“I’m an INTJ, and I get the idea that a lot of people fetishize us for reasons incomprehensible to me. I can relate quite a bit to the INTJs presented (in fetishized form) on telly, but sometimes, there are things about the way they’re presented that drives me absolutely insane. Do you get the same feeling? Or is it just me?”
It’s not just you. All INTJs secretly hate and admire their fetishization.
In canon media, INTJ’s bad qualities tend to be featured rather than their good ones — particularly bluntness and seemingly invisible feelings. The reason for this is likely that most of the people writing INTJs are not INTJs themselves, and thus, don’t know how to portray anything but the stereotype. You will notice that INTJs written by INTJs tend to be portrayed far more accurately (for instance, Christopher Nolan’s INTJs).
Fictional INTJs on telly tend to be quite condescending and in many cases, arrogant in their intellect, and audiences love that for the same reason they love a Byronic hero. But INTJ negative stereotypes are featured so heavily in the media that most people wouldn’t recognize a real INTJ if they saw one (because we’re usually hiding in a corner rather than being featured by a camera crew for the entire world to observe).
When a real INTJ behaves the way the ones in the movies do, the same people who love that a character on telly people would hate the real INTJ for being rude, or condescending or whatever. Yet, INTJs who embody the stereotypes more closely tend to have a group of non-internet fetishizers who will obsess over them to an annoying degree.
Part of it is that these INTJs carry around a persona that embodies mystery (ever notice how once the mystery falls away, people cease to be interested?). They will encounter us once in real life and having gained only a few intriguing bits of information, they will then try to stalk us on the internet (but fail because our internet trails, though extensive, are invisible to everyone who didn’t meet us on the internet).
There are people that will exchange a few sentences with me once, and after that, want to figure out everything about me. Frankly, I find that violating.
If you’re an INTJ reading this, you’ll surely have also noticed that some of the most fetishized fictional characters are INTJs.
I don’t know for certain whether there’s a correlation here (not enough data), but the types that I see fetishizing real-life INTJs most often are ESFPs and xNFPs.
Depending on how a person goes about fetishizing an INTJ, we may not respond to them with kindness. If they do it through imitation and annoying attempts to stalk us, then we tend to retreat further into the INTJ stereotypes that protect us from these invasions on our personal lives. AKA, we become the stereotype that they’re fetishizing in order to get them to realise how aweful the thing they think they’re fetishizing is. Ironic, I know, but unfortunately, they don’t usually get the joke.
I was in a class with a fetishizing ESFP once who tried to act like me in order to impress me, and oh, did he get the brunt of my sardonic side. I think I was ruder to him than I’ve been to anyone for a long time, and part of me hates myself for reacting that way.
If –on the other hand– a person simply wants to be a genuine friend to me, then I will return the friendship gladly.
It’s basically the difference between how Sherlock responds to John Watson, versus how he responds to Kitty Riley. And if you look at it that way, it sounds a lot more justifiable doesn’t it. I mean really, do you want some stranger to confront you in the bathroom dressed up in mockery of you while trying to weedle personal information out of you?
Much of INTJ fetishization is a result of the fact that we withold personal information while rattling off information that spells out a perception of intelligence. Naturally, when a person meets someone who is impressively intelligent, they want to get to know that person in order to either glean some of that knowledge or discover what the secret to that knowledge is. As a result, the fact that we withhold information makes us alluring.
I can’t tell you how many times random co-workers and classmates have introduced themselves to me by telling me out of the blue that my ‘mysterious’ nature makes them want to get to know me. The same people have also at other times called me an “alien,” a “sociopath,” or used the “god trying to be a human” phrase to describe me. And yes, as I fellow INTJ, I can sympathize with you for simultaneously hating and relating to the fictional INTJ persona.
People are both intrigued and afraid of what they don’t understand. And because the INTJ is a puzzle to most people, we gain an instant appeal in the media. Television, books and movies –stories, thrive off of suspense, which just so happens to be heightened by withholding information…thus the mystery of the INTJ becomes the subject of abuse in popular media.
46 thoughts on “INTJ Fetishization”
I had experiences with people that try to now me just to “revew the farse” so they said (as I was trying to get attention by “being smart”)… this onesI hate the most
Thank you for writing this.
This fetishizing of fictional INTJ also seems to be solely focusing on male characters. I can’t think of any example in media where a female INTJ is portrayed this way.
If you know any, I may correct my first statement and say it’s in nearly all of the cases.
Pretty sexist still but that’s not really news.
Probably not your area of expertise but what are typical fetishizations of female character types?
I first thought about the Good Girl who is shy and modest, self esteem completely dependent on other people, telling her she’s pretty, also pure and innocent and Not Like Other Girls. In other words horrendously boring. But I feel like she’s rather the counterpart to the poorly written male INTJ, something for female readers to identify with and therefore not exactly what I’m searching for.
English is not my mothertongue, by the way. So forgive my sins, oh Lord, cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
Also someone wrote somewhere on this blog that they keep zoning out thinking about ideas like “What if trees could breathe” and since I’ve read it yesterday, it’s driving me insane and I can’t get it out of my head. Trees do breathe.
I’m kind of tired of people getting mad at how their type is portrayed in entertainment. I really feel like most of them don’t even know what MBTI is. They’re not portraying a type. They’re portraying a character. Now I don’t really know how popular MBTI is but it would be nice if people would take that into consideration. Not everybody is trying to turn intjs into villains/sexy anti-heroes.
Also, although intjs are quite fascinating to me I don’t think you guys are mysterious. You’re basically just very idiotic geniuses that I find to be quite cute. Like how can Sherlock can tell you how long you’ve been married and whether it was a happy marriage or not upon first meeting and still know basically nothing about you. Personally, I don’t think you’re all that smart when you’re like that. I mean seriously what the heck is that? I understand what’s behind it. Intjs just don’t take things like that into consideration and blah blah blah but to me you’re stupid when you’re like that.
