Pet Peeves of an INTJ

The Art of Askance:

Growing up I learned that in life there is always a right way and a wrong way to do things. I learned this from my Momma, from Sunday School, from watching old movies, from reading countless biographies (I went through a phase) – you get the point. I liked this idea – it made perfect sense. I also liked etiquette and good manners and being respectful (see “old movies”). I remember being a kid and encountering an issue or a problem and thinking “What would Audrey Hepburn do?” It was awesome.

Early on I noticed a glitch in the Matrix. It seemed folks forgot how to properly ask for things. As I got older the problem grew worse. When I ask for something from someone, I understand that I am asking them to give me their time/energy/talent/money/whatever and that the whole point of asking is because I am not entitled to thing for which I ask! Now it seems “ask” has been changed to “assume”, and you know what they say about assuming!

Every. Single. Week. I encounter someone who asks me to do or make something for them and 99.9% of the time it goes like this:

“Hey, you know what you oughta do for me?…”

“You need to do such and such – I already told so-and-so you would!”

“You know what you could do? You could make me a _________. I would love that!”

I bet you would. And no. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOO. THAT IS NOT ASKING! That is RUDE! Hand on my heart I recently met with a potential client to discuss the possibility of me doing some professional photos for an upcoming book. This was a professional meet and greet – to see if the job was a good fit. I showed up on time, with credentials and business card in hand. The other party was late, unprofessional in behavior, could not answer my questions and finished with this: “Get started and when you finish email everything to me. I have other projects for you – as soon as you finish this.” WHAT?

I INTJ death-stared the man down for a good full minute and then I said, “Sir, I am not accepting this job. We never even discussed pay. There will be no other projects, either. You haven’t even given me your email address or phone number. I am sure you will find someone.”

Never once in our conversation did he say, “I have some specific photos I would like you to take for this book. The pay is $$$. Will you accept this job?” What is happening in this world? And it isn’t just on a professional level. Everyday folks are making plans on my behalf without even asking me what I want to do – or can do – and worse, getting upset when I say no to a question they never asked. I cannot wrap my head around this. I am 1) not a mind reader and 2) not your puppet. Never EVER assume I will do/say/make ANYTHING for you. Have enough respect to address me properly and ask for something the right way. It is the least we can do to show respect towards one another.

Mooches

I have layers of friends. There are the few and precious Inner Circle Peeps, the Friends, the Acquaintances and then the rest of you are waiting in line out on the streets as far as I am concerned (nothing personal, I’m an INTJ). To my few and precious Inner Circle Peeps – my loyalties are fierce and my love is real and my door is always open to you. You know who you are. Everyone else – do not invite yourself to my stuff. Do not impose. And imposition is the real issue here – because I can make anyone a cup of coffee. Those who expect and demand I make them a cup of coffee are the problem. It is the Mooch I cannot abide. INTJ’s are hyper aware of people who are balanced, people who are Givers and people who are Takers.

Givers need observation because they will spend all of themselves on others and not let anyone pamper or help them. I have a soft spot for these people – my Mom is a Giver to a fault and while I love that about her, it gets her in trouble. A Giver is not a threat – but whenever I am around one I am always careful not to take everything they offer because I know too well they deplete themselves. I say no to them because I know what they sacrifice. There is a purity in the Giver. A Giver friend always meets expectations and never shows up empty handed or expects others to cater to them, treat them, and they have no sense of entitlement. It is their selfless humility that makes them so vulnerable, and beautiful.

Takers come in different forms with different intentions. Some Takers are not even aware of themselves – whether by habit or by personality or by upbringing they are who they are. Taker friends are not really good friends. They make decisions which are self-serving even if they can sometimes appear philanthropic. If you find yourself doing all the leg work in a relationship – you are involved with a Taker. If a friend does not demonstrate that they can easily make the same efforts and sacrifices on your behalf that you have on theirs, they are a Taker.

A mooch is the worst of the Takers. Some are motivated and malicious and know what they are. They take every opportunity they can and manipulate others. Mooches will glom onto you or your successes, or come use up your talents or steal your energy and they will enjoy it. A mooch uses people to get something they need or want – usually without asking (see #1).

I will sniff out and drop a mooch in a heartbeat. As an INTJ, I cannot stand manipulation and selfishness. A sense of entitlement is like a poison arrow. It is almost impossible to use and abuse an INTJ because they will simply walk away – shutting the door on such behaviors. Genuine mooches are easy to disown.

Plans That Aren’t Plans

Someone invites me to meet them for dinner at a specific place at a specific time. I arrive. They do not. Stuff came up. I know Life happens – but LET ME KNOW!

