Saturday, May 14, 2011

Human Relationships: It's the Same Old Patriarchal Story.

For whatever random reason I was searching for INTJs and something on displays of emotion (for info on INTJs, see the Meyers Briggs Temperment Indicator) and ran across a thread in a forum back in '08. The guy in a relationship was asking how to better meet the emotional needs of his INTJ girlfriend.

It was very educational, in a discouraging way.

For starters, the men in it uniformly seem to be operating from the idea that INTJ women like stereotypically feminine stuff, even when they've demonstrated in the relationship (via what might be perceived to be classic masculine, i.e., emotionally closed off, behaviors) that such is not true. Basically, the patriarchy is overwhelming these poor guys' perceptions of what their relationship should be like, so they couldn't see what their relationship actually WAS like.

All of the suggestions for what the clueless INTP guy should do for his INTJ girlfriend were flowing primarily from those sexist belief structures, rather than any awareness of what INTJs might actually like. I saw one or two comments from INTJ women who actually bothered to say anything in this thread, but, when what they said ("alone time, please") was completely ignored, I was, shall we say, less than completely surprised.

For this reason, I believe I will have to update my "care and feeding of your INTJ mate" blog post that I wrote sometime in the last decade.

For now, however:

What do INTJ women want? Time. Independence. Consultation on decisions affecting both of you. Intellectual stimulation. Self-reliance - in you. (An INTJ woman has to be very disciplined to pick up after your ass, so, be a polite roommate even after marriage.) Lots and lots of alone time - which means, you go do something with your friends, and leave her behind. Seriously. Join a soccer league or bowling, or cooking class, that gets you out of the house so she can sit and read, or meditate, or take a long walk and think deep thoughts, by herself. Buy useful gifts like an emergency kit for her car - and consult her on which one she thinks is best. Tell her you were thinking going to (poetry reading, art gallery, film festival, play, CES, IEEE annual conference) might be interesting, and ask would she like to go together? If she says yes, ask her if she would like to plan the weekend/day/evening, or just play things by ear once you get there? ALWAYS follow through on plans once you've agreed to them with her. INTJs are very good at backup plans, so if Plan A is falling to pieces on the fly, call her and tell her, so she can present Plan B and you will both remain in synchronicity with each other, and she will not be nervously wondering what the hell you are doing to her tidy plan. Romantic dinners with flowers, etc., aren't that thrilling to us unless you've proposed a "romantic date night" well in advance, but browsing different sections of bookstores or libraries on a Saturday afternoon and then regrouping to share what you've discovered is lots of fun.

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