Sensers dgaf about your insecurities

I’m kinda jealous of S-types. I admire the way they’re all in tune with their environment and aware of being alive. This is probably not just a myth perpetuated by weak internet type descriptions. I mean even if it isn’t empirically provable it is at the very least empirically plausible.

For example: my very good ISTJ friend J. She is so on top of her stuff. And I don’t mean just like having health insurance and non-expired tires on her auto car, I mean J is the sort to thoroughly figure out which route is best to take somewhere, which clothes to pack on a trip, and which line moves fastest in the supermarket. And yes, these seem like trivial and overall non-difficult things to figure out, but the point is J does figure them out, sort of automatically, as much as she can. And as a result of having figured these kinds of things out, as much as she can, J has probably saved up about a thousand minutes of non-wasted time to put towards whatever she likes, such as re-reading that romance book about the time traveller’s wife who is btw some FJ broad he’s way too old for. (To her credit J agrees that if the movie adaptation were a person it would be ok to stab this person in the throat.)

Anyway I mean J cares. She thinks about optimizing the energy and time spent at trivia on a really basic level, without the mental acrobatics I personally have to put into this sort of thing. If there is a seemingly pointless math homework to be done, she sits down and does it; I meanwhile have to trick myself into not hating the idea of doing seemingly pointless homework before I am able to stomach doing it, like I seem to have a far lower tolerance for the menstrual-cramps-like psychological anguish that comes with tedium. Half the time, like maybe not with the homework but totally definitely when it comes to looking over my receipt at the supermarket, I just convince myself it’s not that important and hope I am lucky enough to get away consequence-free. J however is not one to get cheated or shortchanged, at least not in the Si/Te sense. Her awareness of time is true to life; her mode of determining the intrinsic value of anything, be it an activity or a relationship, is realistic and clean. In J’s view of things, something that is useful and usually works = very good, and moreover preferable to anything that isn’t objectively useful / doesn’t seem to work as quantifiably.

My ISTP boyfriend is also like this. Though compared to Te-types he worries much less about precision or timeliness (I think it’s important in a nice relationship that you and the other person are more or less equally late or equally on time to things), he is the kind of person who knows a good deal/option when he encounters one, and actively enjoys seeking out the best deals/options around. Apparently Se just basks in this, the hunt for low low prices. By virtue of its coach-from-Rocky-like influence, even I myself recently managed to Se my way into a cherry discount on some non-expired auto car tires. When one of these tires subsequently turned out to be a bit under-inflated, my boyfriend was like, “This tire seems under-inflated,” and immediately put some air in it as a gas station, using his store of actual life skills.

I suspect that leading with Sx and Tx makes you far less likely to die from impaling your under-serviced auto car on a freeway divider.

Like, in my boyfriend’s view it’s yet again the diff between something that works well, and something that clearly doesn’t. He pays attention to things that can be obviously fixed, and dismisses the things that are irreparable. Optimization of his physical reality is basically a sport for him, a gamble with clear win/loss demarcation. In this way he finds it easy to enact the effort –> win connection, the right amount of effort for a desired level of payoff, so as to reap the pleasure that accompanies getting shit done.

And ok, I am not a total FJ chikk from a book for babies. I get shit done also, and I relish getting shit done excellently. I mean to me this seems like it should be a not unusual aspiration across just the general spectrum of being biologically alive or whatever. If you do not relish the quality of your shit, chances are you won’t be cool enough to date a person who will fix your technological items for you. But here’s the diff between the ST and the NF idea of a “win” at a recreational activity, example form:

My boyfriend’s bike is messed up somehow, so he finds out what is wrong and fixes the malfunction.

—-> golden! go outside and be popular

I am trying to explain MBTI to him without getting long-winded. At the end of our convo he’s like, “Yeah cool that makes sense.”

—-> but does it?????????? oh god oh fuck

Similar discrepancies are often found between the ST and NF notions of quality:

My boyfriend and I working to a deadline on a creative project. We get the project done and in at the nick of time!! He is stoked. I am stoked also. We are stoked. But admittedly in terms of stokedness levels I am kind of the lesser level of stoked, because I am also obsessively concerned with, like. Was the final product as good as we could make it?

