Sunday, 5 February 2017

Confession of an INTJ Female

I tend to like to correct people.  My instinct is to point out when someone is in error and provide the facts or missing information.  For a long time I privately and sadly thought that this was because I am a secret jerk.  Why else would I want to do this?  Most of the time I refrain as I am quite aware this is no way to win friends and influence people.  My inner voice was quite harsh and certainly the outer voice, also known as my mother, kept me in check as well.  I was raised with a good understanding of what makes people comfortable and how to achieve it as well as the concept that the most desirable thing is everyone's comfort.

From the point of view of aiming for harmony and smooth sailing, this does make sense, but it happens to go against most of my instincts so it isn't too surprising that I might conclude I am some sort of secret bitchy person who must be restrained at all times.

Nobody is actually harder on me than I am on myself and secret fears that I am horrible  only point to my desire not to be horrible.  At the same time the desire to be true to myself is also strong.  Learning about MBTI and continuing to learn about cognitive functions, a related and perhaps more in depth parsing of what MBTI is based on, has helped me to come to terms with these instincts and to better accept myself.  I don't secretly want to correct people because I am mean or feel superior or get some sort of kick out of it.  I value accuracy highly.  I want to have all of the pertinent information in order to make the best decisions and judgements and if I encounter someone coming to a conclusion while clearly lacking information I want to address that.  To me it seems helpful not only for that individual but to make the world a better place.

I instinctively value accuracy and thorough information more than I value everybody's emotional comfort but I have been taught that this perspective is wrong.

Over the course of my lifetime I've had to learn that most people do not want me to provide them with more information and that my method of doing it may also seem rather terse and blunt to people when to me it is just efficient.  I've learned to pick and choose carefully when I might offer more or better information or suggest alternative viewpoints but not doing this is almost physically painful.  Of course I am sometimes wrong myself, misinformed or poorly informed but if so I want to know

Through study of personality and cognitive types and in learning about my own I am better able to see that I am not wrong but I am not typical and that is why it is difficult.  That is why I do not fit well and may be perceived as wrong.  It may be quite true that societies function best when most members are concerned with harmony and each others' emotional well being, but societies also need people who ask questions, point out flaws, challenge the status quo and are willing to go against the grain.  It's just not easy to be that person.  It doesn't lead to popularity though popularity has never been my goal.  Squelching my own instincts and personality doesn't necessarily lead to my own personal happiness although I have been told that it will and it should, because are we not all happiest when there is harmony?

Perhaps not.  I am beginning to think I sound like I have a martyr complex and that isn't what I mean at all.  I can't pretend it isn't still a daily struggle to behave as expected and to balance my instincts with what I have been taught the society I live in values most.  I find myself frustrated by little things, such as wandering around on Pinterest and encountering someone who cannot accurately identify warm colours or who thinks that introverts are always shy.  And don't get me started on the grammatical and spelling errors!  I confess I indulge a little in leaving corrective comments on some of the Pins I come across.  I haven't got anything to lose there if I am ruffling feathers.

If there has been a missed chance in my life it is probably to have become an expert in something and then made a career out of disseminating information.  I could never be an expert in anything by my own standards but at least I would be forgiven for spending so much time focused on attempting to force-feed information to people.




13 comments:

  1. I'm another huge fan of facts, but I've also realized that life is better when my behaviour is less 'genuine me' and more 'socially apropriate'. Some friends have told me that sometimes I act like Temperance Brennan (a character in 'Bones'), even like Sheldon Cooper, because I don't understand metaphores or irony immediatelly. But I've never considered myself as a genius, nor a social inept, I'm only peculiar and that's fine for me.
    And I've learnt that most of the people don't want to receive accurate information, even when they ask for it. But I wouldn't feel offended if you point any of my many mistakes!
    besos

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    1. I have not seen Bones but am now intrigued. I have only seen a little bit of Big Bang but I know who Sheldon Cooper is. I don't think I am socially inept but I suspect I might be if I'd not had such good instruction. I generally love metaphors, irony and analogy because I love complexity and layers and something that I can parse. You don't make mistakes in dressing stylishly but if you suddenly decide to consult a psychic medium I will probably point out the error in that. If the urge comes over you, let me know! xo

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  2. I asked Cris how he coped with this. He said he wants to do it (correct people), but he restrains himself. Easy for some!
    He actually doesn't correct people much in general life (not sure about work) unless you come to him with a statistical study. He teaches stats at University and pulls the study to bits, leaving you reeling because you really only had a cursory glance at it and thought it was cute! (I may or may not be speaking from personal experience :-)xo JJ

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    1. I discovered much to late in life that I love stats and probability. I am teaching myself sentential logic using textbooks I purchased because this is my idea of fun. Needless to say, when people ask 'so what did you do this weekend?" I am hesitant to answer. I know it will not be the average person's idea of fun. What does Cris think of the general opinion that statistics can be used to prove or disprove anything?

