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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

Alright. So, I am in a relationship with an ISTJ, being an INFJ myself. After long struggles and issues that were both related to our cognitive differences, as well as more realistic time and space issues, we managed to overcome them and be together in a mature, fulfilling relationship. However, the cognitive differences are still here. Ni-Fe fighting against Si-Te.
The other day we were talking about exactly this and I was trying to make him explain it to me how he sees every aspect of his life: career-related decisions, money, relationships with family, friends and also love. His answer was quite confusing, or maybe just hard for me to understand, as he insisted that he doesn't think about HOW he FEELS, but that if he lives in the moment and feels something positive, then he knows the relationship is good/rewarding. As a crazy INFJ, I find it very hard to perceive this emotional dettachment at a subconscious level. Sure, I understand that this is how he operates in theory, but I have a hard time "soaking in" these things.
Anyway, the main question for you is : how do YOU prioritize things in your life? When you are passionate about a certain career thing or worried about material things, then where do you place love? What does a romantic relationship mean to you?
 

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Hey guys,

Alright. So, I am in a relationship with an ISTJ, being an INFJ myself. After long struggles and issues that were both related to our cognitive differences, as well as more realistic time and space issues, we managed to overcome them and be together in a mature, fulfilling relationship. However, the cognitive differences are still here. Ni-Fe fighting against Si-Te.
The other day we were talking about exactly this and I was trying to make him explain it to me how he sees every aspect of his life: career-related decisions, money, relationships with family, friends and also love. His answer was quite confusing, or maybe just hard for me to understand, as he insisted that he doesn't think about HOW he FEELS, but that if he lives in the moment and feels something positive, then he knows the relationship is good/rewarding. As a crazy INFJ, I find it very hard to perceive this emotional dettachment at a subconscious level. Sure, I understand that this is how he operates in theory, but I have a hard time "soaking in" these things.
Anyway, the main question for you is : how do YOU prioritize things in your life? When you are passionate about a certain career thing or worried about material things, then where do you place love? What does a romantic relationship mean to you?
I'm pretty sure you'd get just about the same response from me as you did from your SO. Of course I have feelings and emotions, but they manifest themselves differently from people that FEEL things. The best way I've found to explain this (which may still not seem very good to you) is to think of my mind as a pilot flying a plane, constantly making decisions based on the real-time data I see all around me. Feelings/emotions are like the warning lights on the instrument panel... green lights are good emotions, red lights are bad emotions. When the lights go on or off, I take notice and begin rationally evaluating the rest of the data available and devise a plan to keep the green lights on and the red lights off. The indicator lights rarely, if ever, prompt any type of irrational behavior... they only prompt rational thought about how to fix the problem that caused the red light to illuminate. BTW, I don't see this as "emotional detachment"... at all. I'm very much "attached" to my emotions. It seems that, because I may not react externally the same way that they do, others assume, incorrectly, that I'm not experiencing the emotion at all. This is not true at all... only my response to the emotion differs... rational response versus irrational response.

When people talk about "letting my feelings out", I'm at a complete loss as to how to comply with their request. Mainly, because I am absolutely NOT holding them in... to me, they're right there in front of my face and I'm reacting to them in what seems to be the only natural way for me to do so... to fix the problem and get the damned warning light turned off. To me, talking about emotions and feelings would be like discussing whether the warning lamps on the dashboard were incandescent or LED... it's totally pointless because the lamps themselves have no intrinsic meaning or value. They are only indicators of a problem that lies elsewhere. I want to... NEED TO... deal with the root cause of what turned the light on in the first place, not discuss the particular shade of red the warning lamp is.

I am quite aware of what people expect when they ask to talk about feelings. However, I have an extraordinarily hard time complying because what they want to hear is not what is going on inside of me.... using the words they want to hear would seem so phony-baloney to me that it would seem no different than telling them lies. On the other hand, I also know that they don't react well when I start talking about what is my natural reaction to feelings... rationally analyzing them and fixing the damn problem. Believe me, it's just as frustrating to me as it is for you.

