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Thread: Friendships with NTs

  1. #11
    Senior Member Array sdalek's Avatar
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    Friendship also depends on age. Older NTs are less difficult than younger ones at being friends.

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    My own (limited) experience with NTs is they do not compromise a lot, which sounds worse than it is. They are very autonomous and they expect autonomy from others, so there is very little need for compromise unless you are asking them to put themselves out, which isn't something you want to do very much. You have the whole, wide, wide world for wiggle room. All they ask for is their tiny, impenetrable core. That core pretty much is not going to budge, but you may do what you like outside of it.

    And I didn't explain that very well.
    “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.”
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    proteanmix,

    The unfortunate fact is that not everyone values friendship equally, nor do they value friendship with different people equally. It is inevitable that in almost any relationship, one person will value that relationship more than the other, so why would you expect both parties to invest equally in a friendship? In other words, if you and a potential business partner had unequal profit expectations from a joint venture, would you expect your business partner to invest equally?

    It may just be that the person in question does not value a friendship with you as much as you value a friendship with them, so if you want that friendship to continue you cannot expect that both parties will invest equally. The implicit expectation that we should invest equally in a friendship is likely to result in many people avoiding friendship, since it will turn out to be "more trouble than it is worth."

    That doesn't mean that your friendship will not be valued, but as your personality profile indicates, you are likely to value friendship more than the person you want to be friends with. Now, if you also demand that the only meaningful friendships are those where the compromisation is 50/50, then "don't assume you are worth being friends with." To iterate, that doesn't mean you are disliked, only that every moment spent cultivating a friendship with you is a moment that could have been spent doing something else.

    It is up to you to decide whether the tradeoffs of cultivating a relationship like that are worth it. Of course, that is supposing the situation I described really does reflect your circumstances.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  4. #14
    Plumage and Moult Array proteanmix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocturne View Post
    proteanmix,

    The unfortunate fact is that not everyone values friendship equally, nor do they value friendship with different people equally. It is inevitable that in almost any relationship, one person will value that relationship more than the other, so why would you expect both parties to invest equally in a friendship? In other words, if you and a potential business partner had unequal profit expectations from a joint venture, would you expect your business partner to invest equally?

    It may just be that the person in question does not value a friendship with you as much as you value a friendship with them, so if you want that friendship to continue you cannot expect that both parties will invest equally. The implicit expectation that we should invest equally in a friendship is likely to result in many people avoiding friendship, since it will turn out to be "more trouble than it is worth."

    That doesn't mean that your friendship will not be valued, but as your personality profile indicates, you are likely to value friendship more than the person you want to be friends with. Now, if you also demand that the only meaningful friendships are those where the compromisation is 50/50, then "don't assume you are worth being friends with." To iterate, that doesn't mean you are disliked, only that every moment spent cultivating a friendship with you is a moment that could have been spent doing something else.

    It is up to you to decide whether the tradeoffs of cultivating a relationship like that are worth it. Of course, that is supposing the situation I described really does reflect your circumstances.
    I agree with everyone not valuing friendship equally and someone needs to decide if it's worth it or not. What is satisfactory for one person in a relationship may not be so for the other. If it's not an investment it's just a convenience. It also indicates (to me) a willingness to use the more invested person knowing that they care more about the relationship and the NT can take it or leave it. As far as the business venture things goes, it depends on what type of agreement the partners had. If they initially invested equally, but the transactions became unequal, then yes, I wouldn't invest equally anymore either. The contract needs to be renegotiated.

    Unless they're a doormat, the more invested person in the friendship will leave. Is that the way an NT would like a treasured friendship to end? Relationships are like any other living organism, they need to be nourished.

    If someone doesn't want to be bothered, no problem I'll leave them alone. But this type of behavior is counterproductive. I view this as stepping out of one's comfort zone, and if the non-NT has already made some steps to do this, can't the NT try a little (like initiating contact so I know what's going on)? How does this violate NT autonomy?

  5. #15
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    NTs sometimes have a bad habit of not maintaining relationships, even if they are positive about the people. I have a few INTx friends who I haven't seen or talked to for years... but if we bumped into each other, we'd talk for hours. I guess it is just the "impersonality" thing; NT's are not used to just doing things for the emotional investment, it's mostly based on the intellectual investment.

    I do agree that compromise is something an NT has to learn, simply as part of making relationships with non-NTs work (i.e. you are not being unreasonable, proteanmix). And it will actually benefit all their relationships to some level, to learn how to make/offer emotional connection and not just an intellectual one.
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    proteanmix,

    First, regarding the business venture analogy. I was careful to state, "unequal profit expectations." Of course, if both parties expected equal profit then they would be expected to invest equally. Second, I was careful to not frame the issue categorically; this isn't a matter of being bothered or not being bothered, but degrees of bother. I stand in the relation of "not being bothered" to about 6 billion people, simply because it would be impossible to even try and cultivate a friendship with everyone. But for most people in my daily life, I am bothered about maintaining friendship to varying degrees.

