INTJs can sometimes become so infatuated with an idea or project, that they actually begin to feel as if people or social events are nothing more than a waste of time. Truthfully, some social events (or people) are a waste of time. However, INTJs may get into a pattern where they isolate themselves so much that they actually begin loathing the idea of even the slightest social contact or disturbance.
Most INTJs tend to be driven and focused individuals, and they aren’t exactly what most people would call “social butterflies.” Nevertheless, INTJs may get invites to parties, movies, social get-togethers, etc. The problem here is that:
1. While most INTJs are okay with the occasional social function, doing it too often burns them out and exhausts them. When I do it too much, I begin to feel as if I’m losing control of my life, and that causes a small amount of anxiety to build.
2. Most INTJs like for everything they are doing to be productive and moving them toward a planned goal. Sitting for hours and having pointless small talk is anything but productive for most INTJs.
3. Most INTJs have such analytical minds that they constantly weigh the opportunity costs of their time and resources, and they can have this deep sense of regret or frustration at having to waste their resources on something they consider pointless.
How can you cope with feeling as if going to some social event or wasting money on something frivolous is a complete waste of time?
I’m going to give you four ways I’ve been able to cope with this. These do help a lot, but I’ll be very candid and say that this is something that I struggle with. My natural response to an invitation is usually to politely turn it down. Sometimes, I’ll accept the invitation yet dread it for the entire week, even going so far as to play imaginary scenarios in my head of how it might turn out.
How to Stop Feeling as if People Waste Your Time
If you struggle in feeling like the slightest bit of social interaction is nothing more than a giant waste of time, here are a few tips for you:
1. Remember that you may actually miss unknown opportunities that could prove far more valuable than your known opportunity costs. This is kind of like the movie Yes Man, where Jim Carey’s character decided to say “YES” to every single opportunity that came his way. Doing so changed his life for the better. I’m very much a “NO” man, and it has probably cost me some great opportunities.
But we INTJs tend to plan everything so much, we immediately reject anything else that pops up. We write it off as a meaningless distraction. However, that’s not always the case. By engaging in some social contact, it can actually help you.
In a survey published on Truity.com, the top three highest earning men were extroverted types , with ESTJ being the highest ($94k). INTJs came it at number 6 ($57k). The truth is that most extroverts have an advantage over INTJs (or introverts) in the sense that they are more willing to be social and mingle with people.
Allow me to illustrate how going to a simple event may change your life:
Sylvester Stallone was a struggling actor who was flat broke. His career was going nowhere fast. However, he decided to attend a boxing match between Mohammed Ali and Chuck Wepner. Wepner was the underdog, but he made it all fifteen rounds with Ali. That boxing match resonated with Stallone deeply, and went home and wrote the script for the movie Rocky in 3 and ½ days. He eventually sold the script with the agreement that he would play the lead character. The movie was a box office success, and it launched Stallone into superstardom.
2. Remember that other people get lonely and need attention and interaction, too. I try to understand that fact from a personality type perspective. Just as INTJs need alone time to recharge and plan, others need lots of “together time” to recharge and function. I try to keep that in mind when dealing with friends, extended family, and acquaintances. I don’t want to come off a selfish narcissist, so I try to make some accommodations for others, even though I have this natural tendency to resist doing so.
3. Remember that social interaction and pointless get-together are like taxes and death. You can’t escape it, so you may as well make the best of it. Although many INTJs dream of living in isolation on some remote island, it probably wouldn’t be the best option for our long-term mental health. Sometimes, you just have to push the negative thoughts of having to deal with people (or social events) out of your mind. Stop stressing about it, and try to smile and enjoy yourself.
4. Be selective and schedule randomness into your plans. Don’t accept every invitation, but do allow for the acceptance of some social events. Don’t overdo it, but make an effort to plan for some social contact and invitations. Make a mental “budget” for social interaction, and be willing to do it on a periodic basis (whatever feels right for you).
You can also try to incorporate others into your events, so that you can satisfy a lot of people at once.
Conclusion: Social Interaction is Tough
Social interaction can be tough and exhausting for INTJs. You can feel as if any social contact is an awkward waste of time. However, it’s good to get some level of interaction. By following the four tips above, you can keep a more positive attitude about those random social invites.