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Thread: The INTP Guide to Better Living

  1. #1
    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    The INTP Guide to Better Living

    So, the idea of this thread is to collect and discuss various ideas (if not wisdoms) that might advise an INTP toward easier if not better living, particularly as pertains to dealing with the often confusing if not irrational world around them.

    You don't have to be an INTP, just someone with some practical advice for one. Easy, right?

    Little bits at a time...


    First up:

    The awkwardly small group conversation trap, and how to deal with it.

    Problem #1: The Small Group Observation Inertia
    Ever find yourself in a group that's just big enough and yet just small enough to be troublesome? You know, just enough people for there to be some group exchange, but not big enough for there to be any break-off. Once it crosses a certain number of people, but not yet enough that you can begin to hide among the number. No problem, you just hang back and observe. But wait -- there comes a point when you want to say something (or need to, for you've been directly addressed) ... but suddenly you're that person who hasn't said a word all night, about to blurt something out.

    Mitigation:
    Easy enough. Loathe as we are to engage in banter or small talk, it is worth your while to chip in as such during the first few rounds of a developing awkwardly-small-group conversation. Why? To buy yourself out of the awkwardness that will follow later, when you actually have something to say but might otherwise not want to interrupt "the flow", or by-then feel the observation-inertia take hold. Basically: buy your ability to both speak comfortably into a group and yet spend most of the time listening to it with up-front and periodic small-talkish banter of exactly the sort you might otherwise disfavor.

    Problem #2: Nondisruptively Engaging a Particular Person Within a Small Group
    You're in such a group, and you find yourself really wanting to speak to one particular person (let's say you find them interesting, or attractive, or whatever, for whatever reason), but you find yourself stuck in that awkward valley between 1:1 conversation and a group conversation. You want a dialog with them, somehow carried non-disruptively across the multiplexed group conversation.

    Mitigation:
    Personally, I haven't found any good, general answer to this one yet. It is rife with awkwardness and misstep pitfalls.
    Last edited by Ptah; 01-14-2014 at 09:16 PM. Reason: Added purpose statement up top.

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    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    Principle Violations and Biting Your Tongue

    It is said that we "go with the flow" until we hear something which violates our principles... For instance, it could just take the form of a knee-jerk need to speak up against nonsense or contradictions spoken by someone else. But sometimes speaking your mind can be problematic, lead to undesirable consequences. What can we do to develop upon this natural prompting (to strive for clarity and/or against nonsense) without compromising who we are?

    Problem Domain: At work/school/etc.

    Problem Domain: In relationships (family, amorous, whatever).

    Problem Domain: In basic social interaction.

    Thoughts here are ongoing...

  3. #3
    Aporia Dysphoria Dirac's Avatar
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    I've had a lot of trouble with the whole "speaking your mind" thing. One thing that helps is to be really self-deprecating, pretend that you just "don't understand". "I think I'm just being dumb but blahablahblah." Let people think they are just explaining something to you. Also, I've spoken to my girlfriend and explained this tendency to her, and that it doesn't mean I think she's dumb or anything. A lot of people take this kind of thing as a personal attack, and that's what you've got to avoid if you want to minimise the hassle it causes.

  4. #4
    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirac View Post
    I've had a lot of trouble with the whole "speaking your mind" thing. One thing that helps is to be really self-deprecating, pretend that you just "don't understand". "I think I'm just being dumb but blahablahblah." Let people think they are just explaining something to you. Also, I've spoken to my girlfriend and explained this tendency to her, and that it doesn't mean I think she's dumb or anything. A lot of people take this kind of thing as a personal attack, and that's what you've got to avoid if you want to minimise the hassle it causes.
    Yeah, I know what you refer to here... how it can both be helpful, but also sometimes come across as condescending or confrontational or something (I certainly know I've fallen into the trap of accidentally giving off that vibe, anyhow).

    One backfire I'm guilty of in particular, as such, is when someone says something I disagree with and -- rather than directly saying as much -- I resort to a question like, "Hm. I'm curious, why do think that?". Of course, in a broader context, I've found that many people don't like having their beliefs or even trivial statements questioned, however casually albeit directly: they take it as a challenge or attack, of the sort you seem to refer to above?

    I've occasionally tried would-be more clever versions of such question-counters to things I disagree with. For instance, rather than directly question or confront their statement, I ask something like, "Hm, well I wonder if in this case...". Basically, I try to softly suggest an alternative in the form of an "I wonder" question, an alternative which in my mind serves to expose the contradiction or problem with what they've just said, and I hope might have the same effect in theirs. But again: more often backfire than anything else.

