What people should understand

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What people should understand

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Editado: Nov 2, 2007, 7:43 pm

Thinking of the title of Keirsey's book, Please Understand Me II, he probably chose it because we get so frustrated when people don't understand.

What do you want people to understand about you?

I'll answer first: That no matter how aloof I may seem, that I really do like people, a lot.

ETA: oh, right. INTJ.

Nov 2, 2007, 10:12 pm


I am NOT a people person. I like individuals just fine. Being RIGHT/Correct is more important than being 'nice', I like to understand things not just take them at face value. I can disagree and discuss things forcefully and not actually be upset and I am NOT trying to be mean. When I ask 'Why' the worst answer ever is 'Because'.

Nov 2, 2007, 10:54 pm


Just because I do not think on my feet very well, that does not mean I am not capable of coming up with very good ideas and understanding issues, and even getting along with people. I get along with people very well when 1 on 1, but if I am in a group my social skills evaporate, along with all logical thought and brain wave activity.

readafew - I love having forceful debates also (when 1 on 1), but seem to upset people by these at times, as I become too engrossed in the debate. When it is finished some people seem to take it personally, where I just look at it as a debate and can go back to being friends.

Nov 2, 2007, 11:16 pm

Deep down, I am not the pushover I seem to be. You just haven't threatened anything I hold dear yet. That's all.

I would like people to realize that what you see is quite likely not what you get, and that there is more to me than the one reaction or opinion you heard or saw in one particular instance, because you didn't see the underlying values or thought processes that led to it, and they might lead to a totally opposite reaction, based on the same reasoning, somewhere else. I would like people to stop being so shocked when I say or do something because it doesn't fit with the box they've put me in mentally.

Also, I love people, and people seem to get that instinctively when they are around me, but what they miss is that I will be loyal to my core values even more than any individual, and even at the cost of that individual or myself. It's not that I don't care. It's that I care a great deal but about something bigger than just one person.


Editado: Nov 5, 2007, 12:21 am

Another INFP.

(Not having introduced myself to some of you, I'll add: none are extreme except N.)

Deep down, I am not the pushover I seem to be. You just haven't threatened anything I hold dear yet. That's all.


I am torn between love of harmony and love of truth.

But sometimes you have to violate, not merely push on, my standards or deep beliefs before you will see that, and then with a vengeance.

I usually appear accomodating and peaceable, I think; a compound of mild aspect and enthusiasm(s). I love people (as they can generally see) and will do what I can for them; but underneath all, I am far more independent, individual, and rebellious than I look. Push far enough and you will find a fretwork of granite under the feather-down.

I have known people for whom anger was the only 'acceptable' emotion. For me, only positive emotions are allowed to flow freely. It can be very hard to admit anger. But I CAN blow up, once in long while, or decide it's worth taking on an adversary. (- And not in those impersonal debates I also love!) And this tends to surprise people, or even 'disillusion' them.

Likewise, extolling positive things does not mean I fail to see flaws. I have all-too-acute an EYE for flaws, most of the time. And a tongue for them, far more rarely.

On quite another note: My life is often very circumscribed, but I love nothing better than exploring. :)

Nov 3, 2007, 8:45 am


You don't have a clue who I am. Really. I don't talk about the vast internal world that my reality emcompasses. I find it difficult to discuss it even with my husband of 17+ years.

Editado: Nov 3, 2007, 1:18 pm

I'm more than willing to lay back and let someone else be in charge, but don't be surprised if I stage a hostile take over when you prove you don't know what you're doing. Getting things done is more important than your feelings.

Oh, and:

"Deep down, I am not the pushover I seem to be. You just haven't threatened anything I hold dear yet. That's all."



Nov 3, 2007, 10:43 pm

INTP - and I'm not sure how INTPish this is or not, but in any case:

1. Comforting sympathy is a superficial balm that only works for petty problems. Please be so kind as to leave me alone until I've got it sorted out in my own head, at least.

