facebook dramaWell, I finally did it. I finally got into a Facebook dispute with someone. After years of avoiding any drama, I found myself resisting peace, showing off my exceptional ability to hit a person right where it hurts, and maneuver it so that the other person came across as the asshole.

Ugh. After all the work I put into dealing with my own shit, how did I let myself manufacture the circumstances and find myself indulging in drama?

This isn’t unique for people of my type, for I am an ENTP (Exploration/Accuracy in the Genius System), and when we’re at an average to unhealthy level of development we can’t resist a good verbal kerfuffle. We congratulate ourselves on our wit and see everyone else as ‘bringing a knife to a gun fight.’

If I want to, I can crush another person’s spirit without them quite knowing what I’ve just done. And, of course, dance away unscathed and delighted with my conquest.

…for about ten minutes. Then all of a sudden the damaging impact I’ve had on another human being comes crashing down on me, and I get a poignant, clarifying thought: “Oh, wait. I’M the asshole.”

For an ENTP (Exploration/Accuracy) type, they have a push/pull relationship between empirical truth that doesn’t check in with other people’s feelings, and the knowledge that other people’s feelings are important and a part of the equation.

If you’ve read the article Personality Tools: The Car Model, you’ll know that my Co-Pilot process is “Accuracy” and my 10 Year Old is “Harmony.” Accuracy‘s greatest desire is to have accurate data, and people’s messy emotions get in the way of that data.

If you have Accuracy as part of your genius, you’ll understand when I say that there’s only so much ‘social truth’ you can take – Yes, you do look fat in that dress, and no you don’t have the cutest baby ever. Not that an Accuracy person has to say these things, but it can become tiring to have to play the game in order to preserve other people’s emotions.

On the flip side, the process of Harmony is all about connecting with another human being, ideally through a shared emotional experience. Connecting with others is the most rewarding activity Harmony engages in, and so if you need to gloss over subjective truths anyway, why wouldn’t you do so for the sake of the other person? No, you don’t look fat in that dress, and my god you have the cutest baby of all time (even if it’s only the cutest to you, that still counts).

When it comes to our Co-Pilot and 10 Year Old processes, we tend to figure them out by being pulled in both directions, and it can make us feel like we don’t really know what we’re doing.

My Co-Pilot process of Accuracy is intended to be used for radical honesty, but how much honesty is too much? If I say the wrong thing and offend someone else, should I see that as their problem, or should I take responsibility for the offense?


rumi-polishedThe unhelpful but most honest answer is: it’s contextual. Some offense is not only warranted, it’s healthy. As Rumi says, “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” Alternatively, some offense is hard to justify, especially if the other person is in a unusually vulnerable position. (I say “unusually” intentionally. Everyone gets low sometimes, and will devolve into their own ego games. However, if you are perpetually vulnerable, it’s on you to try to rectify that.) 

Honing and developing my Co-Pilot process – the highest leverage activity I can do for growth – means sorting through these nuances. At which point does my Accuracy stop being a super power, and start becoming merely obnoxious?

I’ve long said it’s when it stops being in the other person’s best interest, and starts being about me getting what I want at their expense. If I’m using radical honesty to hurt the other person then I’m abusing it as a tool. By the same token, some people ‘need the spanking they never got as children.’ Am I the one to ‘spank’ them verbally if I see them as behaving in a manipulative or childish way? Is that my place or my business? What if they turn it on me and I’m the recipient of their attempts to be manipulative? Then does it become my business?

As an ENTP, these are tough questions to answer.

Other types may have it dialed in, but for me, I struggle with this daily. As is the case with all development, the way that other types have it dialed in won’t work for me.

So, I go back to the Car Model.

My Driver process is Exploration – meaning, I like to figure things out in the moment and test/iterate. For most things, it’s a fun process to have. For people, it means I’ve built an understanding of human relationships and dynamics on failure after failure.

I have a sixth sense about people, but only because I’ve been poking and prodding them my entire life to see how they’ll respond.

Eventually, my Driver became sophisticated enough to stop poking people all the time, and that’s in part because my Co-Pilot process of Accuracy realized hurting others to cull information doesn’t really show integrity. One would think Accuracy would have no problem exploiting others for data, and at low levels it seems to be creepily okay with it (reference: all painful medical experiments done on living people). At higher levels, though, Accuracy is extremely egalitarian and doesn’t see how it’s my right to put you in a bad position.

