not expressing them. In general, if I want you to pick up on my emotions, I would have expressed them.
    I agree. I prefer the ones that express their emotions rather than making me guess, even if they exaggerate badly. But not all NTs are like this... some of them just don't want to deal with their emotions and go around projecting them onto everyone else. It can be messy.

  7. #7
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Well, one thing NTs do to me, is that they exaggerate their emotions if they express them at all, which causes me to become more worried than I really should. They freak me out and make me think, "Wow, they had a really strong reaction to that," and then later I realize they didn't have a strong reaction and just expressed their feelings in an exaggerated manner.

    They either do this, or they downplay their emotions all the time and unconsciously expect me to pick up on what they're feeling despite their failure to express it (and the ones that do this will either vehemently deny it or get really freaked out and start avoiding me if I point it out).

    NTs are okay at expressing the type of emotion they feel, but they really suck at expressing their emotion at the level they actually feel it.
    It's very binary. If we're mad, we're pissed. If we're happy, we're elated. If we're embarrassed, we're mortified. If we're scared, we're terrified. If we're uneasy, we're panicked. If we're appreciative, we're indebted. If we're in love, we're head over heels.

    And even then, those don't mean the same things, most likely.

  8. #8
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    I dont think this is about NT-NF communication only. But more about the FP/TP and FJ/TJ communication. I know I'm not making it clear to you the connection of how I came to that conclusion but what I can tell you is that the STJ's that I've become friends with have done this sort of investigation on me and constant questioning that I don't feel so well because I do this and that and blablabla.... infact they do it so frequent so I actually get upset, and then they say "aha! I knew it" (kinda feeling good about themselves). I see similar patterns with TP/FP. I don't think FJ do that thing at all actually, you must be mistaken. There's no way out of this pattern other then to burst out in genuine rage, that's when they understand that enough is enough and they got to see that there is emotions in you, cause they actually will never stop until then and you loose your face (loose control of yourself).
    The Fi is a tireless function that needs to be shown the boundaries, enough is enough.

  9. #9
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    I think you can describe your personal view of this, but I'm not sure you should yet claim you have a handle on the NT view on it for the rest of us.

    But I would like to point out that I've never seen an NT insist that he knows an NF's thoughts better than the NF does, especially after being corrected to the contrary, and yet I see NFs insist that they know my own feelings better than I do far more often than any other temperament.
    I totally disagree, because I don't think you've perceived the correct nuance here.

    How we usually do this is to tell the NF that they're stupid and that we're smart, because we "understand the situation better" than they do and their values are inferior to our logic in terms of "truly understanding" it. Your recent argument and the others I typically see involve around trying to show the NF why the NT logic on how to frame the argument is actually the "best" frame, and their approach is irrelevant/inferior.

    So the comparison is this:
    NFs often insist they have a handle on what values are operating behind the NT's behavior.
    NTs often insist that they have a handle on what logic is operating behind the NF's behavior.

    The problem is being trapped in one's own frame of reference and having an marked inability to step into the other person's shoes and view it from their frame, insisting instead that one's frame of reference is "most valid" across the board.

    So here's another question, when you claim you're not "really upset."
    How do you know that the NF is "really upset?"
    Maybe they're really only as upset as you are, they just show it differently.

    I can identify what you've said, when I've dealt with F people and things have soured. Yes, often I just feel "annoyed" even if I sound snippy -- it's basically anger but with detachment, which reduces it to "annoyance" -- and the focus on feelings and telling me what I might or might not be feeling is what pulls me in so that I can't detach myself and then I start taking it personally.

    Ironically, this is coming from the temperament that's supposed to be strongest at understanding how others feel--when an NF openly declares that I'm wrong about my own feelings, I hardly know how to respond, and it's frankly shocking to me that someone with such strong Fi would fail to understand why such behavior is counterproductive.
    Do you know what surprises me? That NTs with supposedly strong Ti would fail to understand why their behavior is counterproductive in getting an F (or whomever else) to think in the same fashion they do. Been there, tried that, doesn't work... nor necessarily should it. These conversations are far more productive when both sides listen and flex and empathize (via both a feeling capacity AND an intellectual capacity).

