INTJ Can't Relax Around People

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Gilberto de Piento
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INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:53 am

INTJ doesn't define me but it does seem to be a great shorthand to describe my personality. I do fine with people, even large groups and abrasive personalities, but I just can't completely relax unless I'm by myself (or isolated, like at a desk at work).

I do like to spend time with friends, family and my significant other but even with them I can't really be settled. I'm always processing the situation or thinking about some minor issue or feeling like I'd rather be accomplishing some task than sitting around.

Anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions? I found a couple of articles suggesting this is normal for this personality but I would like to hear your thoughts.

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TheWanderingScholar
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by TheWanderingScholar » Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:03 pm

Last I checked a couple years ago I was INTP.

I learned that I am going to uncomfortable in large groups, however with small groups of a friends I drink a little to relax. If you don't want to be dependent upon alcohol and relax, I suggest remembering how you acted when you were tipsy and how people reacted to that. Emulate the good parts, drop the bad.

ffj
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by ffj » Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:20 pm

Welcome to the club. I don't have any real advice other than learn to accept yourself. Everybody keeps asking me how my Christmas went and I honestly reply that I am glad it's over as we had four events I had to attend, while I could have attended eight! It's just too much and like you I fantasize about what I could be doing differently rather than being in the moment. It's a chore to me making small talk to people I see infrequently and even with my friends I am usually involved in an activity which helps a lot.

Something that I do is put my day into time blocks where I can accomplish something meaningful to me and still have time for social obligations. That way nobody gets cheated but it does kind of kill spontaneity. It's a trade-off but overall it keeps me placated and overall happy. It works really well if your partner is at work or the kids are in school but I realize your situation is probably different. But by carving out time blocks when everybody knows you are unavailable, it allows you to work on whatever makes you tick and then when you just sitting there relaxing with the family the down-time feels almost earned, if that makes sense. I can actually relax.

Good luck, you are not alone.

Scott 2
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by Scott 2 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:48 pm

Same. The additional sensory input puts my body on alert. Alcohol helps in the moment, 1-2 drinks.

I also experience a cumulative fatigue that increases the stress response. 4 events like ffj's Christmas would leave me exhausted for 1-2 days.

Managing bout frequency and reducing non-social stressors diminishes the severity of my response and increases tolerance.

Attempts at desensitization through repeated exposure do not help. I can get more comfortable with the feeling of stress, but my body remains on alert - high heart rate, tense muscles, drained feeling afterwards, etc.

I manage it by saying no to situations I know will not serve me - large groups, loud events, tense interpersonal situations, too many events in a row, events after a large non-social stressor, etc. For events that are important, I create a low stress, non-social period leading up to the experience.

BRUTE
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by BRUTE » Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:58 pm

+1

humans irritate brute

suomalainen
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by suomalainen » Sun Dec 30, 2018 3:52 pm

Do you mean you want strategies to feel relaxed around people in general (i.e., change your base personality) or that you want strategies to get through an evening/party/social gathering (i.e., coping mechanisms)?

daylen
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by daylen » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:54 pm

Treat social interaction as an anthropological study; imagine that you are an alien scientist.

Jason
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by Jason » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:27 am

I was talking to my therapist about these personality tests. I asked him "What type of personality is the douchebag who is too impatient to take the test?" He said not to worry about it, as personality is fluid and these things can be like horoscopes - you can find yourself in many categories.

I believe your issue is greater than personality. It has to do with health. And if it's mentally, emotionally, psychologically, physically unhealthy for you to be in certain situations, than you have an obligation to yourself to avoid them. That's how I justified not attending a Christmas function. Not that I'm a specific acronym who prefers different environments, but that these people are complete fucking assholes and being around them is distressing to me and therefore a threat to my health. At that point, not attending became non-negotiable and I did not lose time with them or time recovering from them or time giving a rat's ass about the implications of not being with them.

It's simply a matter of agency. What I think is simply more important than what other people think and what I think about myself is simply more important than what other people think about me. Christmas and the Holidays is just a cluster fuck of bullying psychological bullshit and I refuse to pay attention to people who base their lives around a mythological fat fuck in a red suit.

daylen
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by daylen » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:58 am

There appears to be a correlation between being INTJ-like and needing to rationalize self-superiority. :P

Jason
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by Jason » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:51 pm

Well, that eliminates INTJ because I don't need to rationalize that shit.

vexed87
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by vexed87 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:16 am

I'm not INTJ, INTP here, thankfully I think I spent the majority of my time off work with my wife and baby, there were only a couple of social gatherings involving larger groups.

Scott 2's coping mechanism works for me.
I manage it by saying no to situations I know will not serve me - large groups, loud events, tense interpersonal situations, too many events in a row, events after a large non-social stressor, etc. For events that are important, I create a low stress, non-social period leading up to the experience.
DW has come to accept my need for space before and after such events, if my attendance cannot be avoided entirely. She know's when not to bring me along by now also!

Bringing the event home to me is also another strategy. I find it helps to have a task to get on with that's acceptable whilst everyone else is mingling, e.g. cooking the main course. Then the little time that is left over to be social, I can maintain, with the aid of a beer or two! Other time's when I have no such excuse, I do find myself thinking about getting on with other projects when others seem content to be 'in the moment'. Being in the moment is that thing we are always encouraged to do more of, but I'm beginning to suspect it's a bit like 'the cult of positivity' in that it's not really possible to force that square peg in that round hole. I've given up feeling guilty about it and enjoy thinking about what I'm going to be getting on with when the social gathering is over a done with!

