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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here it goes:

I'm a little afraid of posting this, because I'm not entirely sure how to word it without completely embarrassing myself. But I'm sure the answers will surprise me.

I've had an INTJ 5 girlfriend since we were both teens. I'm a couple years older than she is, which made a difference in the beginning. When we were first cultivating our relationship in those early years, she used to make a point to tell me how smart I was. She'd make a big deal out of my vocabulary. We liked to be condescending bitches with each other about everyone else. She deferred to me on various topics. As a pompous 4, I lapped it up and believed every word.

Time has passed and we lost contact for a few years after a falling out which involved me overwhelming her with the desire for intimacy. I also moved to another country. We're now both over 30. A couple years ago, we found each other again. We were immediately in the same mental space we had been in when we were close, but there's definitely a wall there too. Also, our lives are so different now. I'm a wife and mother of two children. She has a live-in boyfriend and has been in college bouncing from one branch of engineering to another. After so much schooling, I went through a period where I wondered if she'd still respect me or if she'd find my intellect lacking. I probably care too much about it.

I've been surprised that she still makes comments like she used to about how I should be a therapist because I "know so much" about people and she still comments about my vocabulary and makes other comments that elevate me as an intellectual. She speaks as though she sees me as "more" intellectually than herself. But what's different is, I am more self-aware now and less given to believing I'm so very great. I still attach a lot of meaning to my intellect and want to be seen as intelligent. But how can she, with so much schooling and with her brain that works the way that it does, actually think that about me? I do read a lot, but most people who have spent the time and money on schooling don't necessarily recognize that as having as much worth as perhaps I would.

Whether or not I am actually particularly intelligent is unimportant. Whether or not my friend believes it is what I want to know.

My question is this:

Would an intelligent INTJ use flattery in this way?

I know every person is an individual. What one person would do, another person with similar characteristics may not. If you feel I am not sharing enough information for you to answer, please ask me questions the answers to which might help you help me understand whether I can trust that my friend is being honest with me. I wonder whether she is flattering me as a mechanism to help her hide from me. I wonder whether she is using it because she knows I used to be so very distracted by my own ego; if she is still fearful of my desire for intimacy and is trying to keep my attention on myself.
 

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Personally, I would say that there is a chance I would compliment someone with an eye to how they would feel, but the important thing is: every word of it would be true. I can't bring myself to say that something is good when they is not true.
 

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Given how often INTJs tend to have to be bullied and extorted and threatened into giving compliments, she probably means it.
 

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It's been said that INTJs are incapable of saying something to make the other person feel better, and I agree. We tend to have fairly unique perspectives - if she says she thinks highly of you, then she thinks highly of you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Though I wouldn't now trade my life for another, I am still jealous of her freedom to basically be a "professional student." She gets to immerse herself in mental stimulation without the constant distraction of children and other things of family life. Maybe I'm projecting my own feelings of inadequacy onto her comments. Thank you so much for answering. :)
 

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Maybe I'm projecting my own feelings of inadequacy onto her comments.
That does tend to happen around INTJs. It's like we have a gift for making others insecure.

It sucks sometimes.
 

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There are three reasons I would flatter someone:

1. I'm comfortable with and extremely fond of you and I really think you are all that.
2. I want something from you. I want to be in your good books in the future. Works better if you're in positions of authority. But I feel like a sellout every time I do it so this doesn't happen often.
3. Occasionally I just like to be nice. Is that so hard to believe? :p

I'm a fiercely genuine person, but if push comes to shove, I don't need to believe in your excellence to kiss your ass. I have high standards and a "unique perspective", but I try not to let that hinder practicality in crucial moments.

What happens most often is that I don't flatter anyone at all, but if she does it all the time, believe her. I remember the time when I actually genuinely complimented somebody I'm highly indebted to. "You have no idea how much we love your class, simply because you're a genuinely talented and passionate teacher." Something this frank came out voluntarily, once in my life.

But how can she, with so much schooling and with her brain that works the way that it does, actually think that about me?
This is the funniest thing I've ever read. I have a very close INTP friend and yesterday she started complimenting me very er... flatteringly. She told me how I was one of the smartest people she's ever met and that she thinks I will succeed in college and I have "that quality" while she doesn't, and that I'm smarter than she is. I felt like somebody had stuffed a ball of flour into my mouth and I literally couldn't speak because I feel the exact same way about her and tried to make that clear- that SHE was one of the most intelligent person I've ever met and I think she will definitely make something great out of herself and that she was probably a genius who is much more intelligent than I am. And then she cut me off: "why do you keep interrupting me when I'm appreciating you?"
 
