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  1. #1
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Thumbs down How to: Talk to your INTP

    Despite all warnings to the contrary and disclaimers of inevitable doom, you've gone and done it: You've landed yourself in a romantic relationship with an INTP. But, lucky for you, someone else made the same mistake, but was kind enough to supply a bit a blueprint for how to traverse the insanity.

    Original taken from here.

    We'll start off, INTP style, by focusing on the negatives and ignoring the positives.

    On the downside, they often have terrible self-esteem issues (including anxiety, depression, self-doubt, self-blame, etc), difficulty with intrapersonal awareness (problems knowing what they are feeling and value inside), tend to get absorbed in projects such that they forget to care for themselves and/or their relationships, may have problems expressing (or even knowing) their own opinions to others (may be due to either not having an opinion, needing to ensure the validity of their opinion, or not valuing opinions), tend to live in the future (and therefore may sometimes forget that they haven't supplied context), cannot stand repetition or being asked to repeat themselves (they are worse than INTJs for this), can be perfectionists and procrastinate, they may have problems with assigning priority rankings, they need structure but instinctively resist it, their internal models of the world can be faulty (although they are willing to fix this if they discover it, accuracy being important), they may be stiff and stand-offish when faced with emotional drama (they may not know what to do with the crying thing), and they can have very bad tempers (heh... just like INTJs). I've also found that INTPs can be extra passive when they don't have a good model to work from or when they don't really care much but it is a big mistake to think that just because you can push them around that you should. When the last peice of the equation falls into place and they find themselves pushed past their boundaries they will snap back like an speeding transfer-truck.
    As you can see [if you haven't discovered some of these already], your INTP is most likely a neurotic mess. Get out while you can. If you're still here, you're a trooper, or tied to him/her financially, which is certainly a lie since INTPs are probably the most happy type with being homeless.

    Anyways, here's some good conflict resolution tips:

    1) They tie compentancy to their self image and hence insulting (or implying an insult to) their competancy is the equivalent to telling an INTJ that her judgement can't be trusted and an NF that they are worthless and a discrace to their ideal. Try to avoid language that implies that they are personally incompetent. When confronted with a challenge like this (in an area that they are not absolutely confident in) an INTP will just shut down the conversation until they've had a chance to re-evaluate everything from first principles. This can be very frustrating to an INTJ trying to reach a goal on a schedule.
    This is sort of a no-brainer. If any type feels attacked, they'll most likely shut down. INTPs can be hard to insult, but attacking competency is usually guaranteed to put your INTP on the defensive immediately and any kind of communication from there on out is probably not going to be fruitful.

    2) What I call, multi-person cognative analysis conflict resolution works really well in dealing with personal disputes. Take a step back, depersonalize the situation, and analyse it in the third person as a joint project. (This method can drive NFs nuts.) INTPs may not be aware that they are having emotions or value clashes until everything blows up. Using phrasing like "I've noticed that you are doing [describe behaviours in emotionally neutral language] and I've noticed that in the past when you did this it meant that you [felt X or were having problem Y]. Is that what is happening now?" followed by stepping back to give them space to look at their model. This works well in my experience. It neutrally alerts them to a problem, opens dialog, and gives them time/space to calm down and deal with the problem rationally (their prefered method).
    This. Works. Phenomenally. Sorry Fs. It's true. Jumping right into the "I think you're feeling this" and then painting a whole feely picture is going to seem to us like you're projecting and misinterpreting the whole situation, because we just don't structure our inner world with the terms you're throwing out there. So we immediately think, "No, that's not what's happening." Instead, point us in the right direction and try to give us an example of when you've seen this before, and try to use feeling-neutral words.

    3) Tell them what you want. This is a simple idea that nobody seems to use. INTPs that I've dealt with have been relieved when I gave them simple instructions on how to achieve desired results. Example: I said this to my husband, "I like flowers. Always having fresh flowers on the table makes me feel happy and loved." He gave me fresh flowers every two weeks for over two years. The important part of this method is to follow through with the consequences. When he gave me flowers I thanked him and obviously showed (or said) that I was happy and felt loved. (Again, this method can drive NFs nuts as it isn't "special" enough. It works on INFPs if you can convince them that it makes you feel good. It may be hard to convince them.) This method works for negative consequences as well. INTPs may not want to be tied down but they do appreciate consistancy in others... it makes you easier to model.
    This will pretty much work with everybody, I would think, but who knows: some people like it when someone can read their mind or their subtle cues ["I used a white bow instead of a yellow bow on the grocery list to indicate that I wanted american cheese instead of vermont yellow cheddar, GOD WHY CAN'T YOU UNDERSTAND ME!?!?!?"] but I [and most likely, other INTPs] will find this highly unrealistic and vestigial of the irreparable damage Disney Movies have done to everyone's idea of the perfect romance. Make your desires clear: we really are eager to please.

