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All You Need to Know About Dealing with Conflict in INTJ Relationships

All You Need to Know About Dealing with Conflict in INTJ Relationships

Have you ever had a family member who is extremely smart, but not the greatest at emotionally connecting with you?

Or do you have a friend that questions everything you do and loves to ask the question “why?”

Or maybe you have a very intelligent boss who is capable of solving complicated problems, but he never listens to any of your good ideas?

Chances are that you are in a relationship with someone in the INTJ Meyers-Brigg personality.

Being in an INTJ relationship can be quite challenging so here’s the breakdown on everything you need to know about them and how to best connect with them.

For the purposes of this article, I will be personifying the INTJ personality and using it as a noun.

What is an INTJ?

INTJ’s are one of the most rarest personality types and form only 2% of the population. Here is a brief overview of the characteristics:

  • (I)ntroversion – They focus their attention inward and get their energy from having time alone
  • i(N)tuition– They rely on the information they get from within themselves. As a result, they tend to focus more on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details.
  • (T)hinking – They prefer to make their decisions based on their own logical reasoning and analysis rather than their own emotions.
  • (J)udgement – They orient themselves to the external world through planning and organization rather than going with the flow and having sponinaeity.

What are INTJs like?

INTJs are natural born leaders, but they don’t rush to take charge of situations unless they feel it’s absolutely necessary. They are able to think quick on their feet and come up with effective solutions when things are not going well.

They are intensely curious and have an engineering type mind where they always have a need to comprehend how things work.

More importantly, the purpose of their need to understand things actually isn’t to satisfy their curiosity, but it’s more to figure out how to apply that knowledge in an innovative manner to effectively create improvement.

Their high level of competency enables them to do this very effective and it doesn’t take them long to understand new ideas.

Their brains operate like they are constantly playing chess where they are always analyzing situations and planning strategies and tactics to place themselves in the best situations. This is why they have the innate capability to outsmart others the most compared to any other personality types.

The benefits of being in a relationship with an INTJ

As you can imagine, being in an INTJ relationship can have quite a few amazing perks:

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They are amazing problem solvers.

INTJs invest themselves heavily in their rational thought, logic, and analysis of cause and effect. This in turn enables them to objectively assess challenges to find the root cause of an issue and come up with the best solutions.

You’ve probably noticed that when you have a complex problem, you’ve been trying to figure out for a while, an INTJ sometimes can solve that problem in a matter of minutes.

They create the best case scenarios.

INTJs excellent critical thinking skills combined with their love for innovation gives them the amazing ability to improve existing systems and processes.

This is why they hate following traditions and procedures without understanding the purpose and value of them.

They have a need to understand why things are done the way they are so they can evaluate if that’s the best way to do it.

This trait can prove to be extremely helpful when you are trying to figure out things like how to find good deals, plan trips or choose the best product to buy.

They are extremely reliable.

Because of their amazing problem solving skills that are supplemented with implementation, they prove to be extremely reliable.

Their determination to always get to the bottom of things ensure that they implement the best solutions possible.

When you ask INTJs for help, you can depend on them knowing they will do everything they can to bring you the best results possible.

They are always taking initiative to grow.

INTJs make great employees if you place them in autonomous roles because they are very independent and proactive.

Once INTJs have a clear understanding of a situation that needs to be addressed, they are great at analyzing the best options and taking the initiative to get the work done.

They are also great resources to learn from because they are always actively seeking ways to improve.

They are the jack of all trades.

INTJs have a very high level of intelligence, competence and knowledge and combined with their natural desire to keep developing personally, it’s not surprising that they are extremely multi-talented.

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You may find they have answers to almost all the challenges you run into to the point it surprises you at how much they are capable of.

The difficulties of being in a relationship with an INTJ

Like all good things, there are some bad things about INTJ’s that may prove to be quite the challenge:

They can fall into arrogance.

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance; and INTJs are guilty of falling into the latter.

Their high level of confidence and capabilities might at times become more of an arrogant mindset instead.

They tend to be judgemental.

INTJs usually are quick to dismiss others especially when they feel like they sense a gap in competency.

They may tend to look down on people who are less competent and treat them in a condescending manner.

They engage in destructive behavior when under high stress.

When INTJs are under extreme stress, their greatest strengths becomes a debilitating weakness.

They become overly analytical and may engage in excessive behaviors like drinking or eating. They begin to act much more impulsively and create more projects than they can handle.

While their analytical skills prove to be imperative when solving complex problems, there are times when they are overanalyze and make things more complicated then it should be.

They don’t respond well to authority.

INTJs hate hearing phrases like “Because I told you so” because they deepest core value lies in finding the most rational answers.

