Time spent with Friends/Family

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
Wads
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:50 pm

Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by Wads » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:19 pm

As an INTJ homebody, I allocate about one day per month for family and meet up with my friends once every couple of months as they are busy starting and raising their families. I have a family that loves and supports me and 6 true friends. The time spent with 5 of my friends is typically a golf outing or watching sporting events as we share the same interest in sports. My other friend is someone from work who we share the same investing interest so all our time together is investing related.

Being 32, single, and someone who has no interest in having a family this has worked out great for me because I get to spend most of my time at home reading books, researching topics I enjoy, watching documentaries or playing games. Like most of you, I live simply.

But sometimes I get invited to kids birthday parties or other larger gathering from family which I always turn down. I get social anxiety around large gatherings with people I don't really know. Additionally, these events usually take place on weekends which is the only free time I have to work on projects that interest me. Having a 9-5 really limits my free time during the week so I prefer to keep my weekend free to myself to catch up.

When asked why I didn't go or why I won't be going to these events I feel like im not understood. I value my time most as I know I will die so I want to spend time doing things I love. At the same time, I know most of the stuff I do does not include others. Im looking for some feedback as I seem to relate most to the members on this forum.

I know Human connection is important but how much?
Should I be spending more time with others even though im satisfied?
How much time do other INTJ's spend with friends or family?

daylen
Posts: 1104
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by daylen » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:28 pm

Wads wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:19 pm
How much time do other INTJ's spend with friends or family?
Enough to ward off their suspicions of you being a [insert evil label here].

Jason
Posts: 2217
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by Jason » Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:03 pm

Wads wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:19 pm
I know Human connection is important but how much?
Should I be spending more time with others even though im satisfied?
How much time do other INTJ's spend with friends or family?
For a limited time offer of $4.99 per message, you can PM me and one of my human existence experts will be more than happy to answer each and every one of these deeply important questions.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 11222
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by jacob » Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:56 pm

The bare minimum of human "connection" would be the ability to buy groceries, call the bank, handle a job interview, etc. Add to that various work-related minimums, for example, connecting with the audience if giving a presentation.

Beyond that, no, I don't think one should spend more time with others once satisfied. Going beyond that level is like eating too much ice cream or dopamine as it is. People have various sensitivities towards dopamine. If you're blessed with a high sensitivity, you don't need much stimulation... putting yourself in a situation where you get overstimulated might even be detrimental. I know if I get into a horribly social situation, like say a baby shower or a restaurant group setting with more than 2 other persons, my brain will start shutting down "external sensors" trying to protect itself from the sensory overload. The side effect of this is that I become irritated and come across as an unpleasant person whereas in reality I like to think that it's just my immature response to a to me unpleasant situation; so I deliberately AVOID these situations even if "normal people" think they're great or important. This seems like the more mature response.

One might analogously say that "exercise is important" but it's universally recognized that if you drag a fat man out on a 5k fun run, he will not be having a good time even as a fit man enjoy a runners high. It's the same with introverts being dragged into loud groups of many people. Or loud people being dragged into a library.

As an INT there are a few more complications with making actual connections beyond the basic minimums described in the first line. Likely reserves will drain very fast when you're talking to a person you don't find that interesting---which for INTs pretty much describes most random persons or non-close relatives. Ditto if you're talking about a subject you don't find that interesting, like small talk. Reserves go *poof*.

I don't know if extroverts find other people inherently interesting or whether they just present small talk targets to get their dopamine rush. A cynic might suspect that. Remember, you're not seeking a dopamine rush to the same degree that those who organized the loud and large party are :-D

Rather, INTJs would see interactions as trading mental energy for information. If that information is sufficiently stimulating, we can carry on a conversation for hours if we find the other person and the subject is interesting.

Once upon a time, I also believed that social interaction was important (everybody says it is) and that I should strive to become better at it. But it never made me happy relative to the effort required. I would not say I get social anxiety in large groups ... rather, I just find the dynamics of large groups of people I don't really know to be rather boring and unless it's possible to leave within the hour, you'll eventually find me sitting in a corner insofar attendance was mandatory. If I could bring a book, I'd be reading that. If not, I'll put on my best catatonic face while playing Towers of Hanoi in my head.

