So, I know I was supposed to cover the Gothic qualities of the INTJ this week, but I still need some time with that one. Plus, the inspiration for this post struck like lightning, and since Valentine's Day was yesterday, this post is topical. Anyway...
Last week I had dinner with a friend, and yes, she is definitely just a friend. Seeing as how her hair was up in a ponytail, she was wearing glasses that remind me of a pair my grandmother once had, and that she was wearing a baggy sweater instead of a form-fitting one, this was definitely just "dinner with a friend" for her.
However, it would be totally inaccurate to say I had no interest or curiosity in dating her at all. The purpose of our tryst was for me to pick her brain on ways to build our young adult group at church, but I also used it as a sort of "test date" to see how compatible she and I are. As it turns out, despite the both of us being very Catholic and able to get along swimmingly, I don't think we would make a very good couple.
Now, I knew going into the meeting she was an ISFJ, so I knew to check my INTJ-ness. There was really only one point where it really showed--that is to say, there was only one point where I was little argumentative and maybe a little more aggressive than I should have been since I knew I was right--but the "date" was still very interesting as it gave me some great insight into 10 qualities I would love for my ideal match to have.
Before I begin though, I must preface this post by saying that I understand that not all of these qualities are ISFJ-like. Some are completely dependent on the fact that my friend is an entirely different person from me and has had a unique life. Point of fact, I could have dinner with seven different personalities and likewise pull 10 qualities for an ideal match from the experience. So, I'm not claiming that all ISFJs are like this, and I'm not writing--or at the least, not trying to write--a criticism of my friend, although there will be places where the article tends that way. Now, then...
1. Comfortable with Her Own ThoughtsAfter we were seated, I adhered to the more basic cordialities by asking my friend how work had been. She works with mentally challenged children, tending to their learning needs in whatever shape that may take, from simple arithmetic to how to use the bathroom. She said that for the most part that work had been fine, but at the end of January, beginning of February, Michigan experienced a "deep freeze", during which time, many schools were shut down. Well, my friend still had to work, but since the child she works with didn't show those days, she said she had a lot of time to herself, which wasn't a good thing for her.
Apparently, my friend doesn't do well under poorly constructed conditions, meaning the only place she can turn to at such a time is within and to her own thoughts. She confessed she wasn't very comfortable with that. I was a little surprised since my friend isn't the stereotypical ISFJ. ISFJs aren't known for pursuing higher education, but my friend is looking to get into graduate school, so I thought she could handle her thoughts, meaning she was in touch with her inferior function (Ne).
This sudden confession from her that she couldn't handle her own thoughts was sort of startling and discomforting to me as I am very comfortable with my thoughts. It was at that time I decided I would like a girl who can handle her own thoughts without being perturbed.
2. GratefulNow, since most of these qualities are going to sound like criticisms of my friend, I decided to include this one about gratefulness, not just for her sake, but also because I think it's an attractive quality in women.
So, when my friend and I decided to make plans to meet, I immediately decided I would pay for it. Partly because I saw it as a "proto-date" and partly because I had the feeling the situation might've felt a little awkward for her and therefore easier to swallow if it didn't cost her anything. After all, it did sort of come out of nowhere. But I also did it because I am trying to be more traditionally manly, and there's nothing wrong with treating a girl respectfully with whom nothing romantic may develop.
So, indeed, she was grateful that I was willing to cover dinner--and the tip--but she also thanked me for being considerate of the fact she's vegan. Before we ordered, I asked her if it would bother her if I ate meat, to which she said it wouldn't, and then she thanked me for my concern since most people don't bother. Now, usually I wouldn't give a damn about a vegan's feelings because most vegans are self-righteous, holier-than-thou types, but my friend's main concern regarding meat is the consumption of growth hormones, which I think is legitimate. (Although, it's not enough of a concern for me because for all I know the reason why I'm almost six-and-a-half feet tall is due to BGH.)
But the point is, when she thanked me at both intervals, her overall demeanor was very sweet and I felt like I got a glimpse into the true personality of my friend, so gratefulness is an attribute I'll be looking for in my dates from now on.
3. Knows How to DebateThis one is a little weird, because if you've been reading my blog for a while now, you'll know I don't attribute myself to the idea that INTJs love to debate. I mean, I can see why people would think that, but I personally hate doing it because of the possible conflict that may surface as a result. Plus, it's just infuriating when you know you're right, but the other person doesn't seem to be able to appreciate that. Anyway...
