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Discussion Starter #1
I was curious as to how other enfp types would react to this subject. The subject itself was spawned from a conversation I had the other day in which a friend of mine asked me something personal that I didn't really want to discuss with her, so I denied her request. Upon hearing that I had no intention of spilling the beans she said this:

"OH." (This was on fbook chat. Clearly, this is not an oh in which something new has been discovered. This is an oh that implies a sense of dismissal. She might as well have said "whatever..."(whatever, having been voted as the most annoying word in the English language)).

This really felt demeaning, so I immediately became hostile after this statement, replying: "If you're going to be sarcastic about something completely personal and frankly, none of your business, then I guess that's fine too."

She then instantly felt bad about it and started telling me he she "wasn't being sarcastic, etc." If she wasn't being sarcastic or trying to make a point, I really just don't understand why she said it in the first place.

My question is, when a friend (or anyone, really) says something "sarcastic," or "jokingly," where does the distinction between humor and meaning lie? Sometimes I feel as though a lot of people disguise how they really feel by putting it into the form of a joke, so when someone says something like "OH" to me, I don't respond to the (bullshit) excuse that someone was "just joking," and that that takes away the clout of any negative implications or insinuations.

In this friend of mine's social circle, this habit is particularly bad. I've heard them say absolutely horrible things to each other, but because they were "joking," it's "alright." Frankly, I find it cowardly and childish.

Imagine jokingly calling someone fat. To sit and pretend that because you were "joking," that means that the person you insulted has no concrete reason to have their feelings hurt is simply a cowardly and unjustified means of airing out how you truly feel. If you're going to be a three year old and tell me "OH," after I've chosen not to give out personal information, then I'm going to have a problem. Be an adult and tell me how you feel in plain English, because I refuse to respond to negative sarcasm.

Again, the question, where does the distinction between humor and meaning (meaning being the joke's "true intent"). Ideally, if someone has a problem, one should share it, not express it through snide, hurtful remarks. Is this not true, or am I living in a different world?
 

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I find it really difficult or next to impossible to infer meaning through chat/text/email as hidden meaning could be inferred far easier through tone and body language. "OH", could also have also implied, "oh, ok no problem". This situation comes up at work quite a bit where it's easy to think that someone's email is so terse when there was no intention. As an ENFP I go out of my way to use language in a way my messages could be interpreted however not everyone is like this.

In general sarcasm never comes off well in email unless you fully know the person you are dealing with. Based on your description, this could have been an over reaction on your part.
 
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from the perspective of one who gets these jokes, usually when people joke with each other like that it's a matter of trust. As in, you are such good friends that you know you don't need to be suspicious of each other's motives or get paranoid about their so-called "real" meaning or "implications" and then attack them with accusations about what they "truly" meant ---- because you actually know and trust and aren't prone to convicting a friend on so subjective/imaginary a basis. Within that, there is a range of what different people consider appropriate. But the main point is that these remarks are not hurtful to people who get it, not intended to be hurtful & usually do not express what one truly feels - often the opposite, as in when the joke is that something is so patently untrue that saying this negative & blatantly false thing is hilarious to the parties involved since the idea of it being true is, to them, ridiculous -- not actually plausible. Unfortunately, Ne is really good at ignoring context & thinks almost everything is plausible, so some people get completely confused - XNFPs are particularly prone to this. It's usually not a good tack to take with them.
fwiw

(But yes, passive-aggressive digs that people try to pass off as humour also exist)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Aghhhhh.... I did it again.

I suppose that I do tend to assume the worst in some people when I'm stressed. Thanks for pulling me back down to Earth. I can be a victim of my own imagination sometimes.
 

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i think your "oh" was more of a general "oh" of surprise than anything else, but i totally get that.

i disagree with irulin. i know INTJs are particularly prone to this where they make a joke which sounds demeaning and get all confused when others get offended, but that's because they are being insulting, even if they are being "sarcastic". i've literally known an INTJ friend who would spout of racist jokes, and because they were being sarcastic and playing on the ignorance OF racism, and using the irony of NOT seeing it that way, it's ok to them. the fact of the matter is they made a racist joke, and whilst it's ok if it's funny PURELY on the merit of it's irony, it's not ok if they're repeated and done without very good context for irony. i'm sorry it's not. that's just an example, and INTJs do this about everything- if someone's fat they make fat jokes. obviously the idea is to come back at them so it's "good natured" but i think it's "unnecessary" and "irritating".

and then yeah i also agree that you get the passive aggresive comments which are just pathetic and insecure.
 

