Okay, I am looking for INTJs who have been able to change their ways. I need to be more emotionally expressive, and less opinionated. My personality is a constant problem in my life, but I keep reverting back to my natural personality. It takes a lot of effort to try to be different, and I have to be "on" all the time to accomplish that. Here are problems that are damaging my life: 1-I tend to ignore people and forget things, because I am always in "my own little world." I want to live in the moment and be "present" in my own life but I seem unable to do this. 2-I never hug people or tell them that I love them. This includes my nuclear family. 3-I am extremely blunt and I love to point out fallacies in whatever someone is saying. This does not go over well. 4-I AM SMILING.
These problems seem worse because I am a woman.
Advice? Any tips on how to be less INTJ in relationships? Practical tips, I mean, not platitudes.

Comments

Jean (not verified) says...

Hi Guest,

Well, first thing I want to say is I really don't like the concept of having to change ourselves to better suit the majority. I agree that being an INTJ female is a problem; I live it daily. I have, however, developed "workable habits" that let me be a bit more palatable to those in my daily life. This is especially true in a work environment, where I do not tolerate incompetence and when something is illogical or I can see obstacles, I do not hesitate to express my opinion. The thing is - all of that is VERY valuable in the work world, I just needed to learn to reframe and rephrase.

1. Think before I speak. This is HUGE. I can't tell you how many times the word "That's illogical" has popped out of my mouth. So years ago I started the "count to 10 and think" rule. Someone says something that blows my socks off in how ridiculously illogical it is and I MIGHT say, "well that's interesting, let me think about that." OR I just think about how to phrase my response in a less hurtful way than "OMG are you kidding me??" I tell people I work with who are new to me up front that I'm a processor (and I am) and that when there is silence, it means I'm thinking not that I'm ignoring them. It helps them to be more comfortable with me and gives me the time to develop a response that is well developed and tactful.

2. In my personal space it is more difficult. NOT a natural hugger (are any of us?), I do push myself to hug my ENFP son more often because he needs and wants it. But he knows, too, that Mom likes personal space and has learned that it is okay if Mom sometimes says no to a hug at the moment. Compromise. I don't like to be touched, but when I meet up with friends (almost all of whom are Es), I will hug them anyway. Some days those hugs are really quick, and some days a bit longer. It is just making myself do something briefly I wouldn't normally do.

3. Lists. Lists are my friends. With electronic reminders that I have something on my list. Because INTJs are naturally introspective, we can appear to be in our own little world and forgetful or neglectful of other's needs. I love my electronics (who said jewelry is a way to a woman's heart??), and have apps for everything. If you MUST remember to do something for someone else, set it up with a reminder.

4. Cultivate friendships with like-minded individuals who also relish the intellectual discussions you do. And stick to them! I have friends who are Es who don't mind me pointing out the flaws in their arguments. I'm currently a PhD student, and I have co-learners who will seek me out TO show them the flaws in their arguments so they can make their research stronger. Those who don't like it - I don't do it. I have learned to hold my tongue. NOT EASY, but well worth it. And because I have a group of people I can get into the types of discussion I love, it makes it easier not to do it with those that don't.

5. SMILING IS AWESOME! I often hear I don't smile enough. It isn't because I am unfriendly or unapproachable - it is because I'm thinking. When I'm in a group situation, I must always remind myself to smile and interact and use the kinds of body language that other personality types feel indicate interest. I'm prone to look down and just listen when I'm involved in a group setting, not because I'm not interested but because I AM, and this is how I process. Others don't like it.

6. Fillers. Another introvert/processor in the corporate world gave me this tip. Use fillers while you process. People in general are uncomfortable with silence, so say something while you process. Like, "I'm processing." Or, "this is fascinating, give me a minute while I think about it." Or whatever works in that situation.

I don't know if any of this helps but please - don't look at it as changing! I JUST had a conversation with a fellow co-learner when he was pointing out that I am often overlooked by professors (even when my hand is raised!) as far as sharing my thoughts, and he said maybe I should change. I said that I have the right to be true to me and still be heard. I believe that.

Hope at least some of these are helpful!

Best

J

fday says...

From a male INTJ perspective, I find it is good to develop a thick skin, and not let dissenting views affect my outlook. It becomes especially challenging when someone lacking the expertise or insight that I possess becomes personally disrespectful because he or she lacks understanding. I find this sometimes happens when the person has some power agenda combined with insecurity. Fight the urge to respond directly and rationally counter any criticism offered. You might also consider if the matter warrants discussion or if you have anything to be gained from discussions. If not, you might just agree to disagree and do nothing.

I don't believe my personality has changed, and if anything my INTJ tendencies have become stronger over time. I also would not try to change who you are. I have tried to develop awareness of how others perceive me, particularly at work. It is a challenge, but try to not let others affect your outlook.

Guest (not verified) says...

Jean & Guest, great to read your comments. Being an INTJ female can be challenging but also great fun and really empowering. I agree that we shouldn't necessarily seek to change who we are but focus on becoming aware of how who we are affects other people. Once aware we can then take better contol of our interactions using some of the techniques Jean and Enigma suggest. The pause is one of my favourites and developing thicker skin and know when to agree to disagree can help to smooth our path. As far as being less INTJ in relationships...to be honest I think that a lot of the time partners have been attracted by our typically INTJ traits (confidence and independence for example ) so rather than try and tone those traits down maybe finding out what our partner specifically needs (what is THEIR personality type?) and being aware of trying to service those might work better than trying to change ourselves. Great opportunity for growth and we love that ;)
Good Luck!

J_Odinsson (not verified) says...

I've found it is easier to find a partner and or friends who strive for knowledge and intelligent conversation I know that is rare nowadays.
That seems to be the easiest way I've found to either fit in or have any kind of love life whatsoever.
I also agree with having a thick skin and thinking before speaking so it doesn't seem insensitive to the other person.
I'd advise not to change although I do understand how certain aspects of being an INTJ can hinder life and especially a love life but anyways like I said it seems to me that more intelligent people are easier to get along with in my experience that is.
Also I have found that just being myself actually attracts intellectual types which for me is the best because I tend to find that more attractive than people that follow social norms.
I go to lectures, libraries and coffee shops rather than bars and clubs to find fellow intellectuals rather than cretins.

Góða nótt
Jay.

stark027 says...

First of all, good for you that you recognize that you (like everyone else, no matter what their personality type is) are not perfect and need to work on your personality. I am a 55-year-old female INTJ, and the personality flaws that are common to INTJ's (being opinionated and critical, not expressing affection, etc.) cause MAJOR problems in life and really hurt other people. Recognizing what needs to be corrected is the first big step. Here are my suggestions:

#2 I can't say much about the hugging because I still hate it most of the time. If you are ever moved to hug, though, then quick do it! On the other hand, force yourself to say to someone you love that you love them, and say it often. Show it also by your actions. People cannot read your mind.

#3 You already know that taking pleasure in pointing out other people's fallacies is not a good thing, so stop it. You make plenty of mistakes, too, so if you constantly point out other people's mistakes (as if they don't also see yours,) you make yourself look bad. It shows a lack of love for others and is not kind.

It is possible to control how you talk to and treat other people. If you care about other people and do not want to hurt them, though, the effort is worth it.

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