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Thread: The Types and Influences of Your Inner Circle

  1. #1
    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    The Types and Influences of Your Inner Circle

    What are the personality types of your inner circle, those close to you, be they family or good friends? And what influence would you say they've had over you. In particular, what have you learned from them, in what way have they substantially shaped your life?

    I'd interested in what others have to say, to see if I could learn something new.

    ---

    For instance, as stereotypical as it might sound...


    From INFPs close to me (friends, family, both) I've learned to explore and appreciate creativity, the arts, human appeals, roaming imaginary sojourns. Lateral, nonlinear thinking and association. How to (if you will) use N with out T, because it hasn't occurred naturally to me, and it still doesn't come so. Frankly, I know I'm completely remiss in truly expressing the influence of INFPs in my life. Perhaps I take them for granted, unwittingly, since I can't articulate the influence? Starting with my brother, from when I was young, to friends I gained growing up, and now my significant other.

    From my INTJ friends I've learned to explore and appreciate completely off-my-map (and get off-my-ass to go see) domains of "worldly" knowledge and experience. There is at least one thing I find myself looking up on wikipedia after any nontrivial discussion. Fairly often, this has inspired actual trips to go see or do things in the world. Otherwise, of course, there is just all manner of terse, technical, no-holds-barred and often dryly sarcastic/sardonic bandying that I find enjoyable. I've learned to keep that sort of behavior among the INTJs, because other types close to me don't appreciate it.

    ENXX types I've been close to simply confound me with their ability to be so fluidly outgoing and engaging among others, even complete strangers; it has inspired me to at least try to understand why/how this is so. This was as true for my ENFJ ex-wife as it was for an erstwhile ENTJ friend of mine. Maybe I need to read between the lines: ENxx friendships (or relationships) just won't last for/with me; personality conflicts arise eventually, despite how swimmingly we seem to get along up front. They sneak up, even. Mount up in the background, until it just snaps one day. Still, inspiring in their way.

    My father was an ISTP who simultaneously inspired and confused, frustrated me. His passion for technology fueled and directed my own when I was young, even though I realized how different his interest was the older I got. We were both creative, playful and experimental in our approach to solving technical problems, however in every other way we could be different, we were. It confused and frustrated me as a child... how could we be so similar and yet so completely different? It was my first real lesson in that basic dynamic, and it informed many other circumstances in my life where I was in a similar situation of so-similar and yet-not-really, when dealing with new people. (This lesson also applies for certain between INFPs and me, for instance; for at first our differences may not be so obvious, subjectively/to me)

    I've semi-befriended a few ISTPs along the way, co-workers early in my career mostly, which reinforced the lesson I learned from interaction with my father: just keep it light, fun and experimental. Don't try to make it abstract or long-term or all-encompassing. Learn to enjoy how fun and creative that can be, by itself. Not everything has to be a part of a bigger picture, or converge toward some abstract unification or ontology.

    I've only incidentally met one or two INTPs IRL, so I can't say what impact (if any) having one as a good friend would be.

  2. #2
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    My best friend in high school was ISTP and she had a big impact, similar to what you describe. At the time it was baffling to me how we could be so, so similar and yet so, so different. It was like we would reach the same conclusions by completely different means. People on the outside looking in saw us almost as twins; they didn't realize how different we really were - other than the fact that she was the artsy band nerd version and I was the bookish nerd nerd version.

    From my ESTJ father: How to be outgoing and persuasive and focused (when called upon). He does it naturally; I developed it as a skill. It's draining if exercised in excess but extremely useful to be able to call upon.

    I'm very close to my INFJ sister, and I feel like her influence on me has been more like... in an appropriate situation (anything involving art, food presentation, negotiation) I might consciously think "this is a situation she would thrive in; what would she do?" and then try to approach that. Other than that we're extremely complementary. When we have the same goal, either short term or long term, we're a highly effective team. We're a great combo to take on my parents. She provides the emotional appeal; I follow up with the supporting evidence. I think I've taught her to approach problems in a very rational manner.

    From the ISFJ I learned to pay more attention to my physical self: my condition, my health, my appearance. They're the sort of things that I do care about to some extent but normally not enough to really make them a priority, so it was useful to have that extra impetus. Now that we're on the outs I miss being motivated to be more active... but not enough to actually motivate myself (so far). I might try to work on that. It was also very interesting to spend a lot of time with someone who judges things solely based on his own felt experience. Completely different from my worldview, so it could be both fascinating and maddening.