—-> the universe will never know…. stop thinking about it and go to sleeSTOP THINKING ABOUT IT

Some of it is 3w4 stuff. On waking up every day as still a 3w4, I take time ponder the mystery of how the universe may basically never know anything fucking useful. Such as why I am in and of myself such a series of tropical air masses colliding with much cooler air masses: ENFP and E3, Ne and Fi, E3 and E4, having a cat and being mega allergic to all cats constantly, Libra and Virgo. And why I can’t just take praise or accomplishment at face value, even though I am apparently fine at believing a consequential percentage of critics, stupids and h8rs. It would seem that, bougily, I need my accolades to come from the exact right source and preferably in a proper manner, such as for instance in the manner of champagne toasts at the kind of hotel ballroom that has parquet instead of lousy carpets by which I mean certain kinds of hotel carpets are literally rife with lice eggs, let’s not be naive.

My mystical journey of self-discovery, every day. My weighty personal quandary, which is this: Ne+Ji junk is just too vague and pointless. Especially by comparison with S junk. Like I am not this good at putting thoughts+actions into vectors. Like you know when a normal person wants to go use a bathroom, and then they go use it? I do not do this. Usually I am too absorbed in doing something else. I only go use a bathroom once it has become the most important thing to do at that particular moment. Until that moment I ignore 99.9% of everything unrelated to the thing that I am doing. The same goes for taking tooth surgery painkillers, fixing gas leaks, etc. less gross examples.

You know what is pretty much the only legit downside to Sensing? At least from my perspective?

S-types get bored.

Now this is only conjecture, and if wrong I do apologize, S-types! However, my hypothesis rests on two pieces of evidence:

1. My boyfriend’s repeat entreaties that I quit writing this and go ride bikes with him, mainly because it’s a pretty Saturday outside but also because computers are soul vampires that will cause me to go stupid and blind before my time, and

2. This one time I got stuck in a super long drug store line with my mom (also ISTJ). There was no way to optimize our wait by finding a shorter line, because the drug store was CVS and in keeping with CVS line management tradition the line we were stuck in was the only line available. And though there was no constraint on the time we could waste standing in line that day, over the course of our wait my mom grew increasingly agitated. My mom is not a naturally small-talky person, and moreover subscribes to the philosophy that those who can’t say anything nice or informative would do well to remain gloriously quiet (as such my mom’s favorite conversation topics are nice and informative simultaneously; for instance: which exotic fruit varieties are purportedly most gelatinous and as such most likely to yield tasty homemade jams), and yet as we waited there I could see the existential pressure building up inside her until, at critical mass, she articulated with great vexation, “This line!! It’s so long.”

I was like, “Hrmm?” Because I had been thinking of idk Tumblr and the Sherlock Holmes BBC show. Then I was like, “Yeah.”

“This line is just very long,” my mom said.

It occurred to me after a follow-up conversation where I just straight up asked her if she ever thinks about pointless stuff the way I do, as basically a spiritual escape from boring waits, college lectures, etc., that it might well be the case that while my thoughts during waiting in lines are like,

My mom’s are probably more like

Which gels with the whole reason why S-types find it very important to arrange for the shortest possible line-type situation.

And I mean, ok, it’s not like I’ ve never experienced boredom. I have definitely experienced boredom. My boredom experiences usually happen when I have to do something tedious, and the crushing psychological anguish of being spiritually tethered to this tedious task for what to me seems almost like this dog-waiting-for owner, unbearable sort of eternity, runs down my battery and sometimes even makes me physically ill. But left to my own devices, recreationally, I truly do very rarely get bored. In fact I am sometimes so capable of finding ways to entertain myself that people are like, “please, please stop entertaining yourself.” It’s almost as if, for me, the feeling of boredom is more a symptom of some greater malaise (lack of freedom, lack of inspiration, a bad decision, sudden irrational depression) than a moderately unpleasant fact of life, and must therefore be examined and addressed asap. And I mean addressed not like, “Now let’s get out of this Lynchian CVS time vortex and go do something entertaining,” I mean addressed like, “Have I been sleeping enough? Has anything happened recently that might have upset me more than I consciously believe? Is my soul dying (because of computers)? etc.”

Here’s another relevant phone convo between my mom and me, this time about how we often seem to mean different semantic things, even when using words with universally accepted definitions that are in the dictionary:

ME: Did you have fun at work?
MOM: Not really.
ME: That’s too bad. Sorry you had a bad day.
MOM: Huh? I had a good day.