2. Perhaps I love you, perhaps I don't. (What is love?) But against the background of every other person I know... then for some of you, at least, I do.

3. No, God and science are not mutually exclusive. God made the world that science investigates, set down the rules that science tries to discover, and created in you the curiosity that drives you to seek the answers and the intelligence that allows you to explore the universe through science. Be more grateful.

4. If you come back to me in fifty years, I might have worked out how to articulate that thought in a manner understandable to people other than myself.

5. It's nothing personal.

Nov 4, 2007, 12:54 am

INFP: I need a lot of quiet time to myself. It may look like I'm doing "nothing" when in fact I am trying to work things out in my own mind.

10redwood5 Primeira Mensagem
Nov 4, 2007, 1:30 am

ISTP (wow, so far I'm unique)

I am a classic introvert and heartily dislike...well, people in general. I find it extremely difficult to force coherent words out of my mouth when I'm around a large group (more than three) of people.

I like to spend a weekend in rather than go out partying, but I also love outdoorsy activities such as hiking, camping, kayaking, and "jeeping."

I would rather be led than lead, and speaking in front of a crowd (even if I know all the people fairly well) is sick-making for me.

On the other hand, I do work for the Girl Scouts during the summer as a camp counselor where I am in a leadership role and have to make decisions concerning the girls I'm with. I often have to speak in front of a large group of children...which is oddly not sick-making.

During the summer I challenge myself to be exponentially more extroverted than I am in "real life" and my fellow camp staff who see me in the off season are often surprised at how different I am when I'm not at camp. This gives me the sense of being almost split personality/behavioral-wise depending on if it's summer or not.

One thing that my parents never did quite understand about me is that I love to read. Did you see the period at the end of that sentence? I will read anything, be it books (literary, YA, textbooks, fantasy/sci-fi), comics, or even fanfiction. I love stories and will often rotate and go through phases of which medium it is I crave (right now it's comics).

And apparently I am also suspect to ramble on about things of dubious relativity. Thank you, goodnight.

Nov 4, 2007, 2:20 am


I'm truly not aloof or unfriendly. I just prefer having a small number of close friends to having dozens of casual acquaintances.

And once someone is a good friend, believe me, I'll go through fire for them.

I don't talk a lot about how much I love those I'm close to, but I do love them very much. It's just that to talk casually about it feels to me like gushing - and that, to me, always feels insincere. When I feel really deeply about something, you won't find me "chatting" about it. Instead, I show it through actions. If I'm committed to someone, you'll know it through what I do.

Nov 5, 2007, 12:13 pm

Wow! What hidden warriors INFPs are! Thanks all of you for sharing. And redwood5, I love reading your ISTP perspective.

Oh, something else people should know: even if I seem know-it-all-y (because I am, let's be fair), I have a much greater allegiance to the truth of a situation or to making sure something works than to being "right." My dad taught me (through persistence, because of my hard head) that you can't learn anything if you already know everything, and I want to learn, learn, learn. Don't worry about my ego or offending me. Just give it to me straight. I can take it and will thank you if it helps.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying learning more about you guys. :D

Nov 5, 2007, 12:16 pm

Oh, something I left off: I am perfectly happy the way I am. Quit trying to make me talk more, or do things I have already said I don't enjoy. I don't tell you you talk too much do I? Or try to make you read more books? Live and let live, or incur my wrath.

Nov 5, 2007, 9:13 pm

redwood5, I'm an ISTP also. I'm a problem-solver in my work, and recoginised as such. That has its disadvantages, since I work in a library with many record problems and location problems, and condition problems, and plenty of things people like to bring to me for help. I'd like them to recognise that I like to solve problems of these kinds, and am good at it, but can only do so much in my work time. I'd also like the administration to recognise my work and value and pay me more.

Unlike redwood5, I don't mind talking to groups in public, especially when I am talking about an area of expertise. When called upon to do this I don't usually do a lot of preparation, especially if it's a topic I deal with often. That may be the P in me, letting the inspiration of the moment take over. Another P characteristic is probably my liking to answer questions and respond to something someone says in these public situations.