As far as people/things/activities that we love and are passionate about... first, you have to know that we ARE passionate about them. However, at least for me, you will likely never know what I am passionate about unless we are extremely close and you know what to look for. I'm passionate about my football team, but you'd never see me wearing team color face paint or some stupid hat. I love my wife, but don't expect me to take out a full page ad in the newspaper proclaiming as much. When I find someone who helps keep my green lights on and red lights off, what I try to do for them is the same thing that comes naturally for me... find out what makes their indicator lights stay green and do as many of the "little" things I can to keep it that way for them. I'll do just about anything I can do to accomplish that... except, of course, talk about feelings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@jcal, my bf told me the same thing about love. I asked him how he realized or to use a word that fits the context more about ISTJs, "decided" he wanted to be with me even though it was difficult (mostly because the prospect of facing a LDR for at least 3 years). His answer was: " I was thinking a lot about you and comparing you to all of my other relationships and I discovered you and our relationship were much better than anything else I had had before. So I chose to try to make things work because of these reasons."
To me, this sounded like:
a>b ; a>c => pick a
ofc this seems logical and reasonable, but it was so different from what I experienced in the process of realizing, not deciding in my case, that I wanted him. To me, it was like a huge analysis of why and how I discovered myself through loving him and how my Universe would be incomplete without him. So this is why sometimes, I feel confused or just stimulated mentally. ITS not a surprize that he thinks like this..But I want to understand him and be what he needs because for me, this is what love is.
 
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To me, it was like a huge analysis of why and how I discovered myself through loving him and how my Universe would be incomplete without him.
:crazy: ... just kidding. Seriously, though, it would be impossible to force words like that to come out of my mouth. Even though I believe that you say them with 100% sincerity, it would feel horribly unnatural and insincere for ME to say something like that.

I wonder if the internal process is really THAT different... perhaps only the vocabulary used to describe it externally is different? My dashboard would be lit up red without her... your universe would be incomplete without him. I call it beige... you call it ecru. I know it's different than the "other" beige, but see no practical need/value in defining and discussing it further. It's quite uncomfortable and unnatural even using words like "ecru".
 

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If an ISTJ is making time for you, then you are IMPORTANT to them. I don't prioritize relationships at all, but when I find that I really care about someone, I make time for them. This behavior may seem insignificant to those who prioritize relationships above all (or hang out with people even if they dislike them). I've noticed that INFJs seems to spend a lot of time and energy on people that they hate. I am boggled as to why they even bother to act like a friend to those who hurt them. I understand that behaving this way can be crucial in "getting ahead" or making necessary leaps towards progression, but I never do that unless it absolutely benefits me (and I typically avoid situations like that). INFJs appear to do this by default.

So, take a close look at your ISTJ's actions. They say more than his words ever will. Constantly, people say nice things to me, but they behave differently. For example, they may claim to care about me, but will do things (small and big) that show otherwise. They may be acting recklessly in a situation that is very important to me, overloading me with problems that they are too lazy to solve, or even leave me in unpleasant/uncomfortable situations because they would rather have fun. When people say that they care for me, but they neglect my physical and mental needs, I know that my relationship with them means nothing and that they are delusional in believing that they care for me.

An ISTJ's actions may show care by:
1. Always taking special attention/measures to make sure that you are physically comfortable or being unwilling/indignant with leaving you in an unpleasant situation.
2. Sharing ideas and feelings with you. To you, it may seem like he does this very little, but if he talks to you about it a "little" it means he is talking to you about it "alot" (for him).