All that to say that INTJs shouldn't have a problem with human interaction per se but mostly disdain the most popular forms of human interaction.

Add: Half a lifetime ago, I felt hugely frustrated about not enjoying the same things that everybody else did. The trick was to recognize the existence of other "scenes" for making these connections. If one doesn't have the dopamine receptors to naturally handle a techno-party, maybe the answer lies in the board game club. It did for me.

Wads
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:50 pm

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by Wads » Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:26 pm

jacob wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:56 pm
I know if I get into a horribly social situation, like say a baby shower or a restaurant group setting with more than 2 other persons, my brain will start shutting down "external sensors" trying to protect itself from the sensory overload. The side effect of this is that I become irritated and come across as an unpleasant person whereas in reality I like to think that it's just my immature response to a to me unpleasant situation; so I deliberately AVOID these situations even if "normal people" think they're great or important. This seems like the more mature response.

I agree these are the types of situations I avoid as well. What is your response if asked why you won't go or didn't go? I feel like this is the part that I'm a hard time with. Even though I feel an explanation isn't necessary, I don't want to be rude.

User avatar
Ego
Posts: 4211
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by Ego » Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:07 pm

I've come to the point where I refuse to define myself as an I/E because I know how I have changed over time and I believe that the act of affixing a label I/E can slam shut a person's openness to that change.

There are people who have cultivated the ability to thrive at both ends of the I/E spectrum. They can quietly focus. They can be gregarious. They can do a little of both. They can employ the skills that are most beneficial for the situation at hand.

That's what I am trying to do.

Last night Mrs. Ego's family had a party with a dozen people I had never before met. They all know one other very well and I was the only one who didn't speak their language (French). Going in I felt nervous. I was rather uncomfortable at first. But I was determined to try. In the end I found two people who were really quite interesting and between us we shared words in two languages and my pathetic high school French. We had what I believed to be a great conversation, a lot of fun and an evening I will never forget.

Regarding relationships, there are times when I think of them through an investment lens. Some young people spend all of their money and never save. As a result they have no savings when they are old. Some young people never invest in relationships. As a result they have none when they are old.

I see those who dismiss the value of relationships in youth in the same way that many of us here look at those who spend all of their income. It may feel good in the moment but may come with costs when the bonds of family are gone.

I've learned that relationships require work but can pay compound dividends as they reach maturity.

Loner
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:26 pm

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by Loner » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:21 pm

Wads wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:26 pm
What is your response if asked why you won't go or didn't go? I feel like this is the part that I'm a hard time with. Even though I feel an explanation isn't necessary, I don't want to be rude.
The best way to handle these situations is sometimes simply to be honest and transparent. Just explain briefly that you get easily overstimulated and/or that you planned on working on X projet. Simply say it more or less like you wrote it in the op: "You know me, I have this thing, I'm a bit weird, I get this social anxiety around large gatherings with people I don't really know, and I planned finishing some project that's really important for me. I don't think I will make it this time, but I thank you a lot for thinking about inviting me."

To show you really care about the person or the event, you can then mail a nice handwritten note with a personalized message that they'll get on the day of the event ("Enjoy the baby shower, I send lots of love to you and BABY'S NAME and [whatever else you'd like to say]. Take care, see you soon :-)". Obviously, write something you believe in a voice that's yours.

If you are dealing with even semi-mature people, that should do it.

daylen
Posts: 1104
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by daylen » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:25 pm

Ego wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:07 pm
There are people who have cultivated the ability to thrive at both ends of the I/E spectrum. They can quietly focus. They can be gregarious. They can do a little of both. They can employ the skills that are most beneficial for the situation at hand.
This is over-fitting. Any frame dealing with humans will always have exceptions. The utility of such frames is dependent on how the user trains them. Users that are "closer" to a boundary will tend to either not see it or discount it.

