The Mastermind & the Architect
How I get along with INTPs as an INTJ
I love INTPs, you guys are my type of friends to hang out with. Honestly I don’t see that awkward anti-social stereotype that looms over being an INTP. Hanging out with you, there’s no peer pressure to speak of, no Chad’s to deal with, no sense to impress anybody. We chat over beers, get high, play video games, share insights about life and people. Type descriptions have painted you as these emotionless sentient robots, totally missing the mark that you are also socially very intelligent. Perhaps the most socially intelligent of all the types. Oftentimes you deliver the most insightful life advice. Your awareness of public sentiments is completely slept on.
I guess it’s just my own anecdote, but the INTPs I know somehow manage to always be in the know. Like Varys in Game of Thrones, you have a 6th sense of little birds spread out everywhere informing you things. Be honest, am I correct that you possess the juiciest gossip details? No worries, I’m not here to know them if it’s not my business. But damn those juicy details can be so accurate though.
The word ‘socializing’ by the mainstream definition may not necessarily apply to you. But you definitely are out there exploring whatever tickles your curiosity. Shit I’m convinced you’re everywhere, physically and virtually. Even if you’re one of the minority that literally hides in Mom’s basement, you’re all over on the Interwebs. I see you in all kinds of subreddits, discord servers, subculture forums, MMORPG worlds, etc. It puts my lurking game to shame. And you know everything. And in some circles, you’re very popular.
You range from vibing and lurking to leading group conversations where everyone quiets down to listen to you. “STFU @everyone, our INTP lord is talking.” It’s a reputation rightly earned! You are the trusted beacon of truth and sentinel of knowledge. Whatever you say will be considered highly advisable. I’d be so busy taking notes and learning, or sometimes I have no idea what’s going on looking like a clown. I’m the socially awkward penguin here.
That leads me to another point: ‘leadership’ by the mainstream definition may not necessarily apply to you either. Yes we know it’s not your charming charisma that we’re gravitated to. It’s your talent for solving problems and discovering insightful information that enable you to command the most value and respect amongst your peers. The most conscientious of you implement so many new processes, enforcing standards, and become our role models. You advise us to make better decisions, give us confirmation checks and confidence boosters, and build us processes and systems that will enrich all of our lives.
That’s all thanks to your Extraverted Feeling and Extraverted Intuition. It’s a stack that makes you altruistic, unpretentious, and unassuming. You help without ulterior motive, except for figuring what things could be improved. If there’s anything egotistical about you, it’s to be understood that your intentions are for the best of the tribe. You playfully and intensely explore deep in the tangled webs of any system, whether we’re talking about society, a software application, or the constructs of reality, searching for how it’s all pieced together while wearing the face of a mild-mannered pleasant person. You sync with the social atmosphere without trying to disrupt it. Like why kill the vibe for no reason right? The music is fine, don’t mess with the playlist.
The contrast with my Introverted Intuition and Introverted Feeling is that, instead of having this kind of symbiotic relationship with the community vibe, I am trying to figure out how to fit my ego into the mix. That doesn’t mean I’m doomed to disrupt everything in my path and that people need to bend themselves for me. On the contrary, I’m constantly reformulating my self-concept so that I can fit like a jigsaw puzzle piece. I daydream about what puzzle I’d like to belong to. I imagine where I’d like to be whether I need to come to emotional terms with myself or change the world around me. So, unlike you, I don’t have the itch to understand how everything is made. I just need to know the relevant things in order to fit in.
Who I am and how I feel is all in my own imaginary world; and it’s the most real thing to me. Everyday I remind myself that the idea of Me is nothing but a fleeting fantasy. There’s always a difference between that and what’s actually real. My existence would be nothing but hopes and dreams if I have nothing to show for it. NiFi in itself is a function pair of existential delusion. That’s why I can be so anal about empirical truth, and put so much value on evidence. I hang on to my SeTe objective concrete perceptions very tightly, as my life literally depends on it. And I make sure I’m correct. The way I see myself would be wrong and not real if it was based on false information.
While both our Thinking-Sensing functions want to get to the bottom of the truth, I love how you don’t care about being right or wrong. You don’t feel attacked about being proven incorrect. You don’t care about being smart. You don’t judge yourself when somebody questions your logic. All of your energy is spent on proving theories, since none was deemed necessary on proving yourself. This is where your intensity lives. Spending all of your energy digging deep down to get to the bottom of understanding whatever you’re focused on. After all, truth only stands after being excavated, scrutinized, and ruthlessly tested.
The funny thing is that truth is elusive. The world as we see it is a playground that is too vast, complicated, and ever evolving to truly be conclusive about it. There are so many ways and angles to look at something, all of them could be correct. Hence the knowledge vault that is your mind is always cracked open. I’d like to think it’s a never ending adventure, like building elaborate sand castles on an infinity beach. But you tend to admit getting lost in these thoughts can make you go crazy. Everything can be explained, we just don’t know how yet. Introverted Thinking and Introverted Sensing gets down to the nitty gritty and figures it out.
That means you are a Sensor. Yep. With all the shit-talking about Intuitives being smarter, it just happens that the type regarded as the smartest is a Sensor. That whole thing is bullshit anyway. Intuitives generate ideas on top of ideas diverging away from the concrete. On the other hand, your Extraverted Intuition observes the complex and abstract universe so you can render it in with more detail and reduce ambiguity. Life’s troubleshooter doesn’t generate speculations, you search for them. You spend your time trying to make sense of it all. No stone is left unturned. Your knowledge vault is full of concrete minute details of what you understand about stuff. And you can be a real stickler about those details.
