Disclaimer: YES, a lot of this post is tongue-in-cheek. I am not actually trying to change the behavior and the mental processes of everyone in the world who is not an INTJ (or who is not me). It’s partly my own venting of things that frustrate me, partly (for non-INTJs) insight and advice about our way of thinking and seeing the world, and partly (for INTJs) a “Haha, if only, right?” kind of inside joke. If you’re wondering whether or not to take any of this personally, just repeat to yourself: ‘It’s just one person’s overly opinionated blog post, I should really just relax.’
Months ago, I wrote How Not to be Hated by an INTJ, which surpassed I’m Not a Sociopath, I’m Just an INTJ as my most popular blog once it was shared on Reddit and some Facebook groups. This sequel will provide a few more tips for keeping the INTJs in your life from hating you.
1. Is it obvious? Then don’t say it.
I’m not saying that INTJs are smarter than everyone else—it’s just that our brains tend to be three steps ahead. Whatever joke, observation, or piece of advice you’re about to say, we probably anticipated it. That’s partly why we hate small talk—most of it is obvious, like the weather. INTJs choose their words and their time carefully, unwilling to waste either. If you say something that went without saying, it may trigger irritation or disdain from the unfortunate INTJ who is within earshot.
This is most frequent with unsolicited advice. The general rule of thumb is: Didn’t ask? Don’t tell. Even if an INTJ is complaining about something, don’t try to fix the problem unless they actually ask for help. Whatever you’d recommend probably has already been considered, tried, and failed. Just nod and let the moment pass.
2. Don’t act like you know more than you really do.
A problem with INTJs is that, even if we know not everyone thinks like we do, we still expect them to. We want things to be logical and make sense—even other people, much to our disappointment. INTJs are great at knowing what they know and don’t know. They’re unlikely to tackle an issue beyond their capabilities; unfortunately, we expect other people to be like this, too.
INTJs often can tell if another person is full of crap, which hits a number of INTJ red buttons. A falsely knowledgeable front goes against the INTJ disdain of sugarcoating and being disingenuous. Talking about something beyond one’s knowledge flies in the face of the INTJ’s appreciation for competency. Listening to a person who doesn’t actually know what they’re talking about is a waste of time.
As a type that values logic and practicality over emotions and pride, we tend not to understand why someone would try to put up a front to salvage their feelings. If you don’t know something, don’t fake it—be honest about your ignorance, and don’t waste our time.
3. If you DO know, speak up!
Did an INTJ just call you by the wrong name? Say something offensive? Is there spinach between their teeth? Do you have bad news that they will have to find out eventually? Tell them. Don’t spare feelings. We INTJs might not like what we hear, but we would rather have all the facts than feel good. The INTJ will be more mortified by finding out they’ve been living in ignorance than by anything negative you have to tell them. Suck it up and get it over with. (Side note: If an INTJ is upset by something you tell them, odds are that it’s not personal, so relax.)
Most INTJs would rather…
4. Avoid surprises at all costs.
Like I said, INTJs want to have all the facts. INTJs want to know what they’re getting into. We like to perform cost-benefit analyses to decide if something is worthy of our time and resources. Do not deliberately plan any sort of surprise for an INTJ, unless you have known that INTJ for a very long time and are 150% certain that the surprise would be accepted. Even then…think again.
5. Don’t expect us to feel or react a certain way.
I like to emphasize that INTJs are not emotionless robots or unfeeling monsters. Things that send most people into paroxysms of joy or despair may leave us unmoved. (“Common feelings common men can bear,” to paraphrase Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.) I, for example, am completely bored when I hear about marriage proposals, and I don’t understand why other people like to hear about them. That doesn’t mean an INTJ is always unmoved. Shortly before I left for my trip to England last year, I told a friend that I was “bouncing off the walls” with excitement. (She said, “I wouldn’t have guessed that,” because I was not literally bouncing off the walls.) Don’t assume that what you see on an INTJ’s surface is what’s going on underneath. And again, don’t take it personally if an INTJ doesn’t react the way you expect or want.