For instance, if the majority of humans were two meters tall and a small minority were one meter tall, then the concept of "height" is going to be more prominent in the minds of the minority trying to fit into a social infrastructure built for two meter tall humans. Such a group would talk about height more and construct a specialized language concerning the implications of height differences between humans. Clearly, height cannot be changed, but the same idea applies for any perceived differences between anything.

Becoming overly insistent on a boundary or attaching oneself to a "side" can obviously be seen as pathological. Inversely, boundary setting helps humans overcome their natural instincts and feel as if there is a choice. Consciousness cannot exist without the appearance of boundaries, and the boundaries that are apparent tend to define our reality (labeled or unlabeled).

thrifty++
Posts: 857
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by thrifty++ » Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:58 am

I socialise probably one or two times per week.

I really got to understand myself the first time I went away travelling. I noticed that I had to move along from backpakers to backpackers reasonably quickly. Because I found I was really excited to meet new people at first each time. But then after a few days I started to feel really stressed out as I felt like everyone knew me and I had to talk to everyone in the "group" all the time an it really sapped my energy and felt it clipped my wings. It felt like I had sacrificed my freedom and my privacy. Which are HUGELY important to me. I really like to be anonymous and dip in and out of socialising as and when I want. So I prefer to be able to dip in and out of social situations on a whim. I always need an exit strategy. A getaway plan. Provided that's there I usually enjoy socialising. Once my energy is up I vanish. There for a good time not for a long time.

On the plus side I have NEVER been one to outstay my welcome at someone's house. They always complain about how little time I spend there rather than for too long.

User avatar
Ego
Posts: 4211
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by Ego » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:43 am

Wads wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:19 pm
But sometimes I get invited to kids birthday parties or other larger gathering from family which I always turn down. I get social anxiety around large gatherings with people I don't really know.
Regarding the "social anxiety" at such events, you may be surprised that even the most outgoing person at the party feels it as well. Believe me, I am married to that person. She is extremely outgoing. Many of her friends use her as the example of an extrovert. Yet she feels nervous, sometimes extremely nervous, at such events. Learning this was a revelation to me.

I believe that the story the outgoing person tells themselves about that nervousness is important. I think they've learned to harness the nervous energy to be better at interacting and engaging with others.

I try to avoid labeling this nervousness as "social anxiety" because I believe it often leads to the pathologization of a normal human experience.

daylen wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:25 pm
Clearly, height cannot be changed, but the same idea applies for any perceived differences between anything.
As you say, height is fixed by nature and nurture. Introversion/Extroversion is not. People cannot get taller but they can get better at dealing with the challenges of social situations and then reap the benefits of being social when needed.

daylen wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:25 pm
This is over-fitting. Any frame dealing with humans will always have exceptions.
There are certainly exceptions to my frame (as you put it) but that doesn't mean that those people are incapable of getting better at dealing with social situation. They may never be the life of the party but they could learn skills so that they are happy with the way they interact with others at the party. The sensory overload Jacob mentions above can be attenuated with mindfulness/meditation practice.

daylen
Posts: 1104
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by daylen » Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:59 am

@ego No trait is 100% nurture, and skill level is not the same as preference (even skills are limited by nature). Hence, my post still applies.
Last edited by daylen on Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 11222
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by jacob » Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:00 am

@Ego - A fish in an aquarium never sees the water if it only swims around in middle of the aquarium. It's only when a fish bumps its nose(?) against the glass boundary that the water becomes interesting. Whenever anyone declares the non-existence of a dimension, they tend to be near the middle of what that dimension describes. Whenever someone is strongly interested in a dimension, they tend to be an extreme case/outlier. Basically what daylen said but with fish.

I have observed that some will label themselves and try to "live the label". That is a mistake. The usefulness of labels is to understand oneself in relation to others. The conclusion should lead to "different" (and explain the how and why) rather than "deficient". I/E is a map that shows you where you are and where you can go. It creates perspective.

