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How to deal with how he is.


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My boyfriend of one and a half years has an INTJ personality type. He's introverted, almost pseudo-formal (not in a comical way), and in a roundabout way, rude. He doesn't understand why. He doesn't understand human emotion, and also does not understand or try to interpret body language or voice inflection. I know that this is just how he's wired, and that I'm accepting him for who he is, and the issues he may have. I have an easy time comprehending why he does the things he does, how he does him, and in general, I know exactly how he works and it only bothers me occasionally (and minimally, at that). Sometimes, I think, he is sub-consciously degrading. He doesn't realize he's being that way, and doesn't understand why he's coming accross that way.


He also gets personally offended by people "disrespecting his things," when they actually aren't (or are not meaning to, because their definition of 'disrespect' is different from his). His cousins came over for Christmas and I witnessed him become uneasy when his older (and much larger) cousin plopped down on his office chair. Mind you, this chair was quite expensive, as it was constructed solely with him in mind, but the point is that his cousin was not aware of the heightened sense of awareness and care that he takes with his things, and he took personal offense from it. He also gets furious when his twelve year old sister throws herself onto the chairs in the living room. I tried to explain to him that though it makes sense to him not to treat that piece of furniture as such, the thought of lightly and "correctly" having a seat may not have occurred to her because of her age. He says she has no excuse and is just an insubordinate brat.


After talking with his mom and him a little the other night about this, he concluded that he'd live in solitude (which I dismissed as stemming from his emotion at the time) and never ever have company.


Though he has these problems, he's wonderful in many other ways, and I love him to death.


I'd like to try and find a way to show him how most people work; and though he may not want to accept it, life is the way it is, and there's nothing to do about it. Because, of course, you can only change yourself, not others (though it would be fantastic to not have to change one's self).


Any suggestions and/or similar situations would be greatly appreciated.

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well, you sound like you are handling this well, and giving him good advice. I think you may be the best one to give yourself advice on this one ;0.


Definitely you are on the right track, explaining to him how most of the world sees things, perhaps tell him why he's different, and how, but most importantly, tell him all those things that you appreciate about him - qualities that nobody else has. It is going to be very challenging, though, because he doesn't seem to have that ability to just "know" what the proper thing to do in each situation is - the proper or acceptable way to act. You can't teach him how to act in each situation because each situation is going to be different. And, if he is not open to listening to you and trying to change, then you will get nowhere.


No matter what, you can never change someone. They have to want to make a change, then you can be a support and offer guidance along the way. But if he doesn't want to change, your efforts to help him will only backfire and cause problems within your relationship. If eventually he does want to change due to your "help" it will only be fore you and not for him, so it will be pretty much useless and ineffective, because change is hard and painful to endure, and without the proper inner motivation, it is impossible. This holds for any kind of change, BTW, like kicking an addiction or adding self-esteem, whatever.


So, best of luck, but remember, if he doesn't WANT to change, then it is going to have to be YOU who changes. IE: you are going to have to make adjustments to live with him the way he is, or you will have to find someone new.

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Hmm... thank you! I get completely what you mean about the self-changing part, however, it's me that's worried about him, and I can accept and deal with his flaws just fine. What will become of him in the adult world (we're seniors in high school, about to graduate in the spring), and how he'll fare dealing with people on a more everyday basis, is what worries me.


I suppose I just want to know how to deal with helping him.

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Perhaps you could take the approach of making a joke out of it. you know, like whenever you see an opportunity to "teach" him something about how most people are, turn that opportunity into a funny moment. like "isn't that funny how that person just opened the door to Starbucks and let that other person go in front of them. Gosh people are so weird!" hah, bad example but I think you get the jist. Liek make light of a situation but also teach him one thing at a time. Just DON'T over-do it. Perhaps, over time, he will start to learn. But, all in all, I know you care about him, but you can only do what you can do. I think it will be much better to lead by example and just love him for who he is (like you are doing) rather than try to completely "fix" him. You know, it's kinda like that chicken-soup-for-the-soul starfish story. There's a guy out on the beach with like a thousand star-fish washed up on the sand. he's throwing them back in the water, one-by-one. Then another guy sees him and, perplexed, says, "why are you wasting your time throwing these starfish back into the sea one by one. There are so many of them on the beach you will never make a difference." The man picks up yet another starfish and throws it into the sea. "Made a difference for that one." he replies.


Same idea, just do what you can for your guy while you're with him, one starfish at a time. By the time you move on, or as time goes on with him, the beach will get cleaned up. One star at a time!

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I don't really have any advice, but just wanted to share that my man is very similar. Except that I do think he has a keen eye for body language and nuance. He has a wall around him that you can almost feel. He'll never ask anyone to change or do anything differently; he just makes it clear through his body language and actions that no one is to invade into his space and control any aspect of him. That may range from making too personal a comment, to touching his things, to touching his arm, and he will not allow anyone (like me) to do little favors for him. He is pseudo-formal, just like yours, and even more-so when someone (me) has crossed that line. It really hurts, and I have tried to tell him. He says that he doesn't think he should apologise for the way he is.


So anyway, you're not alone, for what it's worth!

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