    Those are the top of my list. In my ISFP mother I see my flakiest qualities, which I don't like, so I have a less than great relationship with her. I should probably try to learn more from her. She's extremely gentle and kind. She also randomly has had a lot of the same interests as me... at least she did thirty years ago (before all the meds kicked in?).
    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

  3. #3
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post
    I'm very close to my INFJ sister, and I feel like her influence on me has been more like... in an appropriate situation (anything involving art, food presentation, negotiation) I might consciously think "this is a situation she would thrive in; what would she do?" and then try to approach that.
    The INFJs I know well never seemed particularly in tune with social convention, but maybe that's just them. I wish I could learn how to organize my time from these people though. I have no clue where they get this energy and how they can pack so many things in their day (not just work but rigorously scheduled hobbies). If I am ever that organized it is a moment of high-stress for me, although I have definitely copied some of my twin sister's habits at those times (list-making, strict scheduling of work, "breaks" and sleep).

    From the ISFJ I learned to pay more attention to my physical self: my condition, my health, my appearance. They're the sort of things that I do care about to some extent but normally not enough to really make them a priority, so it was useful to have that extra impetus. Now that we're on the outs I miss being motivated to be more active... but not enough to actually motivate myself (so far).
    Haha. Yep. I have an SJ friend that's always asking what I've eaten, whether I'm sleeping and why my nails aren't painted. I appreciate her.

    But I find SJ men to be a bit stressful. I dated one that always used to say how women should look like they're going out even when they're staying in, and he'd always ask why I didn't comb my hair (my hair is curly, you're not supposed to comb it more than once a day ). I would really prefer to be in charge of anything but my own cosmetic and aesthetic bullshit every waking hour but I see that some men, especially in Latin America, want a partner for precisely that. To sit around looking pretty.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

  4. #4
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    The INFJs I know well never seemed particularly in tune with social convention, but maybe that's just them. I wish I could learn how to organize my time from these people though. I have no clue where they get this energy and how they can pack so many things in their day (not just work but rigorously scheduled hobbies). If I am ever that organized it is a moment of high-stress for me, although I have definitely copied some of my twin sister's habits at those times (list-making, strict scheduling of work, "breaks" and sleep).
    I don't know if "social convention" is how I'd put it but she does have a bunch of friends and actively does stuff with them on a regular basis. It wears her out, she rests, and then she's right back in. I don't really know how she does it. She's also really good at self-branding.

    Haha. Yep. I have an SJ friend that's always asking what I've eaten, whether I'm sleeping and why my nails aren't painted. I appreciate her.

    But I find SJ men to be a bit stressful. I dated one that always used to say how women should look like they're going out even when they're staying in, and he'd always ask why I didn't comb my hair (my hair is curly, you're not supposed to comb it more than once a day ). I would really prefer to be in charge of anything but my own cosmetic and aesthetic bullshit every waking hour but I see that some men, especially in Latin America, want a partner for precisely that. To sit around looking pretty.
    The sad thing is that, if I looked particularly sloppy when we were going out then that reflected poorly on him (SJ) and it must be because I didn't really care about him (Feeeeeeellllliiinnnngs). Luckily he always thought I was pretty eccentric, so he set the bar pretty low. But if other things were going wrong it would get to him. ("You're pretty! I don't understand why you should dress like this!" *tearing out hair* Me: *shrug* ) It was kind of funny.
    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

  5. #5
    schlemiel Faust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ
    From my ESTJ father: How to be outgoing and persuasive and focused (when called upon). He does it naturally; I developed it as a skill. It's draining if exercised in excess but extremely useful to be able to call upon.
    Similar with my father. He's ESTx or something, scatterbrained but effective at information gathering and persuasion - "gift of the gab". Likes to talk to everyone including cops, knows just about everything going on in the world of hockey. He's had long conversation with people he admires, including musical heroes, just from remarking on obscure pieces of information or asking the right questions. But he can't tone it down, and often is a terrible listener. I think I learned a fair bit about social interaction from watching him over the years, allowing me to be less fearful for one, as people can be far more receptive and suggestible than you expect.

    Mom's INFj. Not a huge social influence.

    Best friend is kind of an enigma to me. I think I see a lot of what Ptah describes about ISTPs. He's got the best sense of humor of anyone I've met, keeps a light non-serious outlook, and beyond his work only seems to care about video games. Never tires from them. I think he's more on the extroverted side, so eSTp maybe.
    "All my heroes are dead" - John Zorn

    "It's not selfish if you hate yourself"

  6. #6
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    Similar with my father. He's ESTx or something, scatterbrained but effective at information gathering and persuasion - "gift of the gab". Likes to talk to everyone including cops, knows just about everything going on in the world of hockey. He's had long conversation with people he admires, including musical heroes, just from remarking on obscure pieces of information or asking the right questions. But he can't tone it down, and often is a terrible listener. I think I learned a fair bit about social interaction from watching him over the years, allowing me to be less fearful for one, as people can be far more receptive and suggestible than you expect.
    Very familiar. Especially if there's company, everything throttles up. Growing up our friends totally loved him and thought he was the coolest (I mean, he is cool) but when his personality goes into overdrive like that my sister and I just groan.
    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

