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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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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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