Would you say ENTJs get a similar fetishization?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes, but not to the same extent, and certainly not the same type of fetishization.
You’re not alone in being told such rubbish. Show your intelligence often enough and the average people become jealous, even if it’s something really small we’re talking about.
It’s not like INTJs are known for being chatterboxes so that kind of response from peers can really make a silent person even more silent.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told to do that in my younger years. So after learning the hard way that people *disliked* being told things they didn’t actually know,I resorted to staying quiet and only chipping in occasionally, divulging only the most important facts
while mentally busying myself doing something more interesting,like reading articles about the Bermuda triangle, or the haunted ship,or whatever it is that induces the brain to revv from nil to eightyand presenting disagreements in the form of questions instead of directly telling the class that they were wrong.
Sometimes I don’t even realize that my face has gone expressionless until I’m warned about that by someone in my near environment, but I can’t help it, because I zone out countless times a day, and I obviously won’t try to pay conscious attention to my facial expression while brainstorming with myself.
I’ve yet to meet ESFJs (mainly due to the fact that I’ve a very limited social circle), and so far I’ve encountered the “Smile! Don’t frown all the day!” situation with ISFJs the most. And yes, it’s my ISFJ teacher who, you might put it that way, loathes me for my ways the most. She’d make comments about my poker face (when in fact I’m trying to understand the subject taught at a deeper level) and try to (subtly) brush off uncomfortable questions I asked. How should we have time to pay attention to how we’re looking like when we are busy solving something important?
I usually just ignore my classmates and pretend I’m having a one-on-one with the professor, which sometimes ends well for me (unless said teacher is an xNTP or xSFJ)
I’ve had lots of verbal spars and debates with my teachers, mostly concerning ethics,morality and of course,facts, but the spars and debates scare my classmates (especially Si-users) instead of making them loathe me (“How dare you say that! No one ever talks like that to her and you’ll be in trouble!”). I don’t know about you,but so far debates with my ENTJ and ESTJ teachers are the best. I still can stand XNTP teachers (in a debate) because at least they have amusing or perhaps better ideas which just needed to be fleshed out to perfection. I find it the most difficult to get along with ISFJ teachers (or groupmates).
…but I suppose I too have an unusually high comfort level when it comes to “gross” things.
Hmm. “Gross” can be differently interpreted across individuals,but yes, I suppose that’s (relatively comfortable dealing with uncomfortable topics or situations) due to the NiTe combination craving for information necessary in making an accurate conclusion. I’ve been accused of being emotionless when I told my classmates that our beloved (I don’t have a “beloved” teacher; it’s an umbrella term,really.) teacher had to move to another school as it benefitted her more and that move was for good. Plus, I didn’t cry when said teacher hugged every one of us. Instead, I felt awkward and slightly guilty that everyone was tears and everything but I’m there analysing feelings (and feeling awkward when the it was my turn to be hugged).
@just any INTJ coming across this
What did you do/how did you feel whenever a respected teacher moves to other schools?
LikeLiked by 1 person
After dealing with the emotional pain of being seen as disagreeable even though I had the best intention in the world n tried in the best way I knew how and was natural to me, to be a great person, and never knowing what I was doing wrong, as well as being the receiver of all the pettiness of people who resented me when I was nothing but nice to them (which I later understood was just envy; being envied for the same thing you are punished for being and are called disagreeable for) I kind of enjoy that INTJs are fetishized on tv and put on a pedestal of greatness. It kinda heals a little of the pain of being one in IRL. Being an INTJ IRL is both a blessing and a curse, especially growing up, until you learn the emotional maturity needed to handle what comes with being visibly different (not have the inner compulsion to blend in like others), deal with the meanest of envious people, and understand that no there’s nothing innately wrong with you, you are just in a society that caters to people that are not like you, and some time hates you for being what they wish they were. Hates that they can’t shine as they wish to when you are around. Tries to copy you while belittling you at the same time. Hates that you are like a mirror placed in front of them on which they hate to see themselves. I know, getting to this point takes time because the damage done to the psyche sometime is huge, plus you don’t even know why this is so since you are preoccupied with other things and the last thing on your mind is that there’s something of you that people might be envious of, I mean why would someone who everyone loves be envious of little old you… Right?, any way with time and work on yourself and yes having people who are secure in themselves to be able to love you as you are that time does come.
For non INTJs yes, I know being an INTJ does not makes us geniuses but if people want to believe that who am I to tell them no;)
LikeLiked by 1 person
This gives me a little healing and some emotional closure. Especially the line…’why would someone who everyone loves be envious of little old you… Right?’
Wow, this is one of the best INTJ comment sections I’ve ever seen, with IRL INTJs sharing their stories. I often can’t relate to other INTJs on web forums, since many of them come off so hostile. I relate to so many of you, it’s like I finally found my tribe! I’m a female INTJ. My mom is a ESFx and my dad is so unhealthy (He is full blown NPD, probably bipolar too), I cannot type him as I have never known him to be, “healthy,” he’s always been toxic and emotionally abusive. I was always being pushed to be someone I was not and then would get yelled for being a, “lousy” daughter, my parents would scream a me for not being student council class president, prom queen, concert pianist and a national merit scholar (they literally expected me to be all of those things). Basically, the only thing I got out of my miserable childhood was that I was nothing more than a disappointment to my parents. I didn’t understand when other people would talk about how great their families were, strangers treated me more nicely than I was treated by my own family.