3. I am sure there are many more, but I can't really think of any right now.

As for prioritization, I think it will be a bit different for everyone.
If I were to put mine in order, it would look something like this.
1. My interests (hobbies or intellectual)
3. Work/career and ambitious pursuits
4. My values, principles, and beliefs
5. Family
6. My mental and physical health
7. Any other type of relationship
 

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So, take a close look at your ISTJ's actions. They say more than his words ever will. Constantly, people say nice things to me, but they behave differently. For example, they may claim to care about me, but will do things (small and big) that show otherwise. They may be acting recklessly in a situation that is very important to me, overloading me with problems that they are too lazy to solve, or even leave me in unpleasant/uncomfortable situations because they would rather have fun. When people say that they care for me, but they neglect my physical and mental needs, I know that my relationship with them means nothing and that they are delusional in believing that they care for me.
I can see what you mean by your post and it was insightful and useful and well written.

I really do not like passive aggression. Unfortunately for me, it stems almost into suspicion that sadly ends up being correct more or less because my subconscious clued me in. There just something not right about how they said it or an action in terms of how it was carried out (my intuitive side kicks in). I do not like dealing with those that make me feel badly -- it bothers me especially, so there have been times, even with people that I "should be putting up with" that I end up not doing so... it just bothers me to that level that I just can't. Some people try to say obligations or otherwise and I just disagree within reason.

Sometimes I question if it's the too lazy to solve or if they honestly can't. I'm pretty sure I may have been in this area with someone and it hurt me. I was unequipped and needed more support, but the thing is, something's got to give sometimes... unfortunately it was the relationship.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If an ISTJ is making time for you, then you are IMPORTANT to them. I don't prioritize relationships at all, but when I find that I really care about someone, I make time for them. This behavior may seem insignificant to those who prioritize relationships above all (or hang out with people even if they dislike them). I've noticed that INFJs seems to spend a lot of time and energy on people that they hate. I am boggled as to why they even bother to act like a friend to those who hurt them. I understand that behaving this way can be crucial in "getting ahead" or making necessary leaps towards progression, but I never do that unless it absolutely benefits me (and I typically avoid situations like that). INFJs appear to do this by default.
I sense a bit of a contradiction here. You say you don't prioritize relationships, but what do you actually understand through prioritizing? Is it that when you are single you don't think too much about the need to be with someone and so you place priority on your other interests+career+etc, letting a possible future relationship occur naturally in your life? Or is it that once you are in a relationship, you still don't prioritize it? Because I can see that most ISTJs say that if they love someone, then they make time for them and try to, as @jcal said, "find out what makes their indicator lights stay green". (I really like this description btw. :tongue: )
Even for me, as an INFJ that feels so darn much, other things are very important as well. And especially if I were single. My dreams about the future, my existential questions, my goals and interests still mean darn much to me. But when I am in a relationship with someone I truly love, then their needs will almost always come before mine and the best thing I can do is make the best of both worlds. (love and career related stuff)- at least this is how I perceive things.
 
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I am quite aware of what people expect when they ask to talk about feelings. However, I have a extraordinarily hard time complying because what they want to hear is not what is going on inside of me.... using the words they want to hear would seem so phony-baloney to me that it would seem no different than telling them lies. On the other hand, I also know that they don't react well when I start talking about what is my natural reaction to feelings... rationally analyzing them and fixing the damn problem. Believe me, it's just as frustrating to me as it is for you.

As far as people/things/activities that we love and are passionate about... first, you have to know that we ARE passionate about them. However, at least for me, you will likely never know what I am passionate about unless we are extremely close and you know what to look for. I'm passionate about my football team, but you'd never see me wearing team color face paint or some stupid hat. I love my wife, but don't expect me to take out a full page ad in the newspaper proclaiming as much. When I find someone who helps keep my green lights on and red lights off, what I try to do for them is the same thing that comes naturally for me... find out what makes their indicator lights stay green and do as many of the "little" things I can to keep it that way for them. I'll do just about anything I can do to accomplish that... except, of course, talk about feelings.
I really liked your post on this topic. Thank you.

I don't want phony-baloney, and I don't want grand gestures in front of others... I'm a shy person. I get extremely nervous when people point out "something awesome she did" to 20 people in a room and those people I barely know/care about. I appreciate the little things that happen and I notice them or at least I hope I do. Lots of people seem to not notice at all because it wasn't a big gesture. I like that fact that it was between us and it meant something and that that person means something and it can be subtle. Like how they looked at me when they said something or how they touched me and I feel like we're the only ones existing in that moment and I see something bigger later in the future...