And while I’d like to say I stopped being obnoxious with people based entirely on staying in ‘integrity,’ there’s also a large smattering of just wanting people to like me. People don’t seem to like me if I’m acting like a dick just to see how they’ll respond. People don’t like to be dehumanized, weirdly enough. And so my 10 Year Old of Harmony would get really uncomfortable when my social stock would plummet.

Thus was born the push/pull relationship of my Accuracy/Harmony. Stay honest, don’t blow smoke up people’s asses, call truth as you see it… and try not to have everyone hate you.

On top of that, I also need to be in alignment with my primary mission: to encourage personal development and growth in everyone. That doesn’t mean I’m responsible for it; it just means I’m going to be congruent with that mission.

So, it comes down to utilizing both processes to the best of my ability and with a large helping of altruism. If I take my previous sentence:

“Call truth as you see it… and try not to have everyone hate you.”

And change it to:

“Call truth as you see it… and try to do so in a spirit of love, focusing on a win/win.”

… now if the other person gets mad at me, it’s not necessarily a failure, because it’s not about me. And, conversely, because it’s not about me I’m far more likely to have a positive return in the long run. People smell altruism, just like they smell self-centered self-preservation.

When you look at the Long Game of Life, creating win/wins can take time. Feeding someone else’s unhealthy social habit isn’t encouraging them to ‘win.’ It’s actually pointing them in the direction of ‘lose’ and encouraging them down that road. One of my favorite quotes about co-dependence is from my good friend Camronn who said, “Co-dependence is a relationship where both parties have the unspoken contract ‘I won’t call you on your shit if you don’t call me on mine.'”

As long as we enter co-dependent relationships, we aren’t encouraging other people to win. By the same token, calling each other out on the areas we need some polishing (or, a lot of polishing) means they’ll probably get hurt and offended initially and only think of you in positive terms much further down the line, if ever. It decreases their immediate happiness but qualifies them for a far greater experience of pleasure later.

All of that said, most of our experiences with other people aren’t coaching sessions. We get short, staccato interactions with others in which we have to make quick decisions about how we’ll behave, what we’ll choose to call out and what we’ll choose to ignore, and whether or not it’s worth it to cause some temporary upheaval for long-term gain.

Personal development is hard work, which is why most people don’t consciously do it; which means that for a certain segment of the population you’re not encouraging them to do anything but nurse wounds. They’re not going to learn from the experience of calling them on their behavior, so it’s short term pain with no gain.

As I develop as an ENTP, getting more and more refined in this inner battle is propelling me to new heights. And, of course, every time I ‘fail’ I learn something more about my ego. Why did my ego (or, “I” as we tend to refer to our egos) feel it needed to call that person out? Was it because there was a legitimate issue that needed rectifying, or was it out of personal conceit and a desire to be right? And if it’s both, which side is behavior favoring?

the emperor's new clothesSometimes I see myself as a righteous defender of Truth, the person who will point out that the Emperor has no clothes on when everyone else is pretending he does. And other days I just think I’m self-congratulatory and smug. I’m both, of course, with a bunch of other flattering and not-so-flattering things thrown into the mix.

In summary? No matter what type you are, there’s going to be that one Life Puzzle to solve that seems so easy for everyone else, but will occupy you (possibly) for life. Cherish that puzzle – it’s a large part of your personal journey. The better you get at it, the more nuance you see in that puzzle, the better the impact you have on your own life and others.

In the particular instance of the Facebook drama, I was insensitive, and I was righteous. So, my responsibility now is to apologize for my insensitivity and let the other person determine if they want my version of the truth. I think it would work out for them if they accepted it, but that’s not on me.

Ultimately, I call out the Emperor’s delusion, not for him, but for me. To stay true and congruent, and hopefully be a positive influence more by example than any words I could ever say.

 

 

 

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Showing 22 comments
  • SinSin
    Reply

    As a fellow female ENTP who loves to study psychology, thank you. This describes my daily paradox with people and myself so well… I’m pretty happy right now; There’s actually another person on the planet who gets what’s going on in my head all day. Thanks for making me feel less crazy.

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      Just saw this comment! Not sure how I missed it earlier.

      Thanks for the feedback. I know there are other types that are more statistically rare, but I so rarely run into other ENTP females it always makes me feel warm and fuzzy when I do.

