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  1. #1
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Default How do you tell if someone is N or S?

    I know this has been addressed before in various threads in various ways, but it's something that still puzzles me.

    The Intuitive/Sensor split tends to be that which I doubt most about typing other people (though I don't overall have great faith in my ability to type others.) This can be the case even with someone I've known a very long time. A lot of people aren't interested in MBTI and even if they've tested or self-typed, I often don't find that very definitive or reliable (and often they don't either.)

    For instance, I had concluded that one of my friends was either ISFP or ISTP...she then took an online test and got INTJ. I asked her if she thought it was accurate and she said yes, in some ways at least, but she thought that she'd also answered some questions in terms of what she wanted to be, not what she actually was. (I could particularly see that as her scientist father is a probable INTJ.) She laughs at me for over-analyzing...I just don't see how she could be INTJ.

    I really haven't got a clue how so many people do the sort of "So I was at a bar, and this INTP guy I'd never seen before hit on me." You'd never seen him before and don't know him - how do you know he's INTP?!

    Anyway...I find other preferences easier to discern, I think, but N vs S can be very difficult, except perhaps when someone is quite extreme. (For instance, my flatmate doesn't seem to have the slightest interest in or inclination toward any type of abstract thought, or at least discussion; I'd have a very hard time seeing her as an N type for that reason, among others.)

    I'm not asking for a definitive "this is how you tell" directive. I'd just like to know how you all personally determine the difference, to the best of your ability. (I really don't buy the sort of "the eyes have it" approaches, but if that's how you do it, I'd be interested to know anyway!)
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  2. #2
    Junior Member Hildur's Avatar
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    You'd need some kind of catalyst question, some rather complex/conceptual idea. If their eyes glaze over, they are S people... Or if they ask how the hell you plan to make that happen (ok, if the idea is stupid then even N people will ask that question...).

    Sometimes my (ISTP) husband comes up with really elaborate plans, and I immediately get an ulcer because I can see that he really only thought of a random number of details which in fact are in conflict with each other and/or he is missing a lot of pieces to make a complete solution... It's usually not a problem, because he rarely gets his projects in motion. But his plans often bring me a certain amount of fear/angst (for a while).
    Anyway, if people describe their plans by listing a number of details and you (N) can tell that the sum won't hold up - they're probably S people as well... (or just plain stupid... ah, tricky...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hildur View Post
    You'd need some kind of catalyst question, some rather complex/conceptual idea. If their eyes glaze over, they are S people... Or if they ask how the hell you plan to make that happen (ok, if the idea is stupid then even N people will ask that question...).

    Sometimes my (ISTP) husband comes up with really elaborate plans, and I immediately get an ulcer because I can see that he really only thought of a random number of details which in fact are in conflict with each other and/or he is missing a lot of pieces to make a complete solution... It's usually not a problem, because he rarely gets his projects in motion. But his plans often bring me a certain amount of fear/angst (for a while).
    Anyway, if people describe their plans by listing a number of details and you (N) can tell that the sum won't hold up - they're probably S people as well... (or just plain stupid... ah, tricky...)
    or your just really bad at explaining or asking the question

    Only the bold applies to me and 99% of the people I know trust my half ass plans because(using a quote I got from a waiter that cracked me up)..."I can make things happen"...lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    ...For instance, I had concluded that one of my friends was either ISFP or ISTP...she then took an online test and got INTJ. I asked her if she thought it was accurate and she said yes, in some ways at least, but she thought that she'd also answered some questions in terms of what she wanted to be, not what she actually was. (I could particularly see that as her scientist father is a probable INTJ.) She laughs at me for over-analyzing...I just don't see how she could be INTJ.
    Doesnt the bold alone make her an N. Its all based on the future...speaking stereotypically...dont want Ns to think I am shallow enough to think that thats all that matters and propogate this S is stupid stereotype
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  5. #5
    mod love baby... Lady_X's Avatar
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    i totally do read the eyes i think! haha it's not intentional...so...well maybe i don't...maybe it's just absorbed empathetically...i don't know but there's a sense of this train of thought that exists slightly above reality...like a different vibration... and you're either in tune with it or you're not.

    i think...like any of the functions...the extremes are easy to spot...the balanced ones are not. i know two people...a couple...one is either infj/isfj the other is either istj/intj they both seem really balanced on n/s.

    there's just a difference...i think you can feel it...my mom is an infj...totally n....could never be any less n haha but...j/p is sorta balanced...you can just feel it.
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  6. #6
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by _Poki_ View Post
    Doesnt the bold alone make her an N. Its all based on the future
    I wouldn't think that's necessarily so. N types may be more future-inclined, but anyone somewhat self-aware probably has ideas about where they may consider themselves lacking, what qualities they'd like to gain that they don't have, etc.