The dopamine sensitivity is fixed individually. That's the nature one has to work with. I agree that one can go far as far as nurture is concerned. One can learn to deal with the sensory overload (or drink beer) and one can eventually learn the correct response to "how are you?" given lots of practice. Small talk is a learned and probably teachable skill (hey THF, here's an idea) just like public speaking which gets better with practice.

I also agree that the skill is valuable. However, I don't think it's equally valuable to everybody and I also don't think everybody pays the same [dopamine] price to acquire it. Learning the [special] theory of relativity came easy to me. I'm also convinced that anyone who passed 5th grade can learn it even if it in some cases will take 20-30 years to do so. However, I don't think everyone will get the same joy out of knowing it.

I think the same holds for socialization. I don't think everybody gets the same joy out of connecting with other humans. Or more precisely, I don't think everybody gets the same joy out of connecting with other humans in a given situation. For example, people tend to change according to the situation. A person who acts obnoxious, shallow, and loud (to the great benefit of extroverts) at a large gathering might turn into a considerate, deep, and attentive person in a one-on-one setting (to the benefit of introverts).

So when it comes down to it ... how valuable is "mastering the social behavior of humans at baby showers" really or how worthwhile is it to develop especially if one doesn't hang in baby circles. I'm arguing from a position of "not that valuable and that's okay". You don't have to master all the skills of dealing with every kind of human in every kind of situation. However, there is a minimum of social/human interaction mastery---the equivalent of having an emergency fund or being functionally literate---and that would be the ability to interact with a cashier, a co-worker, boss, a date, a meeting, a client, ...

User avatar
Ego
Posts: 4211
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by Ego » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:52 pm

@jacob, the cost of doing fifty burpees a day seems extremely high to someone who struggles with five. After finishing those first five burpees they imagine the pain it will take to achieve a consecutive fifty and decide the benefits just aren't worth it.

But the pain per burpee is not linear. We are not fixed beings. We are adaptive creatures. Over time with practice they get easier.

The same is true for socializing.

With practice over time we adapt, some faster, some slower, and we get better at socializing.

If the web of goals can incorporate mastering meticulous dovetail joints then it can certainly incorporate mastering the art of interacting face to face with the other human inhabitants of our world and the building of social capital.

daylen
Posts: 1104
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by daylen » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:41 pm

Ego wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:52 pm
We are not fixed beings. We are adaptive creatures.
This is only a partial truth. We are both fixed and adaptive. Biology (to determine what is fixed) and communication (to search for adaptations) are both parts of the same puzzle. Without both parts, the puzzle does not exist. There are many alternative frames that shine a different light on this same puzzle.

I have linked this before, but I think that this theorem deserves more recognition. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noether%27s_theorem

More generally.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie_group

daylen
Posts: 1104
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by daylen » Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:46 pm

Here is another angle:

No one can master every skill due to time/attention/energy constraints. This limitation implies that an agent must select between alternatives (not selecting is impossible). If each skill can be measured with a single dimension, then allocating time/attention/energy towards a skill portfolio is a high-dimensional problem. Every agent has an initial position vector (nature) in this high-dimensional skill space. Each agent has a cost function that encodes information about how much time/attention/energy is required to displace this initial position vector to some alternative allocation.

Nurture can only tell an agent about what other allocations are possible. That is, nurture increases the resolution of the skill space, but nurture does not tell an agent how to select an allocation. Other agents can help an agent find their own optimal allocation, but ultimately, each agent must decide what allocation they prefer. This part in particular can be better illuminated with the orders of consciousness. The third order is still in the searching phase. The fourth order is close enough to their optimal allocation to not be reliant on outside help. The fifth order has several allocation vectors that can be combined to estimate/simulate other allocations they have never experienced (gaining a better understand/resolution of cost functions in the process).

daylen
Posts: 1104
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by daylen » Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:03 pm

Some skills are positively correlated together, so targeting such clusters provides synergy. Simultaneously, skills can be negatively correlated, so targeting one can actually hurt your performance on another. Obvious cases include dangerous skills that can lead to injury. Less obvious cases include cognitive functions where wiring the brain in a particular way can increase the cost of rewiring it in a different way.