6. Understand that pointing out flaws is different from being a pessimist.
INTJs are big on problem-solving, which makes us good (too good) at criticizing and consulting. This can lead to accusations of negativity and pessimism by lesser beings who are content to live with the sub-par.
Don’t accuse an INTJ of just “being negative” without trying to understand this problem-solving tendency. Yes, problem-solvers and pessimists both focus on flaws, but for different reasons. Pessimists usually can’t see the positive side of an issue, or they refuse to, and just want something to complain about. An INTJ can see the positives, but often ignores them to focus on the flaws, because they mean to do something about them (or tell someone else what to do about them), bringing everything up to its full potential.
I can’t tell you how many times I was yelled at as a child for correcting my mother and—gasp!—other elders when they got a fact or a quote wrong. I really did not understand why everyone got mad, because I did not understand why they wouldn’t want to know the correct version. And I’ve been called a pessimist and negative, too, for daring to notice that things aren’t always perfect.
And that last one, I’m sure, is why this post is going to get a good share of criticism. But it’s okay, because…
It’s been a couple weeks, and even though nothing exciting has happened to me, I thought it was time for an update because I don’t like this blog to be dormant for a while.
I am planning a road trip to New England for October. I’ve never been to the region in autumn, and it’s something I have always wanted to see. I’m looking forward to all the colors, and to seeing friends in Boston.
I’ve made no decision yet about where to move. I spent some time trying to do research and freaking out about it. Then, when I decided to do an October road trip, I got the sense that God wants me to plan this trip, and nothing further. That has been immensely challenging, because even though I wouldn’t know where to begin anyway, I still want to do something. I hate living in this limbo state, and I really hate living at my stepdad’s house, and in this town. I feel like I’m growing fat and complacent here, because there isn’t much to do or many people to see. I’ve been trying to exercise and practice piano, and I’ve been working, of course, but I haven’t felt much motivation to plan my trip. I’ve been marathoning a lot of Parks and Recreation lately. Also, I have had almost zero interest in either writing or cooking, which are two of the biggest joys in my life.
I had been pretty interested in moving to Bozeman, Montana, but I’m cooling on the idea because I cannot accept the idea of living hundreds, even thousands, of miles from everyone I know. And I mean everyone. Maybe someday I can take that step, but I’m just not ready. So I am just going to plan my next road trip, and then see how things stand when I return. By November, I might have fallen in love with someplace in New England, I might decide I could do Montana after all, I might think of something else, or I might even move back to Columbus (I really don’t want to, but I am not ruling it out completely). Or I might be just as clueless as I am now, and that is the most terrifying possibility of all.
However, I have at least narrowed down my search to a few requirements for wherever I end up living. Besides “within a day’s drive of someone I know”
- I want to live where I can afford to live alone. I thought that doing AirBNB and staying with friends and family would kind of prep me, warm me to the idea of having a roommate again, because it would be so much cheaper. However, I have only become convinced that living alone is the best option for my mental health. (Unless God sends the most obviously perfect person to live with and plops them down right in front of me.) I may have to get a second, part-time job to cover the added expense, since my current job won’t pay me a higher rate, and also because
- I want to live where I can have pets. Small, caged pets, because I am allergic to cats and dogs (and rabbits, I have found). What I want right now are a pair of guinea pigs, a bearded dragon, and a snake (probably a milk snake, they’re pretty and supposed to be good for beginners, but eventually I’d love to get a ball python because they are the cutest). OK, not all at once, but eventually, yes.
- I also need a place with a decent church community. Basically a church with good teaching, where there are actually people at my stage of life (dare I hope for single professionals in their 30s?), and hopefully some kind of ministry I can be involved in.
- I need a place that gets cold. Preferably also a place that doesn’t get unbearably hot in the summer, but at the very least someplace that gets cold for part of the year.
