How do INTJs feel about small talk? They usually feel the exact same way that a cat feels when it is thrown into a tub of water. Generally speaking, most INTJs loathe small talk. In another video I made on privacy, a viewer named Ryan left a comment that I thought was funny: ‘ “I love to small talk with strangers,” said no INTJ ever.’
So, in this article and video, I’m going to talk about why I dislike small talk, ways I often avoid small talk, and what INTJs can do if they are forced to engage in small talk.
Why Most INTJs Dislike Small Talk
First, I don’t think this is purely an INTJ thing. A lot of introverts in general dislike small talk. I won’t say all introverts—my wife is an ISFJ, and she’s actually okay with small talk. In fact, she’s even quite good at it. But most INTJs hate it. (Maybe it’s an IN thing?)
I think the reasons I dislike it can be summed up with the following points:
- I’m a private person. I don’t like to talk about personal things I’ve been doing. Small talk often gravitates to questions like, “So what do you do for a living? What have you been doing lately?”
- I have no interest in the things most people enjoy, and many small talk conversations are pointless. Many INTJs ponder deep, theoretical concepts which few people would find interesting. For example, I hate watching sports because I get bored to tears. Most people will ask, ”What did you think of that football game last night?” I have no answer. I hate watching football–all of those men (probably on steroids) are fighting over a tiny ball, and each one can afford to buy their own.
- However, INTJs can often talk your head off if you can get them onto a subject they have been pondering or researching lately. I have an INTJ nephew, and he used to be obsessed with video games. He’d sit and talk and talk and talk about World of Warcraft or Minecraft.
- I find small talk awkward, and I genuinely have difficulty thinking of things to talk about. I went to the grocery store a while back, and all of the self-checkouts were closed (I love those, by the way). I then realized I was going to have to do small talk with the cashier, but I was totally unprepared. So I said, “Hello. How are you doing today?” She replied, “Great, how about you?” I countered: “I’m doing well.” Then my mind went blank as I stood for 2-3 minutes scanning my mind for something reasonable to say. I couldn’t think of anything.
Even though I dislike small talk, it isn’t totally useless. It’s good to be friendly to someone. Sometimes it can even lead to an interesting conversation, a friendship, or a business contact. In addition, some people carry the conversation easily, and that makes small talk a lot less painful.
Ways INTJs Can Avoid Small Talk
While I will sometimes engage in small talk (and rarely even enjoy it), I often avoid it, especially if I’m in a hurry or already mentally exhausted. Here are some methods to avoid small talk:
- You can avoid eye contact with people
- You can pretend to check your smart phone
- You can take a book or magazine with you to some place (doctor’s office, although they often have magazines)
- Take an MP3 player and use headphones
INTJ Tips for Successful Small Talk
- Be friendly and smile. Don’t greet people with your INTJ death stare!
- Pre-plan some random questions or topics to discuss.
- Ask follow-up questions to keep them talking about themselves.
- Take an extrovert with you. I take my wife as much as possible (she’s an ISFJ, but she’s good at social stuff). I tell her, “You do the talking. I’ll just nod and smile.”
- End with, “Well, I better get going. I’ll see you later.”
In conclusion, INTJs generally don’t enjoy small talk very much, and this is true for most introverted types. Nevertheless, humans are social creatures, and small talk is a necessary evil that we must endure to meet new people or reconnect with acquaintances.
And as odd as it may seem, it can actually be surprisingly pleasant at times (rarely, but it happens). While many of my small talk conversations are awkward, I do meet the occasional person who is interesting, friendly, like-minded, or whatever. We’re all human, and it’s good to talk with others, even if it is a struggle for us INTJ personality types.