    I know that S types are perhaps more inclined to live in the moment, but I don't think that determines S vs N. I remember taking MBTI or something similar when I was much younger, and whatever result I got (perhaps INTJ?), I remember that I didn't agree with it. I specifically remember why - I had answered at least some questions in terms of what I admired, not in terms of what I WAS. (You could admire something you aren't or don't have.) I think this can be partly the problem with these tests.

    In the case of this girl, she also talks a lot about living in the moment and not dwelling on the past - not so N, I wouldn't think. Plus the fact that she laughs at me for overanalysis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I wouldn't think that's necessarily so. N types may be more future-inclined, but anyone somewhat self-aware probably has ideas about where they may consider themselves lacking, what qualities they'd like to gain that they don't have, etc.

    I know that S types are perhaps more inclined to live in the moment, but I don't think that determines S vs N. I remember taking MBTI or something similar when I was much younger, and whatever result I got (perhaps INTJ?), I remember that I didn't agree with it. I specifically remember why - I had answered at least some questions in terms of what I admired, not in terms of what I WAS. (You could admire something you aren't or don't have.) I think this can be partly the problem with these tests.

    In the case of this girl, she also talks a lot about living in the moment and not dwelling on the past - not so N, I wouldn't think.
    My initial thought when you said they answered based on what they want to be actually made me think J. The future part made me think a combination of J and N. I know alot of ISxJs who are future based because they are goal driven and goals are future based.

    Dont listen to what she talks about...that may still be who she wants to be. Listen and look at what she does...who she is. Ask her why she wants to live in the moment and find out her reasons. ISxxs will be quite a bit more physically oriented then INxxs
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  8. #8
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Initiate a 30 minute conversation about typology and be sure to include no practical application to "real life" in what you talk about.

    70% of S's can be ascertained right there because they'll have either changed the subject well before the half-hour is up, or if they endure you, from the distracted / pained / annoyed / bored or glazed-out look they will give you.

    @_Poki_: you may be part of the 30% that need further scrutiny.
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  9. #9
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by _Poki_ View Post

    Dont listen to what she talks about...that may still be who she wants to be. Listen and look at what she does...who she is. Ask her why she wants to live in the moment and find out her reasons. ISxxs will be quite a bit more physically oriented then INxxs
    She's an artist, she loves going out dancing... She's said that in most cases, rather than sitting around talking, she'd rather go out and do stuff with her friends. (I think I'm one of the exceptions, ha. We had some good convos over a glass [or bottle!] of wine.) It's stuff like that too... None of it is definitive with most people, that's the thing.
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  10. #10
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    Initiate a 30 minute conversation about typology and be sure to include no practical application to "real life" in what you talk about.

    70% of S's can be ascertained right there because they'll have either changed the subject well before the half-hour is up, or if they endure you, from the distracted / pained / annoyed / bored or glazed-out look they will you.

    @_Poki_: you may be part of the 30% that need further scrutiny.
    This might be the best answer yet... Seriously.

    I think sometimes the assumption is made that ANY interest in the abstract is an indication of an N type. I know for a fact that I have had many good abstract conversations with S types (not necessarily THE BEST ones...but good ones.) Yes, I think it would tend to be the case that an S type would sooner or later - probably sooner - want to get to the practical applicability of abstract concepts. In more extreme examples they might be completely uninterested in abstract concepts.

    It is surely hardest to tell if someone is reasonably "balanced." My close or good friends know how abstract and tangential I tend to be, but a lot of people who know me a bit less describe me as quite practical and down-to-earth.
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