In the ISTP range my S is probably the lowest. The T is the highest, and may be what gives me trouble with others at times. I operate from logic - my own logic, but logic - and I am willing to discuss reasons for opinions; in fact, I suspect I annoy people with my 'what makes you say that' questions and demands that other people explain their opinions or beliefs with some detail.

On the other hand, to prove I'm an S, I have little patience with theoretical or speculative talk that does not ground in the practical and possible. My university library has what I am sure are a bunch of N people in various administrative positions, and I have to regularly remind myself that these are N people who may have good general ideas but need to be reminded that it's the specifics that make things work and the specifics that ultimately define what will be the result.

Editado: Nov 6, 2007, 2:30 am

It's funny what a lot of diversity there is in our commonality, as the INFPs and INTJs show. :)

In fact, I find Morphidae's comment on herself less true of me than many by other personality types! Probably the various characteristics near the mid-point play a role in that... I'm not so resoundingly private and interior. What you see of me is not everything, of course, but LT is littered with a varied collection of things that, within their limits, truly express who I am. They are clues, and valid clues, if only that. I'm not unknowable, especially in writing. I don't want to be unknowable....

Citygirl, I may have trouble coping with criticism, but I (also) want the truth. I've known people who didn't understand the concept you've put so well. The point is not proving myself right, factually, practically or morally, but discovering what is right, (... effective, true...) and - if pertinent - acting on it.

At least online, I cannot imagine anyone thinking you unfriendly, chamekke. And citygirl, here, is certainly not aloof or unfriendly, either! But I admit LT is different from normal life. :) However, I tend find those who are positively disposed toward others, but understated, a relief. :)

Nov 6, 2007, 9:44 am

Oh, you can figure out a lot of things about me. LTers can probably tell more than say, my co-workers. And it's not that I WANT to be all that private, I just find it difficult to a) put into words what I'm feeling and b) put my thoughts out there to be judged.

Nov 6, 2007, 9:52 am

I hope everybody here has seen Caring for your introvert.

It's a manifesto for Our People.

Nov 6, 2007, 10:15 am

Re: "Caring for your introvert."

That was beautiful, AsYouKnow_Bob.

Nov 6, 2007, 11:25 am

I feel like I’m crashing your introvert party!


I am a people person, so much so that I can be viewed as a pushy with a side of ADD. I like to start arguments for arguments sake, which many reserved people can find intimidating. I like people to know that I'm smart and really like to get people all riled up about issues so it should be no surprise that I love politics.

Huge obstacles I can easily surmount, but smaller tasks are more difficult. For example, I will make a new skirt in a few days, but takes weeks to hem a pair of store bought pants.

I tend to ignore the rules of fashion and go for comfort, (except I despise sweats for purely aesthetic reasons) but my appearance has to be different from those around me. I hate to blend in.

I try to make most of my own clothes and furniture but while everything has to look unique it also has to be multifunctional. Function and style need to meld for me.

-the mistress

Nov 6, 2007, 11:52 am

mistress, crash away!

Eurydice, thank you for the kind words. I had to work hard to learn to communicate with people, because I like them and my thought process seems a little different. Most people in the outside world seem to like me (I learned to be charming ;-) and that chameleon thing mentioned on another thread comes in handy), but for some types my aversion to small talk and b*s* is a little hard at first, along with my willingness to state my opinion, respectfully, of course. Like you, chamekke, I will go to the ends of the earth for those I care about. I'm loyal unto death.

Bob, thanks for the article. We should keep a copy on hand and give it to those worried about our mental health! "I'm not depressed, I'm an introvert!"

Re public speaking, I just do it, even if uncomfortable. My nerves don't show. Personality trait, I guess. I've been that way since I was a kid. I might be shaking like a leaf when I'm done, but nobody knows but me.

arethusarose, I like what you said about your own logic. I can relate. Sometimes when I've explained that logic to someone who thought I was nuts, I get, "Oh, I never saw it that way." Sometimes not. Oh, well.