Reading the comments here triggered something that I had not thought about for a long time. My father’s favorite taunt to throw at me was, “You are evil-minded, you think evil-minded.” Keep in mind, I was pretty much a straight A student, shy to a fault (due to having no self-esteem, thanks to my parents), never got into trouble, but that didn’t matter, I could never live up to whatever crazy ideal that my parents had in their head. My father’s, “You are evil-minded,” crap was something he’d throw at me on a regular basis (I always felt it was projection, HE is the one who is evil-minded and hateful), I was usually too scared of him to speak up against him, but he HATED that I would not conform to his beliefs/opinion/(poor) values, etc.. and due to that, I was, “evil-minded.” He never accused anyone else in the family of this and I was and have always been a family scapegoat. My ESFx mother has always been co-dependent to my father and adapted a lot of his irrational and toxic behavior, she is someone who cannot think for herself
I was also a loner, at home, at school, I always had very few friends and went through periods of time where I basically had no friends growing up. In addition, I was bullied quite a bit, especially in elementary and middle school, by high school, I just clammed up and kept to myself and accepted that I would never fit in. It wasn’t until college that things got better. I met my ENFP dh (and no, neither of us knew our type back then, we just found out recently, I found it rather amusing that ENFP is supposedly a good match for INTJ), and being away from toxic family members and the town I grew up in (the school I went to was basically what the movie, “Breakfast Club” was about, basically an INTJs worst nightmare). Basically, until finding out I was an INTJ recently, I’ve always felt like a freak. After college, when I began working, I noticed again that I often did not fit in. I’m in a female dominated field and the only place I ever worked at where I fit in was one that was 50% male… I get along with guys much better than women, who are IMO usually pretty shallow and catty.
When I was a sahm, it was still a struggle to fit in. As hard as I tried, I wasn’t girly and chatty enough and didn’t like drinking as much as the other moms, so while they were ok with me, I was never in the inner circle. I was someone who was friends with everyone and who somehow introduced several moms to their new BFF… but I have never had a BFF.
I’ve returned to work full-time now and for the first time in years, I am THRIVING and can be myself. I cannot believe that it was not until my 40’s that I could actually be accepted or who I am! I changed to a different sector in my field, one in which my INTJness is appreciated, I seem to fit the role of an adviser to others, even though I am not a supervisor. I actually have people who are drawn to me for my INTJness or the first time in my life. Being smart, a systems thinker, open-minded, efficient, an innovative thinker, problem solver and a detail-oriented planner are all qualities that have made me shine in my field, without me even having to try, I can just be who I am and people love it! I’ve been told by many that for someone who is relatively new to the sector, I am light-years ahead of those who have been in the field for their entire careers. My previous jobs were ones where I was expected to conform to being a drone, now I’m allowed a certain level of creativity and independence. I love it, but at the same time, I have a hard time, “turning off” my work life. I am always problem solving and thinking about ways to problem solve. I have one coworker, who I adore (she is a great support and cheerleader), who tells me I am a genius. That is hilarious to me, because I grew up being told I was stupid, dumber than dirt, that because I didn’t go to an ivy league school and didn’t go to med school, that I was garbage. I appreciate, but downplay her compliments.
Then my big boss (head of the organization)… I’m pretty sure he is an ENTJ. I have captured his attention he’s tested me in his own way. He’s known for being difficult to please, but he and I get along very well, he is always telling others about my critical thinking skills, and that is unusual, as he doesn’t normally compliment individual employees for their work. He has saw with his own eyes that I’ve got something that nobody else in the organization has and he’s intrigued. I can tell that he can’t quite figure me out, but he respects me. He is very supportive of my projects and I can tell that he covets my INTJness, even if he’s not sure what it is about me that sets me apart from the 100+ other employees in the building. This is the first time I could ever understand the INTJ fetish IRL.
However, I still often feel like a black sheep. Outside of work, I am still very much a loner, I know a lot of people (my job involves a lot of networking, which I find exhausting, but I can turn on a more extroverted side if needed). I am not geographically or emotionally close to my family of origin, I love my kids, but I am not a parent who over-coddles her children, I want them to be happy, healthy, independent, I give them enough emotional support to help them grow and thrive, but I’ve never been an over-gushy, “my kid’s the best kid ever,” type of parent. My dh, has told me time and time again, he loves me, because I make him laugh. He is a very social person, EVERYONE likes him, he can make friends with anyone and is a fun and lighthearted person to be around. What he saw in me to capture his heart, IDK, because honestly, he could have had anyone. I’m thankful to have such a great dh, that he puts up with me (I know that sometimes I am too serious and critical, from his POV), but he also balances me out. In return, I also balance him out. Due to his carefree nature, he has never been a good planner, especially with long term planning. His career success is due to my planning and coaching him through steps to get him to where he is now. He didn’t realizes this before, but in the past year, things have really fallen into place for him and I am happy for him and I think he realizes now that I have always looked out for him in this way, even though he sometimes felt I was pushing him harder than he wanted to be pushed, he sees now that I did it for a reason.
This is the first time in my life that I could see the value of being an INTJ, frankly it’s always been difficult. I am finally comfortable in my own skin. I do not need to live up to society’s expectations or conforming to mainstream society. I finally, “found” some people who seem to value my, INTJness, and for the first time I’m not being treated like a freak of nature. The fetish can be good or bad, I’m glad to discover those who appreciate me for who I am, I have had some who think I’m a novelty for entertainment (ie: they think I’m mysterious) and I usually do not engage in those relationships, so they do not go anywhere. You just need to know your boundaries. If someone is fetishizing you to the point of making you uncomfortable, that’s not healthy. However, being around those who appreciate your INTJness w/o being weird about it, is great. It’s nice not to have to change the way you act to fit in with others, being allowed to be yourself is freeing.
LikeLiked by 1 person
It is quite funny how people just adore INTJs on the TV and on the internet for their smarts and cool-looking public persona but if they come across an INTJ in their real lives (without knowing that the person they have just met or talked was an INTJ), not only would they not adore that person but get annoyed or/and offended by the INTJ’s sarcastic nature and biting honesty.
I have observed this a couple of times with my INTJ friend and my INTJ brother. To my friend I would always advise him on how to appear more welcoming only to get his sarcastic remarks and apathy to laugh at together later. To my brother, doing the same, well, I also recieved some sarcasm but he wasn’t so apathetic. He actually listened to me and tried to be more kind (even if only for a little bit).
Though as funny as It may be I really wish people would stop treating INTJs or any other type superficially like that.
