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I'm a college student and I chose to live with a random assortment of roommates this year. One of them is an INTP, and the rest including me are Feeling types (INFP, INFP, ISFJ). The INTP is very smart, but also has a tendency to be the devil's advocate or test the strength of statements that are just thrown out in casual conversation, leading to heated arguments often fueled by him only to arrive at a conclusion that wasn't so different than what was said initially.

Things like this have made him an eccentric figure to live with, and the other two roommates don't really understand him. They talk about him like he's a bit loose in the head, even though we all like him despite his faults. I'm an INFP, but I've taken tests where I've gotten INTP just because I've developed my Thinking function so much that some people familiar with Myers-Briggs are surprised that I am a Feeler (but us INFPs tend to keep our feelings reserved, so often I relate to others through impersonal ideas). Because of this, I can go toe-to-toe with him in an argument (though I'm less thorough in my thought process), and I can relate to him more and talk about the things he talks about. I guess that's just the INFP adaptability that allows me to do that.

But I understand his eccentricity, and I know that he's not weird, he just thinks very thoroughly and doesn't prioritize social norms. He will often make bad impressions because the way he says things and challenges others seems aggressive (and really is, but he doesn't see it that way). I'll get looks from other people when this happens, but later when they talk about it I feel obligated to explain his perspective.

I feel like a mediator of sorts. Or an ambassador between him and others. Because I understand him, I have a great respect for him and his intelligence, and that respect makes me feel obligated to try to explain him to others. But at the same time, I don't feel like he understands that I understand him, or if he felt that I thought that, he would become offended or irritated.

In short, I respect him and his way of thinking because of his unique intelligence (he's crazy logical and thorough), but I feel hurt in some ways that that respect is not reciprocated.

Maybe all of this sounds strange and wishy-washy. I'm not complaining or trying to pity myself; I'm looking for some insight on this dynamic and the thought processes involved. I've never been friends with another INTP before. Any thoughts?
 

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I have an INFP friend but I don't really need him as a mediator to make myself understood among others.

This doesn't really have to do with what type you are, but more with how mature you are. Playing the devil's advocate is less about arriving at a conclusion and more about testing the boundaries of a concept. While you and the other feelers might find it to be unnecessary and annoying he finds it entertaining. But your and their type should not dictate whether you can accept this behavior or not. They just need to learn how to do it, like you seem to have.

You need to be able to keep an open mind in order to discuss with an INTP. So I'd say you're more of a mediator to your other friends and not the INTP. It just happens to be him they clash with the most since you guys are roommates.

Also if they think it's bad when an INTP plays the devil's advocate never let them get into an argument with an ENTP. They would break completely from the verbal slaughter the ENTP would present.
 

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Ha, my brother is an ENTP and he is annoying to argue with, because he will argue extreme conclusions that are difficult to break down though I feel they are wrong.

But yes, I believe you're right in saying that I am a mediator to my friends and not to my roommate, and maybe it just is because they are immature in that respect. Hell, it's mostly their friends that end up in those weird situations with the INTP, it could be that they are similar in levels of maturity to my other roommates.

Thanks for the reply! Maybe I'm just reading too much into the situation. I think I'm somewhat hurt because I am one of the few that seems to understand him, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I should be valued more for that. Doesn't even necessarily mean that he doesn't recognize my understanding of him either.

I guess what prompted this post more is that lately he's been taking things that I've been saying or doing personally and then getting frustrated. For example, I'll make a remark at him in a light-hearted way and he will get mad, and then I will downplay it because I didn't mean anything more than a playful jab. Things like that make me feel like he misunderstands my perception of him.
 

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Living with most Feelers is honestly the worst. I am surprised he has not shot himself yet. Maybe he gets some sadistic pleasure from seeing you guys all flustered.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Lol you're probably right, he's a bit of a hermit in his room but he makes do with his situation.
 

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First of all... you being the mediator isn't something that holds any value to him. He doesn't care about people who take such roles even if it's his roomate.

Diraga said:
and I can relate to him more and talk about the things he talks about. I guess that's just the INFP adaptability that allows me to do that.
In a way, that's also called being mature. Good job.

Diraga said:
I feel like a mediator of sorts. Or an ambassador between him and others. Because I understand him, I have a great respect for him and his intelligence, and that respect makes me feel obligated to try to explain him to others. But at the same time, I don't feel like he understands that I understand him, or if he felt that I thought that, he would become offended or irritated.
You're not obligated to do anything, you won't win his respect by explaining him to others. In fact, you may only irritate him by doing that.

The thing is... he doesn't want to understand. It's not even about understanding.

Also, he wouldn't become irritated or offended.
Why?​

Because again... he doesn't even think about you thinking he understands you understand him. Again, he doesn't care about that.


Just relaxing when around him, being goofy and nice while not taking most of things he takes seriously is enough. You don't have to be a saint around him.
 

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Living with most Feelers is honestly the worst. I am surprised he has not shot himself yet. Maybe he gets some sadistic pleasure from seeing you guys all flustered.
I was thinking the same. It's not the person who follows reason and logic's fault; it's the fault of the people who choose not to's fault.
 
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With my previous experience with having an INFP as a 'mediator', (I'm going to stop that Nope.train from barreling through the tunnel at 600mph) and say that you'd better off getting:

A) An ENTP as a mediator during the actual argument
B) An INTP after the argument to piece together and make a list of everything to possibly do after the smoke has cleared.
C) An ENTJ to come to an ethical conclusion.
D) An INFJ / ISFJ to be the actual mediator.
E) An INTJ to fact check and proof check for bullshit.

Where does that leave the INFP you ask? Well, I'm currently running after the nope.train to stop the conductor...

With that out the way, you do not have to, nor is it your obligation. Sometimes the INTP might be 'stress testing' or potentially bouncing ideas off the premise of the argument or situation. But he'll never tell you flat out unless you ask.
 

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Two thoughts I'd like to offer:

1) If you're dissatisfied with how the INTP is responding, then it would be completely fine for you to stop mediating for him. Honestly, he probably doesn't care whether you mediate for him or not; INTPs have their own way of getting through the world (it might look to you like he's in a bad situation because people dislike him, but he can probably take care of himself and the situation might be fine for him). In my experience with INTPs and favors, the INTP is completely fine with you doing or not doing the favor (they might think it's nice of you if you do do the favor), but what they're not okay with is you thinking the favor entails any obligation on their part (even if that obligation is gratitude).

2) You think the INTP doesn't respect you; but are you sure that's really the case? INTPs have a different way of showing respect than INFPs (we might not very explicitly show respect at all, but in our mind have respect for you). And if this INTP is anything like me: what I would respect wouldn't be you mediating for me, but just that you understand me. The way I tend to show that I respect someone is by having one-on-one conversations with them on topics that I care about (often intellectually exploring topics like philosophy, social norms, etc., but it depends on the interests of your INTP). If I have a long conversation with you about it and ask questions that probe into your viewpoint -- especially if I point out flaws in your argument and want to hear how you respond -- then I probably respect you.

Also, a general point: INTPs value disagreement/criticism more than harmony/mediation. I don't want people to agree with me, I want people to disagree with me, so I can see what the flaws in my thinking are and improve it. Someone agreeing with me adds nothing to my understanding. I respect someone who comes up with a legitimate criticism of my idea 100x more than someone who agrees with it (in fact, you'll only get my respect if you can come up with legitimate criticisms of my ideas at least sometimes; otherwise, you're one of the sheeple :p). So don't assume that the INTP wants agreement and harmony, because we generally don't. Our ideal atmosphere is one where we respect each other as people, and rip each other's ideas apart.
 
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