    There are some people who, if they stopped investing in our acquintance or friendship, would simply disappear from my life, not because I dislike them, but simply because I do not get enough out of our relationship to continue investing in it. That is time and energy that could be spent pursuing things which are more important to me, which may be impersonal activities such as reading a book or even investment in another relationship which I do value.

    It seems common for many who fit the NT profiles to only have room in their life for a small circle of close relationships which they invest in and value. If you want to be within that small circle of close friends, then you may have to supply the initial investment to get your foot in the door, so to speak. If the relationship is continually oneway and you feel that you are the doormat, then it is not a friendship worth pursuing.

    Perhaps something peculiar to NTs, or just me, is that friendship is not devalued in time or place. I do not expect someone to apologise for not staying in contact with me, nor do I expect to apologise to them. If someone stops contacting me then I simply assume they have something else to occupy their time. Friendship does not devalue with time. In other words, even when I really value a friend, I may still not bother contacting them for a long time, the friendship stands irrespective of the frequency of contact.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocturne View Post
    Perhaps something peculiar to NTs, or just me, is that friendship is not devalued in time or place. I do not expect someone to apologise for not staying in contact with me, nor do I expect to apologise to them. If someone stops contacting me then I simply assume they have something else to occupy their time. Friendship does not devalue with time. In other words, even when I really value a friend, I may still not bother contacting them for a long time, the friendship stands irrespective of the frequency of contact.
    I am like this, too, actually. Probably explains, in part, why I don't have a lot of friends and most of my relatives aren't sure that I care about them.
    “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

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    A questions for you: How do I go about a friendship with an NT?

    Y'all are notoriously difficult to read and sometimes I can't tell whether I should proceed or not. I wrote in the ENFJ thread about how I had a blossoming friendship with an INTJ but then he left and our communications switched formats from face-to-face to emails. Because I wasn't getting any real-time input, it kinda petered out. I didn't want to be annoying and I didn't know if my persistence was welcomed.

    What kind of feedback can I expect from an NT to know that you want to be friends? I'm going to be honest about this, I'm an NF with lots of Fe and I strongly believe in the fine art of COMPROMISE. If I give a little, you've got to give a little. How can I have a mutually satisfying friendship with an NT without a bunch of hurt feelings (on both sides) and miscommunications?

    Thanks!
    As a supplement to the "economic" model of friendship raised by Nocturne ("economic" in the sense of how we invest in friendships and how much value we put on friendships), I would like to bring up for consideration the old psychological truism that you can only change yourself, not others.

    When I consider friendships, I look at the balance of incentives and disincentives that I myself offer people. Disincentives would be things like neediness, remoteness, argumentativeness, insistence on controlling the format and content of the relationship, etc. Incentives would be the opposite of those things.

    If I find that I have few or no friends, then maybe it's time to be more flexible and increase the incentives that I offer people and try to reduce the disincentives. If I have lots of NF friends but wish to increase the number of NT friends in my life, then maybe it's time to look at the incentives and disincentives that I offer NTs in particular.

    When considering any one individual friendship, naturally I also want to look at the incentives and disincentives that my friend offers to me in the relationship. If my friend is offering a lot of disincentives and very few incentives, then it may not be worth maintaining the friendship; it may require me to offer too many incentives in return to keep the friendship alive. Of course, I could try to negotiate the friendship and try to convince my friend to offer more incentives; but based on the old psychological truism that you can't change others, negotiation is probably going to have limited or no effect. In order to really change, my friend is probably going to have to find his own internal reasons to alter the balance of incentives and disincentives that he offers friends.

    So let's assume that I'm pretty flexible about the balance of incentives and disincentives that I'm willing to offer friends, and also let's assume that I have accumulated over time a broad variety of friends (NFs, NTs, SPs, and SJs). Then in the end, very likely my individual friendships will require very different kinds of incentives and disincentives from me (and I'll receive the same wide variety of incentives and disincentives from my friends): In some cases, I'll put up with very distant relationships, and in other cases I'll put up with very close and even claustrophobic relationships; in some cases I'll be very much in control of the friendship, and in some cases I'll relinquish a lot of control to my friend; and so on. And because the individual friendships will have different mixes of incentives and disincentives being offered and received, the individual friendships will probably play very different roles in my life: I'll see some friends on a daily basis, and I'll see others less frequently; some friends will serve as close confidantes, and others will be more like mentors (or I'll serve that role for others); and so on.