When I told my friend that her fears regarding BGH are legitimate, she said there were other reasons too, including that she is lactose intolerant and that veganism is better for the environment. Well, that last point isn't entirely true.
I had heard stories about the claim that veganism is more sustainable for the environment, and curious to see if it was true, I did some investigating and found an article that basically said it wasn't. (I unfortunately don't remember where it came from.) Turns out, out of a list of 11 different diets, veganism fell to number 5, with standard omnivore diets--which is where I fall--was at number 4. The top spot belonged to regular vegetarianism that allowed for the consumption of eggs and dairy products.
Obviously, my friend found this interesting and I explained the two reasons why this is so: 1. A lot of energy goes into the production of food, regardless of it being meat or vegetables, however, meat also has a high output of energy when digested whereas veggies don't, and 2. Land that is used for growing crops is nutrient dense whereas land used to grow grass to feed cows is nutritionally bankrupt. In other words, if we tried growing crops where we pasture cows, we'd get bad crops, and if we grew grass on nutritional ground, it would be a waste.
My friend however still tried to defend her lifestyle by saying that it still requires a lot more energy to produce meat than it does to produce crops. Well, that might be true, especially when you consider the fact that you have to slaughter cows in addition to feeding them, but my first point already covered this part of the argument: indeed, meat is costly in terms of energy input, but its energy output is also significantly higher than the output of vegetables.
Getting back to my friend and the point of this quality, when my friend tried to argue against me, even after I had already "won", it did feel like she was trying to save as much face as possible or that she was trying to defend a sinking ship. So, another quality I would like in a future match is a girl who knows how to debate properly and can accept defeat gracefully.
(Also, my friend's argument that nuts and beans are good sources of protein doesn't hold much water either. Nuts and legumes contain only a fraction of the protein that lean meat does, and at much higher calorie levels and in larger servings. So, lean meat is the decided victor in this fight.)
4. Doesn't Use "Like" So MuchNow, this is one of those qualities that is almost certainly not an ISFJ trait. Anyway, during dinner, I noticed that my friend used "like", like a lot. Like, a lot-lot. Like, a valley-girl a lot. I swear she once used "like" about 20 times in a span of two minutes, and it wasn't when she was stalling for time to put her thoughts together. What really burned me was when I started doing it the longer our conversation went on.
Admittedly, this isn't the worst character trait in the world, and it would certainly not be a deal breaker for me, however it is sort of annoying and it's a trait I could do without.
5. Uses "I feel" When AppropriateThere are plenty of articles out there that discuss at length how INTJs don't use their emotions and typically tend to think their feelings. Now, seeing as how I was dealing with a Feeling type, I really should've expected this sort of communication behavior. I say "communication" because it isn't simply a speaking behavior, but is inherent in how my friend, and probably Feeling types in general, communicate. They feel their thoughts and then express them in sentences that start with "I feel".
Now, to be fair, I did use "I feel" a number of times, too. However, this could have either been because her speech patterns were wearing off on me, or it had to do with the fact that the things that I felt, I legitimately felt, but not in the way you may be thinking.
Whenever I started a phrase with "I feel", I wasn't speaking about an emotion, but rather a feeling I had about some great, somewhat still hidden truth. The best way I can describe it is as a psychic feeling, and in the world of the paranormal, there is a psychic ability where a person knows a fact about something without any rational or logical evidence: claircognizance. However, there is another term for it that my INTJ brethren will immediately recognize--intuition. That's right, intuition is the ability to know something without really knowing it.
Getting back to my point, whenever I used "I feel" at the start of a sentence, this was the sort of feeling I was talking about. Now, it's possible my friend also meant it this way, but I wouldn't feel comfortable gambling on that when it comes to Feeling types. So, for my ideal match, I would like a girl who knows when to use "I feel" and when to use "I think."
6. TimelyWhen it comes to the time of meetings, I am a stickler. I'm nearly almost early for everything. A part of it is I like being on time, but another part is that it shows the other person that you respect and value their time. By not showing up on time, you're basically saying that your time and yourself are more important than the other person's. Now, my friend wasn't extraordinarily late by any measure, but 6 PM is 6 PM. It is not 6:03. I know my friend is busy and that she had asked if we could push the time back by a half hour, but having honored these allowances, she really should have been there on time, or even five to ten minutes early... like I was. Seriously, I got there at ten to.
