What you’ll probably find me saying/thinking every so often

  • “That’s debatable”
  • “That seems symptomatic to …”
  • “I blame evolution for being subject to such basic impulses”
  • “Why should that be expected as being normal?!”
  • “Have you tried thinking about it this way …?”
  • “Sorry, I have no idea what you’re talking about”
  • “What’s with the constant judging, people?”
  • “I had no idea this was the day that people did this thing… Why?”
  • “I do nothing. Or, no, I do something. I think.”
  • “Okay. So everybody just presumes one should know about this. When they tell you nothing, how is one supposed to know..?!”
  • “How on earth did this thing get so many supporters/members/fans? I want to know”
  • “How on earth did anyone come to think this was a good idea? I want to know”
  • “Have you noticed that …?”
  • “Why does my body keep doing that? It’s so strange. But then again, so is my brain.”
  • “These [insert number] things are so similar. I wonder if they have any connection? I bet they do. I must find out or make the connections myself”
  • “I don’t get how you can live without having/understanding irony… HOW??”
  • “Why am I the only one laughing at this?”
  • “I bet it is more complex than that”
  • “Yeah, but what if …”
  • “How can your mind be so small?”
  • “Oh, I wish …”
  • “That’s relative”
  • “I don’t understand why I cannot use this word/proverb like that. Language isn’t a static thing. It never has been. Besides, how can you claim to have monopoly of the use of a word/proverb when you hardly know its original meaning, how it came about in the first place or why we still use it in totally different contexts? Jeez.”
  • “Yeah, like that one/every time in history when …”
  • “Learning curves, peeps!”
  • “I feel like figuratively strangling that person/those people who do this thing. No, literally.”
  • “Now, I don’t want you to take this personally, but you do realize that …”
  • And the list goes on:

*revised 15/5/17*

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Full-fledged INTP? – 2.0

Last time I didn’t get through even half of the relatable ‘You know you’re an INTP when…’-memes, and it has been nagging in the back of my mind ever since. So, now, I finally got my act together and spent some of my buck loads of spare time to write down those I missed (instead of applying for jobs *sigh*). See how many you can tick off for yourself. 😉

You know you’re an INTP when…

… you can be best friends with someone for over ten years yet still not feel any kind of emotional connection.

… you can’t be bothered to proofread before submitting something.

… your default emotion is ambivalence.

… you simultaneously feel inferior and superior to people.

… you try to show amiability by critiquing.

… you reblog so you can read it later, but never get around to it because something else catches your interest.

… you consider yourself your own, longest-running psychological experiment.

… you feel the need to teach your teachers how to teach.

… people ask you “what are you thinking about?”, and your response is “too much…”.

… you tag everything you reblog on tumblr so you can find it again later.

… you are unable to take personality tests and receive accurate results because you know how to manipulate the variables to achieve a particular result.

… you find yourself switching sides in an argument if too many people agree with you.

… the very thought of being an ESFJ makes you shudder.

… death isn’t scary until you remember all the things you need to learn before dying.

… even hanging out with your best friend for too long is tiring.

… you think for someone while trying to determine what they’re thinking.

… once you figure out the person you like, you grow bored of them.

… you have a list of ‘must reads’ or ‘must do’ items that never actually gets read or done.

… you think you’re no good, but think that other people are worse.

… you have lots of “friends” but no one to hang out with.

… you can see patterns in the behavior of other people and act, around, or againt those patterns.

… you strive to blend into the masses while not letting yourself become part of them.

… your catchphrase is ‘I was just thinking that!’.

… you struggle to unite your scientific and spiritual thinking.

… regardless of how many people you know, you don’t belong to any cliques, you’re a drifter.

… in groups you don’t speak up because “It’s so obvious, everyone must already know”.

… you considered stopping reading fiction because ‘its all been done before’, but quickly came back to it to escape reality.

… you submit to the “notion” that quoting every other word is adding “merit” to your argument.

… you say ‘never mind’ after reexplaining it once if they still don’t get it.

… you try to edit and make something shorter, you end up adding even more than you initially cut out.

… you try to write something down but give up because your brain gets too far ahead of your hands.

… you find someone’s brain attractive before all else.

… your interest in someone is mistaken for caring about them.

… you’re supposed to be cleaning your room but instead you reorganise your book shelf and neglect everything else.

… you spend more time arguing with people you agree with than people you disagree with.

… you can’t find the balance between explaining enough so people understand you and explaining so much that they feel patronised.

… you take other peoples ideas, improve, alter and refine them to make them your own.

… you never completely finish things. There is always something left undone.

… by the time you’ve figured out exactly what you want to say the conversation has moved on.

… you fluctuate between getting your act together and acting random.

… you hate superficial people, yet you pretend better than they do.

… people call you a cynic, and you reply that you’re simply realistic.

… you constantly use the phrase ‘but going back to…’.

… small talk not only bores you, but you find it downright insulting sometimes.

… you shun trends and fads purely because they are popular.

… you recluse into your own mind for salvation.

… you decline opportunities to experience things because you can already imagine what it would be like.

… you solve problems in leaps and jumps rather than using a step by step process.

… you are an expert at the ‘but why’ game.

… you like something in theory, but are disappointed by the reality of it.

… you go to bookstores, pick a book then stand in the aisle and read the entire thing.

… social cues have never been a strong point.

… you become tongue-tied when you try to explain your emotions.

… you believe no one else understands the true meaning and beauty of irony.

… you edit your own posts so that they are precise or to avoid finality.

… if you had a super-power, it would be the ‘revise’ button.

… you like all types of music, but only really good music.

… you find yourself in situations where you don’t have time for anything, even if you have all the time in the world.

… you come up with brilliant ideas for your blog but forget them well before you can actually make the posts.

… characters other people believe to be weird or crazy seem relatively normal to you.

… you will argue any side of an argument just to find out what the other person’s rationality on the matter is.

… you are clueless in how to properly respond to random displays of affection.

… you spend excessive amounts of time trying to decide what to post/reply, then just end up deleting it entirely.

… you sound uncertain to other people, even though you’re ∼99.99% certain that you’re correct.

… you know more inside of your head than outside.

… you have pondered over the merits of being intelligent versus knowledgable.

… you would download the entire Interweb into your brain.

… you make completely random yet accurate observations.

… you wish there was a ‘M’ option for Y/N questions.

… you are most attracted to interesting people, people who don’t give everything about themselves away.

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How (self)perception can deceive you

“I am both worse and better than you thought”, Sylvia Plath once wrote.

If you ask me, this quote is completely ingenious.

It fits almost every situation in which you interact with another human being and worry about their perception of you and how it matches your own self-perception.