      That Accuracy/Harmony balance is a tough one to master. Keep the fine fight up, sister. 🙂

      -A-

      • Lucila
        Reply

        Another female ENTP here. 🙂 I don’t know any female ENTPS so it’s really refreshing for me too. This article was spot on. I struggle with this a lot, am I doing this from the heart or am I just showing off? I sometimes even think I’m just protecting myself by calling on others. The part that really stood out for me and I related to a lot is the fact that we sincerely want to be good people. I personally struggle with trying to be a good, kind and honest person a lot. I could say is a goal I keep in mind 24/7 and it’s so important for me. It’s a good excercise to try to check on yourself before starting a debate. I know I do it just for fun most of the times, but more often than not the other person isn’t having fun at all. I would love to stay in touch with you guys 🙂

    • Kat
      Reply

      Another female ENTP here and wow this article hit me spot on! It actually feels good to read I’m not alone and someone else is “like” me!

  • ENTP Sister
    Reply

    Just came across the website and took the quiz and as always, I come up as an ENTP. I love taking quizzes like this too … I think it’s the part of my continual quest for personal development and exploration. I like how you say, be the best version of yourself.

    Also, it’s totally true on the verbal slaying and squashing a spirit in two seconds without the person knowing what happened. However, I’ve learned (and have been working on it for a long time) to STOP and not say it or write it right away … sometimes. It’s hard because it would just be soooo good … ha!

    One other thing to mention is the “accuracy” part of the ENTP. This was quite an revelation for me. I’ve never heard it in this way and it totally resonated with me. I have always had friends up and down, left and right, from pop smoking stoners to “socially acceptable” doctors and lawyers and never thought twice about it. And when people treat others poorly because of what they do for work or where they live – all those things that society tells us is important – it has always bugged me but I never really thought that deeply about it. But the concept of treating everyone the same and not playing favorites in anyway is a total core value for me. In fact, I’ve never really thought much about my own core values either. I see a list of core values in my future!

    Anyway, thanks for the insight. I’ll continue to check your work out. Have a great day!

  • entp ladeeee
    Reply

    love it! another entp chick over here. By the way Antonia, as another entp f in a relationship with an enfo m, I’d love to hear about your experiences with this!

  • Kelly
    Reply

    Woah. I’m just actually finding that I’m ENTP. I’ve tested it a couple times but got confused on type through college. Long story.

    This is so eye opening and takes me back to a day I FLIPPED out in my college Chemistry class because a guy called me out for being a bitch and told me to just shut up after becoming frustrated by inaccurate after inaccurate statement by the teacher and students. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I totally WAS and I was degrading my peers for their “incompetence.” Really, I found out that I was infuriated by my professor because she was SO unclear on everything when in reality the concepts weren’t difficult. Everything from the curriculum, to turning things in, to grading….. It was all a mess and to me seemed so clear to me on how to solve the problem. I felt trapped in this classroom, when I’ve always valued math and chemistry because you could tear it apart and find the “answers.”

    After flipping out on this guy (because I don’t lose Hello!… Lol) I found him and we sat down and talked it through, about how I’d been stuffing my “truth” and problem solving ideas down and spewing out my discontent on every wrong statement and idea. I even respected him for standing up to me…. That was a first!

    Long story short, I have looked back on this day and seriously picked myself apart and told myself I am terrible. After it happened I was embarrassed to go to class the next time. It was a huge wake up call for me to evaluate my mega power of accuracy and use it for good, not evil lol. I totally relate to your statement of some days I am truth’s champion and others I am just a douchebag with harsh words, essentially.

  • Kevin Parker
    Reply

    Antonia, I read this after my Personality Type Verification Session (which I highly recommend!), and the clarification on being ENTP (instead of ENTJ) is so helpful to me. I identify a lot with this post. As a kid I was quick to bluntly point out even uncomfortable truths. Over time I realized the damage this can do, and I decided it is often—but not always—better to keep things to myself than to prove I am right. The key has been to develop my internal process for picking the right battles. Now when I pick a battle, I am sure it really matters, and my super power emerges to bring clarity even in those awkward moments. As a management consultant, this ability to pick and win the right battles is invaluable!

    • Pal
      Reply

      Thanks Kevin, yes, to choose the right battles are important from ruining relationships!