Now, I don't wish to make this sound like I'm railing against my friend. After all, three minutes is only three minutes, but timeliness is a quality I look for in all people, and especially those closest to me, and especially-especially those I may end up romantically involved with. Again, being on time or even early shows respect for the other person and their time.
7. Maturity of ThoughtSo during dinner, I noticed some glaring immaturities in the thought processes of my friend. The biggest example of the night came when she told me that she thinks she could make it as a solo, female traveler but then admitted she's usually far too trusting. Now, for my fellow INTJs I don't need to point out what's wrong with this statement, but for everyone else...
My problem here is that my friend is aware of her habit of trusting too easily, and it must be a problem for her otherwise she wouldn't have mentioned it or mentioned it the way she did, and then to admit that she wishes to embark on an adventure where she may find herself at the mercy of strangers--including strangers who don't speak English and who love naïve, trusting American girls for all the wrong reasons--I sort of wanted to slap her upside the head and shout "THINK!" at her.
If you have a desire to do something, but you know you have a weakness that may endanger yourself in the adventure of that something, then you really shouldn't embark on that adventure until after you have resolved your weakness. To not do so--to just shrug and think "Enh, good enough"--well, that's really immature. Sort of like a person who knows they have to get up early for work the next morning, but instead spends the night drinking.
As a result, I now know definitively that I like a girl who is aware of her weaknesses and isn't willing to take stupid risks with them.
8. A Little Distrusting of the WorldThanks to number 7, I don't need to go into too much detail here, but basically, I appreciate a girl who knows what's going on in the world and takes steps to avoid trouble. When my friend told me she wanted to travel the world alone in van and "couch-surf", something within me became very agitated. I don't know if it's my natural tendency to distrust the world or my natural masculine desire to protect cute, vulnerable girls with more ambition than sense--maybe it's both--but this wouldn't fly with me, especially not within the confines of a romantic relationship. Anywhere my girlfriend/wife goes, I go as her sworn protector, even if that means going to New York, California, or Chicago, three places I have sworn off. And if I can't go with her, then guess who's going in my place? Smith and Wesson.
So, I would like a girl who is sort of wary of the world, and would be willing to allow me to accompany her on her travels.
9. Aware of Herself and HabitsI guess this one is just a reiteration of numbers 7 and 8. Seriously, I can't stress it enough how important is it to me that my ideal match be aware of herself, her habits, her strengths, and her weaknesses. Some people claim INTJs don't know these things about ourselves because our heads are always in the clouds. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but we're very cognizant of our own strengths and weaknesses.
Ergo, it is important to me that my match be as well. Confidence in her abilities as well as confidence in being able to admit where she's weak are very admirable qualities because she knows where she stands and I'll know where she stands.
10. Lack of Food ObjectionsThis one definitely can't be linked to the ISFJ personality, but it does help make an even ten.
Anyway, like I said, I don't usually care for vegans and vegetarians because they're often holier-than-thou types, but I also have a bit of an issue with lactose intolerance as well as peanut allergies. Believe it or not, I love peanut butter and milk. I also love milk chocolate--dark chocolate can burn in Hell--and I love peanut butter and chocolate. And I also really dig meat. True, some meat really doesn't have a flavor unless it's seasoned, but when it is, it is delicious! Burgers, chicken, bacon! Yum!
So, when it comes to the last quality of my ideal match, I really do prefer a girl who can eat anything and is willing to try everything at least once. True, I am a picky eater myself, but I can't imagine living with someone who is pickier than me, and can't or won't eat any of the things that I myself absolutely love. So, to keep things nice and simple, I really do want a girl who has a lack of food objections.
Conclusion:So, where does this all leave me other than with ten qualities I would like to see in my ideal match? Well, it's a clear indicator that my friend is not the girl for me--at least not at this stage of her life--but that doesn't mean I'm swearing off ISFJs. Personality does not affect maturity.
On the positive side, my chat with her did reinforce other qualities I knew I wanted in a girl: practicing Catholic, polite, easy on the swearing, and easy to get along with. True, I could pick apart my friend further, but I didn't write this to point out the faults in my friend--I wrote this to show which qualities I would like my ideal match to have and why the opposites of those qualities are so unattractive.
For my next post, I'm not sure what I'll do. I'm starting to have second thoughts about the Gothicism of INTJs and perhaps that's just a reflection of me, meanwhile I'd love to examine an article I saw on Medium that analyzed the ways in which creative people live differently, and I wanted to apply that theory to INTJs. Well, we'll see what happens.