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I've been surprised that she still makes comments like she used to about how I should be a therapist because I "know so much" about people and she still comments about my vocabulary and makes other comments that elevate me as an intellectual. She speaks as though she sees me as "more" intellectually than herself.
i am a fairly socially well-adjusted INTJ: it still makes me gag to think of flattering someone! :) that's a double shitty deal of a). not being honest and fudging about what you think and b). participating in some pointless social ritual. as an INTJ myself i can definitely appreciate the difference between "bookish" knowledge, academic thinking and real-life wisdom. so can it not be possible that your INTJ girlfriend sees you as simply being clued in to people and their psychology?

flattery as a mechanism to hide from someone has a limited, short term efficiency as a strategy: it only works as long as the subject is willing to be blinded by their ostensible awesomeness. i wouldn't personally ever bank on it myself. OTOH, encouraging a person to talk more about themselves and professing an interest in their minds... that effectively deflects quite a few times. such attention can be flattering but you're not per se flattering the subject. :)

just a thought, but you could always try having a blunt conversation that could get very interesting: "what exactly is it about me that you find so intelligent?" - that way you learn about what the lady thinks of as intelligence, what in you she finds intelligent etc.

oh and also: seeing someone as intelligent doesn't mean you're seeing yourself as being less! - i openly make appreciative remarks to some people i consider brainy and i definitely don't mean to imply that i think any less of myself or that they're brainier than i. the remark is simply what it is: an appreciation of their capabilities.
 

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My intelligent INTJ boyfriend does not use flattery in the sense that he wants to boost someone's esteem. He only gives compliments when he observes that someone has a particularly strong quality that may go unaccredited for as he loves to see people live up to their potential.

Perhaps your friend also sees that you have potential which probably stems from her extraverted intuition. Since INTJs tend to see that all individuals have their own individual strengths and qualities. With you, she probably sees that you have a naturally strong intuitive understanding in certain matters especially when it comes to people which makes sense since you're an INFJ.
 

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There is another side of this that has been left off the table: How does your friend see herself? There is the potential for her to see herself lower than she really is which would explain most of this pretty easily. Granted I'm probably an INTJ 1 that may make my view a bit different, but the point is likely still valid. Another side to this is to what extent could each of you sum up your life into a few points and how well does the other see it that way. For example, for all her schooling there may be a dimension of futility there in trying this and that while you may have progressed past that same level of education presuming that the bounce is staying in the same level but changing majors or something similar. If she has a bunch of degrees then there may be something to her motivation of absorbing as much as is out there as her passion that she may have higher standards than where she is which wouldn't be her view of you.

I'm not saying that she is depressed but just tossing out the idea. Another side is how she may analyze herself differently than you. Some people aren't great at self-analysis would be another way to put some of this. While you have your self-awareness, she may not have that. My guess is that she is being honest with you though if you want more information for why she has that view then I wish you good luck on that as you may be trying to crack open that tough nut as some INxJ may hide their view of the world from most people.
 

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Flattery is useless. However, it is possible to be INTJ and able to give compliments. I think there are more social ones besides me out there. :)
 

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I don't even like random flattery myself, especially bad flattery. For example, they compliment on my looks, which I can't really control, so I don't really care. They have to be really observant to actually have flattery work on me. I don't use it, pointlessly stroking egos is not only useless, but probably more harmful than anything else. Although, if I'm flattering someone, more likely I don't care anything at all about them. Useful with people with abrasive personalities who have their heads stuck up their own rear so far they can't smell the bull that I'm using on them that is mocking them at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Phew! That was eating me up. I am trying to release my perfectionism, but I had a hard time sleeping last night knowing what a big mess this post was. lol.

So, just a warning, some emotional diarrhea follows:

You have all made me feel so good that I was moved to text the friend of which I speak out of the blue with: "I love you!" which I knew would throw her off.

So I waited for it.