So often we put our hopes and expectations into our fellow man and so often we get disappointed. Yet, what did we truly expect? Here Plath’s quote applies perfectly. We are only human, after all, aren’t we? Human and complex. In this regard, I come to think of a generally used misquote of Plath but which in reality belongs to author Dean Walley: “Please don’t expect me to always be good and kind and loving. There are times when I will be cold and thoughtless and hard to understand”.

We can never really live up to or stay true to the expectations of others – that is, not everyone’s – despite how much we truly want to, deep down. In my experience, positive impressions jump or sneak up on you unconsciously. You might have known a certain person to be a certain, amazing way, but it was not something you ruminated upon everyday why or how or selfishly willed forth like you often do with expectations that you hope to project onto others. You just knew without consciously knowing. You follow?

Yet, you could argue the same concerning negative impressions, couldn’t you?

I still fear I’m a freak in the sense of unintentionally being a ‘bad’, irritating, egocentric person deep down, despite caring about the world and wanting very much to help the people in it in some way. Well, in my way and the best way I can.

Perhaps not decisively ‘bad’, but not decisively ‘good’ either. (Not that man has ever been just one thing). And that one of these ‘traits’ may stragetically, almost instinctively dominate the other whenever it feels necessary and justifiable to do so – for my own benefit – simply in order to get through and survive in this world.

I don’t know what I’ve become anymore.

But, the thing is, this fear may stem from a recurring insecurity. I’ve realized that my insecurities from my younger years are as prominent as ever. They’ve just grown and changed; their conditions shifted.

I may have distanced and isolated myself throughout my life, because I have – among other things – battled with this knowledge; this insecurity and the possibility that it might have some truth in it, but denied it or denied to do anything significant about it. And thus pushed away the responsibility of deciding upon it, stubbornly telling myself that I am also just me and that that cannot be changed. Not for anyone. Not the essence of me. So be it if people get aggravated by it.

However, the faux confidence only lasts for so long.

An event – a turning point, really – occured just this past summer where I was rendered shocked, hurt, confused and sad that I could ever make people feel immediate hatred, dislike or anger towards me. The fall-out was mainly caused by a mutual misunderstanding; of related tempers clashing in a moment of stress before apologizing and reconciling again. Still, it felt like it was subtly my fault more than anything. That I had ‘a problem’ that needed to be dealt with somehow; that I was being too critical, too snarky, too personal. Perhaps slightly unfair since it takes two to make a quarrel – but also partly true. I knew I was projecting, that I was being unfair as well and that it needed to stop. It’s never nice to come upon such realizations but I think they are somewhat healthy in order for you to grow.

In the end, the episode shocked me to my core and made me realize that I have somehow come to never expect that I can inspire any kind of passionate feelings – platonic or otherwise – in anyone. It’s sad that I feel this way, isn’t it? That I’ve come to view my own effect and impact on others – negative and positive – with so little regard. In so many instances I need to remind myself that I’m not invisible but actually can have an impact. Too often I just hide in the shadows or lay back, dismissing or taking it for granted. Especially that some people actually do care about me and thus can get hurt by what I do or don’t do. (Those out there with a greater emotional understanding and interpersonal guidance may be chuckling at me right now, but you must understand that this is a core feature in the INTP; this particular blind spot regarding emotions).

It may also be a causal/Pavlovian symptom – a misconstrued symptom – because I’ve taught myself not to care too much in order not to get hurt myself and in the end managed to include myself in that view: That if I do not care overtly about people but just what is required when it is required, then that goes for me as well: They do not care about me more than required and thus are not that affected by what I am or do or say.

Seems I’ve gone out on one of my rational limps and got tangled up in the strings. And I’m not quite sure how to disentangle myself. Should I just begin to care more and to visibly, physically, verbally show it more – even when it feels fake to do so? Again, it’s not like I do not care at all, but I’ve already been hurt enough to find that gate hard to open even more. So – as pathetic, lazy, sobby and uneffective as it sounds – I hope and wait for someone – somehow – to come to know and care about me on a deeper level and thus pave the way for me in this regard. As if it will happen out of the blue..! *scoffs* But at least then I think the gate will be a little less heavy if I have two more hands to help me push it open. Only then I see more sunlight than only dim fog at the end of the tunnel. (A bit heavy with the symbolism here, I know). It comes to no surprise that I also categorize as an Enneagram Type 5.

As hinted to, I am still as confused as I was as a teen. It is just … slightly different now. I know my inherent value but am bound to take the outside world’s response to me into account in order to sum up who I am as a person.

Strangers or distant relatives have called me sweet and nice –  humble even – however, they rarely know me that well and probably perceive me as slightly reserved or shy. Some people have been in awe and called me very insightful by a mere, immediate thought I voiced, yet also smiled and likely wondered how arrogant and naive I can be as well. Teachers have hinted to both a talent and a waste of talent; for not taking more advantage of my ressources and showing my intelligence to the fullest. To open my mouth more while my parents, ironically, wanted me to shut it more. Closer friends or family seem more ambivalent and likely find me as irritating as I am insightful, as naive as I am arrogant, and probably too closed-off, too excentric and too humble at times. Perhaps because they know me, care about me or even love me? Especially since this ambivalence is mirrored in my own self-love and self-perception. In the end, it all constitutes what is complex about humans and being human, right?

As a person on Tumblr described it:  “I am a different person to different people. Annoying to one. Talented to another. Quiet to a few. Unknown to a lot. But who am I, to me?”*

Resonating Anne Frank: “Everyone thinks I’m showing off when I talk, ridiculous when I’m silent, insolent when I answer, cunning when I have a good idea, lazy when I’m tired, selfish when I eat one bite more than I should…”

Still, most of all, my own insecurity (aka my Fe) wants people to simply like me. Well, don’t most people feel like this? But I cannot just exist. It isn’t enough for me to just be. I need to give as well. I sometimes wish – or my insecurity wishes – I could be less me and thus less of a ‘nuisance’ to the people I know and adapt to their needs; be more of a help and comfort, despite not having the inclination to be more emotionally helpful and ‘touchy-feely’. My empathy inevitably mixes with my rationality, but I have so much to give of this particular ‘mix’. That is my kindness and though it isn’t very competent in giving the immediate, emotional and physical comfort, I think it can help in other ways. (I’ve found that I am a great pep talker. Huh.)

And yet, I also do not want to reduce myself, because merely showing an outer personality that constitutes of being kind and helpful is not really a personality but rather personality features, in my eyes. I’ve met pretty, kind girls my age who only ever acted kindly, never really giving away any faults or anger or deviations from the perceived norm. It equally frustrated and impressed me that they wouldn’t or couldn’t get riled-up but always gave a polite smile. Perhaps they simply were genuinely sweet people. Or they made a hell of an effort to acquire and keep up this diplomatic façade. I never saw any other side of them. Of course, if I had really gotten to know them, they’d perhaps shown more sides.