Nov 6, 2007, 1:21 pm


You have no idea what I've been through and you never will.

Nov 6, 2007, 1:55 pm

i'm an lmnop

Nov 6, 2007, 2:06 pm

What's an lmnop? The middle of the alphabet?

Editado: Nov 7, 2007, 12:37 am

> 19 prophetandmistress, I may understand my fellow introverts very well, but I also love extraverts for their friendliness and ease in communicating with others. You are most welcome.

Incidentally, I've been a member of other forums (such as INTJ on LT), but the discussions in such groups are often limited in scope because everyone's take on things is so similar. I think it's the diversity of this forum that makes it such a joy to participate in!

eurydice, thanks for your kind words. In real life I sometimes struggle to express myself verbally (for one thing, I have chronic foot-in-mouth syndrome!), but like many an introvert, I shine when it's time to communicate in writing... possibly because the text can be edited. If only I could carry a huge verbal eraser about with me ;-)

Nov 9, 2007, 10:45 am

Thanks to all my fellow INTJs for articulating what I feel all the time.

Just realize that a lot of what I say and do is not "personal," that is not an attack on someone. Ideas are made to be beaten up and thrown against the wall - that's the only way you find out whether they're solid or need to be changed. People are so sensitive and illogical to me, and it's really frustrating.

I like it when you debate me about important things (not trivial things). It means you are passionate about your opinions and that engages me.

Sometimes I just want to be alone. Sometimes I like being misunderstood; it makes me feel special. Nobody owes me anything but courtesy, but I'm always grateful for your support, even though I don't always say it.

And stop looking at me like I'm from another planet!

Editado: Nov 9, 2007, 12:58 pm

>25 JoseBuendia: Here's an INFP's version of one of your paragraphs.

Just realize that whatever you say is "personal." Ideas are made to be shared - that's the only way you find out whether they're solid or need to be changed. Aggressive attempts to change my mind will be considered rude intrusions and ignored as such. People are so insensitive and it's really frustrating.


P.S. And stop looking at me like I'm from another planet!

Nov 9, 2007, 2:32 pm

Clever girl!

Nov 9, 2007, 9:28 pm

number twenty six

How true it is that the INFP does not respond to aggressive tactics. On the whole, I am very open to new ideas and want to learn and, although I am very independent, I will cooperate when the situation calls for it. But when I feel that I am being manipulated or pushed I get turned off very fast.

I noticed that over at our INFP group here at LT, one of the most commonly shared books is "How to Deal With Toxic People." Obviously, dealing with aggressive, pushy people is a challenge for us, more so, perhaps, than for other types.

number twenty five: just be sure to understand I am not talking about you. (smiles!) I am just bouncing off of what twenty six said.

Nov 9, 2007, 10:51 pm

ISTJ here; I'd like to second what ArmyAngel1986 said in #7.

In addition to that, one thing I want others to understand is that when I ask a question or try to solve a problem, I don't want an answer or a solution that works for me, I just want something that works, from an objective point of view. In that way, I believe I can better help others solve the same problem. Solving one problem for me alone is a waste of anybody else's time; I can do that myself if I need to.

An example: I had a hard time finding a website with the piece of advice I wanted, because the link to it wasn't where I first expected it. Once I found the website, I suggested to the providers of the advice that they put a link to it where I had first looked, to help others in my previous situation. Their response: "Why? The information is here, and you have already found it. What do you need a link somewhere else for?"

I think this is just a variation of: Give a man a fish, and he is fed for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he is fed for life, plus he may himself become a teacher.

And Chamekke, I also very much prefer to express myself in writing than in speech, as I always get to finish my sentences and my chain of reasoning in writing, but seldom in speech.

Editado: Nov 20, 2007, 7:59 pm

INTJ (all four pronounced)
Hmm...it's all pretty much been covered, much more eloquently than I can manage. Here it is in a list.