At one time this sort of exchange was sure to get me started on an escalating spiral of brattiness, because things that I feel I ought to understand but can not seem to understand aggravate and disparage me. But now, thanks to my best dawgg Carl “remember when books were made out of paper and people read them?” Jung, I do understand. It all has to do with the word “fun.” For my mom, the demarcation between work and play is necessarily there. “Work” might indeed be fun, but it will never be “fun,” because “fun” is its antonym. I might as well have asked my mom if her up was down today, like an insane person, because from the Si/Te perspective the meaning-map is like:

For me, meanwhile, work and play need not be mutually exclusive. In fact, I can only really motivate myself do excellent work if the work promises to be “fun” for me — except in my case fun means more like, a mixture of interesting and productive with all sorts of other stuff sprinkled in for flavor, like maybe exciting and original and new and where I get to talk to people who are somehow forced to listen uninterruptingly, preferably for hours. For me, the boundary between work and play is way more fluid, like:

Because I have trouble with boundaries and because can’t sleep ever due to thinking stuff like, What is a boundary and are they ever real and what is the etymology of boundaries and hey what if someone is all planning to break into my house right now?

S-types aren’t often saddled with this sort of nonsense. Like maybe for them it’ll be important sometimes to think some stuff over, but once they think it over they are done. And if the universe may never know the truth about an answer, so be it. No point in hanging on to unsolvable problems. I however think about pointless shit constantly.

Let’s just pause on that.

Constantly.

Like even as I write this sentence I am also thinking about idk. Other stuff I could have written in this article but am now going to dismiss because this article is already at least half a Silmarillion in length.

Constantly. But it’s an S world out there, meaning that though N-types get glorified in movies etc. in actual real life you are supposed to live normally and responsibly like a not idiot child. So like, if the next day in class or whatever I personally were to use the excuse, “sorry I didn’t get much sleep last night because I just kept thinking about all this pointless stuff lol,” it would surprise no one if my excuse did not work super well for excusatory purposes.

Moreover, while the aforementioned “fun” conversation I had with my mom was, as I imagined it, like,

ME: Did you have a productive work day wherein you did or discovered something new as proof that your past few hours on earth yield a net gain in both goodness to mankind and personal growth?
MOM: This did not happen. My time was wasted.
ME: That is very sad. Maybe things sometimes just have to be this way?
MOM: Yes. To make myself feel better I am now going to behave irrationally for no reason.

to most of the world, my mom included, the same conversation would have gone more like,

ME: Did you slack off wantonly today like some sort of parasite?
MOM: Not really.
ME: But slacking off lazily is so cool, that is how I got into a nice college somehow! I am clearly intelligent and yet I do not appreciate the value of a dollar.
MOM: I am going to quit this discussion because it is neither informative nor very nice.

:(

I sometimes imagine what I might be like as a Senser. How much stuff I could get done in a day. What my perspective would be on N-types, with all their idiosyncratic neuroses and their tendency to go inside themselves without warning, like turtles. Would I romanticize this tendency and try to quantify its value, the way my friend J once asked me, “How are you never worried about anything?” Or would I just get so annoyed by it that I’d judgecrush it relentlessly into submission?

As an S-type I would probably be ESTJ. Sorry, world! Thank gosh this is all hypothetical. And anyway I wouldn’t be a very mean ESTJ. I would just be a little oblivious and kinda dorky, the way I am actually. Except instead of dreamy NP obliviousness, my obliviousness would be silly, absurd ES obliviousness. Instead of being geeky-dorky, I would be dorky in a more straightforward way. Maybe I would good-naturedly mangle non-Anglo words, or get too excited by anecdotes to narrate them with any semblance of comprehensiveness. Instead of asking me whether I was happy, my hypothetical INFP friend J2 would ask, “How are you this sure that the decisions you make at your high powered office job are the right decisions?” And instead of being like “Weeeeell I kinda do worry about stupid stuff kinda constantly, but at a sort of low level of worry and usually at times when I should be sleeping,” I would just be like, “HA HA HA HA HA, my silly friend. HA HA HA HA HA.”

11 Comments

  1. Alexandra

    I completely get what you mean about boredom almost always being a symptom of a bigger problem.

  2. Grace

    This article is so funny and amazing! I love your insights. It’s very well-written. Write more! :D

  3. Braedon

    Your articles satiate my Ne desire to endlessly soak in information and my ENTP desire to laugh at stuff simultaneously. Facilitating this multitaskery is most kind of you.

    more, write more, it’s fantastic and you’re witty and not enough people in this world can write things that at the same time both inform and induce giggling.