I have at least two blog posts in the works, both of which have been half-finished for ages now. One of them is another Screwtape Letters-style post. The other is a part two to my “How Not to Be Hated by an INTJ” post. That’s another problem I’ve been having: that post ended up on Reddit, and several INTJ Facebook groups, and became my most popular blog post. Unfortunately, with fame comes criticism, and I’ve gotten a few negative, borderline-nasty comments that have accused the post, or my style, or personality types in general, of being “pointless,” or “stupid,” or “juvenile,” or inaccurate, or not concise enough. (It’s not even constructive criticism, jeeeeze.)
Even though I know that INTJs are naturally critical, so such comments are expected, and that people on the Internet are often rude, it’s discouraged me from writing any more on the subject. And it pisses me off that I feel that way, because I enjoy writing about being an INTJ, and I shouldn’t allow a few random strangers to make me feel like I shouldn’t. Besides, even though it is impossible to please everyone, and I should just make sure that I am the one happy and satisfied with what I post on my own blog, it remains that for every negative comment I get, I get at least five from people who are either INTJs happy to find a sympathetic perspective, or non-INTJs who have found my posts helpful for relating to the INTJs in their lives. I wish that were enough to encourage me right now.
So that’s what’s up lately. Perhaps soon I will post photos of my return trip from Seattle back east. However, I took fewer photos then, and I don’t think I got any of the Montana landscape. I’m wishing now that I had, but by then I was tired of taking pictures only to find that they did not do their subjects justice, like the trees in Oregon. So forgive me. But I will have zoo and museum photos up eventually, that I promise.
I reached Portland, OR, the late afternoon of Friday, June 20, so in a way, my cross-country journey ended then. However, I did not arrive at the official “End of the Oregon Trail” in Oregon City until the next morning, Saturday June 21, when I met up with old college friends Elizabeth and Michelle for one of the best days since leaving Marcella and Phillip in Kansas nearly a fortnight earlier.
Given that it was at the freaking end of the Oregon Trail, this particular “interpretive center” was a little disappointing. It takes up a good amount of room, but the exhibits feel small, with little information that was not already available at other sites along the route. I knew from reading TripAdvisor reviews that they had undergone a recent renovation, as well as budget troubles, and it kind of shows. As much as I hated Casper, WY, the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center there was one of the best I saw in those 11 days, as was the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, OR.
I will say that the End of the Trail museum had a section about Oregon roses that was very informative, concentrating especially on roses brought across the continent on the Trail. I did not know that roses are kind of a big thing in Portland. There is also an exhibit that takes a look at some of the real individuals who traveled the trail, and what they did upon arriving in Oregon. For example, Tabitha Brown traveled the trail when she was 66 (already past the average life expectancy in those days), helped found an orphanage, then helped found Tualatin Academy, which eventually became Pacific University in Forest Grove. She also became known as “The Mother of Oregon” and had a WWII Liberty ship named after her. So yeah, age is never an excuse!
The area around the interpretive center was also very pretty…
…and the gift shop was well-stocked with themed merchandise.
The venue also featured a movie that described the journey on the Oregon Trail, and although the voice acting was hit-and-miss among the cast, there were some very moving moments. One part talked about how the pioneers often had to jettison weight from their wagons. There was a voiceover about a man who cried when he had to dump the rolling pin that had been his mother’s, and how she used it to make the best biscuits, and I definitely cried, too.
After a cruise through the museum, we parted ways—Michelle and I went for lunch in downtown Portland, and later I met up with Elizabeth for dinner. It was a fabulous day full of good conversation and catching up, and seeing some of the sights, like Portland Saturday Market and a naked bike ride. (This was especially funny because in Milwaukee, Laurel and her mother were shocked to see an underwear-themed bike ride, and I was just like, “Pssht, amateurs.”) I don’t think I had seen either Michelle or Elizabeth since our graduation seven years ago. If you want evidence of the benefits of social media, I submit that entire day in Portland, which probably would not have happened without Facebook.