But, to quote Jane Austen in Persuasion: “She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped.”

And to me, you should be ‘allowed’ to have the space to display weird gestures and quirks in public. You should be allowed to show anger and eagerness and not be regarded as immature if you do (especially if it does not harm anyone), because you are so much more! Honest about who you are: Kind and considerate, but also distracted and selfish. Intelligent but also naive at times. I know, it may be a very INTP thing to think this way, and I (or perhaps the child in me) may be talking on behalf of myself now. Yet, people have to somehow take everything else that comes with these ‘kind’ features as well in order to have what constitutes me or you, no? And it would be utterly hypocritical to do otherwise, since all people have quirks or deviations or whatever. Some have just learned to curb or diminish them in some situations and express or channel them in others – which could be viewed as just as ‘abnormal’ from another point of view. We are all different, in that regard, but no less or more faulty than others.

Anywho. I think the above-mentioned event changed me, somehow. Made me more aware of myself and others; gut-punchingly aware. At least, I hope so. I tell myself so. And I know such events cannot be entirely prevented in one’s life or in the future – they are there to make you grow, after all – but hopefully, now that I’m more aware, they will rarely occur.

*revised 5/6/17*

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My Feeling Friend and I

For this piece, I don’t presume to talk on behalf of all Thinking or Feeling types, nor every INTP and INFP friendships. The points I make here are merely based on my own, subjective experiences as an INTP being friends with an INFP.

I’ve briefly touched upon the differences and similarities before, but I noticed recently just how significantly we align and differ according to our personality types. Of course, the individual personality in each of us has a lot to say too, but the more I learn about MBTI, the more I sense the signifiers for the personality types themselves. Such as my dominant cognitive function being introverted thinking (let’s call me a ‘Thinker’) and my friend’s dominant being introverted feeling (a ‘Feeler’).

Anywho, I’ve noticed that my INFP friend has a way of feeling the pulse of every single thing around her, most of all herself. That is, she always seems aware of what she feels and how, making her come off as rather sensitive and wavering. I waver too, but in a slightly different way I think. Whereas she seems constantly aware of her emotions (and others’ as well) and the small sensory interchanges, I like to slightly suppress or not think about my emotions. Though I’m not a great decision-maker either and tend to waver too, I mostly know what I want and when and then decide to do it. Especially if it’s a matter I know I can easily do something about, whereas my friend … well, she tends to voice her frustration, even though (in my eyes) she could easily do something about instead of complaining. But it’s not just her. I’ve met many people who almost get off on complaining for hours about trivial matters instead of just doing something about it. Maybe I’m just too ‘practical’ in this regard or I suppress this ‘instinct’ to complain. I have, after all, grown up in a household where my mother outwardly despised trivial complaints despite more or less doing them herself (by complaining about everybody else complaining). And it’s not like I’m holier than my friend or everybody else; I just ‘complain’ about different things, and the decisions I cannot make (which seem so easy to many people, I reckon) are in direct correlation to my INTPness.

I like to plan small, day-to-day, practical things ahead because I know how stressed and frustrated (borderline-autistic, I sometimes think) I become in the smallest of matters, such as grocery-shopping for example. My friend tends to shop groceries on a whim, time and time again, despite she knows how stressed and frustrated she gets every time. Noted, she has a problematic relationship with food, so I reckon she postpones the decisions regarding it as much as possible because she generally doesn’t like thinking or, ironically, worrying about it. That’s at least why I postpone the decisions I find difficult or uncomfortable myself. Otherwise, I, ironically, take most things as they come, whereas she tends to worry overtly about matters no one could possibly predict or control.

She gets easily confused by the smallest of things that I cannot always decipher or predict, leading to a sudden, significant drop in her mood sometimes, where she tends to become rather hysteric or dramatic about her life-situation. It’s not like I cannot recognize it, because I’m an introvert as well and have my bouts of ups and downs, but I guess I have slightly different triggers and ways of expressing such frustrations. Whereas she vocalizes hers by wallowing in her doubts, yet never really concludes or does anything about them, I internalize or express mine through almost desperate self-deprecation which helps me no more than her method does her.

She wouldn’t hurt a fly, whereas I can be slightly machiavellian at times. She is more sensitive about certain ‘racy’ things (such as sex) which I simply find funny and take less seriously or personally. On the other hand, she has always been an avid consumer of British shows like Skins, Shameless and Misfits where sex (and drugs and violence etc.) is anything but implicitly portrayed. I don’t know if she somehow can distance herself from the subject when it’s fictive and/or on the screen? Or if she through watching these shows so intensely, in a sense, feels herself closer to things she misses or wants to try in her own life but is somewhat afraid to try..?

I may be colored by my own rationality here, but I’ve gathered that because she is so feeling about her and other people’s feelings, relying less on logic, she is easily set off course by the smallest of sensations and tends to misconstrue or misinterpret certain things about her self-image. A lot, actually. She is rather insecure on different levels than I am; in constant need to be in tune with everything and constantly doubting this feeling (or every feeling). To me it sounds exhausting and I tend to use my brain to make decisions she would feel her way to. I can ‘judge’ or conclude things more harshly or objectively, whereas she can be more ‘soft’ and more afraid of hurting others’ feelings or creating conflict. Hell, she’s apologetic about sneezing because she thinks it disturbs people around her! I cannot help but laugh and pity her somewhat; that she’s so reluctant to give herself the right and the space to live; always afraid that her existence disturbs other people, always giving way for people on the street, not even wanting to listen to music in her apartment or drop a fork because she thinks it disturbs her neighbours!

I guess my rationale or logic enables me to cut myself off from taking every sensibility of every person into account in the same way. Honestly, I find some of these sensibilities rather petty sometimes, but that’s just me. I know you can never please everyone and shouldn’t attempt to do so when it comes in direct conflict with your own needs or principles.

I respect her and try to understand how she judges and sees the world, but this still goes against a basic principle within me, because I cannot, for the life of me, understand how one can apologize for one’s own existence! I believe one can be friendly and decent to those around you and still claim a right to be here as well. I cannot apologize for doing something everyone does once in a while (like sneezing or listening to loud music), because we all have to live! Not use our lives apologizing for living. I worry that she spends too much of her time doing the latter, but it seems so intrinsic within her personality that it’s not easy to deter from. She cannot use ‘harsh’ logic or objectivity to the same degree I do. I guess that’s also why she’s more attracted to or open towards the personal use of recreational drugs than I am. The need to ‘go into oblivion’, so to speak, for a moment or two, in order to forget your worries and the world around and de-stress yourself. I just procrastinate and get high on or lose myself in the world of fiction and imagination.