  • Bill
    Reply

    This post was awesome. I laughed a decent amount at the beginning, especially relating to the feeling that others bring a knife to a gun fight. We’ve been given a great gift, but so often I use it for self-gratification and bolstering my ego (which needs to die) rather than to serve the people I love. And every time I do, I get my 10 year old kicking the crap out of the back of the seat. Any tips on how to facilitate good conversation between my accuracy and harmony? I’m feeling this tension a lot these days.

  • Sola
    Reply

    Thank you so much for this, Antonia… I just realised I’m ENTP. I thought I was ENFP for over a year, and suddenly tonight, it clicked! I took your online test and got confirmation: I’m ENTP, not ENFP. And I see everything so much clearer now. It feels so right. Everything you wrote in this article describes my most inner battle, which I’ve tried to hide so hard, being so ashamed of that rude, factual, unemotional, cold and blunt secret side of me that just wants to tell you the pure and simple truth about you in the most straightforward and accurate way (and I have been so ever since I can remember. I would tell horrible things to my ISTJ dad, not caring about his feelings and emotions at all, and his absence of reaction as the mots introverted of introverts just made it worse). I was top of the class throughout my teenage years and it felt pretty lonely, although I was all about harmony with others, avoiding to brag along at any cost… But now I think I finally understand why I may still have hurt some people inadvertently and why some would hate me. I think I know why I mistyped myself as an ENFP for so long: I’ve been with an INFJ for a number of years now, and his extroverted feeling function is so strong (as well as his judgement) that I’ve had to preserve his feelings and repress that “righteous defender of Truth” side of me to make it work. It has a cost, but I manage it, and we don’t fight anymore. It’s a lot of work for me though, a daily inner struggle to… STFU. Or find a way to say things with as much tact as I can… Anyway, thank you so much Antonia. I’m glad to know another ENTP like you, even only virtually!

    • Sola
      Reply

      Sorry, I said “I was all about harmony with others, avoiding to brag along at all costs” while I meant “trying my best not to give the impression of bragging”. I think I was just trying to be factual, but people did not get me and I just didn’t know what to say. Hard times!

  • AK
    Reply

    Thank you so much for this article. As a fellow female ENTP I was about to mistype myself as an ENFP. As a child I argued a lot with my ESTJ mother who neglected (literally) all my interestings, constantly telling me I am lame and disorganized although I aced at every possible subject at school (yes, even PE). She wanted (and still wants despite me being at my 20s) to organize and structure my life. I took many MBTI related tests (including yours) and in almost all cases I scored as an ENTP (some told me I might be INTP or ESTP (??)). As I read multiple descriptions of ENTPs, attempting to comprehend cognitive functions, I came to the conclusion that I might’ve been an ENFP actually. But why? well, I cried a lot as a child. I value both people and logic, but I’m more prone to please people instead of doing things on my own flow (I mostly force myself to shut up my inner objections and opinions, because `I might be not competent enough`). My entire life is one big `I shall please everyone, maybe then I’ll be praised`. It eventually evolved into a crippling social anxiety which I try to defeat now.

    Thanks to this site I finally became able to understand my own personality as well as my anxiety problem. I’m really grateful!

  • Anna
    Reply

    Hello, another female ENTP here.
    There is one thing that bothers me. I can easily point out somebody’s inconsistency and illogical behaviour usually in a witty, sarcastic way, but I can’t do it when it’s about me. I’m scared (I hate that word:) to say that people did something wrong to me. I can’t win my own battles, even start them. I always say that everything is fine. I can’t even send back food in the restaurant. I was wondering if anybody has got a similar problem or is it just me and my “childhood issues” :):)?

  • Kali
    Reply

    Hey, Anna!
    Another ENTP girl here. 🙂
    I have a similar problem, let me try to explain: I stand up for myself when I am around my family (I talk back to my mom, no problem). However, I never talk back to my friends – it’s like I have this fear of losing the few people, who actually understand me (+ about 80% of them are feelers and I can probably sense that they’ll get offended). I don’t usually have a problem with arguing for the sake of my friends and family (I usually make the angry calls, when me and my flatmates have problems). Although that last bit is more of a new development, since I left home. In school, I was a top student, I kept really quiet, rarely pointing things out or being a know-it-all (that I did in high school) and generally being a push-over. I am trying to work on all of that now and I am trying to stand up for myself around all sorts of people. All of this may stem from the fact that my mom is an ultra-sensitive ENFP, who (still) takes my words very personally and seriously and sways between “You are the smartest and most wonderful person ever” to “Why are you so egoistic, why are you so harsh, why are you so critical?!” My dad was the opposite of my mom (who is generally nice and optimistic) and would just criticise everything. So, I kept quiet and finally when I was 20 I discovered one of these personality websites and it all made sense to me. Now I am trying to be me, if that makes sense. Before that I was only an ENTP in my head- on the outside I acted more like a shy, feeling introvert. I was held back by shyness, which I am gradually overcoming, but it takes a lot of effort. If I am around people, who wouldn’t understand me, I just slip back into that state of silence, smiling and nodding (meanwhile criticising and laughing in my head). So, to come back to your question, I think parents and childhood environment does impact you A LOT. However, nobody can change your personality and I think that’s important to know.
    Sorry for the long, messy post. I hope it’s comprehensive.

