I have this dilemma on a recurring basis (pretty much daily). I remember simulatedworld saying one time that a good rule of thumb for INTP's in social situations is that you don't have to "crush" someone or totally defeat them in the conversation - even if you are capable of it. I agree with that, for the most part.
With that in mind, here's the dilemma. I'm currently in a situation where I have to converse with numerous people. It's small talk. An INTP's favorite thing. I don't have to kiss their butts, but let's just say it's in everyone's best interest to keep the conversations pleasant and positive. I *could* go in a different direction with the conversations if I wanted to (when I'm challenged or pushed on an issue), but I know it's better not to.
There are a few individuals with whom I interact who continually want to "throw verbal jabs" about something that is specific to me. It's like they are picking at me to see how I'll respond. The more they do it, the more ridiculous it is to me. The way I see it, I have three choices:
(a) Act like I agree with them, even though I do not (not something I'm comfortable with - it kind of goes against INTP principles I think)
(b) Ignore them (not really feasible for the sake of professionalism and in order to maintain harmony)
(c) Engage in *some level* of verbal warfare (for lack of a better term - it basically becomes a debate).
The real problem for me is that I can "soften" my argument (or verbal assault - LOL) using Fe. Instead of "cramming it down their throat Ti style", I can kind of "present it to them" in a way that will make them think about it. But, I find that when I do this they come back for more the next day and they poke and prod harder - maybe they didn't like the way the cold, hard truth sat with them overnight type of thing. The more it goes on - the more they poke and prod about ridiculous stuff (that I could verbally demolish them with), the more I feel like I'm only left with one option: let them have it. And I find that it ruins relationships. They no longer "like me" when I do this. Being an INTP who wants to continue to grow and mature, I want people to like me. When it comes down to it, I don't care much if they do. But, for the sake of bettering myself, I think it's important to learn how to maintain these relationships of mutual respect.
To give a random example (I don't want to get into specifics), imagine 2 or 3 S's with whom you have to maintain these "good" relationships with. And they find it amusing to challenge you on something that has to do with your upbringing/culture/things that are near and dear to you. And if something in the news pops up that supports their point, they're quick to point it out and show you how it supports what they are saying. That sort of thing. Keep in mind that they are pretty much in a "customer" role, while I am one of the ones providing the service.
What gives? What is one to do?