    And in fact that's pretty much how my friendships have worked out. I agree with Nocturne that there's an economic component to friendship in that we work out economic "deals" with our friends by swapping incentives and disincentives until we find a good balance. However, I would also emphasize the fact that the decision about what mix of incentives and disincentives to offer is largely a one-sided affair. That is, I have little ability to negotiate with friends to change the mix of incentives and disincentives that they offer. So it largely becomes a question of how much I myself am willing to change my own mix of incentives and disincentives that I offer to others. If I want more friends or a broader variety of friends, then I work at becoming more flexible with my incentives and disincentives. If I have lots of friends or even too many friends, then I can probably afford to tighten up my incentives or be more demanding of my friends (offer more disincentives).

    Again, I see it pretty much as a one-sided affair. Across time, I've learned that it doesn't do much good to bitch at friends about how they should be better friends, or to whine about how certain groups of people need to work harder to conform to my ideals of friendship. All that bitching and whining just serves as one more disincentive that I'm offering to people and groups. I think it's more productive to look at the balance of incentives and disincentives that I myself offer to the world and make changes there as needed in order to achieve what I want.

    As I side note, I would add that I see a long-term relationship with a lover or spouse as working much the same way (though the mix of incentives and disincentives is much broader and the mathematics work a little differently).

    FL

  9. #19
    Plumage and Moult Array proteanmix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocturne View Post
    proteanmix,

    First, regarding the business venture analogy. I was careful to state, "unequal profit expectations." Of course, if both parties expected equal profit then they would be expected to invest equally. Second, I was careful to not frame the issue categorically; this isn't a matter of being bothered or not being bothered, but degrees of bother. I stand in the relation of "not being bothered" to about 6 billion people, simply because it would be impossible to even try and cultivate a friendship with everyone. But for most people in my daily life, I am bothered about maintaining friendship to varying degrees.
    Alright, let's talk about degrees of bother. I don't view maintaining a friendship as a bother, if it is one then I won't maintain it anymore. Maybe we should use another word. Bother is related to annoying and intrusive in my mind which aren't words I'd associate with friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by nocturne View Post
    Perhaps something peculiar to NTs, or just me, is that friendship is not devalued in time or place. I do not expect someone to apologise for not staying in contact with me, nor do I expect to apologise to them. If someone stops contacting me then I simply assume they have something else to occupy their time. Friendship does not devalue with time. In other words, even when I really value a friend, I may still not bother contacting them for a long time, the friendship stands irrespective of the frequency of contact.
    Have you found that if you haven't contacted each other in such a long time that you or the other person has changed significantly enough for you all not to be friends? If so, do you think that more frequent communication would have ameliorated the change and salvaged the relationship?

    Why is the process of beginning a relationship viewed as something that will detract from what you'd rather be doing? Just for the record, I don't go around trying to start friendships with anyone I've hit it off well with, but if someone extends an offer of friendship to me and I like them as well, I'll try to accommodate them. I understand that some people are not as interested in increasing their social sphere as I am, but when you are interested in doing so, how do you go about it?

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    Have you found that if you haven't contacted each other in such a long time that you or the other person has changed significantly enough for you all not to be friends? If so, do you think that more frequent communication would have ameliorated the change and salvaged the relationship?
    i'm replying to this because i'm friends with nocturne and we're both NTs, so i thought that since he could have been talking about me as i read that (it sounded perfectly sensible and correct), that it may help if i speak up.

    the last time we spoke was about a month ago, i'd guess. and, before that, two, three, maybe more months passed (see? i'm not even sure!). yet, because we clicked so easily, without trying, and talked long enough to eventually get to where we were comfortable (trusted one another) with our feelings about things when we first started talking about a year (or two?) ago, i see him as just as close a friend as he was in the beginning.

    if i were to speak to him today (hey, nocturne! *wave*), i'd speak just as freely, personally, openly, comfortably, and easily as i did when we first got to know one another. i'd assume he was the same person, and the only difference would be updated news about what he's up to these days. in other words, we'd pick right up where we left off as if we'd spoken the day before, and with the same ease.

    sure, if it's been quite a while, and i found out there was a huge change in his circumstances, then i'd ask questions that would pertain to his growth as a person, how it effected him, how he's doing, etc., but he'd still be the same basic person, and that's all i need to know to value his friendship and consider him a good one. close enough, even if a year passed, that if my heart was broken, and i saw him online, i wouldn't hesitate to ask him for advice, just talk if i needed a friend, and trust him with my feelings. it would be the same if it were reversed.

    time, distance, and other things people usually measure with don't apply when it comes to relationships that we value. unless you tell us we aren't your friend anymore, we assume we are. and, this may sound bad, but if we never gave you much thought to begin with, just had a few conversations, even intense ones, but didn't take it to a personal level, we're probably not giving you much or any thought at all.

    this mistake is made a lot. others thinking a connection has been made simply because we've talked to them quite a few times (many confuse intense conversation with connecting), but we can do that and then not give you another thought, or only see you as a decent person we've talked to before, but not what we'd term a valued friend.

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