Ah yes. Thank you for this post. I can most certainly relate to it. At first, I must admit that I found the “fetishization” a bit flattering, until I realized that people just wanted someone to idolize (no surprises there). For example, if Sherlock would correct someone’s grammar in the show, all of the Sherlock fangirls would find it absolutely hilarious and fawn over him even more. But if *I* correct their grammar… well, I’m a stuck-up, know-it-all, [insert unoriginal insults here]. Excuse me for being annoyed when someone says “try and…”
As for being fetishized in real life, it hasn’t happened to me very often. That’s probably because I have successfully driven away any would-be Kitty Riley’s with my sarcasm. Although I have run into one or two rather ardent Internet stalkers who were insistent on “sussing me out.” Considering I rarely feel the need to put my life on display on social media, I was quite satisfied when they came out just as confused as when they started.
On a completely different topic, I just stumbled upon your website. Having never met another INTJ in real life, I am so glad I’ve found this. I enjoy your posts, and it’s nice to find others to whom I can relate. Growing up as an INTJ female has been a bit difficult, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Ms. Priya, your last sentence sums up the majority of my day-to-day irritation. (I’ve been perusing the fantastic INTJ articles after doing nothing more than just try to find a new wallpaper, and it was very interesting to find different ways of analyzing the personality types!) But I wanted to thank you for your last sentence because I routinely find myself borderline yearning to do ‘normal’ things that my friends do, but when I try doing them they do not work. They take me to a dance party and I hold their coats and shoes and break up a fight. We go to a football game and I notice how the woman and her son in the seats below us just started swaying simultaneously to no audible music. Do you get that sometimes, too? I’m very nonconformist, but sometimes I still want what everybody else has.
Yes. Your experience trying to do ‘normal’ things and not being successful at doing them ‘normally’ is exactly my experience.
I completely agree. I am most certainly incapable of doing anything “normal.” I tried for about 2 minutes and failed miserably. My ENFP friend dragged me to my school’s formal my first year of high school (god knows what possessed me to say yes), and I stood in a corner reading the New York Times on my phone until they allowed us to leave.
This article comes off as snooty and ridiculous. I’m an INTJ and I don’t think I have ever been “fetishized”. If you go through life thinking other people are obsessed with you and think you’re super awesome and mysterious this says a lot about your inflated ego. When I was a kid I used to think like this. Then I grew up and realized no one is really paying that much attention to me. Also, there is no such thing as a fictional INTJ. We can only speculate at how a character might fill in an MBTI assessment. Since they can’t actually fill one in, all we have are opinions.
The majority of fetishisation that does happen, happens in the media between audiences and fictional characters, but if you want to make judgements on my character/ego based on a single article, go ahead and be my guest.
No such thing as a fictional INTJ simply because that character has not personally sat down and filled out an MBTI assessment? Well…I guess nobody can have personalities unless an internet test tells them they have one. That’s really unfortunate.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I hadn’t realized there was a fetishism on INTJs but it’s true I began to notice more INTJ love on tumblr. At first it felt nice to be noticed, but then it just was all about house and sherlock and not the actually struggles. Not all of us made the same.
I’ve struggled as a kid trying to fit in to a world that often made me feel like or actually told me there was something wrong with me cause I didn’t want to hang out with the other kids, or this and that. So, over time, I had to grow this whole other person for when I am in public, its terrible.
You have mentioned in other posts that characters such as Sherlock are shown more as the stereotypes of INTJs than the INTJs such as Batman in the Christopher Nolan films. You believe this is because non-INTJs do not understand the proper workings of INTJs and therefore only base the characters on stereotypes. With that in mind, how would someone write a real and genuine INTJ character if they are not INTJ themselves, do not know Any INTJs, and do not have the Ni function that INTJs use the most (an ISTJ person for example). How does one avoid stereotyping when writing are character completely different from there own?
Thank you for writing this blog and taking the time to answer these questions. Much appreciated.
As a writer myself, I completely understand where you’re coming from. I have the hardest time writing Ti using characters and extraverts.
For starters, I’d recommend reading books that feature genuine INTJ characters so that you can get to know their thought processes. The Ender’s Game series and Ayn Rand’s books are probably a good place to start. You can watch movies about genuine INTJs, but it’s not quite the same as reading their thoughts in a book because in a film, all you get is the exterior of the thought process.
Aside from fiction, read as much as you can about the cognitive functions that you’re least comfortable with. If you’re uncomfortable with the Ni function and have specific questions about it, submit them to the Ask an INTJ Anything section of this blog and I’ll answer them as quickly as time allows. If you ask a really good question, I’ll even interrupt the schedule to post it for you.
Thank you for the useful advice. As an English major, and hopefully one day a writer, these are the kinds of things I need to know to make memorable characters. What do you suggest for the best reading to understand the cognitive functions?
I’d suggest reading a bit of what Jung himself had to say about them, but I’ll also likely be posting some function guides on this website in the coming months
Interesting reading! I can really relate to all of it and since I have no fellow INTJ to compare experiences with in real life it’s comforting reading at the same time.
Personally I find the copycats most annoying and sort of offending. I’ve come across a lot of them, for some reason. For a while I wanted to wear a t-shirt with the text: “Don’t try to be me. You can’t be me. You just make yourself look stupid. Please, stop!”
The “Oh, you’re so mysterious!” and “I really don’t get you!” type of people don’t bother me as much, I simply ignore them. It’s not my problem they can’t understand me while I on the other hand have absolutely no troubles what so ever understanding them. *shrug*
However, here’s something I’ve been thinking about: I’ve gotten the impression that the fetishized INTJ stereotype portrayed on TV and in films is usually a male INTJ and because of that most non-INTJs seem to assume that an INTJ should be male.
Of course, female INTJs are rare, but I can’t help wonder if the same characteristics in a female would be as fetishized on screen. Would they be fetishized at all, even?
I’m a female INTJ and my own personal experience is that people tend to become condescending because of my gender, more than anything else, whenever I actually open my mouth and something even remotely clever and Sherlock-ish (but, for the sake of clarity, usually not rude) comes out.