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i think your "oh" was more of a general "oh" of surprise than anything else, but i totally get that.

i disagree with irulin. i know INTJs are particularly prone to this where they make a joke which sounds demeaning and get all confused when others get offended, but that's because they are being insulting, even if they are being "sarcastic". i've literally known an INTJ friend who would spout of racist jokes, and because they were being sarcastic and playing on the ignorance OF racism, and using the irony of NOT seeing it that way, it's ok to them. the fact of the matter is they made a racist joke, and whilst it's ok if it's funny PURELY on the merit of it's irony, it's not ok if they're repeated and done without very good context for irony. i'm sorry it's not. that's just an example, and INTJs do this about everything- if someone's fat they make fat jokes. obviously the idea is to come back at them so it's "good natured" but i think it's "unnecessary" and "irritating".

and then yeah i also agree that you get the passive aggresive comments which are just pathetic and insecure.
INTJs and ENFPS in this combination are bad. "funny PURELY on the merit of it's irony" is essentially the whole point with us. Plus we assume it IS very good context: friends = people who don't hurt each other is the base assumption so anything interpretation we think is reasonable has to incorporate it. Or we think that in our actions it is so obvious that we are not racist/sexist/whatever that to take the joke the wrong way means you doubt that, which can be unexpected/insulting/etc. INTJs take trust & understanding - knowing who a person is - really seriously and the ability to push it verbally & be understood is almost interpreted as proof of friendship. Whereas to ENFPs the basic, obvious part is the idea that it could cause hurt, the blatantly obvious part to the INTJs is the perspective, the context that should neutralise that hurt, eliminate the insult. It is there, we see it - not everyone else will see it or or treat it as relevant though.

The problem is people usually tell us off by claiming what we "really" meant, or ascribing intentionality on our part re their emotional reaction - the reaction we did not intend or suspect. The reaction that is really - to our mind - the fault of your misperceptions/mistrust. Whereas, if someone just says "it's a sensitive topic - don't joke about xyz with me" it's much easier to back off. There are still the "but you should learn to deal with it!" ones, but they're usually being immature -- that kind of pushy is uncalled for. Obviously many of you will not share this mindset and there is no problem with that - but it helps to know where people are coming from in this. If you look like you are only hurt by this because you do not understand, there is much less incentive for the other to change their actions - they will instead expect you to change, to learn to understand. And so you're both expecting each other to change and it doesn't get anywhere... there can be a conversation and solution though, if it is dealt with properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
INTJs take trust & understanding - knowing who a person is - really seriously and the ability to push it verbally & be understood is almost interpreted as proof of friendship.
The safety net of friendship in a conversation is often thrown out of the window in my mind whenever someone says something negative (not entirely sure what encompasses "negative," but pretty much anything that seems to put a damper on the mood). I tend to judge a relationship by how much the conversation lacks these sort of statements, so I can certainly see the latent insecurity/doubt this sort of misunderstanding could create. It seems to me that ENFP and INTJ just rely on opposing factors of friendship for their "proof" of it. As you say, an INTJ looks for signs of understanding (which I do now comprehend, because I've certainly played this ball park before), while an ENFP will look for straightforward signs of reassurance (which, I suppose can be done through a sense of understanding, but this process can easily head down a different road).

I was thinking about the conversation again yesterday, and to an extent, because I've known this girl and her friends for three years now, I have a grasp on when she and her friends are being passive-aggressive. Perhaps "OH." wasn't the most obviously negative statement of the night, but I also have to take into consideration just how immature these people can be sometimes (a trait further indicated by having asked me something personal on FACEBOOK CHAT). While I admit I may have overreacted to that particular instance, she now at least knows not to play that game with me (which I know she does play frequently with people).
 

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^ If they've done it before, then it seems normal to be suspicious - even I might be, though I tend not to notice insults & would never pick up on OH. Wouldn't occur to me. As much as it is sometimes paranoia, ENFPs are better at recognising subtle threats where INTJs don't bother thinking about it & we can get burnt by that.

But I have learnt to be far more cautious around my ENFP friends than with others because they don't want to deal with some of the things I can say and I don't want to deal with doubt that seems to express a threat to the friendship. We'd both have to stop&think&recalibrate every time. It seems an unnecessary hassle. But when I do slip up I can be totally anal-retentive about ensuring they know what I actually meant before I promise to avoid, if I can remember, such statements in future. Like, really anal-retentive.

I find my worst instances are with ENTP actually - they dish it out, seem like they can take it so I'm feeling all safe and then wham! - Ne in overdrive. They really can't take it a lot of the time but there is never any warning.
 