  7. #7
    <3 gator's Avatar
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    My mom is INFP, but she's not very warm and fuzzy and comes across as more INTJ. We're reasonably close because she's not very fuzzy. People say we're very alike. We're not, but we seem to be, on the surface. I admire her ability to hold things together, her rationality, her practicality, her ability to problem-solve and make do, and her ability to consistently take the high road. Some of that has rubbed off on me. My mom has always been the peacemaker of our family. She smooths over the rough edges between all the rest of us and she is pretty much the reason why my family has not broken apart.

    My dad is hard to type. He refuses to take the test but calls himself an introvert, which is almost certainly not the case because he's very emotionally needy and always seeking attention and approval. He just hates most people. It's all complicated by the fact that he's very ADHD, possibly bipolar and not very reflective about his own personality and shortcomings. He is often very impulsive in ways I don't understand and I can't always tell how he is going to react to things. Often he can be very passive aggressive. A lot of the things that I don't like about myself are traits that my dad also has: inability to commit and follow through on long-term projects, pig-headed stubbornness. The more time I spend around him the flakier I get and the more off-balance I feel. He also has some bad habits and a bad relationship with food that he seeks to rationalize by enlisting accomplices to enable him. For a significant portion of my life I struggled with my weight in part because if we didn't go get treats with him he would take it as a sign that we didn't love him. He needs to be in control of things all the time and things have to be on his schedule. I don't hate him, but I've found that I need to maintain a healthy distance if I want to keep our relationship positive. On the positive side, he's really good at talking to people, so I guess I've learned some small talk and I do occasionally use some of his better dad jokes.

    Both my parents have a weird sense of humour that I share, and value creativity.

    My sister is ENFJ. We used to fight a lot. My dad tries to manipulate us into competing all the time but sometime in our early teens we realized that this was the dynamic and decided to stop taking the bait. We've mostly been on good terms since then and we've adopted a kind of conspiratorial attitude toward our parents. We're on a close enough wavelength that we can work together on things. She's good at planning things and I admire her ability to be thoughtful and manage social things well. Sometimes I pay her to buy gifts for people for me. In terms of influence... I feel like I've influenced her more than she's influenced me. She's really adapted the way she acts so as to not annoy the crap out of me. She is very much the sort of person who wants to please people.

    My friends are mostly INFJ, ENFJ and INTJ.

    I attract ENFJs like crazy. I like them because they are warm and open and easy to get along with. They will often take care of me in social situations. Like last night, when an ENFJ friend was working the crowd after an event and introduced me to a lot of people. I've gained a lot of connection from them, access to their networks, which has been very beneficial to me. That sounds really calculating and bad. I guess too, I like that my ENFJ friends have a kind of enthusiasm that rubs off, good energy that makes you feel good to be around. If I'm feeling down sometimes it's good to spend some time with one of them. I feel like they're the sort of people who see good things in me and try to draw them out.

    I have a good friend right now who is INFJ. She is very thoughtful, honest, loyal. She has very strong values and convictions that overlap very much with my own, but we've arrived at them in different ways. For her, they are deep-seated beliefs. For me, they make rational sense, but are open to change if I find compelling new information. So I guess for me it's interesting to see another way of thinking in action. Through her I am connected to a bunch of other kind of feely people who are also loosely likeminded. I get the sense with INFJ friends of having been chosen as a person that they would like to be friends with.

    I know a couple INTJs. One is the husband of an ENFJ friend. He and I are on a common wavelength and can talk for hours. Sometimes I think that she invites me to social things just so that he has someone INT to talk to. Another one is someone I went to uni with and have kept loosely in touch with. Once again, common INT wavelength makes communication easy. I like that I don't have to worry about offending or seeming weird, because she's pretty weird herself. She's funny. She thinks I'm funny. I can be more myself around her.
    Last edited by gator; 01-20-2017 at 04:54 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sinny's Avatar
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    My inner circle.. hmm..

    Cousin INTP 8 - Same age, grew up with each other from birth, our moms are sisters. I've just moved in with her and her husband. I think this is somewhat remarkable because we have the same typology, at least twice over. She's my favourite person to communicate with because she communicates and operates in pretty much the same manner as I. Although, whereas I've gone down the "loner" path of self and intellectual exploration, she's fell in love and is focused on very reality based, human relational endeavors. ie. building a family.