A group of former acquaintances of mine idolise the Sherlock character like crazy, but when I once acted out the stereotype, just for giggles, it first freaked them out – then they all got really annoyed, almost angry.
Being confronted and scrutinized by the Sherlock stereotype IRL wasn’t nearly as fun as they thought it would be, apparently. They also made it perfectly clear to me that it was no way for a “lady” to behave and, as a bonus, I’m no longer welcome in their little circle of Sherlock fetishization – ah, I mean fandom. (It is safe to say that I don’t miss them one bit.)
Yes, the same thing happens to me on a regular basis. People tell me to stop being such a pessimist all the time, to which I respond that I’m not a pessimist, I’m a problem solver.
My Sherlock-fetishising friends either end up freaking out and running away with hilariously disturbed expressions on their faces, or they fetishise me too. I’m not sure which I find more annoying. Probably the second one.
People of the first orientation do end up shutting me out of their fandom-circles, which I find particularly pathetic and hypocritical on their part. It would seem that like most other things, they enjoy Sherlock in theory, but not in practice.
On the gendered end of the spectrum, I find it almost anti-feminist and discriminatory that people don’t think it’s appropriate for women to speak out and act like themselves unless they’re sweet little F-types or rule-following piss pots. Excuse my …well that wasn’t French. Excuse my INTJ.
Piss pots… *rofl*
Well, your INTJ is excused. It’s in good company.
I think I might actually need “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a problem solver” on a t-shirt. I imagine it would cut some discussions short, at least. (My INFP mother would be totally immune to it though. I’ll probably always be a problem solving pessimist in her eyes.)
I must say, one of the things I find extremely refreshing about reading your texts is your sense of humour and clean cut way of telling things as they are. Not only do you throw great phrases around that makes me want to quote you – your tone reminds me so much of myself and that’s a whole dimension of fascinating in itself.
I’ve had multiple people describe that way of expressing oneself as “being evil” – because not wrapping opinions or matters of fact in cotton candy is apparently “evil”. *epic eyeroll* I usually have to suppress that part of myself when I’m around most people. It makes it easier to get accepted by others, but it’s tedious and quite lonely.
Since I’ve not yet met another INTJ in real life it’s very liberating to find a peer, to read comments from other INTJs around the blog and realize that “we” actually exist. It’s not just me, alone, who functions this way and thinks it’s a perfectly fine way of living life.
This realization means a lot to me for a lot of reasons, one of them being that I was repeatedly treated as the strange child while growing up. Always the outcast, always the one the adults and other children didn’t really know how to handle.
You wrote “INxJs are particularly good at being better friends with fictional characters than real life people because they have something in common with INxJ characters” in the post about why you type so many INTJs. I find that line to be all too true. I bond quickly with INTJ characters.
However, now that I’ve spent a couple of hours crawling all over your blog, reading your texts, fiction has clashed with reality in my head somewhat.
You are not a fictional character, Arvid, and yet my brain is telling me “Yup, we could totally be friends.” just as it would if I’d discovered a great fictional character.
It feels exquisitely weird! In a good way, but still… weird.
Please excuse the weird. xD
Are you making fun of my British slang? You probably have a piss pot of your own in your bathroom.
During job interviews, I answer the “are you an optimist or pessimist” question with the phrase, “Ask me if the glass is half full or half empty. I’ll drink it and tell you I’m a problem solver.”
Clear-cut would be the Te talking. Apparently I’m too honest, which is ironic considering that most of the people who consider honesty a virtue want you to suppress your honesty to avoid offence. I have definitely been called an “evil genius” before, but, as you can see from the fact that I adopted it as my trademark, that nickname backfired for the people who gave it to me.
Oh my. Yes, it is lonely to suppress the universe inside of one’s mind. People often ask me why I’m so quiet, but on the occasions that I’ve taken that as an invitation to speak my thoughts, things haven’t worked out too well for me.
Yes, INTJ is plural. Read that again, isn’t it great? We’re harder to spot in real life because we often wear masks to fit into society, but you can track down a mass of us online. And in case you weren’t aware, the fact that you’re following (and commenting on) my blog makes you my friend.
The weird will not be not excused from the dinner table until it has finished eating. Tell it to come back!
*weird slides into its chair at the table again*
Sorry for taking so long time to reply. I certainly wasn’t making fun of your slang, I was simply thinking of all the piss pot people I’ve met and laughing because it’s very funny to imagine them with piss pots for heads…
It is indeed very ironic when people tell you to be honest and then they can’t handle it. I fail to see how honesty without rudeness or degrading intent is evil. So I’ve also happily adopted all my nicknames such as “evil genius”, “evil mastermind” and so on. They amuse me – which of course adds even more to the so called evil aura, according to the piss pots.
My experience is that it gets easier to claim the right to say and be as you like with age. I never said much as a child or teenager. It was the easiest way to avoid conflict – plus I was really shy back then too.
Now that I’m in my twenties I’ve found that the title “adult” comes with a lot more “entitlement” to speak ones mind so I claim that right to speak up just as anyone else – as long as I feel like I have something of at least some value to say.
As a teenager I often felt like the adults tried to put me in my place (some of my teachers more or less with verbal abuse) because a teenager’s opinion isn’t worth much to society, usually. I think that’s sad.
Also I’m really happy about having you as my new friend. Friends really don’t grow on trees. :)
I honestly find it condescending and sad, that we have to suppress ourselves just to make other people feel comfortable, while on the other hand, other types don’t have to do it as commonly as us.
I can relate to your experiences of being an outcast horribly much. I could never really find my place at school, I was bullied, people ignored me/shoved me away and I constantly ended up being alone. However, by the age of nine or ten, I learnt not to care about this and just ignore them myself. I realized how appreciating and remunerative it can be to spend time alone – eventually I just got happy about it, because I could devote my time to whatever interested me, instead of wasting my time on them, so that I could evolve. (I still prefer solitude more.) This caused me to feel as though I was an extraterrestrial, so it was pretty settling for me when I first encountered MBTI and read about the INTJ. I felt like my personality was explained, and my weirdness/awkwardness (or whatever it is) is excused somehow.
