Strangers.

Everyone is a stranger… almost everyone. This is a fact of life, but for this INTJ stranger is the tittle of every person that hasn’t earned my trust. So regardless of how long I interact with someone, if they haven’t earned my trust they are strangers. This is really important because the predominant idea is that long-term exposure to someone in a “friendly” environment or manner automatically means that there is trust obtained. For this INTJ, I don’t know about the rest, 10 + years of social interaction is not conducive to trust most of the time.

This is visible when people try to initiate physical contact with me. Just because we interact, it doesn’t mean that physical contact is welcomed. That has to be sown under certain contexts to be welcomed.

There are people that I have known for 15+ years and I still consider them strangers because I don’t trust them. I would much rather try telling a secret for the first time to someone that I have only interacted for a year but has earned my trust than someone that I have interacted for a decade who hasn’t earned my trust.

To this last point I have to say that I’m biased. Most of the people that I have known for more than a decade have screwed up in one way or another and therefore the bit of trust that existed have been severed. I have also stopped identifying with my past, and that includes a detachment from the people of my past even if I still interact with them to this day. It doesn’t help that I never learned to make transitions to relationships properly, so it’s easier to cut someone off than to transition the dynamic itself.

So most people are strangers because we haven’t met personally. Some are strangers because nothing else have been obtained other than the awareness of each other’s existence. Some are strangers because the interactions either haven’t led to the formation of trust or the trust formed have been severed by human error. A few are not strangers because even though the interactions have not lasted long trust has been intentionally formed and maintained.

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One thought on “Strangers.

  1. I am acutely aware of this dynamic!

    As I mentioned, in an earlier comment, I recently distanced myself from someone (a couple, actually) that my husband and I considered to be our “best friends.” After knowing them for 5+ years, and spending quite a bit of social time together, it got to the point where I just couldn’t do it any longer. There were some misunderstandings and after, what I felt was disrespect and controlling behavior on their part, I let them know I needed us to all “dial back our social time together.” What it really boiled down to, is that I did not trust her. There were several reasons for this.

    First, as an INTJ, I am not going to make decisions, or treat people, according to how I feel at the moment. She did. I couldn’t trust how she would feel, or treat a situation, from one day to the next.

    Second, if I am not acquainted with a subject, or well-read on it, I will say, “I don’t know,” or not offer an opinion about it. She did, and with loudness and without being informed, and generally with lots of emotionally energy that wouldn’t allow for others to speak. Frankly, she lacked credibility.

    Thirdly, I felt hugely disrespected. In no way did I ever lord myself over her, or act like a infomaniac, but I found it shocking when she would actually argue with me about something she was sure I had done to my landscaping or to insist that I drink beer when I hate beer, and saying “no thank you, I don’t like beer” for five years, ought to be enough.

    To your point that, “the people that I have known for more than a decade have screwed up”, I think we all fit into that category and insomuch as we don’t understand them and they offend us, we have certainly done the same with our INTJ tendencies. Striving for balance is not easy, but essential, and everyday I pray that God will show me what that looks like.

    Like

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