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Learning the language; of people

Wednesday May 15, 2019

A while back I was talking with my wife about how the Indian Stalker seems pretty ISFJ by behavior. My wife is an ISFJ herself, and kind of had to admit she saw it too, in her humorous way, when she got to the part in the video with the ISFJ dead-giveaway feeding behavior thing that she does with me on every road trip. I love it!

That’s not the only thing that triggered my ISFJ-o-vision; there’s a whole complex of visual similarities and behavioral things that I also picked up. Feeling reasonably confident.

By the way it’s not super cool, I think, to call people like that kid a stalker. Because there are a lot of lenses through which that behavior can be observed and described. And we don’t know his story. In my imagination though, he’s totally sick of working for his SP boss, cleaning up his messes and getting blamed for everything that’s gone wrong. So feeling under-appreciated and oddly resigned to do something really random, he hits the road, in the broad Ne-aspirational tradition.

Ah, my eyes are welling up. I have an ISFJ son myself, dammit. And I always want him to feel appreciated. But his interaction style is so behind-the-scenes that he can go unnoticed. He is one of the best kiddos in the universe. One night we were discussing superpowers, and I told him, “Hugh, one of your superpowers is knowing what people need before they know it themselves.” And in quiet sobriety he nodded his head as if he had just been officially recognized. He knows he’s amazing at that, as is my wife.

Well, let’s go back to this kid feeding the guy while he’s riding.

That is an awesome thing, the food-feeding thing. I personally find it hard to do for other people. I’m not a super good mouth-feeder-guy. In fact I really love to think I’m better at teaching a man to fish, because I’m sorry but there’s no damn way I’m feeding some random guy by hand!

And, if you’re an INTJ like me, REMEMBER to NOT FORGET that the hand reaching out to you with food will come right after you just contingency-ate before that long drive. Especially if you’re on a diet. Hold off, don’t eat yet! (Being starved while hanging around with an ISFJ is like the perfect setup for an amazing sensory experience anyway. Well, depending on the individual, of course, but IMO as a group they are amazing in this aspect.)

After watching that video a few times just to soak it all in, it struck me that personality type is an amazing tool for anybody who likes to learn languages. Especially for a strong intuitive type like the INTJ. It helps you know a person without even having to like all their Facebook posts, and on top of that, after gaining a reasonable amount of experience you might not even have to memorize any vocabulary words.

Once you know someone’s type, you instantly know a lot about their motivations, their preferred interaction style, the broad direction of their aspirational tendencies, their favored mode of perception, their favored types of judgment, and you start to generally get a feeling for their language, as an individual. Any of the millions of individual traits that enhance this individuality are even more welcome, and add more fuel to the fire that can lead to great experiences in human-to-human communications.

So that’s a pretty big deal.

If you aren’t a people person now, but kind of want to be one, but not in that way, not in the Facebook sort of way—in just such a case, personality type is a fantastic language tool. When you study personality type you study psychology. When you study psychology, you study the broader language of all humanity, and its sub-dialects.

(BTW the title of this blog reminds me of the way my INFJ sister writes emails, in her poetic way. It started as a typo but now I’m keeping it.)

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