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.


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.



The Creative INTJ

We have all seen those little posts where they define each personality type and then list the “ideal jobs” belonging to these personalities. The INTJ always gets World Domination – no, but really we get suggested jobs like bankers, financial analysts, engineers, neurologist, attorney, judge…but artist?

I am a professional artist. I LOVE being creative – no, I HAVE to be creative or it starts coming out in weird ways (“Babe, who spray painted the chicken coop purple??”), so I have tried my hand at many different art forms and mediums. Oil painting, water colors, leather, photography, textiles, collage, sculpture, 3D mixed medium, the list is endless. Art is in my genes. My mother is a professional oil portraitist descended from the Dutch Masters and my father is an architect. And both are musical, and so am I. Some folks are just creative. I am creative. Everything I do has a smidge of creativity somewhere within it. I think in colors and sounds and patterns and fibonacci sequences and music and tone and imagery. I constantly visualize things done five different ways and what it would look like.

Now, I have worked in the art world for 20 years. I have taught art. I was a theater major and a business minor in college. I have taught children’s theater. (I am a drama teacher now!) I have worked in galleries. I have had exhibits and I have been in art shows. I have been in plays, written plays, directed plays, built props and scenery for plays. I have worked as a professional photographer. All of these have been satisfying outlets for my personal creativity. Yet one of the most interesting jobs I held in the art world was as a consultant and mentor to artists who make the choice to go public – try to sell and exhibit – their art. Stereo-typically, creative folks are a messy, free-spirited, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants race of people. I have also learned that many artists are TERRIBLE when it comes to business and numbers. So, creative person = brilliant artist + disorganized business person. I have seen it countless times.

I am an artist. Add Female INTJ to that. Yeah. Layers. LOTS of LAYERS. Being a creative and artistic INTJ offers a unique phenomenon. I can do both. I can also see where another artist is veering off course and is naively preparing to self-sabotage their art career. I can price art whereas most artists have no idea what their worth is. I understand the ways different galleries function and whether or not it is a waste of my time and energy to sell in that establishment.  I understand that, unlike manufactured goods, art is a unique and limited endeavor that can increase in the item’s value over time. Artists use talents to make things most people cannot make. That is a lucrative skill! That is WORTH a lot!

I am also much more organized than most of the creative people I know. I have a thing about cluttered surface areas – I like my desk and tables clean. I like tidy. I like to know where stuff is. And yet I am not bothered by other artist’s mess because somewhere in my soul I get it. I am a perfectionist when it comes to myself, but I am flexible and tolerant and patient with others (unless they are being irrational or making a repetitive clicking noise. #INTJ).

I am not impulsive. I am not super emotional. I analyze and pre-plan my works long before they ever manifest on paper or canvas. I loathe most commission work because I feel like it robs me of my own creative voice and ideas. Commissions make me feel like I am spending all my talent and energy on someone else – money is rarely a motivator for me. I am stingy with my gifts and talents – and if I create something for you that means I REALLY like you! I am subjective about art and view the works of others as a narrative and visual emotional response. Some art touches me deeply.

I feel like creative INTJ’s have the unique ability to stand in both worlds and see them with all of these magnificent visual layers. I believe creativity is intelligence having a lot of fun. My art is where my emotions DO leak out far enough to be seen. My art is my soul on canvas. Being an artist has taught INTJ me that mistakes and failures are my university. I learn and get stronger, better. An INTJ artist truly does get to make their own world, and yes, dominate it if they feel up to it.

I have tried for years to find another professional artist who is also an INTJ. So far no luck. I know you’re out there. If you’re reading this, do you find it easier than your fellow non-artist INTJ’s to communicate your thoughts and visions because of your creative flair? Do you help other artists become better in their business? Do you advocate the arts and artist’s rights in a way that is difficult for some artists to clearly communicate to others? Just wondering. Also – I would LOVE to see your work!!

And if you want to know how I really feel about the “art world”, visit my article “ART: A Common Sense Guide to Survival” published on DeviantArt:


Robots? INTJ’s? Whaaaaaa?

My nickname is Stone Cold Sarah. Why?

One time we lived in a little neighborhood and the family across the street suffered a terrible tragedy. One of their children passed away one morning and the mother was desperately trying to get help. NO ONE else was home on the street – but I was a stay-at-home mom with an infant. I was home. This young mother banged on our door and I instinctively grabbed the phone on my way to the door. I called 911 and then went to her house to try to help. Once the ambulance arrived I got out of the way – and returned home to my own children.

Later that night another neighbor asked me what the hell happened that morning – word had gotten around. Me, being a firm believer in stating the facts and not embellishing someone else’s story, briefly described what happened. Mouths dropped open. “You were THERE?” the neighbors said. How had I gone so long without telling everyone the gory details of the day’s tragedy?! Imagine someone respecting another person’s grief and privacy. The gall. But that is not why they made fun of me.

Another neighbor reported weeks later that they were incredulous that I showed no emotion when discussing “the facts” about a child’s death. “You were stone cold – like “hey a boy died and I called 911…” I found this amusing. Stone Cold Sarah had a new nickname.

Then, when I worked as a dog groomer, (accidental hobby that I discovered I was great at doing and could make good $$$) (YES I became certified – #INTJ) we would occasionally have a customer come in and cry because they lost one of their fur babies. The other groomers would always send ME out to “handle the grief”. Apparently these other groomers would break down and cry alongside the client and things would get messy. I would listen attentively, nod appropriately, patiently wait for the tears to subside and then politely ask, “So are we doing the puppy cut on Fifi this time or the Teddy Face?” Life would go on. Stone Cold Sarah.

I won’t bore you with other stories of my robot ways – but I will say that sometimes I have the unfortunate reaction of laughing when something bad happens (this was NOT the case with the child). This is a reaction and it is called the pseudobulbar effect and it is a real thing. So there have been times when someone fell or got hurt and I laughed. I could not control it. Which adds to the whole insensitive / cold thing. So yeah.

INTJ’s are not insensitive and cold. They feel more deeply than other types and are extremely protective and passionate about those people they deem their innermost circle. However, we do NOT waste energy and time on reactions and melodramatic behavior. It bleeds our souls dry to put out that much energy on emotional reactions. We save up for the important moments – when life will demand our emotions. We may seem a bit dry, a bit guarded, a bit automated. That can be a great thing – to have someone “strong” enough to handle intense situations without getting too messy. I rather like it. I am pretty low-maintenance after all.

Remember that your local INTJs are full of love and deep (deeeeeeeep Challenger Deep) emotions and they are safe, where others cannot use and abuse them. Rationality and Practicality Reign – at least until our favorite fictional character dies unexpectedly or our favorite chocolate coffee drink gets discontinued. Then you might witness an INTJ make a face. If you are one of the Chosen Ones in an INTJ’s life, then you are blessed because INTJ Loyalty is wicked fierce and so is their love and protection.