I care about my family and want to please them for the most part, so I do my very best to engage in things they find enjoyable, but that only gets me so far. There is no solution. It's just life.

thegreatvoid

Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by thegreatvoid » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:10 am

Yes, I stay far away from crowded places like shopping malls and I never eat out , because I feel a constant stream of anxiety among many people .
Might have something to do with the one year I´ve lived in South America and was cat called every 5 minutes by women , because I was the only white gringo in the town ( and tall & I have done a little bit of male modelling , so I guess I´m somewhat handsome )

For someone , who is self conscious and insecure ,that´s really traumatizing.

I don´t know my personality type.

prognastat
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by prognastat » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:25 am

I generally don't make plans the weekend before or after I have a social gathering to give myself some time to relax/energise. This helps for me. Also if it's an extremely busy gathering with a lot of people I might look for moments to either go outside temporarily to relax or at least find a quieter spot for a moment.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:47 am

Thanks for all the responses! I appreciate your help on this. I survived the holidays.
Do you mean you want strategies to feel relaxed around people in general (i.e., change your base personality) or that you want strategies to get through an evening/party/social gathering (i.e., coping mechanisms)?
If I could change how I feel about people that would be great but I can't see that happening. I think the best I can hope for is to change my response.
Something that I do is put my day into time blocks where I can accomplish something meaningful to me and still have time for social obligations.
I like this suggestion but it may be difficult to implement. Sometimes there's no choice unless I want to blow up some relationships or become a shut in.
I also experience a cumulative fatigue that increases the stress response. 4 events like ffj's Christmas would leave me exhausted for 1-2 days.
This really hits the nail on the head for me. I'm fine going to one event and then going home. It's when I don't get a chance to reset that I start to become unhappy. For example, going to the in laws Christmas party is fine. The holiday season plus the fact that the weather/daylight situation sucks really piles on.
humans irritate brute
Sometimes it just comes down to this. I notice everything from the little inefficiencies to the true as*holishness and I get tired of it. Sometimes I have more tolerance than others though.
Treat social interaction as an anthropological study; imagine that you are an alien scientist.
I'm already noticing everything and thinking too much. I can see this strategy working but for me it seems to make things worse. For example, I want to not notice the annoying people at the airport, not think about them even more.
Also if it's an extremely busy gathering with a lot of people I might look for moments to either go outside temporarily to relax or at least find a quieter spot for a moment.
Taking a walk by myself seems to help. I also need to remember to think of myself first. If it bothers some people that I am talking to people at the party but am not "the life of the party" then too bad for them. Not my problem.

daylen
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by daylen » Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:14 pm

Gilberto de Piento wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:47 am
I'm already noticing everything and thinking too much. I can see this strategy working but for me it seems to make things worse. For example, I want to not notice the annoying people at the airport, not think about them even more.
Hence the alien part. It only works if you ignore everything you think you know. Just observe and generate hypotheses. Focus on general questions, not answers.

High conscientiousness is the death of wonder. The antidote is to forget about your priorities, goals, and preferences while drifting between different states of awareness. Ignore the apparent ordering of such states. Let the social situation control you. Be vulnerable.

The alternative is attempting to control(*) an uncontrollable situation; this option provokes anxiety and kills you faster.

(*) ..or thinking about it which is indistinguishable physiologically.

Nomad
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by Nomad » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:08 pm

Interesting, I did this test years ago.
A lot of people in IT are INTJ and it goes with planning and designing in details.
Planning an early retirement also requires the same attributes...

bigato
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by bigato » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:10 am

What you guys are describing is the textbook description of the introversion trait, not necessarily related to a specific personality type per se.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2013071 ... -extrovert

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Sclass
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by Sclass » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:17 am

Ya know sometimes it’s just hard to be courageous and get out there. If you start saying stuff like you’re just wired up to like being all by yourself and you seclude yourself, you’ll reinforce the trait.

Heck, it’s a lot easier to just stay home and play video games and eat from a bag than introducing yourself to the girl next door and fixing a picnic basket for an afternoon out. I get it. It’s scary. Sometimes you need to jump in the water to discover what a great swimmer you actually are.

I believe the brain is relatively plastic. With the right stimulation. Heck I taught myself to enjoy stinky cigarettes, black coffee and the thrill of flirting at an early age. Before hand it was unpalatable.

Be careful what you tell yourself. It can become you.

Tiarellla
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by Tiarellla » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:52 am

It´s good to hear that there are lots of people feeling the same way. Christmas and New Year is too much socializing for me. I am always happy when we have January 2nd.
Unfortunately I have birthday early in January and I can not remember when I had the last birthday party. I moved it to summer as parties outside are much easier to handle. And after a few weeks without large festivities I like to have my friends around.
On parties I have the same strategy as vexed 87, most of the time I am the person to collect glasses and dishes to the kitchen, serve the food for dinner parties or check on the availability of cold beer, wine and chips. That gives me a purpose and very often one or two other introverts join in and we have nice discussions in the kitchen. And its a help most hosts value.
And yes, Sclass, the brain is flexible we can behave different however it takes a lot of energy to do so.

Scott 2
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Re: INTJ Can't Relax Around People

Post by Scott 2 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:04 am

Sclass wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:17 am
Ya know sometimes it’s just hard to be courageous and get out there. If you start saying stuff like you’re just wired up to like being all by yourself and you seclude yourself, you’ll reinforce the trait.
I see it as discovering who you are, rather than forcing yourself into the mold of who you "should be."

I fought my introversion for years, based on the ideals provided by society. I worked jobs that depended on being social (personal trainer, project manager). I set and hit goals for X social events per month with friends and family. I attended networking events. I practiced small talk. I read books on reading body language and building rapport, then practiced putting them into effect. I even pretended to like dancing a couple times. It's all so draining.

It's also not me. I wouldn't know that if I hadn't tried, but I am much happier letting that idealized self go.

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