    • Anna
      Reply

      Thank you for your reply Kali, that was really helpful! It’s so amazing to hear that there are other people like you in the world, it gives you a huge confidence boost. I’m 36 and just discovered, thanks to MBTI, that I’m not a freak of nature. So much wasted time, but still a lot is waiting for me!

      All the best

  • Ilke
    Reply

    Our tendency to ‘coach’ is the bit I take issue with, or rather, struggle with. I have often been called ‘self-righteous’ by friends and family. When loved ones are having a tough time, I am quick to decipher the situation, identify root causes, and before I can stop myself, I’m delivering a 12-step self-help program. Sometimes my advice is sought out. Sometimes I (arrogantly) decide to intervene without invitation. I now understand that my delivery is most often to blame. I am verbally aggressive. I’m working hard on neutralising my tone, with any luck I might even manage to add some warmth. But I find it frustrating that people cannot understand that I am coming from a place of genuine care and love. In reference to the self-righteousness, I am constantly applying this rigorous self-improvement to my own life.

    Confidants have often criticised my inability to act simply as a supportive ear. On occasions that I have attempted this, I found myself with nothing of real value to say. Recently, a close friend lost his sister in a horrific car accident. Knowing not to tell people how to deal with grief (thanks online blogs; I research everything), I was at a loss as to what to say, so I just avoided him instead. We have since reconnected and all his well. But I would really appreciate some good practical advice on how to be a supportive friend without the stern ‘coach carter’ routine.

    • Cloclo
      Reply

      Understand, accept and EMBRACE the fact that people are different. Take a step back and get in only when invited. That’s all. Otherwise you WILL end up lonely. Right, but lonely.

  • Cloclo
    Reply

    I have an entp boyfriend, I thought it was him writing this post! :p. I love him but only in short bursts. After a “conversation” (debate) with him, I have to go meet my friends or spend some time on my own to find harmony and a good vibe. After 15 minutes, the anxiety is released. Phew! 🙂 He has no friends because he is the unwelcome deliverer of “truths”, which by the way he never bothers materializing which to me, a J, makes no sense, and thankfully he won’t. He still thinks people can change and be a bit more like him. And that hope conflicts the truth. I find him extremely interesting. Never a dull moment. Unfortunately for him, no one can take all his greatness full time.

  • Ash
    Reply

    Spent the morning ugly crying, because this was so perfectly spot-on for this ENTP lady. I’ve never heard this struggle couched as a accuracy/harmony tug of war before, but that’s exactly the dynamic that keeps me in tension (or if I’m in a healthy place, awareness) Thank you for this article. I have a feeling I’ll be revisiting it many times in the next few months as I wrap my head around the nuances.

  • BEN
    Reply

    ENTP male here,got an ENFP partner and I got to say that its hell at times.Everything is just extreme with her. I say something truthful and she is off like an atomic bomb. I do something nice and she is super excited unlike anybody i have ever known. Now that would mean that I dont have to tell her what I really think ,which often come from a good place but if i do that it would feel like dying every single day.I really want this relationship to work because I like her a lot. This might just be the biggest challenge I have ever faced and I dont want to fail at it.On the other hand ,if she decided to break it off ,I will totally understand but my understanding will be that of self blame and undeserving of love and affection because I am simply a horrible person.On the other hand,I often believe as if she is trying to manipulate me with all this emotions and force me to create a sort of harmony with her,,, but whats the point of that harmony if its not based on truth?!

  • cal
    Reply

    ENTP male here. its probably very ‘ENTP’ of me to challenge what i just read, but im struggling to see what the big difference between being a male or female may be, is there one?

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