What it means to be an INTJ…

Sure it might be easy on the other side to say, oh INTJ’s are just weird, or we don’t like them because they are cold or too blunt or something else. Even though everyone seems to feel they are always on the outside, I would have to say that if you fit most the gender roles society paints on you, then you’re already one step ahead. Yes, you may have other things that set you apart – like raped by your parent, physically abused, or other horrendous acts that make you feel different. I don’t want to take away from that at all, though this article is focused on the gender roles and those that defy them.

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First I have to say, I can’t even imagine growing up transgender or homosexual as that would add a layer of difficulty to my equation that would challenge even the best of us.  Though as a female INTJ, I defy all typical stereotypes of a woman. Not because I consciously choose to be different, or because I think it would be fun to be ridiculed and on the outside, but because I follow my authentic wiring and this is who I am. I’m neither proud of being different or feel compelled to say whatever I am is better or worse, but merely that over time, I have grown to accept and love myself completely as I am. For all my flaws and all my accomplishments. I don’t shy away from accountability or digging into the depths of my soul to discover my deepest wrongs, I am an imperfect being and I accept that.

As a woman, we are taught to be many things. In some cases by your parent (thank goodness even though my mom is the quintessential woman, she allowed me the freedom to be me, regardless of how un-womanly society defines me as) and in other cases simply by society – TV shows, friends, random people, etc.  Everyone seems like they need to keep reinforcing these. If you’re a woman and you don’t always giggle and smile, people seem to feel obligated to repeatedly tell you to smile more. If you’re not self-conscious people tell you your either insensitive or being fake, like everyone cares that much about their appearance. No, sorry, some of us couldn’t care less. For better or for worse.

What it means to be a woman?

Dependent, emotional, passive, sensitive, quiet, graceful, innocent, weak, flirtatious, nurturing, self-critical, soft, sexually submissive, and accepting

As an INTJ, I can say without a doubt I am none of these things. Well, I am nurturing, incredibly nurturing, though everything else, none, zilch, nada. The number of times I hear from friends – I like you because you’re different. Or from boyfriends – I love you because your not like other women. Or really from many people, though the underlying piece of it is we’re different. It’s great you like us because we’re different, trust me, that’s awesome, but we’d rather you just like us. Being different isn’t fun, being an outcast isn’t fun, being someone that hears often how people just have to get to know you, to realize that you are great despite the fact you do nothing a woman is supposed to do.

Sometimes I wonder if I pretended to be man, if instead of you knowing I was Sara a woman, if my outward persona which is completely hidden behind wires of internet cables and worlds apart, if instead I showed a man’s name, that if everything I said would be taken in a completely different light. As a woman I’m expected to speak passively, if I speak directly I’m considered a horrible insensitive person. I’m expected to smile and be dumb, be clueless, be so happy when someone solves my problem because I’m supposed to be incapable. Oh I never thought of that! The ever common woman phrase. But it’s not true, I’m a logical problem solver, all I do every day all day is think. Now if a women was supposed to say, Oh I never felt that way, then I’d be in business. Feelings ya those aren’t my strong spot, but thinking, ya, I do that all the f’ing time.

What it means to be a man?

Independent, non-emotional, aggressive, tough-skinned, competitive, clumsy, experienced, strong, active, self-confident, hard, sexually aggressive, and rebellious.

First, I am not a man. I am not transgender. I am not gay. However, I am a woman and I am very much the traits listed above. Well I’m not really clumsy (unless you count the fact I am the opposite of coordinated, can’t structured dance to save my life), but otherwise, yes, I am all those things. My competitive piece is primarily with the bar I’ve set for myself which has no influence from the outside, so don’t expect me to want to compete with others, that doesn’t interest me at all.

So what is it like to be a non-emotional woman in a world where every dating blogger tells you that the best trait about being a woman is your emotions? Or what is it like to be tough-skinned in the land of feminine insecurities? Or what is it like to be strong and capable in a society that expects you to be weak and incapable? Well, it’s difficult. It is extremely difficult. Probably the only good that comes from this variance is the number of men that absolutely adore a capable, strong, non-emotional woman. Don’t expect to find many of those men in New York City, but anywhere West of the Mississippi, you’re like a gold mine.

And although it’s nice to have so much male attention, there’s a couple downsides. Big downsides. The first being, many woman, INTJs included, love a man that’s stronger than us which makes finding a man who’s stronger than us a needle in a haystack. Yes, we find them, and yes, they are completely fantastic when we do, but gosh it takes a long time for the intersections to happen. The second being, most women don’t like us. They have a variety of reasons for why they don’t really like us, but it all comes down to we’re different. They want us to be the woman described above, we’re not, and they can’t interpret it in a way that makes us anything less than evil or horrible. Yes it sucks. We don’t know what to say when you think your butt looks fat, we’ve been trained to lie, but INTJs don’t lie so we really just wish you didn’t ask.

This variance is difficult in every day life, in every day interactions. People are trained to expect a woman to behave a certain way. No matter how much conditioning training an INTJ goes through, becoming society’s definition is not possible. We are far too divergent. That means at work, when we lead a team like a man leads a team, we are told we’re insensitive. Though often times it comes out we cared far more than anyone else, we just didn’t advertise it. In friendships, we’re seen as the ones not to go to when you’re struggling, the ones that don’t understand complaining just for the sake of complaining. Though if you actually want to solve it, we’d be there. I’ve only dated one guy that didn’t appreciate my differences, but if an INTJ dates some of them, they get the why don’t you wear more make-up, wish your butt was bigger, why aren’t you more dumb, etc.

So here’s what I have to say to all you INTJ females who are just starting out in adulthood – embrace yourself. Embrace your differences. Your true friends will love you for who you are. The men that love your differences are so worth the wait, trust me, they are like gold. Don’t compromise who you are. Realize you will spend your life being different, being told to be someone else, to be like the other women (whether directly or indirectly), and I say don’t. Be you. Always be you. I can tell you from my days in consulting where I was constantly told to be more like the traditional female that being something you are not is miserable. Be you, if they don’t like it, find a place where they like it. There are so many INTJ lovers out there, don’t settle for anything less.

Cheers,
Sara

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