Despite our correlating values and intellects, she’s slightly more materialistic and vain than me; taking a slightly bigger issue to money whereas I don’t give a fig if the people to whom I’ve lent money don’t pay back (of course, it’s never any great amount). However, she has always struggled financially which I’ve been so lucky to not worry much about. In general, I’ve used my money wisely while still living a moderately privileged life. However, it has me slightly baffled that despite her financial struggle and complaints about it, she constantly shops expensive make-up (always the newest, best and most exclusive), clothes and shoes. All of it always looks the same to me (all her clothes is black and shoes the same brand), but that’s just me, I guess. She always asks what I think of her new eyeshadow or lipstick and I can honestly never tell if she’s even wearing any or whether it’s different from the others she wore. Classic INTP.

I don’t quite get why she doesn’t make better priorities with her money, and at the same time, I get that you only live once and, of course, she should be allowed to indulge in her favorite interests, so I say nothing of it. Maybe I should, but I worry that if I do I will, in a sense, take something away from her that helps her relax and forget her worries, despite they are directly related to her hobbies.

This very specific selection of make-up and fashion, however, again contradicts with her insecurities. She has a very distinct, original style, yet often claims she is very confused about her sense of clothing and what the fashion industry demands. She’s almost constantly concerned how she appears to other people and what other people think about her, down to the very smallest detail like her make-up or hair or shoes. She always talks about finding ‘the right thing’ (whatever that is) to identify with, feel comfortable in and look good in, at the same time. She shops ‘in the moment’ and even when she does – at a rare occasion – find ‘the right thing’, such as a specific sweater at the right size and price that she knows she’s gonna wear more than once, she can decide not to buy it after all, because e.g. ‘it happens to be summer and thus too hot at the moment’. To me that’s just barmy, because it will be autumn and winter after summer – like every year – and thus she will need and want it then, surely?! I tell her this, but she always just gives a wavering non-answer and leaves the shop and my rationale can’t help but boggle at this.

I make her come off as more vain than she perhaps is, but most of all she can be very insecure at times. Though, I suspect sometimes that she thinks or makes herself more insecure than she is (perhaps that is a very general notion regarding insecurity). Yet, for a Feeler I find it interesting that she is so hung up on materialistic things regarding her identity and self-image (which she basically has control of and I keep telling her this), but in the long haul maybe they are just an excuse and really a projection as well from her real reasons. My insecurities as a Thinker are connected to my feelings and self-image too, yet I could never be so hung up on materialistic things regarding my identity.

I’ve talked about my own slightly worrisome self-involvement and introspection, but I fear hers is even more pronounced. Where I tend to project, rationalize and procrastinate my own ‘problems’ to and through other matters of the heart – sorta diverting the attention – she more like self-obsesses, overestimates and self-problematizes her problems. It’s no less unhealthy, askew, selfish or solution-free than my own methods, just slightly different. Where I am self-deprecating and disparaging about my worries and problems, trying as much as I can to divert from them, she apologizes and feels guilty yet keeps returning to them anyway. Thus she never really manages to see beyond her own worries and though she can be really sweet and thoughtful about other people’s worries, (not to mention, very passionate about the problems of the world) she’s still too distracted and immersed in her own and cannot lay them aside and distance herself objectively to listen and help others. Maybe because she doesn’t use logic to analyze or find solutions to emotional worries, but simply feels them and is left bereft..? But that is what any T type would say, right? I feel out of my element here. And I don’t know if what I do is any better, because giving rational solutions to emotional troubles can help, but rationalizing them isn’t always helpful.

I have very few friends and even fewer close ones, but my INFP friend must be categorized as the closest friend I’ve had outside my family. I have read yet I wasn’t aware of the fact that INFPs are ‘usually’ considered to be more ‘immature’ compared to other types (or just the INTP?). That makes somewhat sense given what I’ve just written about her. Her consistent insecurity about various, rather petty (imo) matters makes her look as if she was still stuck in her stereotypical teenage self. I always used to blame it on her being about 2 years younger than me (we are both in our mid-20s), or I concluded it was simply some INFP characteristic I could never fully understand, being an INTP, despite I tried to see it from her POV and sympathize (or, in the INTP range, more like pity her).

I have known her for a couple of years now and it has been a very fruitful friendship, since we agree on so many things in life; passionately share the same values and interests, etc.. However, as I have matured, I have lately started noticing how much I help and advice her in general – compared to how ‘little’ I receive from her in kind. She is very kind (practically an excuse of herself) and can be very insightful in matters I take for granted or am less sensitive towards, and she does ask how I am but rarely digs any deeper, returning to herself, her own worries, etc.. I always thought I was very self-involved because I was so self-analytical and inside my head, but I wonder if the INFP type is actually more self-involved since my friend has so much trouble NOT talking about herself? That she’s too ‘immature’ as a type to take on the emotional responsibility of contemplating and supporting the more deep-seated, existential worries of another person, because she (always) seems to have so many herself? Maybe it’s simply just her being too insecure or self-concerned? Or maybe it has something to do with a general discrepancy in the INTP-INFP dynamics? Or just me being – me? Being naturally curious and inquisitive and willing to lay my own needs and worries completely aside (or downplay them because I don’t know how to deal with them) in favor of helping/listening to another person and thus never get to my own worries (if that can be applied to the INTP type)? After all, I cannot say for certain that I’m not more selfish than her – or that I’m more capable of taking on the responsibility of trying to support others; it may just be different conditions.

Funny thing is, my sister tells me she is an INFP too, yet, in that case, she is a very different type of INFP than my friend, since my sister has always kept her cards close to her chest.  Even after I discovered MBTI and applied it to everyone I knew, I couldn’t place my sister’s type despite I’m closer to her than anyone else. She has been somewhat of a mystery to me for a long time. Now that she has told me, some things have fallen into place; she’s always been the more sensitive type, yet she too (and that may be a product of our upbringing etc.) has a way of downplaying her need for help or support and is not always easy to read. Yet, all in all, from both an objective and subjective perspective, she is a much cooler and more likable person than I am, because of her incredible kindness, open-mindedness and understanding of sensibility as an INFP – combined with many favorable traits from the INTP, actually. But I digress.

Despite our incredibly corresponding, close likeness in so many aspects of life, I feel myself needing more from my INFP friend. That I need to receive what I offer and give in kind. Something that she so far doesn’t seem to have picked up on. Is that selfish and conceited of me? I suspect she may not want to ‘probe’ any further because she thinks I will say or talk about it myself if I need to, but after 5 years of friendship I’d assume she’d know me well enough by now to know how I am, and that I’m reluctant to initiate and talk about my ’emotional’ or deepest worries. Yet, I don’t offer any solution to this myself, do I? If she was to patiently listen and ask into more personal matters, my first instinct would most likely be to just laugh it off self-ironically or skirt around it somehow. I try to curb my instinct but with so little challenge and response from the other part it’s easier to just give in. If I took the bull by the horns it would end in an emotional outburst anyway – which I instinctively avoid in fear of looking pathetic.