    4) Find a non-threatening way to tell them that they have skipped ahead and missed telling you a step or context. My husband and I use the phrase "You've gone off to visit the cows." Sometimes the goal and endpoint aren't the most important thing to an INTP. While the INTJ is focused and determined to march to the end of the road with only minimal concern for what is "out there", the INTP has discovered a herd of rare bovines and has merrily run off to examine them. The INTJs ultimate goal may be "just something" (and not even an interesting something) to the INTP. Get used to this. You can't turn them into an INTJ, don't try. Let them have their time then gently tell them that they have run off to visit the cows. Look at what they bring back. Sometimes it IS more important and interesting than the stated goal.
    This will probably be the largest source of frustration with your INTP if you are a J, especially an EJ. We don't really care about the goal too much. The more you try to emphasize the endpoint of something, the more we'll think you're "missing the point." To get a good sense of what this will look like, fast forward to 3:10 of this video. We like to explore, and for us, often the exciting part of any activity is the experience of doing/learning/understanding something new, and extracting some interesting tidbits from it, until we promptly forget what the hell we were trying to do in the first place. I could go on about this issue forever, but OOoo cupcakes!

    5) Their internal models are all important to them but they aren't set in stone. If it isn't accurate, they will fix it. If it isn't comprehensive enough, they will expand it. More often an INTP will be too complete rather than corner cutting. This means that processing time can sometimes be slow. They have to test new data against the model. Be patient. Give them time. It is worth it. If for some unfortunate reason you have to hack the system go in with plenty of proof all laid out logically and take into account their reasoning. In my experience INTPs rarely get their basic facts and observations wrong but their assumptions may have problems. The ones I know are eager to debug the system but may have problems because they are part of the system and the subjective bits are hard for them.
    The only thing worse that not knowing something is knowing that something we think we know is wrong. If you understood that sentence, congratulations, now you know why I majored in economics. When trying to change our stance, or point out why our model is wrong, show why the principle we're using to judge data might be incorrect. Ni users tend to be pretty good at this, because they speak the abstract language well, and the ability to juggle the viewpoints of subjective interpretations and present them in a different light can really help the INTP see how something is wrong.

    Well, there it is. I've been told a conclusion should be one of strongest parts of any essay, but why repeating what I've already said by using a thesaurus is supposed to strengthen my points, was never properly explained to me, so you're getting this instead. Feel free to add anything, successes and disasters, and/or tell me I'm wrong.

    [This post is half in jest, half designed to be helpful, so take it as such.]


    Likes asynartetic liked this post

  2. #2
    Pose! Salt n' pepper's Avatar
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    the downsides is really hitting home. finally, it's true. it's not just in my subjective mind or me being "girl-crazy". can't wait to skip to the solutions. thanks for this, jock.

  3. #3
    Senior Member the state i am in's Avatar
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    obviously this is intp specific, but some of this correlates well with other enneagram 5 types- the desire to learn everything and model the world internally, and a sense of self-identification with one's own ability to create a perfect model.

    i know that my hatred for bureaucracy and for people who occupy positions higher than me who i deem irrational or lacking in valuable contribution, and the awful oblivious- at times- in relationships, due to the avoidance of Fe and the frequent drifting out of emotional/relational space into pure ideas, internal wanderings, etc can really get in the way of decent, socialized behavior. one of the biggest challenges i notice in romantic relationships is to take the extra time to imagine the other, pay attention to the other, and actually check in with that person in order to avoid constant miscommunications. (i feel that, here, intps with inferior Fe have even more trouble than i have, which makes me extremely sympathetic, bc i have an awful time with it myself. but the ability to learn the logical ends of whatever behavior they currently favor gives them the opportunity to logically figure it out, which i am quite envious of. rather than logically recognizing the truth to an action or a behavior, i just have to be perfectly centered in order to see the most truth in the whole of the story that has brought me to this point).

  4. #4
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    somehow my first thought, making fun of the INTP stereotype was...

    how to:talk to your intp

    sit down at your laptop... send him communication in l33t... wait for reply
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  5. #5
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JocktheMotie View Post
    INTPs are probably the most happy type with being homeless.
    Unfortunately, sometimes, yes. I once lived in an apartment for 6 months with no couch, no chairs, no bed, and no tables. Only pillows, several blankets (on the floor), a TV, and my ever-increasing supply of books. One day I decided to go buy all that stuff just so that I could have people over if and when I wanted to and just so that I could be normal. I did feel better once the place was properly furnished, but I still could have done without. What is wrong with us?