    I don't think young NTs really understand yet, due to lack of social experience, how some of their comments that they view as impersonal, are heavily laden with social, emotional, and personal implication even if they're unaware of it (or aware but dismissive), and that this can actually impact both T and F people alike. Face it, a lot of people read things personally, not detached. If everyone is of "equal value," then detachment is no better than attachment, so again it's going to have to flex if it plans to integrate well into community.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  10. #10
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Thank you, Jen, this was also what I was trying to communicate to SW before. Here is part of the PM that lead to his response:



    "For what it's worth, I never read into your emotions, as I have learned, partially on this forum, not to do that or at least voice what I've seen. I noticed the aggrevation about not being serious enough about the topic, and granted, I did comment on that, although I doubt I referred to it as aggrevation. Not sure though if I came off as intuiting your emotions, I sincerely hope not. I try to ask questions before I do that, and even then I watch out. Though it is something that comes naturally to us, and it might have slipped by me.

    I get that your main interest was the logical inconsistency. I personally didn't share your priorities on that, I admit. And I still maintain that you should watch out with using T on people and their 'motivations'. Because, I dunno if you are aware of this, but it is the same as what you are asking us not to do. And often, even though it seems logical to you that others would think/act or whatever like that, it's not. People, especially our breed, aren't logical, meaning our motivations are often not what you would suspect. And yes, unfortunately, you doing that activates our Fi (you're secondguessing our integrity), like we activate your Ti when we tell you how you are feeling atm that you tell us something that shows up on our BS radar. "


    I would like to add this:

    Note: this is written from personal experience and observation and mostly applies to the NFP-NTP dynamic. It would be interesting to see if our J-siblings have the same issues. Also, NFPs or NTPs that have different experiences than what I've listed here, please feel free to add and explain what was different for you

    Part of the reason we probably think you're more upset than you are is not only the strong language, but also the fact that your words have an effect on us. So in addition to sensing your aggrevation or irritation, our own irritation comes on top of that, as we're invested in the topic. So we 'mirror' that back to you, making the situation escalate. It's pretty much a vicious cycle, unfortunately, as you will find us more erratic and try to guess what it is in fact that we're hiding/not saying since our story appears to have logical gaps and we from our end wonder why you leap to such conclusions that even if we tell you aren't true, you clearly don't want to let go. That in turn makes us believe that maybe your emotions are a bigger deal than you're willing to admit and there's something else going on as well. Potentially something you're not even aware of yourself. Which you then vehemently deny and we don't believe as that in turn doesn't make sense to us. And thus, it never ends.

    This is especially true because when used in the proper way and the proper field, T can indeed be very insightful in filling in the gaps in reasoning of someone who isn't as adept at it. And, whether you want to believe it or not, F can do the same when talking about emotional stuff. The reason why it is for me sometimes so hard to believe that you don't have anything else emotionally playing in the background, is because I've been proven right in many cases, often several weeks after the person vehemently denies any such a thing when they confess that I was in fact right. But this was when it concerned in fact the emotions of a T person as a topic since my own didn't become the trigger then or didn't magnify it. And it's tempting to generalize that usage and trust that feeling of your BS-radar.

    And I've found the same to be true for T's who intuit my logic. I sometimes need time to mull it over, as I just don't process those things as quickly as you guys. So try and use that gift of yours on the turf where it belongs, and we F's should try the same. Or just suggest that maybe..this is what's going on? At the same time, don't take it badly when an F suggests to you that maybe you're unaware that this emotion might be influencing you and at least take a closer look at yourself before you dismiss it, even if it means mulling it over. And we from our side should as well suggest instead of claim to know. We should also allow for the other person to deny it and respect that answer and back off. And they in turn should not get defensive about us backing off, giving them the benefit of the doubt but keeping in mind that we might be right. One last thing I've found paramount in avoiding this kind of conflict is *ask questions*, preferably non judgemental or leading ones, but open ones, to verify your hunch and do so with an open mind and the humility that maybe..maybe you did read it wrongly or the other person is just having trouble expressing themselves and genuinly didn't mean what you interpreted. Not easy...I know, but it can all save us a lot of wasted time and head aches


    Edit: SW, I also wanted to add that although for you it may be counterproductive that someone calls you on your feelings, many others actually ask an NF to do this. Granted, this usually doesnt happen in the heat of argument or in public, so that *would* add to being counterproductive, but NFs do get asked to do this, as it can help the person asking this to understand themselves better. I for my part rant at my SO for the same reason: so he can point out any logical inconsistencies which I am missing. And he will ask me to help him sort out conflicting feelings in turn, or things that bug him. It can be helpful to grow as an individual to receive this kind of feedback
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