*sighs* It’s a bad circle and it seems rather futile, doesn’t it? If she doesn’t know me well enough by now; after all those years of friendship; if she cannot read me and tell that I may have some worries myself, then what does that say? If I really (unconsciously) remain the puzzle INTPs are so infamous of being – even after 5 years of seemingly ‘soul-bonding’ friendship – then I really don’t have many positive prospects, relationship-wise, in the future, have I?

Nevertheless, I fear myself unconsciously drifting away from my INFP friend, because of this new awareness; affecting my very domineering INTP rationale (where even the smallest, emotional confusion can be unconsciously rationalized into distorted and sometimes fatal conclusions, if you know what I mean) and thus putting a crack in our good friendship, putting it in jeopardy, which I would very much like to prevent. But … It’s just not fixed by the one part in the friendship, is it?

I want to state my ‘constructive critique’ to her and confide in her more, I really do, but I also want to add to that: “Can you please just not run home to mommy and tell how you’ve ‘been treated by me’ or that you ‘don’t understand why’ and all that and take it as an adult, be mature and let these things stay confidential and between us, for once?” I say this in equal frustration and respect towards her. I know how close she is to her mother, always confiding with her in the smallest of matters, and that’s okay, but I really just want her to deal with matters herself for once in this case; try laying aside some of the millions of small worries she take upon herself all the time for once and be somewhat loyal to me. I think she owes me that much. It’s selfish I know, and friendship should never be about owing anything to one another, but friendship is also about somewhat maintaining a two-way, healthy balance and I cannot deny this feeling of the scale having tipped to one side. I simply ask for this singular need of mine being met for once. I’ve laid aside everything for her for so long; patiently waiting for all her worries to somewhat pass, for the right opportunity to tentatively ask for her support and her listening ear. Yet, the moment never seemed to arrive.

Maybe I should just come out at voice all these thoughts to her (though I have no clue how), and though I’m sure she will always be there for me if I need it, my guess is she’d mean in the sense of lending deep, emotional support for a temporary, tangible problem; like when one lose a family member or a boyfriend or a job, etc.. It may not seem like I give much credit to my friend, but I also know her and she is not a person I would call emotionally stable. That’s just the way she is. If I voiced my broader worries to her and that I felt she expressed a general lack of interest in them, I’m sure she’d listen and take it into account, but I’m also positive she’d just worry even more, feel even more guilty and burdened (literally the smallest things can set her off; like the whole world is tumbling down on her). She’d worry obsessively about her own guilt in the matter of not thinking of me or something, until one of her own worries would start overriding this and she’d probably push it back and forget to be more ‘considerate’ towards me in the future. And I never wanted it to be so. I may be an alarmist or overanalyze things here. But it may also just be the INTP in me wanting to have no emotional, unnecessary fuss that is likely to spiral out of control.

And again, I don’t feel like I haven’t hinted to my troubles or need of support (in lack of better words). Whenever I feel I have dropped the biggest hints to a trouble of mine, it has always seemed to be bad timing because she felt burdened and distracted by something herself which she needed to constantly deal with. There was hardly place for anything else, much less focusing on a personal battle of mine instead. In the end, we always come back to her troubles, and she always manages to guiltily apologize for not having enough time to talk through what’s on my mind. And I’ve rationalized it away by saying again and again to myself that I didn’t want to put that extra ‘burden’ on her when she clearly was so troubled already. That it wasn’t so much of a ‘trouble’ after all and that I could deal with it on my own. The thing is: this ‘trouble’ or need keeps reappearing, and I cannot rightly figure out how to deal with it or who to blame, other than to state what I know: That I suck at expressing my own emotional need for support but that doesn’t mean I don’t want or need it, and that I may suck at giving the appropriate emotional support in return without rationalizing it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not trying or willing to put myself aside to be there for people, and that the people I know and have met rarely stick around for some deep, personal, two-way talk or take any greater interest to remember or help in return if they did. But I digress again.

Is this a case of an unhealthy INFP or INTP-INFP relationship? Not in an extreme sense, but I wonder if there are some unhealthy signs that us INTPs should be aware of, and that I as an INTP have some blind spots regarding myself as well? I fear I may overlook something essential that may help the whole situation.

I read a post on Quora about the more emotional troubles an INTP can encounter and why they then tend to withdraw from a relationship or friendship, and another INTP pointed out that it could be due to various reasons, such as the INTP’s Fe being overloaded.

I realized this may very well be what’s happening here, with my friend and I. How I subconsciously have held her account for every little thing I’ve done for her but haven’t received in kind. Only a little. I’ve been slightly peeved every time she has not returned the same amount of ‘attention’ to me, always circling back to what she was feeling in the moment (which I guess is very fundamental for the INFP), but then I’ve rationalized and pushed each incident away, regarding them as frivolous and silly to deal with anyway. However, they have subconsciously piled up in my Fe basement (brillantly described by the before-mentioned INTP on Quora) and now they have festered and snowballed into a problem I cannot ignore any longer, thus influencing my latest perspective of her and our friendship. It explains a lot.

I almost wish I could send my friend a link to that Quora post, but I doubt she’ll take such a subtle, rather confusing hint. How to approach her with what’s wrong and how to explain that it’s not something I alone can fix, but that she must do something as well..?

Maybe she’ll – by some coincidence – stumble across this post herself one day and recognize who I am and that I’m talking about her (since I have been rather personal) and then we’ll take it from there? … I surely hope she doesn’t feel hurt by me or get mad, in that case. I never sought to bad-mouth her or our friendship (which I very much like to keep) but only to understand.

Oh well.

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Brilliant, but spectacularly ignorant about some things

Sherlock Holmes2

I think, by now, it’s fairly established that Sherlock Holmes is an INTP (possibly going INTJ, or being ‘a high-functioning sociopath’ as he puts it himself). An extreme, almost fantastical one at that.

Nonetheless, I see in Sherlock many subtle parallels to my own mind; its complex workings and all, and how I function and interact with the people and the world around me. It is a mirror in which I see an extreme, fantastical version of myself; everything I could be and every facet and flaw that come with the ever-so brilliant INTP mind. In celebrating and critiquing Sherlock, I, inevitably, celebrate and critique myself; all the while taking into account that he is fictional and a hyperbole of my personality. Luckily, the BBC has outdone themselves with their modern adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic protagonist in the Sherlock-series and done nothing to shorten the highly entertaining ways to stretch and complicate the ways of how far an INTP would or could go.