A few people who don’t know me very well were convinced that I would fall in love with Portland. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, the city itself did not impress me. Part of the reason is that I’m not cool/hipster/hippy enough. The types of jobs, food, art, and other recreational activities that draw many people there are not something that I’m interested in. I’m starting to realize that I have simpler tastes than I previously believed. Another reason was that, after spending 10 days driving through small towns, mountains, farms, and ranches, I came to really enjoy less-populated areas. Although I loved the drive along the Columbia River, I found Portland absolutely suffocating. I would definitely go back for another visit, but I’m not cruising Craigslist for apartments just yet.
And there you FINALLY have it, two months later, an account of my final (very successful) day on the Oregon Trail!
I’m combining two days into one post because there aren’t a lot of pictures, or much to say at all, about either of them. They were good days, just not a lot to say about them.
I realized that I had more photos that I remembered, and also that, upon rereading my initial intro for this blog post, I’m a filthy liar.
Day Nine, Thursday June 19, I did my morning work, used the hotel pool, checked out, and headed over to the Fort Walla Walla museum. This was a cute local museum that had more than I was expecting. There was a room full of Civil War-related items, but as I’m not big on the Civil War, I gave it a pass. They had clothes and other items (including medical equipment) that had been donated by locals. They also had photographs of the graduating classes from a local nursing school, and lots of exhibits on farm equipment.
There was also an outdoor “pioneer village” set up with buildings that had been collected from the area. Although it was a lot of fun, there was a bit of a “been-there-done-that” feel to it, so I didn’t take a lot of pictures. Although the park area around the fort/museum was very pretty:
So, funny story. Almost every time I mentioned my Oregon Trail trip to my friend Kara, she would remind me that I was going to be near Mount Hood. I didn’t know much of the geography and natural landscape of the Northwest before I went out there, and I thought Mt. Hood was going to be one of a chain of mountains, and so I was like, “Well, I won’t know which one it is, so it probably won’t matter.”
But as I drove from Walla Walla, WA, to The Dalles, OR, my car rounded a corner on the highway, and …
After I got to the Dalles and another less-than-great hotel room, I was tired but it was early so I decided that my hair color needed a touchup. So I bought a box of coloring from the Walgreens down the street and spent the evening coloring my hair in a hotel room. I felt like an Alfred Hitchcock protagonist.
So the next day, June 20 . . . that was fun. I got up, did work, checked out of the hotel, and drove to The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, just west of the hotel, and it was one of the top three museums I saw on my trip (to and from Oregon).
It started with the third rainbow of the trip.
The museum provided history of the Columbia Gorge, including natural history dating back to the Ice Age.
The Game of Thrones fangirl that is still lurking within me somewhere had a bit of a moment . . .
In several places, the Oregon Trail overlaps with other historic trails, including the Pony Express Route, the California Trail, and the Mormon trail. At the Columbia River, it overlaps with Lewis and Clark’s famous journey, so naturally there was an exhibit for them in the building, as well as very entertaining and informative film shown periodically in the auditorium (bonus points for both Lewis and Clark being played by cute actors). It made me want to learn more about them (and possibly drive the Lewis and Clark route someday) and about Sacagawea, who was a frickin’ badass.
I think the one major complaint I had about the museum was a lack of labeling. There were a lot of items on display in the Lewis and Clark exhibit, but nothing to indicate whether they were authentic items that the explorers had carried with them, or just historically accurate reproductions.
There were also exhibits about the industries that were developed in the area, the growth of technology (woo, steamboats!) and towns, and of course a reminder of how dangerous the Columbia river was for the Oregon Trail emigrants.
There was also a lot about the construction of the Historic Columbia River Highway, which I had the good fortune of driving along for a stretch after leaving the museum.
The discovery center also houses several types of raptors. These birds are found in the wild, but kept at the center because they otherwise would not survive, like the red-tailed hawk with a gimpy wing, and used for educational purposes. They had a “show” with a couple of the animals, and the great horned owl kept staring at me.
The area surrounding the museum was also gorgeous.
Eventually it was time to head out … along that exhilarating historic highway, so close to my journey’s end.