I can too recall a lot of occasions where I bonded with fictional characters instead of other people. It never grew into me having an imaginary friend or anything, but I felt less alone, and still having time for whatever I wanted. I knew I won’t have to treat them kindly, to take care of them, because they would be there for me anyway.
Now, though, I can consider myself really lucky, because my way crossed with an INFJ’s. I haven’t met anyone who could understand me on such a deep level as he does, not even my INFP friend who I’ve known for twelve years now. The best thing about him is that I don’t have to act nor fake myself in front of him, because he never takes offence, just acknowledges that I’m like this and my humor is the darkest of dark humor. I can also talk to him about pretty much anything, he’s the only person on the face of Earth to whom I opened up so much after knowing each other for merely a year. I felt uneasy about myself first, because I acted unlike myself by telling him personal things pretty soon, but probably I just intuitively knew I can have faith in him. (He also presented me with a philosophy book which I’ve read countless times when borrowing it from the library, but could never find. Well, he could, and gave it to me as a gift.) Bonus is that he’s aware of the functions, too.
Needless to say, I felt warmth when I read that solely by interacting with each other here, we are considered friends. I read that right after I woke up (I have this habit to visit your blog, Arvid, as soon as I gain consciousness and my brain starts functioning in beta instead of delta) and it literally made my day in the most possible positive sense.
Sounds almost exactly like my childhood, except I don’t recall having to learn not to care . I suppose I just never did, but the extraterrestrial aloneness was definitely there.
I also had the same experience in terms of INFJs, only I think she was more grateful that I understood her than I was. The fact that I could explain her thought processes better than she could freaked her out at first, but then she sort of latched on to me and hasn’t let go since.
I recognize so much of myself in your story, Occam’s Chainsaw.
I’d hug you if I could – but I’d ask first becasue maybe you’re not into hugs and that’s okay. Then we could just nod in agreement towards each other, or something.
Because of course it’s important to find equals and to feel like you belong somewhere – to find “your” people, so to speak. I think it’s very sad to read that you had to force yourself to not care. No child should ever have to do that.
Personally I pretty much gave up all hopes of finding a real friend early in my teens. I didn’t think there was something particularly wrong with me so I couldn’t really care less about what the other kids thought of me, but it was lonely at times and was for many years.
Today I have a lot of “acquaintances”, but only one real friend I met 5 years ago.
I stumbled upon an INFJ online, we clicked pretty much instantly, found out that we lived in the same country and decided to meet – which everyone around us thought was utterly insane when we still knew close to nothing about each other, we just knew that we connected.
We’ve been best friends since then. We are very different, but we understand each other better than anyone has understood us separately before. Of course it’s not a 100% perfect fit so we clash sometimes, T vs. F style, but we never push each other too far. I think it’s becasue we both realise we’ll go back to being completely alone if we should fall out entirely – so that’s just not an option.
Having an INFJ friend really is great though. As you say, the freedom to not have to act or pretend is wonderful, and since the darkest of dark humour is allowed out into the open we have a lot of fun as well. It’s a powerful feeling that she and I can be “evil geniuses” together.
(The world should consider itself lucky we have no ambitions for world domination.)
I would definitely agree to hug. I was taught by my dearest ENFP friend that expressing emotions in physical ways can be meaningful, so I’m not allergic to hugs anymore.
I gave a lot of thoughts and was analysing this matter a lot back then — whether the problem was me or the others. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that people should learn to tolerate me more, because I can’t (and isn’t willing) to change merely because they require me to. I knew I wouldn’t switch to be an ignorant, my thirst for knowledge was (and still is) way stronger than what I could suppress easily.
As for the “one real friend” statement: my father, who is also an INTJ, told me several years ago, that everyone has many acquaintances/buddies, but only one true friend in their life, and all I can say is that the two decades I spent alive only proved his words right.
Oh, we don’t have any ambitions for world domination, either, but I’m sure it would go seamlessly with his and my mind. (On the other hand, we do like to do pranks or just ‘troll’ the others. It’s hilarious.) Probably we should team up once we change our minds about this domination thing, and practice a reign together, how does that sound?
I too analysed myself a lot as a child and came to the conclusion that… Nah, there’s nothing really wrong with me. It’s “everybody else” that’s insane!
Adult me still thinks there’s an iddy biddy bit of truth in there, sometimes. That’s the “evil” speaking, they say…
What was it like to have an INTJ dad? As in, did it help you feel better about thinking differently compared to most of the other kids? My parents and I had to struggle to understand each other at times and it was rough. Most of it’s smoothed out by now though.
If you and your friend ever come up with a plan, that includes a good reason why we should take over the world and what we should actually do with it once it’s ours, then just send me a word and my friend and I will be there to help, sure thing!
Having an INTJ dad is a mesmerising experience. We can understand each other on an insanely deep level, and both of us can analyse the other — sometimes easily, sometimes not so much. Both of us have a tendency to hide things from everyone (this including hiding things from each other, too), because we primarily prefer to try and struggle through with our issues on our own. We only give voice to these insecurities when we can’t see a direct solution to it, and we need the other’s help due to his/her sharp insight. (This is mostly true for my dad, because I never bother him with any of my problems. In my opinion, they are not even remotely as important and pressing issues as the ones he has, so I just… suppress them and listen to him, which is fine.)
His same thinking style does help me, though. He’s like a role model for me. (He is the most perfect INTJ I have ever seen, what with each and every one of his perfectly developed functions, which he also puts to good use all the time.) He takes advantage of his stack, and it makes him extremely successful in his job (he works as a system administrator), and he has this skill to solve literally anything that other admins failed with.
He has never really treated me like a kid, but an equal grown-up, and I always appreciated that. Of course, it also made me reluctant to talk to the other children, because I’ve always been more mature than my peers, but that was fine with me. I valued this trait in myself back then, and I do even now.
