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  1. #1
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    Default how could/would you cheer up an INTP?

    Hi, I'm new here and pretty intrigued by all the posts & threads. Have noticed a good number of INTPs here - in reality, I don't seem to meet many INTPs (or ENTPs for that matter... anyone knows how rare each type is?) - so... I'd like some of your thoughts: My twin is an INTP, and she gets into a blue funk periodically, which I find tough to draw her out from.

    I think (all personal thoughts here, correct me if I'm off) one of the main traits of an INTP is this highly critical nature, which they internalise - sort of like a critical, harping parent within themselves. It is often mistaken for arrogance by others / being cold. But I think others fail to understand that they're the toughest on themselves, and have difficulty letting go. But it is something I have difficulty explaining to other family members/friends, and when they compare us (somehow people always compare twins), it only makes things worse. I've then to stifle the urge to be brighter to in a sense, compensate/help her hide via distracting others. If you picture a mad bunny flapping like crazy and a moody elf morosely poking the bunny, that'd be about us at those times.

    So... for the others out there who live closely with INTPs.. how do you get them out of their shells/cheer them up when they are down. And for INTPs here. What'd make you smile / help you take things more easily? Insights welcome...

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    ...for INTPs here. What'd make you smile / help you take things more easily? Insights welcome...
    Some basic suggestions:
    1. Just leave us alone. (Honestly, don't actively TRY to push/pull us out of our shell. It's annoying most of the time...) Give liberal space and alone time.
    2. Accept us for who/what we are, without judging our motives poorly. I think you really do understand, when you described how harshly INTPs judge themselves, even when they are seemingly critical of others. Just imagine -- that Ti function is blunted in the external world because it is filtered through Ne usually... but inside there is no grace. There is only cold evaluation of oneself as an object; did I meet the standard or did I not? There are no illusions, in general. It is HARD to deal with... and having others judge us when we meant no harm only adds to the pain.
    3. Don't try to cheer us up purposefully when we're upset or angry. If you're doing it on purpose, just to cheer us up, we can tell... and become irked. the best way to cheer us up is to start discussing a new idea or an old one you know we love and have lots of ideas about. Or doing something fun like joke-telling. Get us out of internal mode and into Ne mode, which is a positive-laced/hopeful function.
    4. Let us know the door is open if we want to engage or hang around; otherwise don't pull/push. Let us hang around and read a book or something while others talk, and perhaps something will interest us and we will ease up enough to engage.
      5. Did I mention books/libraries/BorderS?


    Perhaps that doesn't apply to everyone but seems typical for the average INTP.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I don't know INTP's that well... but the ones I've spoken to seem to respond well if you just ask them what's bothering them, and they try to offer ideas about how to deal with it, and help them find an interpretation/solution that will work for them. It can take a while though, because they have a lot of unconscious rules that you have to find, chart, and work within. Eventually you'll find a way to either dispel some of those rules (which is rare), or else redefine their problem such that they look at it in a different way, and solve it themselves. In any case, if you probe long enough, you usually get to the root of their problem. It's usually something they could see on their own eventually, but their internal structure makes them somewhat less aware of normally. Does that make sense? That worked well enough with at least one INTP I knew.

    Although I admit that I'm probably more focused on helping them look at their situation/problem than making them happy... with INTP's, I actually tend to worry if they make too many jokes or seem too happy... I think it can mean in some cases that there's something wrong inside. A little bit of external coldness/withdrawn behavior is usually no cause for concern in an introverted type, especially an INTP.

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    ...Although I admit that I'm probably more focused on helping them look at their situation/problem than making them happy...
    In general, focusing on content (=thoughts) rather than fluff (=emotions, which fluctuate) is better. I don't believe emotions are fluff now, but it took a long time to get to the stage where I treated them as part of myself. Young INTPs tend to think emotions are inconsequential and hate it when people make them the focus.

    Still, less on problem-solving, more focus on brain-storming. If someone is trying too hard to solve my problems for me, I feel controlled and I want them to lighten up.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #5
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    Thanks, both.

    Given I'm also an NT, I doubt I focus on feeling that much, so I think I'd be a dreadful failure at "oh dear... how do you feel about it..".

    Right now, I kind of drag everyone out of the house when she's in one of those moods, or suggest a walk on the beach, basically, some quiet activity. But it creates a fair bit of tension in the house, which stresses the family somewhat. They see it as her being selfish/venting on them, but I know it is not that.