Although June 20 (the day these last photos were taken) is when I technically reached Portland, of which Oregon City is now a suburb, I didn’t reach the official end of the trail until June 21. That’s the next post. ;-)
Originally posted on Maci Shingleton:
As a single college student in the middle of Christian culture, people tell me to wait for sex a lot. “Wait until you’re married. It’s better when you’re married!” “Save yourself for your husband, you don’t want to take that baggage.” “Stay pure for your husband, it’s worth it!” All of these encouragements may be true and come from good intentions but they don’t make sense. What if I die tomorrow? What if God doesn’t want me to be married, ever? Why would those reasons be reason enough to remain sexually pure now? With good intentions, many of us in the church have begun telling students to remain pure for their future spouses. That sounds nice, but it is not exactly why Jesus calls us to purity. I remain pure not for my future imaginary husband but for my very real right now God.
Our desire in being…
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For the first time in YEARS, I did exactly what I wanted to do on my birthday (within the realm of possibility … and propriety).
1. After I finished work, I went for a run (tragically cut short by the death of my iPod’s battery, but 20 minutes is better than none).
2. I went to lunch at my favorite Indian restaurant–actually, my favorite restaurant in the area, period. I had no one with me but my Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics collection. I reread parts of Mere Christianity and laughed and cried.
3. I saw Guardians of the Galaxy, which is hilarious and fun, if not exactly a work of sublime genius.
4. I had cake and lemon sorbet. I ran into a little story in the process. I went to the bakery counter at the grocery because I wanted a specific variety of their cake, which I didn’t see out at the time (I like this store’s white cake, but all I was seeing was marble, white-almond, and yellow). I got to the counter at the same time as an older woman, but she let me go first while she pondered some cookies. The bakery guy went to look for something in the back, so I told the woman waiting, “I’m sorry, I didn’t think I was gonna take very long.”
She said, “It’s ok, it’s probably a sign that I should walk away from these cookies.”
After an awkward pause (because it’s not a conversation with me without at least twelve of those), I said, “Well, life is short, might as well have cookies, right?”
She responded with a surprisingly intense, “That is so true!“
Now that I think back on it, she was probably surprised to meet a 20-something woman who would actually tell someone to eat cookies instead of whining about calories or carbs or some dumb sh*t like that.
Then she started telling me about how she had good health her whole life, but was suddenly and recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
I’m standing there like, “UM,” but she hurriedly told me that she was doing well, that the chemo was working, but yes, things can change in an instant, so because I’m young (she observed), I should enjoy it while I can. She added, “And you need to have God on your side.”
I said “Amen to that,” after which she told me that her cancer diagnosis kind of shook her out of complacency, and she was grateful for that. By then, the baker came back and they didn’t have what I wanted so I left and told the woman to take care, and she ended up getting the cookies after saying “Good talking to you!” It was kind of awesome, in a slightly surreal way.
The other great thing about today (and one of the reasons I was crying in a restaurant) was that I read a passage in Mere Christianity that is incredibly relevant to part of my previous blog post. Warning: It’s a long one.
From the chapter on Hope:
Most of us find it very difficult to want ‘Heaven’ at all–except in so far as ‘Heaven’ means meeting again our friends who have died. One reason for this difficulty is that we have not been trained: our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world. Another reason is that when the real want for Heaven is present in us, we do not recognise it. Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. … The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy. … The wife may be a good wife, and the hotels and scenery may have been excellent, and chemistry may be a very interesting job: but something has evaded us. Now there are two wrong ways of dealing with this fact, and one right one.
(1) The Fool’s Way–He puts the blame on the things themselves. He goes on all his life thinking that if only he tried another woman, or went for a more expensive holiday, or whatever it is, then, this time, he really would catch the mysterious something we are all after. …
(2) The Way of the Disillusioned ‘Sensible Man’–He soon decides that the whole thing was moonshine. … And so he settles down and learns not to expect too much and represses the part of himself which used, as he would say, ‘to cry for the moon.’ This is, of course, a much better way than the first, and makes a man much happier, and less of a nuisance to society. … It would be the best line we could take if man did not live for ever. But supposing infinite happiness really is there, waiting for us? Supposing one really can reach the rainbow’s end? In that case it would be a pity to find out too late (a moment after death) that by our supposed ‘common sense’ we had stifled in ourselves the faculty of enjoying it.