    ...attacking competency is usually guaranteed to put your INTP on the defensive immediately and any kind of communication from there on out is probably not going to be fruitful.
    Yes.

    Jumping right into the "I think you're feeling this" and then painting a whole feely picture is going to seem to us like you're projecting and misinterpreting the whole situation, because we just don't structure our inner world with the terms you're throwing out there. So we immediately think, "No, that's not what's happening." Instead, point us in the right direction and try to give us an example of when you've seen this before, and try to use feeling-neutral words.
    Yes.


    some people like it when someone can read their mind or their subtle cues ["I used a white bow instead of a yellow bow on the grocery list to indicate that I wanted american cheese instead of vermont yellow cheddar, GOD WHY CAN'T YOU UNDERSTAND ME!?!?!?"] but I [and most likely, other INTPs] will find this highly unrealistic and vestigial of the irreparable damage Disney Movies have done to everyone's idea of the perfect romance.
    Probably one of (if not, the) biggest issues I've had with romantic partners. I do not even have a shred of desire to try to read your mind. I've got - what I consider - better things to do than mind read. Say it out loud. Hit me over the head with it. Be plain. Be simple. Speak up for yourself. Don't make me guess what you want or what you're thinking. It's just a waste of both of our times. If you tell me what you want, I'll do my very best to do it for you - I'll go out of my way for you - because I care about you. You just have to communicate effectively and directly. It's so very easy to do. "I want X." "I need Y." If it's within our power, we'll do it.

    Make your desires clear: we really are eager to please
    Yes, yes, yes.



    This will probably be the largest source of frustration with your INTP if you are a J, especially an EJ. We don't really care about the goal too much. The more you try to emphasize the endpoint of something, the more we'll think you're "missing the point." We like to explore, and for us, often the exciting part of any activity is the experience of doing/learning/understanding something new, and extracting some interesting tidbits from it, until we promptly forget what the hell we were trying to do in the first place. I could go on about this issue forever, but OOoo cupcakes!
    I can keep my eye on the goal, but I do like to explore along the way. To me it's the whole "stop and smell the roses" thing. There is great value in being focused on the end goal and just plugging away at it until completion, but did you learn anything along the way? Did you enjoy the journey? Did you even smell the roses on the side of the road? To me, those things make up 50% of anything we set out to do.

    Nice OP, by the way!
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
    ENP's are the only types that have ever made me feel like a sensor.


    There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. --William Barclay

  6. #6
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I do stuff like: 'Okay. I'm going to nag you now: We need to go to the store. Do you feel adequately nagged?'
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  7. #7
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    Two things:

    ...difficulty with intrapersonal awareness (problems knowing what they are feeling and value inside)...

    ...may have problems expressing (or even knowing) their own opinions to others (may be due to either not having an opinion, needing to ensure the validity of their opinion, or not valuing opinions)...
    I seen it happen but I can't comprehend it, INTPs explain! How does one not know how they feel or be unable to express their opinion? How can others squeeze it oudda ya?

  8. #8
    Ruler of the Stars Asterion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trinity View Post
    Two things:



    I seen it happen but I can't comprehend it, INTPs explain! How does one not know how they feel or be unable to express their opinion? How can others squeeze it oudda ya?
    I find that when you feel like all answers are contradictory, and that you have no answer is when I feel unable to express an opinion. Though, you could easily express that it's hard to take a stance on the topic, and that would count as an opinion.

    Or what about when you don't know anything about the topic (or at least feel as if you don't know anything). It's hard to express and opinion when you know it's so obviously wrong.

    umm... ask and wait a bit to squeeze it oud?
    5 3 9

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trinity View Post
    Two things:



    I seen it happen but I can't comprehend it, INTPs explain! How does one not know how they feel or be unable to express their opinion? How can others squeeze it oudda ya?
    A lot of the time multiple sides of an argument seem equal to me, everything I come up with I can refute with another thought, and it cycles for a while until I finally get an answer or give up. If I'm not confident in an opinion why share it? It may end up being wrong and I hate being wrong, especially in front of other people. Do what King said- give us time to research and think about it and we'll get back to you in 4 to 6 weeks.

  10. #10
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    Mmkay, that makes sense, but how about the intrapersonal awareness part? I'm not even sure what my question is because I just don't understand how someone wouldn't be aware of how they feel.

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