One matter in particular struck me as a clear parallel to myself when I re-watched Sherlock the other day.

Remember the scene in episode 3, season 1, where Sherlock is peeved by Watson’s description of him; “how spectactularly ignorant he is about some things” despite his brilliance to “see through everything and everyone in seconds”, alluding to Sherlock’s ignorance about who is Prime Minister and whether the Earth goes round the sun? Sherlock says he does not find such “rubbish” important enough to remember or he has simply deleted it from his hard drive/brain to make room for more important and useful information, especially regarding his work.

It is, as always, an incredibly funny interaction to witness, because, once again, we are given a peak into one of the strengths but also greater weaknesses of the INTP mind.

I have the same ‘condition’, so to speak. I do know that the Earth goes round the sun though, but I’ve been put on the spot several times because of my ignorance about equally common knowledge; of unwritten codes and laws most people know about and take for granted. For example, I more or less suck at mental arithmetic and remembering proverbs or road names, despite having lived in the same two cities for most of my life, and in general, geography is a city in China for me (pun intended). Unless, of course, I have specific knowledge I can pin on a certain city etc., I do know. And I know one can teach oneself something close to a photographic memory that rivals that of Sherlock Holmes, mind palace and all, by practicing a memorizing technique where you pin knowledge to a system of something you already know.

I could do that – but I’m just too lazy.

However, it is relative what piece of information one deems common or universal knowledge, what one finds is ‘rubbish’ and what one finds important and useful. Sherlock, after all, knows particularities that could be viewed as ‘rubbish’ and what he otherwise would have deleted from his ‘hard drive’, were they not useful and beneficial for the given case he is investigating. For example, at one point, he is given a cigarette from his brother at a morgue and asks if there isn’t a law against smoking indoors. This rather common knowledge one would presume he would know about, had it been useful to a specific case (or the writers of the show). Anyhow, it isn’t in this one, so why should he know it? It’s very INTP. Something I would do myself.

It’s ‘funny’ how the INTP mind can come off as quasi-autistic at times.

E.g. this one time in high school, in a geography class (ah, the irony!), I was the only one who had figured out how to make a graph that showed two types of complex statistics on Excel so I had to scurry around between two different computer rooms to the entire class, my teacher included, to show them how to do it. Not that difficult to figure out, to be honest, if you only bothered to look what the programme offered, so I was a bit baffled when even the IT nerds of the class asked for help!

On the other hand, I only just recently discovered that Word actually has an automatic function for making a table of contents … *sighs* All the energy I could have saved all these years instead of doing it manually.

So. There you have it.

Like Sherlock, I’m ignorant about matters I deem trivial to remember, to focus or to dwell on, if I do not find them useful or if they do not add to the bigger picture. And I get perplexed and irritated if people keep focusing on them instead of getting to the point of the matter that is truly important. Even more so, if they do not see what is more important! (Or, say, what the INTP finds important).

This is why INTPs may come off as aloof and even unfeeling to certain sensibilities and other people’s feelings etc.. I do not see myself as ‘cold’ as Sherlock, but I reckon if I had his abnormal skills (including a photographic memory) and put them to use in solving cases in the complex magnitudes as him, I too would have to close myself off to certain aspects of human interaction to make room for sheer brain power and the intricacies evolving the case I was solving. And, to some extent, I do. Out of sheer, practical necessity. Not because I/he don’t care deep down – which Sherlock proves he does, again and again – but because he has this gift and must put it to good use, inevitably distracting him from other more ‘mundane’ parts of life. He isn’t a god, after all. If he was, he would be able to do both/all of it with equal attention. It doesn’t excuse his gruff treatment of those around him in the long haul; his and the INTP’s fault is to get off on being brilliant and solving (or obsessing about) paradoxes and the, impossible, but it is simply the reality of knowing and being close to an INTP – or, at least, an extreme version of the INTP.

I find his ‘controversial’ nature and the general reaction inside and outside the Sherlock-universe rather entertaining – from an insider perspective. I know what he’s doing because I do it myself. As mentioned before, INTPs are contradictory, puzzling creatures at best and despite our principielled logic and honest and blunt rhetoric, we’re also ‘deviants’ who have learned the necessary art of seemingly adapting ourselves to the outer world and blending in when necessary in order to learn. We’ve learned how to put on the Extrovert mask, so to speak. We are impersonal analysts to the core who have a personal interest in the world and use our skills to see through people’s general behavior and tendencies when wanting to understand, deduce and conclude where our own role in all this is going to be. It is a subtle and rather affronting, manipulative skill when you learn about it. Because, in truth, we are actually deceiving people – yet, it is not for any personal and evil, scheming purposes. Not per se. I’ll try to explain: First and foremost, it is our way to operate in a world that doesn’t necessarily fit us, yet not a world that we look down upon or do not genuinely want to understand in all its complexity (which I find INTJs are more inherently prone to. No offense).

So, even when Sherlock behaves oblivious and rude, we cannot know for sure how oblivious he actually is of his own behavior. I think, like me, he can be more self-aware than he shows and play on these ‘faults’; thus, at the same time, allowing himself to be genuinely indifferent to the things he finds trivial and dismiss the people who actually act stupidly, while also using this as a cover for not only getting the wanted reactions out of people (well, I never said INTPs didn’t harbor a secret Machiavellian superiority complex), but also get to observe something entirely different at stake. If you’ve noticed, he does this on several occasions, leaving many a perplexed faces behind. Of course, we all have our moments of unthinking stupidity, as does Sherlock, but personally, my mind has about hundreds of analyzing ‘voices’ speaking all at once; I can never NOT take myself and my own position into account as well. It may be stifled by the 99 other ‘voices’ from time to time; thus, the sudden shifts and turnabouts of character, before zooming back and meta-commenting on ourselves in-between. As a result, we cannot help being self-aware and self-ironic to a fault (or, at least, I am), so much that we sometimes have trouble knowing when we are and when not. It’s all mixed up in a very fragmented, complex system where everything runs simultaneously but not necessarily in a conventional structure. To explain plainly, it is not a systematic system in the same decided way as in the INJT mind (in my understanding). INTPs hardly know the system of our thinking beforehand, only that it is there and that somehow everything is connected in complex, changeable ways that we love to discover. We understand it as we go along. This is our modus operandi and I can certainly see why this is both intriguing, irritating, baffling and exhausting to those around us who do their best to try and follow our rapid, sporadic, abstract observations. You can never rightly know where you’ve got an INTP. Is she/he actually brilliantly stupid or stupidly brilliant? The borders between genius, idiot and madman are definitely blurred. And I think this is what makes Sherlock Holmes such a popular phenomenon, still. It is also the reason why I love reading people’s deductions of him because they are very telling of this particular aspect. Especially the INTPs’ own, various analyses. We can see things about him that only we would understand, but we are also our own blind spots. We’re so good at ‘deceiving’ everyone else that we can be ‘deceived’ by ourselves. And we know that. Thus, our own, distracted bouts of self-introspection and random meta-comments. We learn while we think and think while we learn.