I rationalize my feelings, almost to the point of over analyzing (who am I kidding? Over analyzed too much!) and forget to solve the problem using those indicators at times, or if I'm really upset, I don't know which actions to take because of issues that will likely stem from them... but may actually solve the root of the problem. My confidence can be iffy at times regarding that.

People like myself appreciate in having green lights and keeping them on, especially since in so many situations I place myself into will put them into the red (I take chances at times) and knowing when I meet up with them there is something stable there. :happy:
 

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I sense a bit of a contradiction here. You say you don't prioritize relationships, but what do you actually understand through prioritizing? Is it that when you are single you don't think too much about the need to be with someone and so you place priority on your other interests+career+etc, letting a possible future relationship occur naturally in your life? Or is it that once you are in a relationship, you still don't prioritize it? Because I can see that most ISTJs say that if they love someone, then they make time for them and try to, as @jcal said, "find out what makes their indicator lights stay green". (I really like this description btw. :tongue: )
Even for me, as an INFJ that feels so darn much, other things are very important as well. And especially if I were single. My dreams about the future, my existential questions, my goals and interests still mean darn much to me. But when I am in a relationship with someone I truly love, then their needs will almost always come before mine and the best thing I can do is make the best of both worlds. (love and career related stuff)- at least this is how I perceive things.
My point is that because ISTJs do not highly prioritize relationships, they only display a certain type of behavior towards people that they care for. INFJs display the same behavior (differently, but the same in a sense) to more people and much more often. So, to an INFJ, the behavior that an ISTJ displays to someone that they deeply care for may seem insignificant (yet highly significant and giving to an ISTJ). Of course INFJs prioritize things other than relationships (everyone does). I mean to say that INFJs typically have many more/and give more in deep and surface-level relationships.

ISTJs: Places little into people, only really invests in people they like.
INFJs: Puts so much into people, gives much and invests in numerous people (that they both dislike and like). In doing this, they place relationships/people at a higher priority/focus (of course they have other priorities and interests though. I think ISTJs may have a similar relationship with work, actually).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My point is that because ISTJs do not highly prioritize relationships, they only display a certain type of behavior towards people that they care for. INFJs display the same behavior (differently, but the same in a sense) to more people and much more often. So, to an INFJ, the behavior that an ISTJ displays to someone that they deeply care for may seem insignificant (yet highly significant and giving to an ISTJ). Of course INFJs prioritize things other than relationships (everyone does). I mean to say that INFJs typically have many more/and give more in deep and surface-level relationships.

ISTJs: Places little into people, only really invests in people they like.
INFJs: Puts so much into people, gives much and invests in numerous people (that they both dislike and like). In doing this, they place relationships/people at a higher priority/focus (of course they have other priorities and interests though. I think ISTJs may have a similar relationship with work, actually).
Yes, yes, but this was not the main point. I don't feel like his behavior towards me is insignificant, not at all. I just asked you what priorities mean to you. :) I totally agree and understand where you are coming from when speaking about the differences.
This was the question I wanted to ask though :
"You say you don't prioritize relationships, but what do you actually understand through prioritizing? Is it that when you are single you don't think too much about the need to be with someone and so you place priority on your other interests+career+etc, letting a possible future relationship occur naturally in your life? Or is it that once you are in a relationship, you still don't prioritize it?"
 
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This was the question I wanted to ask though :
"You say you don't prioritize relationships, but what do you actually understand through prioritizing? Is it that when you are single you don't think too much about the need to be with someone and so you place priority on your other interests+career+etc, letting a possible future relationship occur naturally in your life? Or is it that once you are in a relationship, you still don't prioritize it?"
We don't prioritize relationships as much because we don't feel we are very good at reading whether we are doing good or bad in that relationship. It's much much easier to do something like complete a project at work and see the progress on it. We are very into seeing concrete progress and relationships are very difficult to see if we are making an impact.