1. I like people, when I'm not tired of them. I'm friendly, when you aren't disrupting my thoughts with unnecessary talking.

2. I am not being silent because I forgot you or your question. I am formulating an answer. On the flip side, please think about what I am asking you and answer truthfully. I hate nebulous answers, if you don't know, figure out why that is and get back to me. I want to understand you and I can't read your mind.

3. I will not tiptoe around ideas that disturb you. I hate to be quiet for the sake of politeness.

4. I do not want to talk to you simply because you are standing next to me. Silence is not awkward; it is healthy. When I am reading I am in another place and really don't wish to return.

5. I may seem detached, abnormally objective; this is the way I understand things, it does not mean I am unhealthy. I have feelings and I respect yours, but they are not of ultimate importance in the grand scheme of things in which we live.

Nov 21, 2007, 3:45 am

Vidya, you articulated well much of what I feel, too. Especially with those nebulous answers. And amen to #4.

Nov 21, 2007, 9:13 am

Citygirl, I may have #4 put on a shirt, lol.

Dez 4, 2007, 3:55 pm

Love #3, that is definitely me.

Dez 14, 2007, 10:03 pm

Vidya, (#30)

I'm not an INTJ, but I can totally relate to those points... I wonder how much of that is the IN part...

Dez 14, 2007, 10:16 pm

Except for #5...

sometimes I disagree with that, feelings can be relevant or not, depending on the situation or desired process.

I never disregard the value of logic, nor the strength of people's feelings... however illogical they may be. This is often of paramount importance in my grand scheme of things. It is a balancing act of sorts. And I take it very seriously.

But, I can appreciate the sentiment, as often people think that their opinions or feelings should be paramount and frankly, they cannot always be the deciding factor ... especially children (or business clients). Emotions are a double edged sword, in my experience. The good and the bad have to be tempered by our other faculties. And never ever discount a sense of humor.

Jan 5, 2008, 1:33 pm

Read message 4 and thought 'damn right, me too'. Not much else to add really except that I sometimes feel like a martyr waiting for a cause. (INFJ)

Abr 27, 2008, 6:00 am

Re: what do I want people to understand about me.

1. As an ESFP, I'm not really fussed about people understanding me or not. It's not necessary. I usually find a way to get along with most people, anyway. So don't feel too pressured on that front.

2. But, if you really must have something to understand about me, then it could be that what I find useful in life generally is being clear about what I want, in whatever context, and being able and willing to communicate it to people when necessary. It's nice when other people can do that, too. I will, however, survive, and probably thrive, even if they don't.

Jul 20, 2009, 12:52 pm

I’m an INTP at home and an INTJ at work.
What I’d like people to understand about me (Significant others, mainly):

1. When you ask me what I’m feeling and I say I don’t know, I mean I don’t know. The best I can describe it as is a lack of any particular strong emotion. This isn’t something to worry about.

2. When you ask me what I’m thinking of, please understand that I’ll tell you exactly what I’m thinking of at that moment. It might be a book I’ve read, a game I’d like to be playing, or something that I need to do for work tomorrow. It probably won’t be gushing over how in love I am, or how happy I am, or how good it feels to be there next to you. That just isn’t how I think.

Jul 20, 2009, 2:18 pm

#38 rcgamergirl - Oh boy, number 2 is definitely me! When my husband and I were just married, we'd be sitting on the couch or on the porch swing and he'd ask me what I was thinking. He was always shocked when I was thinking about what errands needed taking care of tomorrow, or how I was going to organize the closet, or what I was going to write in the next letter home. It definitely wasn't gushing over how in love I am, or how happy I am, or how good it feels to be there next to you. I think it hurt his feelings until he figured out that it wasn't him, it was me.


Jul 21, 2009, 11:33 am

#39 Karenmarie - It's great that you were able to work that out. My boyfriend understood that it was me, not something he was doing wrong, but emotionally he felt rejected. It wasn't why our relationship ended, but it didn't help much.