  4. female entp

    Perfect :D

  5. INFJ

    Sooo hilarious and so true.

  6. Also a 3

    Can anyone please explain what she means with the 3w4 enneagram reference?

    “Some of it is 3w4 stuff. On waking up every day as still a 3w4, I take time ponder the mystery of how the universe may basically never know anything fucking useful.”

    I thought 3s were more about being image-conscious, not having to do with heady universe thoughts (as 5s do). Thanks.

    • I’m no Enneagram Master, but I think I can try and field this one.

      Crayon summary: 4s are dreamers, and 3s are overachievers. (To that end, if I’m reducing to one-word simplicities, 5s would be “planners”.)

      I’m a 4w3 myself, so I inject my personal desire to complete the project or succeed (or be lauded for doing so) into the tendency to imagine solutions/projects/ideas/songs/a better tomorrow/etc. A 3w4 might be a little more inclined to do the opposite, to some extent — take the I-am-the-best-and-can-rule-the-world bravado but consider the many possibilities, dreams, and lofty ideals that could make things better. Since 3 is still the dominant here, it seems to me that the wing 4 would cloud that image-conscious view with the undertone of how much better the world could be?

  7. Nat

    RE: 3w4, I mean that it’s a combination of opposing motivations. 3 is physically image conscious and feelings-denying; 4 is ideologically image conscious and feelings-embracing. The lean to 4 is heavy enough to sometimes pull the 3 off-kilter and vice versa.

  8. “Let’s just pause on that.

    Constantly.

    Like even as I write this sentence I am also thinking about idk.”

    Oh god. Please keep posting. Please post new shit. I die!
    Constant idk and plork for life!!!

  9. Nicole

    Your articles are amazing and after that Johnlock reference you totally hooked me up. I really love this website and I hope you keep it up (a lot of Ps tend to forget to update :P) Do you also think a lot about the types of fictional characters? How would you type the Sherlock personalities?

  10. Samantha

    HEHEHE. this is so insightful and funny. I’m an INFJ and so is my husband. we’re ALWAYS complaining about S-types! we work at the same supermarket (he’s an assistant manager and I’m a cashier), which is FULL of S-types (as most retail would be). we complain (in fun and seriously) about how everything is done in a certain way and if you staple the page in the wrong place, Office is going to have a tantrum. one time, my husband was ordering for the store and told the staff to PUSH BACK the items so he could see how much stock he needed to order (instead of PULL FORWARD the stock so that the shelves look good). All the S-types had a good long chat (20+mins) about, omg why would he say not to face the store! that’s what we were taught! does he really want us to do that!? omgggg! it’s like that couldn’t understand why someone would complete a task in a different way when they were trained to do it in another way, and everyone before them was trained in that way. SO FRUSTRATING. I agree too about how they get bored so easily too! our head cashier is ESFJ. we joke about how you have to dance like a monkey to entertain her so that she notices you lol. (“you were really Gloria’s dancing monkey today!”).

    I used to always disagree and argue with my mom, an ESTJ (sometimes types ISTJ), before I started studying and researching MBTI functions. I never used to understand why, in college, she used to always ask me how my grades were instead of how I was doing. I would yell at her, “why don’t you ever ask me how I’m doing!?!?! who cares about my grades!!!???” then hang up on her. she was probably like, “WTF you’re in college! grades are the most important thing!” but I was thinking more, “I’ve moved away from home for the first time to a place where I don’t know anyone and have no friends. my psychological status is the most important thing!” I also used to write her very long, windy emails about what was happening in my life only to get very short, 4-sentence replies back. (eg “I was sick so I went to the hospital. Now I’m better. Tom got an internship at FEMA. I don’t know if he likes it. Lisa is moving to NYC for grad school. She is nervous.”) WTF kind of update is THAT!? but now, I keep my emails very short and to the point. it pains me to cut out “unimportant” information, but I do. that way, I don’t spend any extra time on the emails, and she doesn’t have to sift through information she doesn’t care about so she replies back to my emails faster.

    I think I read in Gifts Differing that S-types outnumber N-types 3 to 1! Certain settings are different (eg full-time retail workers would be 95% S-types while university students and/or professors are 95% N-types). I’m so glad I’m not an S, though. their life seems so boring lol.

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