Though I do agree that Sherlock may not be 100% INTP but verge on INTJ and ISTP characteristics as well in his various portrayals, I do not generally agree with the notion that Sherlock isn’t at all an INTP. I do not agree that INTPs aren’t observant but rather we observe everything at once and naturally cannot regard everything with the same amount of focus, leaving out matters others normally would deem important. We see the elephant in the room that most people don’t see, and we don’t see the elephant in the room that other people usually see. Sherlock has been given the fantastical, superhuman version of the INTP skill here: He is able to observe everything in one take, focus on the smallest of details with equally concentrated analysis and deduce the most outrageously specific information based on all these things that, in my mind, could also say a thousand other things. Oh well. It’s makes for great entertainment, doesn’t it?

Sherlock, the show, gives you an idea of what an INTP is like, flaws and all – added the title character’s own unique personality and some enhanced skills. He is as fictional as he is an idealized representation of a reality. And I think people should be as celebratory and critical of his brilliance as they should keep in mind that INTPs are not merely fantastical creatures from the world of fiction one can stretch as one like; here for entertainment and problem-solving of the strangest paradoxes, but real, autonomous human beings in whatever complex, less ‘visible’ and legendary forms they take in the real world.

In fear of sounding rather bigheaded now, I can’t help wondering if the inherently astute and impressive deductive skills and reasoning of INTPs make most people (naturally or unconsciously?) harbor a sort of inferiority-superiority complex towards us and want to point to and laugh at the INTPs’ obvious flaws regarding certain social contexts? Whether people keep clinging to our ‘anti-social freak’ nature (rather pathetically, since it’s already an established fact), yet wanting the cake and eating it too by being fascinated or entertained by our ‘brilliance’ at work…?

Not to say that ‘most people’ are stupid (like Sherlock probably would), but I’m simply trying to understand why it seems INTPs (including myself), in particular, get this two-faced treatment again and again; being treated as both a wallflower and a freak; a rare specimen in a zoo. Made for laughs when people get bored, put to use because of our deductive, efficient, unsentimental brains and then cast away again with no greater care … ‘because we are, after all – weird’ and ‘is better off left alone, aye?’. Why is that? Do other types get the same treatment, just in a different way?

I may be projecting now but I sometimes have my misgivings about how people separate or compare the INTP character Sherlock Holmes from the living, breathing and – in fairness – much more complex and less utopian INTPs of this world. I’m not saying that I have personally experienced people comparing me to Sherlock or expecting me to be like him, only that Sherlock has become soooo romantized and mythologized, flaws and all, that his legend is cemented through him being an icon, an idea, only fleshed out in two-dimensional medialities; on paper, on the screen, etc.. He will forever stay as such, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t complex. Not only was he well-written by ‘birth’, but he is also an INTP; he cannot not be complex (in my perhaps rather subjective opinion). Again, other MBTI types are thus not deemed as uncomplex, but INTPs are inherently puzzles from the somewhat contradictory composition and nature of their personality. And that is just it: INTPs in real-life are not well-written from birth like Sherlock. They are complex at being complex.

The last thing INTPs (well, any of us) need is becoming romanticized and mythologized; we are not passive subjects nor active objects of entertainment – created by an outside source or author – that people can project themselves or an idealized version of INTPs onto without any consequences. We are highly autonomous subjects and main-creators and -narrators of our own lives; not medialized and idealized but living and multidimensional. Not based on any pre-conceived or after-analyzed ideas of our personality, not even MBTI. It may be easy for me to say after I’ve discovered MBTI, but it wasn’t a matter of not having a personality before, I simply didn’t have any name for it. Especially not one born of consensus and shared by others. When I did, it all just clicked; like I somehow knew it already but it was hidden behind a veil.

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, right?

Sure, Sherlock still gives a mysterious aura, but his personality must add up from the beginning in order to connect his ability to solving intricate crimes to that of his brilliance. If you think about it (the crime genre as well), he cannot be entirely complex at being complex. It must somehow all add up – even what is left as mysterious must be left so for a reason that is Sherlock, the icon. Watson must somehow stick around for a reason. Moriarty must somehow stay alive for a reason. Irene Adler must somehow remain ‘the mystery’ she is; the femme fatale, ‘the Other’ or rather Sherlock’s ‘Other’, etc.. It’s all very meta if you think about it. Or anti-meta and quite literal if you like.

Anyways, Doyle certainly created a masterpiece we’ll probably never be able to get tired of investigating and reliving. Perhaps because few other stories gives such vivid and intriguing inside to the mind and life of the INTP. Or rather what the INTP could be … perhaps only realized in a fictive world.

But INTPs in real-life are not so. (And I take the liberty to talk on behalf of all INTPs, if not all types, because I believe this to be true). Or, that is not our purpose. We are – us. Humans, not characters. How can I better describe it? We may show signs and patterns of behavior like Sherlock but what we do or say or feel, we do – not because it fits with a greater scheme or because others feel like it. We do it sometimes without any reason at all. We feel for ourselves as an action in itself; not just as a causal reaction from something that has been written down or expected or projected from someone else’s action or idea (if that makes any sense?). Just like any of you would probably say about yourselves – all other existential, religious, psychological theories aside. What you know in your core. All in all, couldn’t you say the same thing about all personality types, all humans? When we see a character with our personality, we see a mirror of ourselves, however perfect, idealized and flawed it may be, it is not us. It is still a mirror of us. Polished and flat, giving the illusion of flesh and bone and three-dimensionality. And it can never be us (unless the future comes up with a ‘solution’ to that). We are all our own, all inherently autonomous and think and feel for ourselves; everything that we have so far claimed separate us from the animals and the robots.

It should be a given, but I feel I need to stress this nonetheless.

I don’t know if INTPs are in more danger of being, to some extent, idealized and made into fantastical beings because we are so … puzzling. Rare and seemingly obscure. Especially in real-life. In Sherlock, one version of this rare, obscure specimen has been discovered and the puzzle at least gets to make some sense. It is dealt with beforehand – by someone else. I get that one would be prone, more or less unconsciously, to regard and read people from pre-conceived ideas and representations (I’m sure I’ve done so as well; it seems only human) and if our [INTPs’] ‘fate’ is to be represented – in whatever enhanced form – through Sherlock Holmes, it certainly isn’t the worst comparison. It’s nice to have an ally, after all; one you can always use as your trump card and with an iconic and literary resonance such as Sherlock Holmes’, it is a character whose legitimacy few dare to question.