Her reply was hilarious to me, as expected: "I don't understand what just happened..." which was followed by: "Either you finished reading (the book I just recommended) or this was meant for someone else." And then: "Either way I'm uncomfortable."

To which I replied by laughing and then: "Neither. I was on a forum I just discovered that discusses typology for a while today interacting with girls your type. It made me think of you,which sent me down memory lane. So I had to tell you I loved you, or explode."

I'll leave some out so as not to bore anyone.

Then she said: "I'm literally in the library right now studying for my logic class when I ironically get a text from you forcing me to feel/think about emotion. My first reaction was panic, followed by confusion."

I said: "I know! That's what makes it so funny!"

And, in conclusion, she said: "BTW-I love you too, but let's never speak of this again." to which I replied her secret was safe with me.

I've been so happy and laughing on and off all afternoon about it! Thank you everyone!
 

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I give compliments when they are warranted. I pick out things that I like about people and tell them. It's actually how I have learned to cope getting by as an INTJ. They are sincerely meant and there is no ulterior motives apart from people actually seeing that I am in fact an approachable person who notices other people. People are often surprised as I guess I am somewhat aloof.

I think flattery implies being fake when giving compliments. In which case I don't flatter, I compliment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
There is another side of this that has been left off the table: How does your friend see herself? There is the potential for her to see herself lower than she really is which would explain most of this pretty easily. Granted I'm probably an INTJ 1 that may make my view a bit different, but the point is likely still valid. Another side to this is to what extent could each of you sum up your life into a few points and how well does the other see it that way. For example, for all her schooling there may be a dimension of futility there in trying this and that while you may have progressed past that same level of education presuming that the bounce is staying in the same level but changing majors or something similar. If she has a bunch of degrees then there may be something to her motivation of absorbing as much as is out there as her passion that she may have higher standards than where she is which wouldn't be her view of you.

I'm not saying that she is depressed but just tossing out the idea. Another side is how she may analyze herself differently than you. Some people aren't great at self-analysis would be another way to put some of this. While you have your self-awareness, she may not have that. My guess is that she is being honest with you though if you want more information for why she has that view then I wish you good luck on that as you may be trying to crack open that tough nut as some INxJ may hide their view of the world from most people.
Somehow I missed this post when you first posted it! It's great! I value her so deeply and I'm afraid of pushing her away the way I did when we were in our early twenties and room mates. I've thought all these things too. She comes from an unhealthy family. Well, who doesn't to some extent, I know. For many years I marvelled that she seemed to be the only "normal" one. A couple years ago, she came to visit us (from California to Ontario, Canada) and I realized she has some issues I hadn't noticed when we were younger. I know she has a low opinion of herself. There are some physical issues she has overcome but that affected her femininity when she was a teen. Plus her mother had them do independent studies for high school and her education suffered. Her spelling is atrocious. So is my NT husband's, which I find funny. He's sensitive about that too, but it's his own stinking fault for not putting forth the effort required while in school!! LOL. (He's ENTP). Hopefully I haven't rambled too much. My point started out as being, "I'm afraid to try prying the information out for fear of losing her again" but it's my nature to want to understand and help people feel better about themselves.

Ok, I am rambling, but you are free not to read it. ha ha!

I do believe she is a less than optimally healthy 5. It is my belief that she is staying in school longer than makes any real sense. I'm still jealous of her freedom and fantasize about doing it myself, but I do believe she is probably switching from major to major to avoid having to enter the real world "unprepared." I don't know that she would recognize that consciously. I haven't had the opportunity to discuss it with her in depth. And I'm sure as hell not going to start out by telling her that. She does acknowledge her own intelligence. Some of our texts that I left out of my post below show that. I'm laughing as I think of it. I told her I'd shared her technique for choosing clothing with some people here and that someone called it "genius." I said I hoped she didn't mind my sharing her systems with other people and she said: "NP - there's plenty genius to go around." hahahaha!

