Type Interactions #5: INTJ-INTP [archived]
Type Interactions #5: INTJ-INTP
I really like INTPs. My husband and longest held friend are both INTPs. Many of my other meat-space and lj friends are also INTPs. I find them easy to communicate with (we are all NTs), outwardly calm and stable (inward may be a different story), highy logical and consistent (due to model building), knowledgable (they go into depth in the areas that matter to them and are careful about accuracy and correctness of data), intelligent (at least all the ones I've met are and a few surveys I've seen rate them as having higher than average intelligence on average), enthusiasm for the things that interest them (they become experts in that area), hard to insult (as long as you don't imply that they are incompetent), and creative (mad scientists, etc) with a wacky sense of humour (when you are allowed to see that side). Mature INTPs can make excellent diplomats and spys. By spies I mean that they can sit at the back of a group observing and analysing (and formulating plans) while a frontman (INTJ) holds the stage. In my experience, INTPs have a very likable front persona (they may not think so) and tend to hide their depth from casual observation. Their depth comes in the form of abstract thought, model building, and projecting into the future rather than from any deep emotional connection. For INTPs intellectal connections appear to be the equivalent of emotional connections for some other types.
On the downside, they often have terrible self-esteem issues (including anxiety, depression, self-doubt, self-blame, etc), difficulty with intrapersonal awareness (problems knowing what they are feeling and value inside), tend to get absorbed in projects such that they forget to care for themselves and/or their relationships, may have problems expressing (or even knowing) their own opinions to others (may be due to either not having an opinion, needing to ensure the validity of their opinion, or not valuing opinions), tend to live in the future (and therefore may sometimes forget that they haven't supplied context), cannot stand repetition or being asked to repeat themselves (they are worse than INTJs for this), can be perfectionists and procrastinate, they may have problems with assigning priority rankings, they need structure but instinctively resist it, their internal models of the world can be faulty (although they are willing to fix this if they discover it, accuracy being important), they may be stiff and stand-offish when faced with emotional drama (they may not know what to do with the crying thing), and they can have very bad tempers (heh... just like INTJs). I've also found that INTPs can be extra passive when they don't have a good model to work from or when they don't really care much but it is a big mistake to think that just because you can push them around that you should. When the last peice of the equation falls into place and they find themselves pushed past their boundaries they will snap back like an speeding transfer-truck.
A few tricks I've learned:
1) They tie compentancy to their self image and hence insulting (or implying an insult to) their competancy is the equivalent to telling an INTJ that her judgement can't be trusted and an NF that they are worthless and a discrace to their ideal. Try to avoid language that implies that they are personally incompetent. When confronted with a challenge like this (in an area that they are not absolutely confident in) an INTP will just shut down the conversation until they've had a chance to re-evaluate everything from first principles. This can be very frustrating to an INTJ trying to reach a goal on a schedule.
2) What I call, multi-person cognative analysis conflict resolution works really well in dealing with personal disputes. Take a step back, depersonalize the situation, and analyse it in the third person as a joint project. (This method can drive NFs nuts.) INTPs may not be aware that they are having emotions or value clashes until everything blows up. Using phrasing like "I've noticed that you are doing [describe behaviours in emotionally neutral language] and I've noticed that in the past when you did this it meant that you [felt X or were having problem Y]. Is that what is happening now?" followed by stepping back to give them space to look at their model. This works well in my experience. It neutrally alerts them to a problem, opens dialog, and gives them time/space to calm down and deal with the problem rationally (their prefered method).
3) Tell them what you want. This is a simple idea that nobody seems to use. INTPs that I've dealt with have been relieved when I gave them simple instructions on how to achieve desired results. Example: I said this to my husband, "I like flowers. Always having fresh flowers on the table makes me feel happy and loved." He gave me fresh flowers every two weeks for over two years. The important part of this method is to follow through with the consequences. When he gave me flowers I thanked him and obviously showed (or said) that I was happy and felt loved. (Again, this method can drive NFs nuts as it isn't "special" enough. It works on INFPs if you can convince them that it makes you feel good. It may be hard to convince them.) This method works for negative consequences as well. INTPs may not want to be tied down but they do appreciate consistancy in others... it makes you easier to model.
4) Find a non-threatening way to tell them that they have skipped ahead and missed telling you a step or context. My husband and I use the phrase "You've gone off to visit the cows." Sometimes the goal and endpoint aren't the most important thing to an INTP. While the INTJ is focused and determined to march to the end of the road with only minimal concern for what is "out there", the INTP has discovered a herd of rare bovines and has merrily run off to examine them. The INTJs ultimate goal may be "just something" (and not even an interesting something) to the INTP. Get used to this. You can't turn them into an INTJ, don't try. Let them have their time then gently tell them that they have run off to visit the cows. Look at what they bring back. Sometimes it IS more important and interesting than the stated goal.
5) Their internal models are all important to them but they aren't set in stone. If it isn't accurate, they will fix it. If it isn't comprehensive enough, they will expand it. More often an INTP will be too complete rather than corner cutting. This means that processing time can sometimes be slow. They have to test new data against the model. Be patient. Give them time. It is worth it. If for some unfortunate reason you have to hack the system go in with plenty of proof all laid out logically and take into account their reasoning. In my experience INTPs rarely get their basic facts and observations wrong but their assumptions may have problems. The ones I know are eager to debug the system but may have problems because they are part of the system and the subjective bits are hard for them.
That is enough for now. (Please excuse my spelling. I'm tired.)
What are your experiences with INTPs? Personal? Work?
How can INTJs deal effectively with INTPs?
What are the problem areas between INTJs and INTPs?
What makes INTJ-INTP interactions/relationships worth while?
Type Interactions #1: INTJ-ISTP
Type Interactions #2: INTJ-ENFP
Type Interactions #3: INTJ-ISFJ
Type Interactions #4: INTJ-INFP