INTJs still get lonely

I've been in academic environments my whole life, up until a few years ago. From going to an academically rigorous high school, to college, to working in a scientific field, to grad school, I was always surrounded by people with intellectual interests and a deep knowledge base. Even if they didn't always have an abiding personal interest in those topics, it still provided an intellectual basis for conversation and a common experience on which to build friendship.

The academic environment is where I feel most comfortable, so being in those places was a big advantage for me socially. Now that I'm completely out of that world, I have a huge social handicap. I realized that I have no idea how to actually talk to people in the real world, or how to relate to people who are not interested in academic topics.

That says two things: first, from what-if: the academic career would have had its advantages. And: I'm not alone with the problem. Further down in the article it gets even more interesting: she is married to an INTJ (sic!). As she describes it, that's exactly what I imagine:

Having my husband as my only friend for the past year has set a high bar for what I expect to find in a friend.

My husband KJ and I have great conversations. It's so easy to talk to him, he's intelligent and knowledgeable about a wide range of topics, and he has (what I consider) a great sense of humor. And weâ € ™ re both pretty quirkyâ € ”or weirdâ €” whatever you want to call it. KJ is as weird as I am but in slightly different ways, so being with him has made me even weirder. Because we embrace each other's weirdness and we can be ourselves with each other, our conversations start at the level where most of my conversations with other people end.

The downside to becoming even weirder is that it makes me less able and less willing to act like a normal person. I used to be a lot more skilled at assimilating. After having KJ as my sole adult conversation partner, I'm not only out of practice, but I also have realized just how much I like having conversations within the cocoon of our mutual weirdness, and how much I dislike trying to hide my awkwardness and quirks. Going out and meeting new people who donâ € ™ t affirm my quirks is pretty uncomfortable. But I canâ € ™ t rely on KJ to fulfill all of my social needs. I still want to have friends with different perspectives, interests, and opinions. It's just so hard to find them.

All in all, that describes my situation is quite well and I also think of a relationship. I just do not have a problem when the other one is just weird, but I feel magically attracted to that. I still believe that there is a very special chemistry to be with someone who understands me on a level which other people just can't.

In my recent interactions with a number of INTJs, I've noticed a trait that they all seem to share: in casual conversation, INTJs often seem incredibly smug. This holds true for my INTJ husband, who often seems like a completely different person when he's interacting with other people compared to when we're alone. He tends to come off as a smug asshole when talking to people he doesnâ € ™ t know well.

I thought this air of smugness might be because INTJs think they're smarter than everyone else, but according to my husband it's actually a façade of false confidence meant to hide their insecurities in social situations or when interacting with people they don’t know well. (When INTJs actually do think they're smarter than you, it's usually so obvious to them that they're more matter-of-fact or exasperated than smug.)

I do not know if it that can be generalized. I've noticed that on the occasions when there's a large audience, I'm getting rather pert, more than smug. I do not think that has anything to do with pretended self-assurance. If I'm actually unsure, I prefer to retreat to a corner or submerge into the cover of the crowd.

When my husband talks to friends and family on the phone, he tends to talk for a long time without pausing about everything that has happened in his life recently, then expect the other person to talk for a long time about him or herself. He can then use the time while the other person is talking to prepare what he'll say next. When I talk on the phone, I prefer a livelier back-and-forth, taking turns telling one anecdote at a time and pausing often to elicit a response. I donâ € ™ t like to talk for too long without pausing to see if my friend is still interested or if they have something more important to say.

The INTP approach is likely to lead to awkward silences in which they don't know what to say, and the INTJ approach is likely to make acquaintances feel cornered or like the INTJ is a know-it-all. I am comfortable with silences and used to them, so it doesnâ € ™ t really bother me. What makes me really uncomfortable is talking when nobody cares what I'm saying, or having false confidence be disproven. I never try to be overconfident because bravado can be easily deflated by those who are actually more confident or knowledgeable. But to an INTJ, whose J makes them need to be as prepared as possible for every situation, unpreparedness breeds anxiety. Being caught without something to say, or stumbling over their words, is worse than a bored acquaintance or seeming arrogant.

That's an interesting observation, and yes, it's true. I tend to talk even talkative, but in return I expect the same from my opponent and I'm disappointed if there is nothing. And I precompile conversations (or letters) in the background. That's why I was so shocked when I was called by the woman from the Stuttgart area, which I met through a dating site, completely without forwarning.

What I also find very interesting is the deep insight into the dynamics of a relationship between INTP and INTJ:

Both INTJs and INTPs are often perceived to be cold, unfeeling, and emotionally distant. We are not as skilled as other types at displaying and communicating emotion, but we do experience emotions very deeply and have a strong need for emotional intimacy - albeit with very few people.

I react to extreme stress by crying, and I have to vent, rant, and talk things out in order to feel better. My husband reacts to stress by distancing himself and turning inward to process things alone. (Being an introvert I am generally the same way with others. But I consider KJ an emotional extension of myself, and I have to share my feelings with him in order to feel better.)

To make matters worse, KJ gets very distressed when I cry, and I get very distressed when he withdraws emotionally. It makes things difficult when weâ € ™ re both stressed out at the same time, and because weâ € ™ re both immature Feelers, weâ € ™ re not the best at handling it.

Such a plan to avoid a relationship crisis can only be the product of two NT types, that's such a stereotype ... to write an instruction manual. But on the other hand it should really help:

Last year we wrote out an action plan for reconciling our incompatible stress management methods. Here are some of our resolutions:

  • I will cry whenever I need to instead of trying to hold it in, which inevitably makes it worse. It's easier for KJ to deal with crying in several short bursts than one long jag. I will let him know as soon as I feel like I might cry, so it doesnâ € ™ t catch him by surprise.
  • When he's stressed out, he will talk about it with me before processing it in a solitary fashion, so I know what's going on.
  • We will talk about things that stress us out as soon as they arise, instead of letting it build up and becoming grumpy towards each other.
  • Once a week, we will sit down and have an emotional check-in where we both talk in-depth about our feelings over the past week.

And last, but not least the meaning or better the relationship between P and J and the future or the present, how the sense of the current situation and its classification is different:

As a P, I am able to live in the present really well because Iâ € ™ m constantly taking in information about present experiences and processing them. While I was single in the years between college and meeting my husband, I filled my life with activities and experiences that I enjoyed doing alone. My future was open, and even though I wanted to fall in love and have a family, I knew there was a possibility that might never happen, and I was okay with it because I was happy.

My husband's mind-space is always in the future because as a J, he loves to make plans. It was always his goal to have a family, and many of his other plans and decisions in life depended on it. Without that piece of the puzzle, he wasn't able to proceed with other plans, and he wasn't able to enjoy the present when the future was unknown.

When we're apart during the week, he doesn't feel very lonely because the big picture is still present to him. Having our family motivates him and gives him the sense of purpose that he needs, whereas I am more prone to forgetting things that are not present. I enjoy the â € œnowâ € of being with my family more than our future plans.

The future is much more tangible to my husband than it is to me. As long as the future looks bright, it is able to be happy even if the present is dull. If the future is bad or unknown, he canâ € ™ t enjoy the present even if it's good. I am the opposite; I can live in the moment and enjoy the present no matter what the future looks like, but if the present moment is crappy, it affects me a lot even if the big picture looks bright.

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Christine on:

You can say what you want
A the two are really cute together
B You have learned how to solve this well
Definitely a thumbs up from me ????
I'm just puzzled as to what strange mixture I am, since I've already discovered some elements of myself in there ... Manoman
LG Christine

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