He has high expectations of me, so the part where the INTJ’s craving for efficiency and results is fleshed out in the general description is insanely true for him. (Also for me.) Whenever I achieved what he wanted me to, he’d just shrug and acknowledge my achievement silently in his mind, but would never give me a pat on the head for it. It always urged me to do even better in whatever I started doing besides the fact that I have high expectations of myself, too, and should I fail them I cannot look myself in the eye for a while.
We can have interesting debates, too, about anything that comes to our heads. I honestly adore my dad’s, because his is a truly beautiful mind. We can also get a hang of each other’s humor, which is often the darkest of dark humor, but we just… laugh at our jokes on end. We both have a sarcastic nature, which shows whenever we are encountered with stupid people — we handle them this way; we make the conversation interesting for ourselves, too, while at the same time not offending anyone, because the recipient of our snark doesn’t catch up on it.
At first this is what came to my mind, but this is mostly it, really. (Maybe I can also mention the fact that we are both recluses who retreat into their rooms at home to work on whatever the heck we want, since we both want our free time to be productive.) We both are meticulous in our work, and are perfectionists, so doing anything half-assed is just not among our choices.
This is entirely different with my mother, who is an ISFJ, but that’s an entirely different story. However, if you’re interested, I wrote a post about it a while ago, which you can find here: https://systematicthinker.wordpress.com/2015/06/13/intj-isfj/
Lucky you. That must be fun.
I’ve got an INTP Dad, so any time I try and get into a debate with him, he gets distracted by some other thread of thought, or gets too caught up on the definitions of words for us to even get to the concepts.
At the same time, he always treated me like an adult when I was a kid. Nowadays he treats me like I’m older than he is and comes to me for advice.
Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds very cool to have an INTJ dad. Like Arvid said, lucky you.
I usually adapt to my parents’ different ways of thinking (dad is ISTJ and mom is INFP) when we discuss things because it’s easier for me to understand their different views than it seems to be for them to try to understand me (and I might be too lazy to explain how I think all the time).
My parents can be quite funny to observe when they discuss things between themselves because they usually mean the same thing, but they look at it very differently and then they misunderstand each other, explanations have to be made and if they still can’t understand each other they end up arguing – sometimes in the most hilarious kinds of way, with both of them shouting pretty much the same argument at each other, but dad uses logic while mom uses her feelings to come up with the same conclusion. It can be very entertaining.
I couldn’t agree more with your second paragraph. My parents both use logic to back up arguments, but because they both use opposite logic types (Te/Ti), they still don’t understand each other’s arguments.
Are they funny while they’re at it too? Because mine are like a comedy duo worthy of popcorns and YouTube. (But I think they’d probably kill me if I ever uploaded a clip of them there.)
Mom rants about her feelings (usually while she’s prospecting like a lunatic on crack) and dad rants about his facts (while condemning everything that doesn’t work with mom’s endless ideas) until they’re both exhausted – and I stand by the sideline, giggling like a mad person… Totally sane family, I promise!
My mom’s (ESTJ) Si brings up random past occurrences that nobody else remembers in order to support all her arguments, while my Dad (INTP) will try to bring up all sorts of theoreticals. My mom’s Te hates the theoreticals because to her, only practical reality is important in any decision. My mom does the same “condemning of endless ideas” to my dad, while he can’t understand why she does everything that she says she will.
His Ti hates that she communicates so bluntly and directly, while her Te hates that he never communicates unless he has to (and even then it’s a long shot).
But yes, it is often difficult for me to refrain from laughing at their arguments.
Have you ever seen “A Coffee in Berlin?” If you’re American, chances are probably not, but it’s a Deutsch film about an introverted character who drops out of college so that he could “think.” There’s a quote somewhere in the film that goes like this (english translation): “Do you ever get the feeling that everyone around you is strange somehow? But then you realise that you’re the problem?”
Anyway, your comments reminded me of it.
I have – and I’m pretty sure it’s German because I watched it to practice my German. I’m Swedish of German descent (but my German language skill is, disappointingly enough, not improved by this fact).
Honestly, I’m not comfortable with the fact that my comment made you think of that film. The main character’s life and mine are very different and I’d probably take it as an insult if someone tried to compare me to him. Sure, I would have _loved_ to take two years off from my university studies just to think while my parents paid for it. What a luxury! But first of, I would never lie to them about it and secondly, I’d never dream of taking advantage of them like that. Unlike the guy in the film I like to finish things and I won’t drop out unless there’s a really good, practical reason why I can’t finish something – which rarely happens, but the most likely reason is that I see that the activity won’t lead to anything useful on my part.
My personal reason for feeling like there was something wrong with everyone else, while I was a child, was mainly because the other kids put me through verbal and physical abuse every day. Not because of my personality, to begin with, but because, one day, my very best [insert ironic laughter here] childhood friend wanted to become one of the “cool kids” (a.k.a. the bullies). She thought her ticket into that exclusive group of people was to offer them someone they could bully: Me.
My previously silent and anonymous life, as just another book worm at school, got turned into a war zone, filled with assaults and massive amounts of lies directed towards me and my personality, over night.
It’s a long story, but my conclusion and rock solid belief that there was, essentially, nothing wrong with me, kept me from falling into depression and made me stick up for myself. In return I had rocks thrown at me, my belongings got stolen and/or destroyed, kids spat at me, I got punched in the face, I was accused of doing all sorts of deranged things just so “everyone” could laugh at me – even teachers – when all I wanted was common, decent respect (and, eventually, to be left the #!&% alone).
It didn’t stop until high school was over and by then I hadn’t had a reason to trust anyone, that wasn’t family, for years. I still have trust issues the size of Antarctica because of it.