    Basically, all such things are terribly transparent attempts at "benign" manipulation, and are probably best avoided?

  5. #5
    Aporia Dysphoria Dirac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    Yeah, I know what you refer to here... how it can both be helpful, but also sometimes come across as condescending or confrontational or something (I certainly know I've fallen into the trap of accidentally giving off that vibe, anyhow).
    Part of my problem is that occasionally I do actually feel condescending - if someone is consistently dumb it's hard not to. Not confrontational though, although yeah I apparently give off that vibe a lot.

    One backfire I'm guilty of in particular, as such, is when someone says something I disagree with and -- rather than directly saying as much -- I resort to a question like, "Hm. I'm curious, why do think that?". Of course, in a broader context, I've found that many people don't like having their beliefs or even trivial statements questioned, however casually albeit directly: they take it as a challenge or attack, of the sort you seem to refer to above?

    I've occasionally tried would-be more clever versions of such question-counters to things I disagree with. For instance, rather than directly question or confront their statement, I ask something like, "Hm, well I wonder if in this case...". Basically, I try to softly suggest an alternative in the form of an "I wonder" question, an alternative which in my mind serves to expose the contradiction or problem with what they've just said, and I hope might have the same effect in theirs. But again: more often backfire than anything else.

    Basically, all such things are terribly transparent attempts at "benign" manipulation, and are probably best avoided?
    I think it's doable without being transparent, although it is difficult. Tone is really important and usually my downfall. In the heat of the moment I get really excited and apparently it comes off sounding aggressive - I don't feel at all aggressive. I don't know if you need to think of it as "manipulation" though. Although I suppose you are essentially lying to somebody to give them a different impression of you - but the impression they get from the truth isn't an accurate one! If people think I'm angry and condescending when I don't alter my behaviour, but have a more accurate impression when I "lie" to them, is that manipulation?

  6. #6
    New Member Arachne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    Principle Violations and Biting Your Tongue

    It is said that we "go with the flow" until we hear something which violates our principles... For instance, it could just take the form of a knee-jerk need to speak up against nonsense or contradictions spoken by someone else. But sometimes speaking your mind can be problematic, lead to undesirable consequences. What can we do to develop upon this natural prompting (to strive for clarity and/or against nonsense) without compromising who we are?
    I hope you come up with a solution to this one because it's a real problem for me. I think I've mostly dealt with it so far by employing a few internal scripts help me bite my tongue such as "It's OK for people to have dreams that will probably never come true" and "this isn't my battle to fight." Failing that... I've learned to apologize.

  7. #7
    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    A little tip from a similar thread on another site: the proper thing to do with semi-liquid spoiled food isn't to put it down the garbage disposal, but to flush it.

    Another little tip from my non-INTP, but often quite sensible father: if you think it's bad, throw it away. Don't sniff it. If you are suspicious enough to think you should sniff it, you probably won't be convinced of anything unless it's obviously rotten, and why subject yourself to that if you don't have to? You don't have to.


    You don't have to hate professional sports to ignore professional sports.

    You can save a lot of money by not buying today. Sleep on it. Sure, you might lose out on a 20% discount, but most of the time, you end up not spending the money at all. A winner is you.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  8. #8
    Member MarkovChain's Avatar
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    The thing about huckleberries is, once you've had fresh, you'll never go back to canned.

    Now, if the berries are too tart, I just dust them with confectioner's sugar.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Arachne View Post
    I hope you come up with a solution to this one because it's a real problem for me. I think I've mostly dealt with it so far by employing a few internal scripts help me bite my tongue such as "It's OK for people to have dreams that will probably never come true" and "this isn't my battle to fight." Failing that... I've learned to apologize.
    I don't know if it's the most conducive to connecting with people and forming relationships, but my default has become to just smile and nod unless there's some practical reason why I need to contest what's being proposed. If it's just idle chat like some people seem to enjoy than who cares if what they're saying is nonsensical? It will be over soon enough. If we're working together on a project, though, then I need to resolve the difference, either by convincing them that they're wrong or asking questions to get a better understanding of what they're saying.

  10. #10
    In it to win it 99Problems's Avatar
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    I tend to let people come to me vs me go to them. For business, social etc. I may parade myself out there a little bit more than I am comfortable with but it beats direct full frontal contact.

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