Personality theory is founded on the principle of exclusivity. Jacob mentioned dopamine for I/E. Anxiety or mental stress has to do with neuroticism. Some other dimensions have to do with the degree of integration in or between certain parts of the brain (such as the hippocampus or the parietal lobe). I am still working out these mappings. Super interesting stuff.

GandK
Posts: 1965
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:00 pm

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by GandK » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:42 am

Wads wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:19 pm
But sometimes I get invited to kids birthday parties or other larger gathering from family which I always turn down. I get social anxiety around large gatherings with people I don't really know. Additionally, these events usually take place on weekends which is the only free time I have to work on projects that interest me. Having a 9-5 really limits my free time during the week so I prefer to keep my weekend free to myself to catch up.

When asked why I didn't go or why I won't be going to these events I feel like im not understood. I value my time most as I know I will die so I want to spend time doing things I love. At the same time, I know most of the stuff I do does not include others. Im looking for some feedback as I seem to relate most to the members on this forum.
INFJ who gets overloaded very easily.

My rule of thumb has become this: unless it's a wedding, a funeral or someone is seriously ill, if going to the get-together is likely to cause me more stress and anxiety than pleasure, I just won't go. Life is too damn short. The only exception is if my husband makes a commitment for both of us without consulting me. My integrity requires that I attend those. After 15 years I've largely broken him of that fight-causing behavior, though.

"I'm tied up" will suffice as a verbal excuse with most.

Adopt that rule and you're golden. People who truly know and love you will consistently make room for your needs - including your social needs - and people who don't, won't. Ever. Don't wasting your time tap-dancing for the 80% instead of spending your limited social hours on the smaller group of people who truly care and show up in your life. If you seriously feel guilty about not seeing cousin X or college roommate Y in a long time, then when you decline their invite, suggest a quieter venue or one-on-one activity you enjoy as an alternative. "But lets get together soon, maybe for coffee/a walk/at the library and catch up." This does 3 things: heads off disappointment, prevents more pressure to attend that event and others like it (for anyone with a clue), and most importantly it tells them what sort of things they should invite you to in the future.

bigato
Posts: 2117
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by bigato » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:10 pm

It can also happen that you find out that they are not interested in any of your suggestions, as much as you are not interested in theirs. That's your clue out of the relationship, you're probably just not compatible. And that's ok.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 5007
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:46 pm

daylen wrote: Simultaneously, skills can be negatively correlated, so targeting one can actually hurt your performance on another.
Right. Like how when I get in the habit of working out most mornings, it interferes with my ability to relax enough to eat bon-bons while reading 19th century novels quite as much as I would like to in the afternoon, because either I feel too hyper or I have to take a nap. So, it's like I have to have some reading all the time seasons and some working out more seasons in order to maximize my exploration of life experiences.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 942
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: Time spent with Friends/Family

Post by classical_Liberal » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:53 pm

jacob wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:00 am
You don't have to master all the skills of dealing with every kind of human in every kind of situation.
There is probably a pareto distribution to social skills, like anything else. The 20% bare minimum can make someone functional in society, allow for teamwork, and help avoid the pitfalls of loneliness. However, as someone who is well beyond this, I can tell you the added dimensions for life and opportunity provided with mastery won't reveal themselves to someone at the more basic level. It's certainly the most advantageous and multifunctional skill I possess. I "grok" that introverts may prefer not to develop it, that's part of being at a high level in the realm, socializing well with people who don't necessarily like socializing.

I guess my point is that introversion (the preference for) is not a deficiency. Just like my preference for not using time to learn the mathematics of special relativity. However, my inability/refusal to learn it certainly makes me unable to truly grasp any advantages that might be held through this understanding. So, if I ever want to have a keen mind for physics, I'll just have to muddle through. As such, I would encourage any introvert interested in mastering social skills to keep going, the benefits are huge.

Post Reply