INTPs and Social Situations

I get bored sometimes and will be Inclined to Google a random term related to MBTI. Sometimes I find a lack or articles on a subject, and this time I wanted to give the world my view on it.

INTPs are often presented with the shy stereotype or the socially awkward stereotype. This is not universal. Some of us are, some of us aren’t. However, I have been wondering which category I fall into. Am I shy or just an introvert?

The best analogy I can come up with is, imagine a classroom full of students. The teacher is going to have a group project and has the students leave their desk. The extrovert jumps up and goes over to join the group. He’s excited to be with his friends and work together, and get to talk out new ideas and other things. The introvert stays at his desk. He has no desire to have his personal space invaded. He reads a book instead- too much noise, too many people, too much chatter, and he works best solo or with a very close friend or two- not a bunch of random classmates… and he has nothing to say anyway. The shy person stays at his desk. Whether he would be an introvert or an extrovert, is totally irrelevant. He may or may not have the desire to join the group, but either way he’s simply too afraid to join the group, or if he does, he’s afraid to say anything, feeling much too self-conciseness to risk it.

I believe I’m just the introvert. A rather awkward introvert.

Okay, let’s cut to the chase: I think most INTPs would be fine if there was some kind of understandable logic in the social world. We can’t understand why we talk about the weather or what this famous person did or about really shallow topics. We don’t care about those things. If we wanted to know about the weather we’d watch the news and if we wanted to know about that girl we’d have asked. In other words, we just don’t care about small talk. We assume no one else cares either, so we don’t want to burden you with it and we can’t understand why you must burden us with it.

Once we figure out that it’s normal, we try to participate, but really it makes our brains hurt. We don’t naturally conform to small talk. It just feels SO fake. If there’s one thing INTPs don’t like it’s fake people, and having to be one to conform is awful. Add to that we know we’re not doing a very good job wit the entire social situation, and the fact that INTPs have this thing where they don’t publicly do things they are bad at because they can’t stand it if people think they’re stupid, and we have a recipe for social awkwardness.

For some reason, I see a lot of ENFPs on message boards saying how “adorable” or “cute” they think awkward INTPs are. I have to admit I get a laugh out of that. It sure as heck doesn’t strike me as cute, but then again my only viewpoint is internal. I highly doubt anyone I know thinks along those lines, however. Either we need more ENFPs or we need more adept INTPs. Or both. lol.

Okay, take this meme/comic/whatever:

How I feel in social situations, so true!

If you can’r read it, it says,

Am I smiling enough? Should I be leaning on something? Where should my hands go?I hope he doesn’t ask me what his name is. I’ve said “yeah” too much; what are some other agreeing words? Oh crap his story just got sad stop smiling stop smiling!

That’s what it’s like for us- or at least for me anyway. It all feels unnatural and fake. If you make one mistake, the impression will last, so it’s a lot of pressure to appear normal but not look like we’re trying too hard. I never know what to do with my hands, I don’t know if I should smile more or less, I don’t know if I should look them in the eye or not- if you do it too much it’s creepy, too little and they think you’re being sneaky, where’s the happy medium? Should I lean in? Most people do. But I have a thing with personal space and people love to invade it. Even though everyone else leans in to invade mine, and it would be normal if I did, I might be invading theirs and then I’d be a hypocrite. I don’t want that!

INTPs base themselves off everyone else in the social world. You see people referring to INTPs as Public Chameleons, taking the ques from everyone else and using the Ne to try to project observation and imagination in such a way that you think they know what they’re doing. That’s why one-on-ones with people we don’t really know are a little edge-setting: We have no one else to take ques from.

In other words, we’re not naturally that social. The older we get, the better we get, and many people probably don’t notice anything, but the observant people will see the awkward a bit. That’s my take on social INTPs. Of course no two INTPs are just alike, but that’s my ideas anyway.

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