(3) The Christian Way–The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same.’
I’ve read this bit before (I’ve read all of Mere Christianity once before), but that part didn’t have such an impact the first time. It certainly applies to my disappointment with my road trip. I have definitely been guilty of (2), but it hasn’t been as nice as Lewis makes it sound. Smothering hope and joy is never nice.
Perhaps this passage is the best response to my attitude of, “Everything is ultimately a disappointment, so why bother with any of it?” I guess I need to put a little more thought into the things above, and a little less time (though not none, because that would be irresponsible) on where I’m going to live next and who I’m going to (possibly) marry and what my career will look like in five years.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have returned from my two-month road trip, and am currently staying at my stepdad’s for the rest of the month, and probably the next, while I get the next step figured out.
I have vowed not to think about (or make any effort toward) deciding where to move, for one whole week. I arrived on Sunday, so I’m going to start the research/thinking/writing/praying on Monday. There are a few contenders for locations, but nothing is hopping up and down going, “Pick me, pick me!”
As I also mentioned in a past post, a lot of this trip has been disappointing. Don’t get me wrong–it was an incredible experience that I am grateful I had. As you can see from the photos, it wasn’t a total loss, and I saw some amazing things. It was an adventure. Just not the adventure I was expecting.
Part of the trouble is that I’m not 100% sure what I was expecting. I guess I did think that something was going to pop out and say “Pick me!” I was hoping for writing inspiration, because right now I need (NEED) a new writing project, but I think my muse died of dysentery on the Oregon Trail. I was hoping for some spiritual time with God that was all sweet-and-lovely like in the cheesiest of worship songs, but my faith has been stretched to the limits–and sometimes beyond them. Not that I haven’t experienced God’s goodness–the fact that I drove across the country and back, putting 6,000+ miles on my car, all without a lick of trouble, is testament enough to that. Nothing that I was afraid of happening, happened–but also, a lot of things I hoped for and even expected, also didn’t happen. Little activities here and there didn’t work out. Also I was not expecting a depression flare-up, least of all one of such length and intensity. Every time I think it’s over, the dragon raises his head again and lets out another blast of fire. My armor is charred, and my heart hurts.
One of the parts of my road trip that I was most looking forward to was actually one of the most difficult and least enjoyable. This past weekend, a group of my college friends gathered at a mutual friend’s in Indiana to visit and catch up and have fun. We try to do this together a couple times a year, and inevitably there are those who can’t make it, so we try to Skype them in. I was really excited, because it seemed like the perfect finale to the two months, so of course it didn’t really turn out well for me.
First of all, last week my insomnia decided to be a bigger arsehole than usual. For several nights in a row, I was averaging 4 hours of sleep each. That already put my emotional state in a pretty precarious position. Then, the weekend turned out to be a two-day seminar of “Everyone Is Better Than You.”
When everyone was gathered together, taking turns on their updates, it was so much more difficult than I expected to hear about someone’s husband or boyfriend, or new baby, or new house, or potential new house, or new/changing/potential jobs, or loving and supportive families and churches. Meanwhile, I just sat there, because that’s all I was–there. Sure, I had my road trip, but everyone knew about it from Facebook and this blog, so I had nothing left to say for myself.
That’s not to say that I’m not happy for everyone else, and absolutely no one was deliberately trying to make me feel inferior–it was all on me, which makes it even more frustrating. I kept thinking how I’m closing in on being 30 and I have essentially moved back in with one of my parents because I don’t know what I’m doing with my life, how I have no church community, how my job is also just kind of there right now, and how I shouldn’t be in this place at this point. I should have a house with a family by now, or at least in my own place with a supportive church family, or working on my second or even third novel. Instead, I feel utterly expendable, completely useless and confused, and absolutely terrified.
So I have a lot of praying and thinking to do. Not exactly how I’d hoped to ring in the next year of my life.