As for the film, I quite like it, except for the ending where nothing really happens except a cup of coffee. If you managed to see some sort of life-changing symbolism in it, please do share. I failed to see what it would eventually lead to. The main character gets his coffee and wakes up to the so called real world? But we don’t get to see him do anything about his situation. I thought it was underwhelming – probably because I didn’t invest that much interest in him and didn’t really care what he did afterwards so I saw no reason to make up my own ending, but still… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I’m sorry you were so bullied in school -that always seems to happen to the best of people. I wasn’t trying to compare you to “that bloke” at all, and I don’t endorse his behaviour. Your comment simply made me think of that particular quote. The film had a literary minimalism to it that I rather enjoyed, but the character was annoyingly passive. He seemed like somebody who was unhappy because he couldn’t get what he wanted out of life, but all due to his own laziness and…frankly, lack of desire for anything in life (other than a cup of coffee). For somebody who supposedly “thinks” so much, he certainly had an incredible lack of opinion or firm decisiveness about anything.
But I think that was the message of the film –the idea that people don’t get what they want out of life because they don’t actually know what they want, or because they are too picky about what they want. The main character dropped out of school to think, and his best friend is an actor who can’t find any acting jobs because he thinks all the available jobs are beneath him. The main character is constantly trying to get a coffee, and is prevented by all manner of random occurrences. It isn’t until he actually does something decisive (telling that girl he doesn’t want to be with her) that he finally gets his coffee.
I’m happy you didn’t. I admit I was a bit freaked out by the possibility because… yes, annoyingly passive is indeed a good way of describing that guy and I found very little to like about him.
I appreciate the movie in itself for having an introverted main character, but there really was no end to his lack of… I don’t really know what to call it. Life? Will to accomplish something? He just seemed so empty and I got the impression that it couldn’t all be blamed on laziness. In a way I think he was lost, but he didn’t want to find his way out. He’d grown too comfortable in that twilight zone where he could just observe life without participating. Very provoking and at the same time a bit sad.
The part about “thinking” for two years was sort of provoking too, wasn’t it? I’m pretty sure I would emerge after two years of thinking with a sharper brain, because I’d have no troubles finding things to do, read and learn if I had two years to just spend on whatever I felt like.
I can’t help wondering how it’s possible for some people to “think” a lot without, you know, exercising the little grey cells, as Poirot would call them, at the same time. They must think about very uninteresting and uncomplicated things. Poor brains…
Ahh. Fail. I just realised I read “Dutch” instead of “Deutsch”. Sorry! :3
You have no idea how much I can relate to this. However, I noticed that in most cases, ESFJs are the ones to be all over me, and it irritates me, especially because they are even willing to lie just to get on my better side and gain my acceptance, but there are only a few things which I loathe more than lying about one’s personality, so all in all, their ‘plan’ backfires. Hard.
Funny thing, that I was just told yesterday by one of the aforementioned ESFJs that I’m mysterious and he can’t help but want to talk to me, because I’m like an Enigma for him, despite he constantly feels like he’s laying on a bed with me sitting beside it, wearing glasses and taking a note of everything he says, because he can’t help but feel like I’m constantly analyzing him.
I also had my fair share of getting accused of negative things, but I was straight up called a psychopath, simply because I’m interested in learning about human anatomy and thus, not afraid to watch a dissection, etc. (I know it has nothing to do with psychopaths, but my past classmate has no idea about that, apparently.) Sometimes I don’t even realize that my face has gone expressionless until I’m warned about that by someone in my near environment, but I can’t help it, because I zone out countless times a day, and I obviously won’t try to pay conscious attention to my facial expression while brainstorming with myself.
I can relate to being annoyed with for my intellect, too: some members of my past class were blindly in love with Sherlock, to the point of fetishization, and were hung up on even the tiniest smart thing he said. Now, during class, when I pointed out something scientific, which wasn’t even too big of a deal to know, they got irritated and told me to shut up so that the lesson can go on. Ironically, they didn’t even pay attention, and the teacher was happy about my comment anyway.
All in all, I’m truly glad for this post.
Oh, the classic “shut up so that the lesson can go on” comment, huh?
You’re not alone in being told such rubbish. Show your intelligence often enough and the average people become jealous, even if it’s something really small we’re talking about.
It’s not like INTJs are known for being chatterboxes so that kind of response from peers can really make a silent person even more silent. I find it sad.
Most xSFJs are put off by me, but I do have my fair share of xSFJ fetishizers as well. I completely agree on the lying thing –that is my ultimate red flag coming into any friendship or relationship.
I lived in a four-person flat last fall with my current INFJ room-mate, an ENTP and ESFJ. The ESFJ constantly tried to lie to me and also stole a fair number of my belongings. But oh goodness did that earn that ESFJ a cartload of INFJ/INTJ collaborative pranks. It was like House and Wilson teamed up pranking somebody else instead of pranking each-other.
xSFJs do quite frequently comment on how mysterious I am, but then they end up trying to stalk me and ask blatant personal questions to try to figure me out. Unfortunately for them, I consider that an invasion of privacy. I can definitely identify with being told people think I’m analysing them, but I usually just respond with a casual, “Oh, I am.”
I have been asked if I was a sociopath before because of some of the emotionless things I’ve said. I have a very analytical/philosophical perspective on death, which comes across to people who view it in an emotional sense as coldly, cryptic. I think my realist commentary on tragedies and various tear-jerker events is the main cause of the sociopath vibe people get from me, but I suppose I too have an unusually high comfort level when it comes to “gross” things.
I’ve stitched puss-exuding wounds up in emergency situations where other people were struggling not to vomit out their dinner.
Oh, and you know that thing Sherlock does –where he’s smiling at somebody and when he turns around, his face instantly reverts to emotional emptiness? I do that all the time and when people (on rare occasions) catch me doing it, they get freaked. I’ve learned how to fake emotions in certain social situations so that I can survive in this crazy world, but once I’m out of those situations, I just go back to my resting b— face.
In terms of “shut up so the lesson can go on,” I usually just ignore my classmates and pretend I’m having a one-on-one with the professor, which sometimes ends well for me (unless said teacher is an xNTP or xSFJ).
Comments are closed.