    I don't think I misunderstand her as much as others do (hey, ENTPs are not that bad.. really... we're just as misunderstood...), but perhaps, it is more for e.g. you mention that "I don't believe emotions are fluff now, but it took a long time to get to the stage where I treated them as part of myself. " - how'd you get to that stage / what was the biggest help to you that in a sense, allowed you to be gentler on yourself vs always wielding a sword at yourself.

    Or if I leave her alone, she'd figure it out? My fear is that she'd just reject people, and herself completely if I leave her too much alone.

    Because I think that deep down inside, an INTP craves acceptance and forgiveness more than anything else? And that's not something you get by being alone, is it? I could be wrong.. I'm a flighty ENTP

  6. #6
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    In general, focusing on content (=thoughts) rather than fluff (=emotions, which fluctuate) is better. I don't believe emotions are fluff now, but it took a long time to get to the stage where I treated them as part of myself. Young INTPs tend to think emotions are inconsequential and hate it when people make them the focus.
    Well, that's understandable... in some cases, emotions probably shouldn't be the issue. Sometimes people make them the issue when they shouldn't be (like in a theoretical discussion when we're trying to understand something... that can actually drive me up the wall.), but sometimes they bring them up because they are actually the crux of the whole thing. It's important to know/learn the difference, though.

    Still, less on problem-solving, more focus on brain-storming. If someone is trying too hard to solve my problems for me, I feel controlled and I want them to lighten up.
    Hmm... but sometimes INTP's (perhaps unconsciously) do this to other people even though they don't like it themselves. I don't really think anyone likes to be controlled.

    Of course, some of the time all I have to do is keep trying to understand the situation, and often in explaining it to me, they solve it. Sometimes a "sounding board," or an outside perspective is all they need. Do you agree with that?

    I try not to be controlling, but sometimes I get that way out of irritation or fear, and sometimes I just come across that way because I can seem more decisive when I present my perspective when I'm actually still willing to listen to another perspective that would change my mind about it.

  7. #7
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Well, that's understandable... in some cases, emotions probably shouldn't be the issue. Sometimes people make them the issue when they shouldn't be (like in a theoretical discussion when we're trying to understand something... that can actually drive me up the wall.), but sometimes they bring them up because they are actually the crux of the whole thing. It's important to know/learn the difference, though.
    That's right. Emotions sometimes are the focus of the discussion and can't be shoved off. But when they're dragged into what the INTP thinks is an impersonal "ideas" discussion...? Ouch.


    Hmm... but sometimes INTP's (perhaps unconsciously) do this to other people even though they don't like it themselves. I don't really think anyone likes to be controlled.
    We do consciously try to avoid controlling others. I know I feel guilty when I do, though.

    Like the example above, about the family "leaving the house / going for a walk" when the INTP is in a bad mood? I would feel guilty over that. Because I have no desire to impose, I just want to be alone and have my space... but now all of these people changed their plans to accommodate me... and are seemingly annoyed with me because they feel like I was controlling them (!).

    Well, I never asked for them to go, nor even wanted them to; I was controlling myself, not them, by removing myself, and I would be SO frustrated because they were attributing control/imposition to me that I was actively avoiding out of respect for them and being a responsible non-imposing adult.

    That is why I know I tend to withdraw *completely*. So that no one feels the need to read into things, trying to accommodate me without my request, and then feels resentment towards me or misunderstands. It is easier just to go FAR away from everyone sometimes, to avoid the misunderstanding and not have to worry about managing someone ELSE's feelings when I'm already in a bad state with my own...

    Of course, some of the time all I have to do is keep trying to understand the situation, and often in explaining it to me, they solve it. Sometimes a "sounding board," or an outside perspective is all they need. Do you agree with that?
    Uh huh. Sometimes solutions are good (if offered as suggestions -- "What about...?" ...and you don't become exasperated when I explain why everyone one of your suggestions has some small hole in it that renders it unsuitable... Sorry, I know I and other INTPs can seem annoying as all-get-out when we do that.)

    I try not to be controlling, but sometimes I get that way out of irritation or fear, and sometimes I just come across that way because I can seem more decisive when I present my perspective when I'm actually still willing to listen to another perspective that would change my mind about it.
    That makes sense. I did figure that out in general with people... but it took me a long time. I think it helps if the person helping reasserts explicitly that they know they sound decisive but they are very open to suggestions; it gives permission to challenge without fear of personal conflict and an emotional mess.

    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    Given I'm also an NT, I doubt I focus on feeling that much, so I think I'd be a dreadful failure at "oh dear... how do you feel about it..".
    Ask her what she "thinks" about other people's feeling-based reactions/behavior, and you'll get a very good idea of how she feels... listen to tone, word choice, body language, and whatever else, along with content.