Hypothetical Scenario: A friend wants to go to the bookstore. Yay bookstore! I break my own rule and ride with them (I always take my own vehicle for a myriad of reasons, including I can leave when I want). Friend goes to gas station, to WalMart, to drive-thru, to mall, to…AGGHHHH! It has been 4 hours! I thought we were going to the bookstore? “Oh, we are…soon.” This is death for an INTJ. I can be flexible and even spontaneous – if I have a plan! Why on God’s green earth would you invite me to the bookstore if we were going everywhere BUT there? I know adventure in this form does not bother most people, but some of us just need an outline. (This is why the best surprise party for me would be the one I knew about ahead of time). I have patience and tolerance when I have an idea of what, when and where I need to apply them. It is the unknown – the meandering – that makes me crazy. I’ll meet you at the bookstore. In my car. It’ll be fun.

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth

As an INTJ I already process and analyze stuff and I weigh every possible scenario. Quietly, in my mind, while I do dishes. I am also a skeptic so I quietly question everything and sniff out potential motives to better ascertain my approach on something. I am also a gut-driven person and to date my gut has not been wrong. When I smell a rat, there’s a rat.

Everyone has a problem with lying because, well, it’s LYING! But lying – that is an easy one. What I seek to understand is the Big Picture. Before I jump on the Negative Bandwagon I need facts. I need to know both sides of the story. I cannot blindly agree that someone or something is terrible/horrible/perfect/fantastic. My mind is Switzerland until I can piece together the puzzle that creates a finished scene. THEN I can begin the process of forming theories or even, dare I say it, an opinion about someone or something. The good news is – this creates an environment where fairness is valued and administered. The bad news – I can’t always hear both sides of the story or get all the facts. Back to my gut… The irritant pertaining to this subject is that, as an INTJ, I do hate lying – especially when I KNOW it is a lie – but I also hate when others want me to jump to their conclusions and grab a torch and pitchfork. Stahhhp.

There are, of course, plenty of pet peeves but these touch on problems inherent of the everyday world. I would love to hear about your INTJ pet peeves.

 

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Introverts: Activate the Bubble!

When I was a teenager I had some serious issues with the general public. I started working at the mall, in a coffee shop. While the job itself was fun and amazing, working with the general public was NOT. I already hated the crowded halls of my high school, long lines at grocery stores and pretty much shopping in general. Why? People. I love individual people but I hate crowds. This is part of being an introvert and an empath. Sixteen-year-old me had to adapt, and fast, if I wanted to survive my new job.

My sweet mom knew I had issues. (She, too, is an introvert). At one point she said, “Sarah, imagine yourself inside a big bubble, like a Glenda-the-Good-Witch bubble. You can see and hear everything but you have a layer of protection.” Code: Activate Bubble. My imagination was already ripe for the picking (I grew up to be a Theater Major after all), so it was not difficult to pretend I could activate a giant imaginary bubble – a force field of sorts. If only my bubble could float around like Glenda’s!

At first, this was a challenge. My Bubble was flimsy and popped easily – people got to me or I got that all-too-familiar sickening feeling when I was forced by circumstance to be in a large crowd somewhere. I practiced this imaginary bubble thing – and over the course of several years, I got really good at it. Maybe too good sometimes. In the early days the Bubble would only last a few minutes and then I would crumple. Pop! What started out as a weak decorative bubble  grew into an acrylic bubble (think of those chairs from the 70’s!), and eventually that grew into what I referred to as “the Steel Bubble”. Like I said – this took me years to master.

What was actually happening to me on a mental level was something that has served me well my whole adult life. I developed and nurtured my own coping skills. The bubble? That was just the vehicle I needed to promote and integrate these coping mechanisms. My imaginary Bubble Shield allowed me to peruse exterior circumstances and decide what I would “allow” to affect me. This force field provided a view of the surrounding world without the threat of being attacked by sensory overload. I could cope.

As my Bubble grew stronger I was able to work many jobs in service industries – all serving the general public. Anyone who has ever worked at a mall or a grocery store or as a waiter or waitress – well, ANY job dealing with the dreaded public – KNOWS how hard it can be! There are times when the noise gets to you. Some days the sheer negativity wafting off of people can almost knock you down. As an INTJ personality I always loathed the endless small talk and hearing everyone’s life story – I hated the complaints and chatter. My Bubble worked overtime.

I have always been stingy with my time and energy and creativity – it is mine and I do not want to spend it all frivolously or on wasteful ventures. Working with the public was a necessity because I needed money to survive. I had to cope somehow – and even though my Bubble wasn’t completely bullet proof – I cannot imagine the mess I would have been without it. My Bubble allowed me to stay sane and keep some reserves for myself until I could scurry home and quietly recharge my soul’s battery.

Today, my husband and I have three beautiful, intelligent children. ALL three of them are introverts. All three of them are also empaths. Guess what I have taught them? Oh yes – we started young and now they use their own Bubbles. Whenever we load up the Suburban to head out to a birthday party or a big public event you’ll hear one of us say, “Activate your Bubble!” It has made all the difference in how they are able to cope in this crazy world. Nowadays my Bubble is Titanium and Kevlar. It’s pretty impressive. Even my husband jokes about his Bubble sometimes. It is a ridiculous concept – but it works.