They May Not Like It
But At Least They Know You’re Not Lying
About a year ago, I was attending a seminar where I was part of a team that was implementing a marriage mentoring program. I’d say there were about 100 people in attendance. During the introduction, the leader of the program pointed me out, as one of the program’s first team members, while I stood at the back of the room (NOT wanting to be noticed, right?). It was okay, up until he said, “she can always be counted on to set a newlywed couple straight if they think they’re going into marriage all blissful, believing life is going to be one long honeymoon,” followed by laughter. Great.
Do I really need to tell any other INTJ on the planet how mortified I felt?
Things we hate, and everything that incident had:
√ Public humiliation
√ Being made to look like a dream crusher
Man, was I sorry I ever went to that meeting. I just couldn’t believe that guy said that. I was indignant. I was humiliated. I was downright offended.
But then, I remembered who he was; a people lover, a guy who sees the best in everyone, Mr. Optimism himself, a guy who would never in a million years want to make me feel bad, a guy who tried to convince me how valuable my INTJ ways were.
That same man assigned my husband and I a couple to mentor not once, but twice, primarily because of my ability to see through the BS and get to the heart of a matter (the woman in the couple had some major BS habits she pulled on anyone and everyone). The leader valued my directness and saw it as an asset to the program and knew this woman wouldn’t get away with her usual manipulative tactics. Because of my feedback, and the hours I spent investing in her, the leaders of the mentoring program realized that this woman needed professional counseling, not mentoring.
We all know that being blunt isn’t always appreciated….or is it? While I’ve spent many, many years trying to fit in, and admiring the ways that other people seem to do “social” better than I do, I was putting all the emphasis on my personality traits that I saw as flaws, and that needed changed. When that leader made those remarks, I interpreted them as negative because I see them as negative. I completely threw out the fact that he had practically begged us to participate in that program because he thought that I (and we, as a couple) had something to offer.
A Reputation for Being Truthful and Reliable
What’s the Advantage?
I have many flaws but being a liar is not one of them. I’m starting to see just how unusual that is. Even people that I admire very deeply have been caught lying, or being evasive, or telling little “gray” lies. It makes me not trust them. I mean, I get it, I guess, because telling the truth always cost something.
I’ve also found out just how valuable being honest can be to other people, particularly employers. Every single employer I’ve had, has trusted me implicitly, going so far as confiding things in me and giving me access to their finances.
Advice for the non-INTJ Person
If you’re trying to figure out how to get along with or with live with an INTJ person, here are a few things that might help:
- Don’t ask for their opinion if what you’re really wanting is for them to like what you like, or to agree with you.
- Don’t lie to an INTJ (or anybody for that matter). If you lie to an INTJ, they see this as unstable, unreliable, wishy-washy, even cowardly.
- Don’t bring attention to an INTJ in a crowd even for compliments. We don’t need it.
- Never humiliate an INTJ in front of others, just because you’re mad at them or think they need a nice little reprimand, or you just temporarily lost it. If you want to lose the companionship of an INTJ, who was already making a sacrifice by attending a social event with you, this is the best way to do it. They won’t be inclined to do it again.
A Life Full of Liars and Less Than Straightforward People
But Sometimes I Like It
All personality types have their pluses and minuses. I have friends, who I consider to be less than straight forward, but they’re also those friends who are going to flat out lie to me and tell me my butt does not look fat in those jeans and, if I’m being honest, some days I like that.
And Appreciating the Differences
Be honest, but don’t be cruel.
Be encouraging, but don’t be afraid to say, “I think you have other pants that look better on you.”
Be truthful about your needs, but don’t expect everyone to like everything you like.
I’m still working on all these things, but for this week, I realize that I need to bring things back into balance and stop beating myself up for being an INTJ. The struggle is real.