    I kind of drag everyone out of the house when she's in one of those moods, or suggest a walk on the beach, basically, some quiet activity. But it creates a fair bit of tension in the house, which stresses the family somewhat. They see it as her being selfish/venting on them, but I know it is not that.
    Exactly. In fact her behavior is the opposite, most likely. She is withdrawing to protect them, most likely, and so their accusations would be even more upsetting.

    I don't think I misunderstand her as much as others do (hey, ENTPs are not that bad.. really... we're just as misunderstood...)
    I love ENTPs. Once we get that Ne cycle going, it's hard to stop and everyone usually is convulsing with laughter.

    you mention that "I don't believe emotions are fluff now, but it took a long time to get to the stage where I treated them as part of myself. " - how'd you get to that stage / what was the biggest help to you that in a sense, allowed you to be gentler on yourself vs always wielding a sword at yourself.
    ugh, I have no idea what to tell you. I'm nearing 40 now, and most of it was simply the life process. I experienced what worked and what did not, and what allowed for me to remain sane and what did not, and I developed many different types of relationships as an adult that I did not have as a teen, and all of that helped soften me and forgive myself. But it took a long time. So she will get there, it just might take some time.

    You should be good for her. The more you get her to Ne (your strength!), the more she can get outside of her head and the Ti self-critical process. Help her to have fun, loosen up, laugh, explore... and not necessarily judge everything right away. Ne is probably her key to freedom -- give her a reason to dream and to hope and to live. Ti just tends to hack you down at the knees.

    When I was a teen, the one thing that really helped (because I had no one to talk to about things) was going into a dark room and playing the piano. It was partly a feelings exercise (I did not have to put my feelings into words, the music represented my feelings) and partly an imagination/intuition exercise (because I was listening to what was coming out, then coaxing out more and/or responding to what I was hearing). It was really the creative introspection without any judgment being passed; the music just WAS, like my feelings just WERE... and the criticism would shut down during that time.

    Any act of true in-the-moment creativity your sister could indulge in will free her momentarily from the criticism. Note: She is not allowed to EDIT her art as she does it; she simply must be engaged and creating.

    Or if I leave her alone, she'd figure it out? My fear is that she'd just reject people, and herself completely if I leave her too much alone.
    you do not have an easy job, I know. I think it's wonderful you want so much to be there for her. She is lucky to have someone so concerned about her and willing to engage.

    It is a fineline between pushing her and inviting her. The latter is good -- invite her to come out of her head when you can, and have a good time with your own life. It's like the stray kitten and the saucer of milk. You need to put the milk down within reach, then enjoy yourself and give her space to sneak up and drink. If you pressure her, she might hang back. It's got to be her choice... but you can create a safe and enticing environment. Does that help?

    Because I think that deep down inside, an INTP craves acceptance and forgiveness more than anything else? And that's not something you get by being alone, is it? I could be wrong.. I'm a flighty ENTP
    Oh, on one level she's probably jealous of you... even while being annoyed at how scattered you might seem sometimes. Because you're enjoying your life, and she's feeling alone and incapable of ever being you.

    Acceptance/Forgiveness might not be something she can articulate as a need until more time has passed. But I think it is good for you to keep it in mind, to help you remain accessible and open to her.

    I hope that helped. I know it's all abstracted.

    Maybe Varelse or the other younger INTPs can help? They are more in her situation and might be able to give practical advice...?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #8
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    I once cheered up an unhappy INTP friend by singing and dancing along with the song "Walking on Sunshine" in the cheesiest manner(we'd been drinking, so it was less embarrassing). It was horrible, but at least it worked!
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  9. #9
    unscannable Tigerlily's Avatar
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    I think a slobbery wet kiss and a big bear hug would do the trick.
    Time is a delicate mistress.

  10. #10
    Wait, what? Varelse's Avatar
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    Things I do to cheer myself up:
    • Reading
    • Listening to cynical music
    • Video games
    • Finding a new project
    • Or a new problem to ponder
    • Theoretical discussions
    • null


    Don't ask me why the music works, it just does. A favorite for such is "The Fatal Wound".

    A new project usually eats up spare mental resources that would otherwise be devoted to ripping myself to shreds.

    Space is also good. I don't want to impose, don't want to be imposed on, and I certainly don't want a lecture about what an awful person I am because I played video games for two hours.
    We are not poets
    We have no right to make amendments

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