Sorry if I'm not entirely focused.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
so can it not be possible that your INTJ girlfriend sees you as simply being clued in to people and their psychology?

flattery as a mechanism to hide from someone has a limited, short term efficiency as a strategy: it only works as long as the subject is willing to be blinded by their ostensible awesomeness. i wouldn't personally ever bank on it myself. OTOH, encouraging a person to talk more about themselves and professing an interest in their minds... that effectively deflects quite a few times. such attention can be flattering but you're not per se flattering the subject. :)

just a thought, but you could always try having a blunt conversation that could get very interesting: "what exactly is it about me that you find so intelligent?" - that way you learn about what the lady thinks of as intelligence, what in you she finds intelligent etc.

oh and also: seeing someone as intelligent doesn't mean you're seeing yourself as being less! - i openly make appreciative remarks to some people i consider brainy and i definitely don't mean to imply that i think any less of myself or that they're brainier than i. the remark is simply what it is: an appreciation of their capabilities.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

I'm so glad I posted my question. I probably over use this, but it continues to be true over and over, so I'll accept a little redundancy in myself:

I am often SO BLINDED by so much intuitive input with my own personal relationships that I can't see the forest for the trees. All the things that have been said so far help me focus on this from the right angle so that I can see more clearly what is happening and strip away the emotions that I have in reaction to misunderstanding.

Thank you for this strategy for finding out the answers I want from the source! I knew an emotionally-driven approach would possibly backfire but I have difficulty devising truly objective approaches. So this very straightforward question is perfect - of course. :D I can definitely see her answering that question.
 

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Would an intelligent INTJ use flattery in this way? ...help me understand whether I can trust that my friend is being honest with me. I wonder whether she is flattering me as a mechanism to help her hide from me. I wonder whether she is using it because she knows I used to be so very distracted by my own ego; if she is still fearful of my desire for intimacy and is trying to keep my attention on myself.
As an INTJ would I personally use flattery? Yes. I am open to using any skill I have if a specific situation calls for it. It's how we survive the social world. Am I fond of using flattery, or trust it when it's used on me? Oh, hell no.

As an outsider looking in I can only guess the reasons why your friend is telling you these nice things. You seem to be looking for what her motives are, not just what her actions are. I can't say why your friend is telling you how smart and great you are, but I can say that to me it looks like she is trying to communicate that you are important and valuable to her.

She could be doing this for any reason. It's quite possible she senses your feelings of insecurity and is desperately trying to give you some footing to stand on. This would benefit her in two ways. One - you would be standing on your own and her friend is happier. Two - you're no longer leaning on her, which most INTJs prefer.

I think there is no danger in letting yourself believe what she's saying. In any case it's meant to make you feel better. Allow her to do that for you. I would also recommend giving your friendship some breathing room and time. I'm not saying time and space apart; I'm saying sit back and enjoy it without the microscope out, and allow her to rebuild comfort and trust between you again. If she's giving you the "hiding vibe" then the last thing you should do is project your mistrust or start smothering her. Relax and enjoy your reconnected friendship.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
As an INTJ would I personally use flattery? Yes. I am open to using any skill I have if a specific situation calls for it. It's how we survive the social world. Am I fond of using flattery, or trust it when it's used on me? Oh, hell no.

As an outsider looking in I can only guess the reasons why your friend is telling you these nice things. You seem to be looking for what her motives are, not just what her actions are. I can't say why your friend is telling you how smart and great you are, but I can say that to me it looks like she is trying to communicate that you are important and valuable to her.

She could be doing this for any reason. It's quite possible she senses your feelings of insecurity and is desperately trying to give you some footing to stand on. This would benefit her in two ways. One - you would be standing on your own and her friend is happier. Two - you're no longer leaning on her, which most INTJs prefer.

I think there is no danger in letting yourself believe what she's saying. In any case it's meant to make you feel better. Allow her to do that for you. I would also recommend giving your friendship some breathing room and time. I'm not saying time and space apart; I'm saying sit back and enjoy it without the microscope out, and allow her to rebuild comfort and trust between you again. If she's giving you the "hiding vibe" then the last thing you should do is project your mistrust or start smothering her. Relax and enjoy your reconnected friendship.
Another invaluable response. Truly. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I don't even like random flattery myself, especially bad flattery. For example, they compliment on my looks, which I can't really control, so I don't really care. They have to be really observant to actually have flattery work on me. I don't use it, pointlessly stroking egos is not only useless, but probably more harmful than anything else. Although, if I'm flattering someone, more likely I don't care anything at all about them. Useful with people with abrasive personalities who have their heads stuck up their own rear so far they can't smell the bull that I'm using on them that is mocking them at the same time.
This actually sounds like something she would say! lol
 
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