When we do find that person who shows us that we are doing "good" by them, we are really happy. We continue to do our best to please them and in your case, he has decided that he feels that he makes you very happy so he wants to be with you. It's human nature to want to be rewarded, so as long as he feels that you are happy, then he will continue to do things that make you happy.

INFJs tend to withdraw when they think trouble is brewing, so if you find yourself doing that because you want to be with him, then BE with him. Ask him for whatever you need. He will be happy to meet you up on those needs.

I think asking someone to do something for an INFJ is contradictory to their philosophy that THEY should do things for others, but in the INFJ-ISTJ relationship, the INFJ MUST speak up about what they want, otherwise the ISTJ will never know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We don't prioritize relationships as much because we don't feel we are very good at reading whether we are doing good or bad in that relationship. It's much much easier to do something like complete a project at work and see the progress on it. We are very into seeing concrete progress and relationships are very difficult to see if we are making an impact.

When we do find that person who shows us that we are doing "good" by them, we are really happy. We continue to do our best to please them and in your case, he has decided that he feels that he makes you very happy so he wants to be with you. It's human nature to want to be rewarded, so as long as he feels that you are happy, then he will continue to do things that make you happy.

INFJs tend to withdraw when they think trouble is brewing, so if you find yourself doing that because you want to be with him, then BE with him. Ask him for whatever you need. He will be happy to meet you up on those needs.

I think asking someone to do something for an INFJ is contradictory to their philosophy that THEY should do things for others, but in the INFJ-ISTJ relationship, the INFJ MUST speak up about what they want, otherwise the ISTJ will never know.
Yes, exactly. I agree with every single word you said. This (telling him what I want/need) is what I am doing and I find him very responsive. I just am trying to fit his "mental framework" in my Ni's map. :) This is why I am asking these questions. I am asking him and I am asking other ISTJs so as to get a better understanding of your way of thinking. For me, these cognitive and behavioral differences between people are fascinating and no matter how many other things in Psychology totally catch my attention, this one remains with me with every interaction I have with people. And as I value people so much, of course this sparks up a lot of interest. Also, when it comes to people I care about even more, like my SO, then I want to understand EVERYTHING (or close to that at least) so as to offer them all the love, understanding, acceptance, support they might need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Is there anything else you need to understand our way of thinking? And try to be specific in your question because it helps us a lot.
I think I am fine for now, but thanks a lot for the help and clear explanations. :)
 

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The other day we were talking about exactly this and I was trying to make him explain it to me how he sees every aspect of his life: career-related decisions, money, relationships with family, friends and also love. His answer was quite confusing, or maybe just hard for me to understand, as he insisted that he doesn't think about HOW he FEELS, but that if he lives in the moment and feels something positive, then he knows the relationship is good/rewarding. As a crazy INFJ, I find it very hard to perceive this emotional dettachment at a subconscious level. Sure, I understand that this is how he operates in theory, but I have a hard time "soaking in" these things.
Anyway, the main question for you is : how do YOU prioritize things in your life? When you are passionate about a certain career thing or worried about material things, then where do you place love? What does a romantic relationship mean to you?
The priorization of these will depend on more than cognitive type, look up enneagram instinctual stackings too. I'm sx/sp instinct but with real strong sp, so I place both aspects highly (material things = sp, self preservation instinct, romantic relationship = sx, sexual instinct). Please don't ask me which is more important overall, though in practice I do pay a lot of attention on work/task related stuff.

Yeah, I don't think either about how I feel, I look for these in-the-moment reactions too. I don't think that's full emotional detachment, if it was full emotional detachment, you would not feel those in-the-moment emotions either...

So yes I'm simplistic like that, though I've analyzed this topic, of relationships, more in-depth recently trying to learn more about the emotional side of these things. It's alien and fascinating at the same time. So that's my current answer to your questions.
 
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