Someone made a very astute comment to an INTP-related post that made me realize that being ruled by a logic-driven honesty and bluntness – no matter how much I pride myself to champion the direct truth – also has its more fatal downsides. Especially when it comes to interacting with other people you care about and taking their feelings into account. My logic too often dominates and brusquely tells me that ‘they can take it’ while my own, more sensitive feelings peep up underneath and try and tell me that I shouldn’t be so harsh.
Said comment goes as following:
“Jumping in with a response that’s dismissive usually isn’t constructive. There’s sometimes a fine line between intellectual honesty and being hurtful. […] You’re not being intellectually dishonest if you keep quiet. If you have something actually useful to contribute, then by all means do so.
Some people think that you either have to be blunt or pretend. That’s not true. What you do have to do is ask yourself why you are going to say whatever it is you’re going to say. Are you being helpful, constructive, or just trying to show that you’re smarter?”*
Being too blunt. Oh boy, have I put my foot in my mouth many times. I sometimes suspect it has become a force of habit when I’m around certain people – people I pity, dislike or want to impress – or I have deluded myself into thinking bluntness substitutes confidence or a voice; being heard and having principles you can ‘yell’ out in order to seem better than others (i.e. a true SJW)? I don’t know. I certainly know I have spoken before I’ve really thought and that has been the worst times of being ‘too honest’ (if we regard it as a vice as much as a virtue). I’ve unintentionally hurt and angered people more than I intended. That is, childishly, I’ve only ever sought to be challenged and challenge others to get new perspectives on life. And being rude and loud-mouthed is certainly no mature way to do it.
I’ve yearned for intellectual stimulation all through my life and subconsciously demanded it almost everywhere I go, more or less, I think. I want to outwit and be outwitted, be challenged and banter knowledge. Not for the sake of snobbery, pretending, being or feeling better than others that are not like-minded, but simply because my mind naturally craves intellectual stimulation and has gotten way too little of it from most people. Not that one can expect everyone to be Einsteins, but too often they have only appeared as little, golden grains in the sand; too quickly flushed out with the tide.
So when I’ve met blatantly oblivious, rigid, slightly thick-headed people, I have either secretly laughed at and pitied them or instinctly reacted to that pity by ‘trying to outsmart them’ or ‘challenge’ them by saying something blunt and watch their reactions. Simply because I am so stupidly curious when it comes to how completely stupid other people sometimes can be. I somehow get it into my head that I can trigger forth their intellect and the logic of the whole argument or point that is being discussed – by saying what’s on my mind. Straight-forward. Just raw, pure logic. I want to prove something to the spectators, but also to myself; confirming my targets’ expected reaction I’ve imagined but also being curious about any unexpected ones that might occur and how I will respond if so, while I secretly ‘get off’ on displaying my ‘superior’ intellect. Huh. What a challenge.
Ugh. That’s the straight-forward, raw and ugly truth about this INTP for you right there. It’s pathetic. I am a little person in these instances.
It’s a tough, inner battle, I must admit. My INTP core instinctly cannot comprehend – eventhough I know otherwise – that there are other people who think so utter differently from me.
Well, curiosity killed the cat, some say and shrug, while others champion your intellect and state that ‘if other people can’t follow or understand you, they are not worth sticking around for’.
All such ‘advice’ are taken out of context and circumstantial, of course, but it doesn’t make it all less confusing regarding how to view the case in point: Am I on the wrong side of the track here? Am I being an utterly arrogant and thus dislikable person, really? Or are my overthinking and resurfacing insecurities getting the better of me?
I sense an uncomfortable answer in the tendency among the reactions I’ve gotten throughout my life, but I cannot see clearly through the fog. Sometimes I regret my words, sometimes I’m more insecure so I worry more about what effects my words have, but most of times I’m just … me.
It’s an instinct, a nature that I have learned – from the INTP personality – is nothing to be ashamed of. Sure, one may come off as somewhat brusque and insensitive in certain situations, but my instinctive answer to that is also that such a characteristic (and the INTP type) is rather uncommon and most people simply aren’t used to it. That shouldn’t provoke me to not be blunt, after all. Being blunt can be good. Too few dare to be blunt enough!
And it’s not like I’m without tact. It just doesn’t always appear in conventional settings.
But I can still learn. I can always learn and always will. Learning by not abruptly cutting off parts of myself because they may seem too harsh to other folks at times, but by always expanding and developing myself into a more mature version of myself, for my own sake as much as those around me I care about. Sounds cheesy, but the above-mentioned comment really hit me, so there must be something in it. It has given me a lot of food for thought, that’s for sure.
I’m going to ask myself more often WHY I’m going to say whatever I’m going to say: Is it to be helpful, constructive, or just trying to show that I’m smarter?