What to Do When you can’t hear an INTJ’s Sarcastic remarks

Curious asked: One of the people I talk to the most at school is (I believe) an INTJ. She’s lovely, and I’m very glad that she takes the time to interact with me. We usually sit near each other, and sometimes pass comments in class (mostly me because I’m an idiot and impulsive).

But sometimes, when she initiates, she speaks lowly, so I know she’s saying something, but I can’t make it out. I usually just nod or give a smile because I can tell she was trying to say something cheeky or low-key scathing about whatever is happening in class, but I know that we both can tell when we don’t hear each other. It’s not a big thing, but I was wondering if you could give an opinion on how you would want me to handle it– because it really eats me up with guilt that she says something and I can’t give her a response.

The answer to your question is so obvious that I don’t blame you for not thinking of it.

The first thing to know is this: INTJs with a working Te function appreciate direct communication. If someone hates something that I do –I want them to tell me about it. I may not change my habits when they do, but I want them to tell me about it.

My Te function doesn’t care about all the social conventions that tell you don’t say that, it’s rude. (Though my Fi function does listen to the don’t say that, it’s unkind). The point is, when somebody doesn’t know what I’m talking about –whether it’s because I’m talking gibberish, talking above their heads, or talking too quietly for them to hear– I want them to tell me about it directly.

So…tell her upfront that you can’t hear her. If she wants you to hear her, she’ll speak up.


11 thoughts on “What to Do When you can’t hear an INTJ’s Sarcastic remarks

  1. So… that was my question from what feels like years ago. (It’s a little embarrassing to read it again) Thanks for responding. I read this a little while back but didn’t get to respond because I was working on a paper at the time so, again, thanks.

    My biggest concern was– because sometimes we did tell each other if we didn’t hear what we said, and in all honesty it usually went just fine but– I was always worried she might feel awkward, or worse, I’d make her feel that she couldn’t talk to me. Like, she’d develop this tendency to think of something to say but then hold it back just because I might not hear it and so deem it not worth the effort.
    I thought about it back then, that if she didn’t feel it was worth it then of course she shouldn’t force herself, but I didn’t want to ruin her fun of saying all these really witty things (I was the only one she really talked to in class) by solidifying the knowledge that sometimes I couldn’t make out what she said.

    Things ended up fine, our relationship didn’t crumble like I was so worried might happen, the world didn’t explode. But at the time I really wanted to make sure there wasn’t anything from me that made her uncomfortable. I know not all people of the same type are exactly the same, but I feel that INTJs really aren’t ‘scary’. I understand where that sentiment comes from, and that there are perhaps ‘intimidating’ aspects that people find in you guys, but she really was just an amazingly interesting person, and there’s this… honesty to you guys. (I sadly can’t perfectly describe what this crystal clear impression is in my head in words) I would describe it as ‘sweet’, but more accurately it’s a ‘kindness’ that I don’t think people get unless they really look at things that you guys say/do. A sort of good-natured-ness, I guess. I don’t know. I just feel that there’s this huge tag of ‘unemotional, pure logic machines, incapable of comprehending compassion’ for INTJs that isn’t true but people feel the need to perpetuate. (And it’s so easily dismissed if they would put at least an ounce of thought into developing all these assumptions about a person)
    ANYWAY, it was really fun to read your response and all, thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with everything you’ve said. There definitely are very immature INTJs out there that meet more of the stereotypes, but I think the majority of us are very different from what most people think.


    • Reading you try to describe the mind of an INTJ is the sweetest thing I’ve seen. There are so few people willing to look beyond the mumbling sarcasm and defiant wit, that when that person comes along, it’s almost the duty of an INTJ to befriend them. Also, she clearly (I know this is over a year late, but still) wants to talk to you, because if an INTJ doesn’t like you –which really means trust you– they won’t talk to you. Small talk isn’t a fun past-time for us. It’s an effort. Anyways, wherever you guys are, I hope you’re still friends. I’m still waiting for someone to care to understand me the way you do with her.


  2. Even though I am an inferior Te user, I can definitely agree that I do prefer direct communication. It drives me crazy when someone spins tales around something tgat could have been directly said.


  3. That’s very accurate. The INTJs that I know always want me to be direct, too–even though it’s hard for me sometimes because my natural “mode” is to focus on diplomacy and politeness, not directness.

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  4. It’s funny reading this because I remember being in the same position as you, only that I HATED when she would talk to me in class. I don’t care much for Fe social norms and mores, but I just can’t tolerate when someone speaks out of turn to me in that kind of environment – even if I love them!

    So one day in class she leans over and says something genuinely funny. I look her dead in the face – which was SO beautiful given the genuine delight she had at her witty comment and the gleam in her eyes – and say very bluntly, “Can you not talk to me during class? It’s very rude and I want to pay attention.” Oh my gosh the way her expression changed, it still breaks my heart remembering that to this day!! I immediately felt horrible afterwards and couldn’t pay attention AT ALL because the only thoughts on my mind were, “I didn’t mean to say it so harshly, I want to talk to her but just after class!! Why didn’t I say that! It’s too late to say it now, and she probably already hates me anyways!”

    Hard to believe this was in college! After class I waited for her outside and she immediately started talking to me again with that sincere, childlike Fi and witty Ni-Te humor that just makes my heart melt.

    Moral of the story: Listen to Arvid and be upfront, nothing can possibly go wrong! (Don’t take this out of context, you know what I mean all you smart alecks out there!!)

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    • Also keep in mind that blunt/direct communication does not necessarily require harshness, or even seriousness on the part of the speaker.

      So, for all the upper Fe/Fi users out there, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be “rude.”


      • Interesting to hear an INTJ tell feeling types they don’t need to be harsh when speaking directly; it’s almost always the opposite !

        I can’t speak for every ISFP but if a feeling type comes off as harsh I’m sure that 99.99% of the time it’s unintentional. I actually have a great fear of being direct in conversation because it always seems brutal even if it really isn’t.

        So I interpretated your advice for Curious as, “just because you’re speaking directly doesn’t mean you’ll be interpretated as harsh or even serious.”


        • Yes, I was recently at Delphi, when the Oracle prophesied that my mission in life was to moralise at strangers on the internet.

          I made that comment mainly because I frequently talk to F doms who have a hard time separating bluntness from rudeness. My point was not so much moral as it was definitional.

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