They tend to rub authorities the wrong way because INTJs often question all their motives and it can come off as offensive even though the intention is to figure out the best way to do things.

A big pet peeve for INTJs is whenever you deny a request with answers like “Because that’s just how it’s always been done.”

They lack emotional availability.

Because they operate so heavily with the logical left hemisphere of their brains, INTJ’s have trouble utilizing the emotional right brain.

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This in turn can lead to difficulty in creating intimacy and emotional connection with others.

How to work best with INTJ relationships

Working with INTJ’s can prove to be both productive and difficult. Here are some ways to help enhance your with INTJ relationships especially during times of conflict:

1. Give them their alone time to think and recharge when brainstorming solutions.

While group feedback is important, INTJs work best when they at least have a separate time to also be able to think things through uninterrupted.

If they don’t accept your ideas, don’t take it personally. They are not being rigid. They are genuinely trying to figure out the best solution in an objective manner.

In fact, they are actually very open to ideas as long as it helps lead to the solution so don’t give up on the first try if they reject an idea you have.

What to do?
  • When making suggestions or coming up with ideas to solve a problem, be sure you first have a good sense of the background information first. If you ask questions that you could’ve just googled first, they will quickly dismiss you so be sure to ask questions that show you at least have a good foundational knowledge of the situation.
  • Don’t micromanage. Doing so will make them very resistant to you and disengaged. Instead, communicate your needs and once you confirm they understand the situation clearly, provide whatever necessary tools needed to get the job done and leave them to get the work done.

2. Connect by showing a desire to learn.

INTJs hate small talk but are highly stimulated by deep intellectual conversations. The purpose of all the intellect they build up isn’t to be better than people, but it comes from a genuine love for growth and improvement.

Although the amount of knowledge and competence they have may be intimidating to some, they gladly share their knowledge if they sense from you the desire to learn and apply it.

INTJs often are misunderstood because they are often thinking 10 steps ahead so it’s hard for others to keep up. This is the reason why they are usually very lonely, but they do have a deep desire to feel understood.

What to do?
  • Don’t beat around the bush. INTJ’s often get annoyed by unproductive superficial conversations.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask deep questions to help get you to the point where you are synced up and on the same page. They appreciate when others make the effort to meet them at their level of competency.

3. Don’t be offended when they question you.

When dealing with an INTJ, they often try to ask a lot of questions that start with “why.”

This naturally will trigger you to become defensive so it’s important to remind yourself that the intention isn’t to attack you, but more to figure out what the best approach and solutions are.

This is why it’s important to always communicate the purpose behind what you request of INTJs.

What to do?

When giving a task or asking for a favor, always provide the reasons why you are doing so.

If they don’t have a clear understanding of why the particular task is important, they will often be very disengaged.

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When you clearly communicate the purpose behind what you are asking for and agree on why it important, INTJs will almost always produce results that exceed expectations.

4. Call them out on their bullsh*t

INTJs can tend to place themselves in a mindset where they think highly of themselves.

Sometimes, it just takes giving an honest reminder to them that the way they say things to you is sometimes very condescending.

What to do?

When INTJs fall over into becoming arrogant and judgmental, don’t be afraid to point it out to them. They value open and honest conversation.

You can count on it that they will be spending a ton of time trying to understand what is going wrong and come up with a solution for improvement.

5. Activate the emotional half of their brain.

While INTJs are highly logical, they do feel emotions. And when they do, they feel them very deeply.

They often times may seem emotionless, but this doesn’t mean they are. This is because they are too busy spending time rationalizing things and are too caught up in their minds that they don’t feel the need to always be expressing their emotions.

What to do?
  • Frame the lack of intimacy as a problem to the INTJ and you can rely on the fact that he or she will work hard to try and come up with a mutually beneficial solution.
  • Do things that will help activate the emotional right brain in order to improve your connection with each other because INTJs are left-brain dominant and engaged in logical activities all the time.
  • Implement ways to touch whether it’s a handshake, hug or intimate physical behavior if it’s a partner.
  • Try to check in occasionally about how they feel.

Creating your own best case scenarios

Being in a relationship with an INTJ can be very rewarding, but can also prove to be emotionally taxing.

Once you come to the understanding of how INTJ’s are wired, you can learn how to best communicate and build the relationship together.

Whether it’s a family member, friend, or partner, figuring out how to work with each other in a way that’s more productive will empower both people in the relationship.

When you use the tips provided here, you will achieve so much more together than if you each approached things your own way.

And together, you’ll ultimately be creating your own best case scenarios.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Eugene K. Choi

A life coach who helps people discover how to best utilize their passions and talents through a proven process.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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