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INTJs and ENFPS in this combination are bad. "funny PURELY on the merit of it's irony" is essentially the whole point with us. Plus we assume it IS very good context: friends = people who don't hurt each other is the base assumption so anything interpretation we think is reasonable has to incorporate it. Or we think that in our actions it is so obvious that we are not racist/sexist/whatever that to take the joke the wrong way means you doubt that, which can be unexpected/insulting/etc. INTJs take trust & understanding - knowing who a person is - really seriously and the ability to push it verbally & be understood is almost interpreted as proof of friendship. Whereas to ENFPs the basic, obvious part is the idea that it could cause hurt, the blatantly obvious part to the INTJs is the perspective, the context that should neutralise that hurt, eliminate the insult. It is there, we see it - not everyone else will see it or or treat it as relevant though.

The problem is people usually tell us off by claiming what we "really" meant, or ascribing intentionality on our part re their emotional reaction - the reaction we did not intend or suspect. The reaction that is really - to our mind - the fault of your misperceptions/mistrust. Whereas, if someone just says "it's a sensitive topic - don't joke about xyz with me" it's much easier to back off. There are still the "but you should learn to deal with it!" ones, but they're usually being immature -- that kind of pushy is uncalled for. Obviously many of you will not share this mindset and there is no problem with that - but it helps to know where people are coming from in this. If you look like you are only hurt by this because you do not understand, there is much less incentive for the other to change their actions - they will instead expect you to change, to learn to understand. And so you're both expecting each other to change and it doesn't get anywhere... there can be a conversation and solution though, if it is dealt with properly.
but no. that's JUST the misconception INTJs have! i'm well aware that INTJs have good intentions, but that's totally not the point. INTJs will make a joke in exactly the same way as an ignorant or purely offensive person will make a joke and then be shocked as if their joke was LACED with IRONY. i can understand how the mindset of the INTJ was very different from an offensive person, but you need to prove that in the way you phrase things. i know how to make an ironic joke to make someone feel better about a sensitive issue, and the INTJ approach as i've observed it is not it. it doesn't even have to be something which is an issue, INTJs will somehow find all the weakpoints in a person's armour and start plugging away, and will even get worse and worse if the person can't be bothered hitting back.

the fact is the KEY reason i think INTJs are misunderstood and shocked about it is they don't realise that people are made to feel DIFFERENT. for example, a fat person doesn't like being constantly told they are fat, ironic or no, they might appreciate a rare fat joke if it's funny enough, but if it's repeated they're just going to be pissed off.

the fact is, that this is some kind of urge which INTJs deal with, as in they can't seem to live without doing it, kind of like our flakiness is something we feel misunderstood for, and whilst they are awesome half the time, i really can't be asked dealing with the other half. it is essentially the INTJ asking the question "we are such good friends that if i insult you now, it will be considered irony and you will be ok with it yes?" and then repeating it if there is no answer, i'd rather just have a positive contribution thanks.
 

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It's not a misconception. It is a perspective.
And it IS the point - to us. You can have a different priority that is just as valid without it negating or invalidating ours. You try to claim only one perspective is valid and you will get nowhere with INTJs. There are millions of viable perspectives to everything.

INTJs think they have already proven it by actions, by being a friend (what GoGo called the safety net of friendship), so to add gushy phrasing is not only redundant, but distasteful & can even look expressive of doubt. Which is why we ourselves usually can put up with all kinds of bullshit from people so long as they are friends without even considering it a problem. The point in everything is the intention. Also, when INTJs say "hello" it is laced with irony half the time. The irony is there. Just because you do not see it nor care for it does not make it nonexistant. This is how we talk and we understand our intentions and it works in many contexts with others who understand too.

There is a difference between disliking something and pronouncing it wrong. These jokes are generally not a good tactic to take with ENFPs & a few other types, as they are liable to misinterpret it and even the few that don't often dislike it - just as gushing and hugs and gossip and clinginess are all bad tactics to take with INTJs. But what makes them bad tactics is the target's preferences - none are inherently bad. Anyone of course has a right to ask people not to treat them in a way that hurts them - but to misunderstand or dismiss someone else's perspective as irrelevant is not a kind thing to do either, and, most of all, it is not terribly functional when negotiating such a request.
 

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, but because they were "joking," it's "alright."
Amen. My brother is a tested signed-sealed, very polarized ESTP club promoter. Growing up this was his standard automatic response to any teasing, even any physical attack (he's only 16 months younger). He didn't want to play by the rules: he did what he wanted, he followed any impulse, what's mine was his and what's his was his.

Everytime I'd go running to mom as a kid I'd hear "I was just joking" whether it was something he said or a friendly "tap" that was really a sucker punch. Yes, it was really frustrating. He's gotten somewhat more mature, but his old self still comes out like last spring when he fired into my face (no goggles) with an airsoft shotgun barely missing my eyes thinking it was a "joke" and just for fun.

Like GoGo, I don't mind when people ask about personal stuff but if they don't back off when I don't want to talk about it I snap too.
 
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