But, all in all, the idealized glasses just don’t do much good when we [INTPs] try to make ourselves seem less puzzling and more accessible in order for people to get to know our true selves. Of course, on the other hand, it may help people to understand us better.

I hope for the latter.

I think I’ll end it on that note. I always tend to get a bit out of hand with these posts but I hope you’ll bear with me. As usual. Now, go watch some Sherlock 😉

*revised 26/8/17*

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Full-fledged INTP?

Jeez.

Since discovering MBTI and that I was an INTP, I always suspected I was about at least 80% INTP.

But I just went through a bunch of statements from thatintp.tumblr.com and I practically ‘liked’ all of them!

Seems I’m definitely up by the 95% INTP. Maybe even 100%. Not that the above-mentioned Tumblr site is a definitive indicator of that – but when you can tick off at least 90% of INTP-related statements then there must be something about it, right?

On that note, I feel most of the analytical, scientific and non-scientific charts out there, describing the INTP, are very general and almost verging on the stereotypical. Maybe because a person being his/her type 100% is more or less unlikely, thus the type descriptions come off as more cardboard-like, all-rounded and fantastical in a ‘nice’ ambivalent, contradictory mix that never quite hits deep enough. Or because only the person being the type described can know how the type really is; which is much more complex, of course. Yet, one is blinded also by being one’s type, e.g. I can never presume to talk on behalf of other INTPs – even if I am almost 100% INTP – simply because each INTP is unique and none are the same. Thus, of course, one need an outer perspective and objective description of one’s type in order to get a general, synthesixed view of it for others to see, knowing the type descriptions are generalized and that there will always be things left out for each type. I think we all know this, it’s just easy to forget when we compare the types and their various quirks. Simply because it’s so much fun! Well, at least for me it is (*scoffs* nerd).

You know you’re an INTP when …

… you prepare ideal mental scripts for impending conversations.

… you wish you could be invisible and could just observe.

… when you think you’ve got everyone figured out but still can’t trust anyone.

…. while reading you get lost in thought but your eyes keep scanning over the page until you snap back to reality and have no idea what just happened in the story.

… your ideas flow by so quickly that you can only grasp and verbalise segments during conversations, which may make you seem incoherent.

… you will accumulate lots of interesting books, have good intent to read them, but never get around to it.

… you prefer the truth, even if it’s harsh.

… you are a jack of all trades, but master of none.

… when living in the secluded wilderness seems like a good idea.. until you wouldn’t have access to the internet.

… you look up something on Wikipedia and end up spending hours reading articles on topics completely different in what you were initially interested in.

… you’re constantly at war with your inner nemesis that incessantly contradicts you.

… everything sounds brilliant inside your head, but when you try to verbalise it.. disaster strikes.

… after you found out you were an INTP you went on an interweb researching rampage for every and anything related to MBTI.

… if it weren’t for sarcasm and irony you wouldn’t be able to talk to people.

… you often act like a chameleon, changing your personality to blend into a group.

… you can accurately analyse what’s going on beneath the surface in interactions between other people, but when you’re involved, you have no clue.

… you are a firm believer that is possible to be social without actually speaking.

… when your imagination is always far more interesting than anything happening in reality.

… you come up with fantastical theories that could potentially change the world but you’re okay with not telling anyone and letting these ideas die inside you.

… you will go reread old conversations in an attempt to analyse and search for deeper meaning of what was said.

… you have the answer but can’t quite phrase it to clearly explain what you are actually thinking.

… when people think you argue because you have to be right, but arguing is just a part of your quest to learn.

… you abuse parentheses… (or maybe it’s just me).

… every social engagement, even ones you are looking forward to, is preceded by a powerful desire to stay home instead.

… your response to things is either a reserved ‘hmm…’ or jumping up and down with childlike excitement. There is nothing in between.

… you are flattered when people describe you as ‘weird’, ‘odd’ or ‘eccentric’.

… you have complete confidence and no confidence, all at the same time.

… you treat your emotions as a foreign part of you that needs to be studied.

… you value honesty in others, yet cultivate in yourself the ability to deceive.

… you have a wide variety of interests that allows others to connect to you at various levels, however you rarely ever connect to them.

… you compulsively use “quotation marks”, /slashes/ and (brackets) because it allows more flexibility in your writing.

… when everyone gets sick of an intense discussion just as you start picking up speed.

… you find the phrase “that’s debatable” can be applied to any statement.

… etc.

TBC

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Two-faced, inside and out

Has one side of me stopped caring?

In some ways, I’ve become less sensitive to others’ opinions of me. I’ve stopped questioning the legitimacy of my feelings when around people.

After all, the always brassy, admirable Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.”

Maybe it has something to do with my temper; it tends to overrun my super-ego telling me to be polite and understanding. But I also think I’m beginning to know what I feel when I feel it and that that must be true for me and the current situation I’m in. I won’t apologize for feeling what I feel – unless it is in a moment of stress, then I know I tend to say and do things in the heat of the moment that I don’t mean. I’m getting better at registering those moments and apologize for them (often beforehand in a half-joking, self-deprecating way).

Maybe it’s because I feel people aren’t very sensitive or hardly seem to care about my feelings. Yeah, I know, ‘me, me, me,’ again, but I’m merely trying to understand why or how I’ve become this person; paradoxically, feeling more whole as well as polarized within. I know I may not outwardly show or voice my feelings in situations as expected, but I know I show them in so many others – perhaps where other people don’t notice it. I know I’m good at playing it off like it’s nothing so I guess it’s mostly my own fault and that most people just shrug and think ‘Well, if she says she doesn’t feel so, maybe she doesn’t’. Few good friends and family members have, however, once or twice noticed and commented on it, but I still tend to keep my guards up and play it off even then and, of course, those otherwise caring people think I just want to be left alone when I, deep down, really don’t.

People just have to keep on digging if they want the truth – though I also squirm uncomfortable if so – or I just have to take my guards down a bit more often.

But I suck at talking about my emotions and what I feel about other people! It’s just this one thing I’m no good at! Can’t I have that at least? Like, it’s normal to have one major ‘flaw’ in your personality, right?

*sighs*

It’s hypocritical, I know; being so curious about other people yet hating being scrutinized myself. Still, a little scrutiny would help affirm that people actually care. I just have to learn and find a way to meet in the middle. If I want the small bouts of attention I want, I need to learn how to give it myself. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m as much of a scientist as a humanist in my curiousity, but I need to bring out more of the humanist and put away the scientist in this case. Something that doesn’t always come naturally first but something I have to learn and train myself in – probably for the rest of my life.

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