My SeTe seeks to consume those TiSi details. Especially if it’s about something I value, I want to hear everything that starts with “Well, yes no maybe. The devil is in the details.” When pursuing my goals, I like to research and make solid logical reasoning to ensure I know what I’m getting into. INTPs have been the indispensable sources of guidance for someone like me who’s driven to stay informed. People say it’s good to be well researched. But where do all the sources come from, you know what I mean? Abe Lincoln once said “behind every great INTJ is a great INTP,” right? You guys have saved my ass, humbled me, and made me happier along the way. There’s seriously not enough credit given for the good and value you have contributed for me and society at large.
When I look into myself, I see that being wrong feels like downing a glass of whiskey. It burns and I’ll just have to tough it up. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? To stand corrected is character building. I’ve built up my tolerance, but it used to be so painful. It wasn’t an experience I’d like to go through often. To not be wrong and be hurt again, I dive down the information rabbit holes studying to gain back my confidence. What actually happens was that I’ve been burying myself hiding under the mounds of data I gathered. I didn’t want to be exposed and thought as stupid. I didn’t want to be seen as a fraud. I didn’t want to find out my existence has no real value. I didn’t realize I became someone who was very insecure about who he was.
And here you are as I’m watching you gracefully prancing around without that kind of fear holding you back, waltzing on the line between the realm of what you know and the much bigger one of what you don’t know. I’ve heard you say “no idea” many more times than I’ve ever said it. I’ve seen you routinely make brainfart mistakes. I’ve caught you being wrong on so many counts. Yet you still stand as the one many of us count on to solve problems. That takes a lot of courage to do what you do. It’s mesmerizing. Needless to say, I really look up to you.
Modeling you I realized it wasn’t even about accumulating knowledge, but about humbling myself and embracing my vulnerability. Exposing myself will push me over the hill of Mount Stupid down to the Valley of Despair; a place you’re very familiar with. That’s the first step to enlightenment — I know… It’s silly to make this an epic journey. For I can only imagine that tumbling back down to the bottom of the Dunning-Kruger effect is just a normal Tuesday for you. While we can question the popular misconceptions of that curve, there’s still reason that you tend to sell yourself short.
And there, I see that you can feel just as unsure and as unconfident as I am, perhaps even more! That comes with such a relief for me. I admit that I’ve felt intimidated by you. Yes as crazy as that sounds, I’m scared to push back when you’re sure about something. I just assume you’re more right. But the more I understand you, the more I see you enjoy stepping in and help out. Whether it’s answering a noob question or one even you don’t have an answer for, it’s as if it was an invitation to get to know each other.
Who cares who’s got the bigger brains. The point has always been about building an amiable relationship by meeting together intellectually. You’ve shown me to not take intelligence so seriously, that there’s no such thing as a dumb question, that it’s OK to say “I don’t know.” I learned to loosen up about being logical. And ironically that made me see the truth: I am an emotional person who had been suppressing his feelings over logic. And I projected this suppression onto others. I shunned people who weren’t bearing the same brunt that I’ve endured to keep my emotions down. I wrongfully believed emotions were weaknesses. I’ve looked down on “stupid” people because I was trying so hard not to be one.
Knowledge doesn’t define us. It’s simply a means for what we want. While I used it to isolate myself, you use it to connect. Information is to food as logic is to cooking, you’re the master chef offering your talents for people to get together and enjoy. I’m the pretentious Yelper giving you 5 stars and a Like. And I gotta be honest — I feel I’ve gotten unfairly way more out of you than you have out of me. You’ve never asked for credit, but I’ll always feel indebted to you. It’s not enough for me to acknowledge what you do. I guess you could trade your thoughts for my opinions.
Like me, you’d rather be left alone observing the world. Like me, you’re fascinated by how it’s all put together. Like me, you wonder where you fit in the vast elaborate structures of it. Well it’s not much… But you have a special place inside my imaginary world. This world that I die trying to make into reality by acting and proving myself who I think I really am. I am your friend. I am someone who deeply appreciates who you are. Someone who wants to be like you. Someone who knows he wouldn’t be where he is without you.
I hate to say that this is all I got to give back. But I’ll definitely act on it. After all, feelings are like theories. They’re not real unless we materialize them out. You know that. You’ve always been aware of that. Your feelings have always stood by your logic, wherever they came from. Many times they’re the reasons why you get deep in your head, why you’re willing to get out of your comfort zone, or why you get these bursts of flow state solving problems. You care for the good of your community. There really is a rose tinted bias in you. It really is the thought that counts. You recognize and solve the questions we should be asking ourselves to live in a better world.
In these moments you become the most genuine and sincere out of all the types. Unriddling the mysteries of the universe and discovering how we’re all connected speaks for who you really are: a human being who’s trying their best with what they know and understand about being kind with one another. That’s what makes you you. That’s really what I love about you. Because of that, I’m inspired to be who I really am and to live as genuinely and sincerely as I can. To not hide under the truth but to stand proudly on top of it. I’ll live out my self belief as someone who will leave this world a little better than he found it. Thanks to you, we can make this true. Together as data points serving for something bigger than ourselves.