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    2. I asked Cris and he said "Statistics can be abused to make it look like something is true, in just the same way that the English language can be used to lie. But if you don't violate the assumptions and rules you can write a Shakespeare play!" Just a little in love methinks :-)
      Enjoy your sentential logic, it sounds fascinating. I spent my weekend studying Myers-Briggs and how it relates to giftedness! Also staring at the ocean. Which one supplied more answers I wonder?
      Xo Jazzy Jack

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  3. Maybe you would benefit living in my home country - in the culture where it is a very, very rare person who doesn't tell you that you are wrong. People correct each other practically after every phrase and action. They find flaws in everything you've ever done or only plan to do. What a breath of fresh air to live in a country where they just let you be! Where they - most of the times - not only do not correct you (grammar mistakes included), but they don't even think about how right or wrong you are because they are too busy to live their own life.

    I have enough inner voices that tell me that I am wrong, guilty and generally "not enough" to deal with - perhaps to the rest of my life! - I really do not need any external voices to tell me that. Life (living! not thinking about life!) isn't about perfecting and informing - it is about discovering, exploring, experiencing it, feeling, imagining and creating what we all are capable to create.

    Your wonderful skills are absolutely useful and can be helpful to many - in a professional situation, teaching classes, leading groups, couching one-on-one, or simply writing articles and books about your discoveries. I do believe it - and that was exactly what I was trying to tell you earlier today. You ARE a born explainer and teacher - but a teacher needs students! It's a mutual process. Teachers learn as much from students if not more (I know - I've been a teacher)... In personal relationships, we all need to feel loved - comforted, safe, wanted, not constantly being corrected and "improved"... Do not fix me - just Love me. That's the core of all difficulties between people! Rarest people on earth are ready to just accept other the way their are and simply LOVE them. Many. too many think that love is a simplistic answer. But it isn't.

    Love to you, my dear friend.

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    1. There seems to be a rather significant misunderstanding here which might be better addressed in e-mail so I will write to you. Until I get that sorted out, please know that not only was this blog post not about you I have not tried to fix you.

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  4. I'm not a big corrector (or if I do do it I'm probably blissfully unaware!). My socially awkward cues are...I guess sometimes I can be unknowingly blunt, which is amplified in the U.K., where no one says what they are actually thinking lol! In the States if I had a foot in mouth or sometimes more likely really embarassing space cadet knowledge gap (this is a thing too I think with INFP) my friends would mostly laugh and consider it cute/one of my quirks. I don't know, I definitely feel like my slightly "otherness" being an INFP is more problematic in British society sometimes, oddly, because in theory it should be an introvert's paradise. But if you step out of formation here you stand out fast, and that freaks some people out. I have had some great friends who were outspoken fixer/corrector types, it's an undervalued quality to want to help and not be shy about giving helpful advice I think!

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    1. My INFP son is quite a bit the way you describe yourself. He might be blunt but it's not as much on purpose as my bluntness is, I think. And he has that space cadet knowledge gap thing. He's possibly a bit ADD but there is that place where INFP and ADD meet. LOL. I think the UK is only for the ISFJ introvert types, which is supposedly the most abundant type. I generally feel I am hiding many things about myself that are 'out of formation'. People don't want advice most of the time and I try not to give unsolicited advice, or even to correct people but the desire to do so is very strong so I indulge online with strangers. LOL. It's a slow day if I've only pointed out to two people online that they are not being logical. In offline life I am likely to just get frustrated with muddled situations and step in and fix it even for strangers. A customer asks a store clerk for the whereabouts of something and the clerk doesn't know but is bumbling about trying to help but I know, well I will step in. Online, if someone says something really idiotic, it's all I can do not to point this out to them because in my mind it's a direct threat to the best functioning of the world. Generally this heroism of mine is not appreciated. ;-)

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    2. Oh I have been known to play unasked for shop assistant many times as well! The space cadet thing is weird, I think it can be a lack of concentration, or we INFPs only absorb what is useful to us or soemthing. Because I can remember plenty of obscure inanities, small details about things that most people seem to forget. That is interesting, I will look up ISFJ for the heck of it! There's a certain "you must always be pragmatic above all else" quality here that is basically the antithesis of my being that I particularly struggle with sometimes! :-0

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  5. This was so interesting... and especially the 'out of formation' in one of your responses, which fits so well with what many in our immediate Family are, including myself. Since we tend to be naturally 'out of formation' there is always that inner turmoil to try to get into at least a little bit of formation with everyone else so that you can co-exist without all the Drama. *Smiles* That said, I've had the distinct Joy of connecting to many others 'out of formation' too, and discovering that we actually constitute a considerable 'Tribe' and I like the 'Tribe' I identify as belonging to. Besides, at this advanced Season of Life I've come to the Peace of just marching 'out of formation' with a greater comfort level and not caring so much that as the Band plays on, I'm marching, as always, to the beat of my own Drummer with contentment and little restraint anymore. So glad I discovered your Blog thru another I follow... Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Dawn. I agree and so many women say that getting older helps a great deal with self acceptance and self understanding. It's logical, as time would likely do this. Finding your tribe or being part of a whole family out of formation probably helps with confidence earlier in life. I have certainly not suffered lack of love but perhaps a bit of love you despite your oddities LOL or love you but could you change? I am sure some of us are essentially more comfortable marching out of formation anyhow and accustomed to it. I am fairly certain that a large number of people and amusingly perhaps the majority of people identify with feeling unusual or out of formation even if the rest of us think they are ultra conformists. This intrigues me. Be well, safe and happy in the Arizona Desert, Dawn.

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