    Bestie INTP 6 - We're actually not talking right now, but I miss him loads. We've known each other for 20 years, our families go back. In those twenty years we've fell out a few times, for months or up to a year at a time, but when we aren't falling out, we spend nearly all our spare time with each other. He's my wingman, and as a 6 makes for the perfect lieutenant for an 8. We bond over our mutual distrust and disgust towards the human race, he helps balance my imbalances, his precaution makes up for my lack of, and my confidence makes up for his lack of. The only thing is we're as stubborn as each other, and I know he's probably missing me to, but neither of us want to give in first after these "tiffs" we were having late last year.

    Friend ENFP 2 - Known this one for 20 years too, we went to schools together throughout the years. She's good fun... Remarkably straight to the point for a feeler, she does remind me of an 8 sometimes.. But I suppose that makes sense with her being a two. Hilarious, and creative. She's had two kids now too.. So we squeeze our times around her busy "mom" schedule.

    Friend ESFP 8 - A friend that has practically become family, just like the rest of her family. She's not always logical, and she can be overly loud, but she is fucking hilarious, and almost loyal to a fault. Although she can slip into depression quite easily and becomes a domineering 8, which I know all about (she doesn't), so I can easily navigate that fact, although she can sometimes intimidate others.

    Friend ENFJ 8 - Known this one for 7 or 8 years I think, he held a lot more stock in our friendship than I did; up until last summer when he offered me a bit of with him, and then we got on exceptionally well, like supposedly we always had. He's a bit mushy sometimes, then cold at others times (not towards me), so I endeavored to type him, and what I found was a mushy 8. Haha, we bond over 8 stuff, and share a decent circle of friends.

    Online "Inner circle"

    INTP 5 - Recent addition, but this is going great. He knows all about my 8ness and seems to dig it. This guy is a refreshing change from other INTPs who's lives seemed removed from mine, this guys life is very regular, local, and accessible.

    INFJ 4 - This guy is my elder, (not elderly though), and has taken on a sort of mentor role, although from a really deep 4 feeler perspective. I don't always agree with him, and most the time I think feelings are irrelevant, but this guy has been showing me, that they are not always irrelevant. I wish I had more to offer him, in this endeavor, I suppose I'm a half decent sounding board, although I could be better.

    I know loads of people, and loads of people wanna know me, but the ones I bond with the most are the people who "get it", "get me", so naturally those are going to be the Intuitives, or the 8s.
    Last edited by Sinny; 02-05-2017 at 04:54 PM.

  9. #9
    Member Mxx's Avatar
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    My current inner circle consists of an ENTJ, an ExFP, and an ENFP.

    The ENTJ has been a great channel for a lot of my sociopolitical ranting. He likes to argue for the sake of arguing, and so will challenge my positions/attitudes/beliefs until they either crumble or strengthen. I really appreciate this about him. We often push each other into arguing for positions we typically shun, which I think is a great mental exercise. It also never gets personal, we can tear each other apart, and then give each other a hug goodbye with a contented smile on our faces. He's also been good at challenging some of my personal attitudes.

    The ENFP has won me over with her sense of humour, and her relentless efforts to bond. She doesn't quite get me, but she respects my boundaries (for the most part), and never stops dreaming for me. I'm often mortified by her antics, but she makes me laugh so hard, life would just be dull without her.

    The ExFP: we go back a long way now.

  10. #10
    Pull the strings! Architect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    My father was an ISTP who simultaneously inspired and confused, frustrated me. His passion for technology fueled and directed my own when I was young, even though I realized how different his interest was the older I got.
    Another parallel between us. My older brother is an ISTP, he's the one that brought home the Vic 20 and later C64 that we programmed together. He went into engineering at High School where I went into music, until I realized it wasn't right to Phsics, which wasn't right and finally joined him in Engineering. In fact he was the one that suggested the change after I was trying to do something new after grad school. So he had a profound influence on me, I wouldn't have found tech if it wasn't for him, and for that I'm eternally grateful. Otherwise yeah, we're quite different. He's very much action oriented and will get ' boots on the ground' to solve some technical problem, whether in writing code or whatever (he's an EE). But his stuff is fragile and hacky. I'll take much longer but have a elegant and robust solution. I'll also tackle the harder problems, whereas he'll go for the more popular (he had a successful software side business at one point).

    Otherwise both parents are ES types, I learned how to have a stable/successful career from my ESTJ dad. And how to be relaxed and have fun like my ESFP mom (though she would disagree that I'm a fun person). Otherwise I learned a lot from the musicians and physicists I worked with.

    The main thing I learned from coworkers however is all the Si types I work with (ISTJ's etc). Used to annoy the hell out of me, until I learned from them an important component of Si (which we INTP's have in our tertiary), which is the orientation to detail. It's not something we naturally do (being in the inferior tertiary after all), but if we can learn to develop it, and use it for say four hours a day, we can learn to produce tremendous amounts of work in our creative activity.

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