How To Communicate Bad News To An INTJ

A reader brought up an interesting question, and being that it is something that is a frequent struggle, it has inspired a post. The question that was brought to me was how, as an INTJ woman, how do we want to be heard. The struggle of which I speak, is the disbelief in my words and the differing communication styles of humans in general. Since “bad news” seems to be a large sticking point, and seems to be the most feared communication subject, I will focus on that specifically.

The question almost resulted in a gigantic eye-roll. I don’t know, simply listen? It isn’t that simple though, and don’t we know it. I can answer that question in one statement; take us at face value, however that seems to be very difficult for most people, since many communicate in passive-aggressive tones or beat around the bush on nearly every conflicting subject. Since the INTJ doesn’t “do” passive-aggressive, and is generally blunt and unyielding, it leads others on an exhausting inquisition to figure out what we are really saying.

I will tell you what we are really saying; Exactly what we said.

I touched on this phenomenon in more depth in a previous post, explaining how this is  journey we are more than accustomed to. I can only imagine this being a little easier for INTJ men, but for women, we are expected to act and react a certain way, which results in certain expectations from others.

Basically, if an INTJ woman approaches you with a touchy subject, we:

  • have already determined all of the possible outcomes, positive and negative.
  • will always approach in a rational manner, with reason and logic to back it up.
  • have the expectation that you will fully listen, without interruption (which often leads to us communicating via written word versus speaking).
  • are prepared to hear the opposing side, without interruption (and have likely already prepared our response).
  • are hoping, to all that is holy, that you will be equally rational (always a gamble).

Now, what if you are the one that needs to approach the INTJ with a touchy subject? That is up to your individual communication style, however I can assure you that we have our preference. Two words: be blunt.

More often than not, I find myself repeating the same statement to someone who approaches me with, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but…”. My answer is always, “as blunt as possible”. Blatancy is the best way to communicate with us. We are immune to any verbiage which is designed to “soften the blow” and in fact, I personally find it rather annoying. Anything other than the point is just a waste of time. We are not sensitive feelers, and we just don’t require it. We want the blow right out the gate, so we can immediately begin to process our solution. We will rarely take offense and we want to make corrections, or find a solution as quickly as possible.

One thing you never want to do, is withhold information out of fear. That will be the one and only reason one would get the reaction they fear so much, not the subject itself. Bad news first, 100% of the time. Anyone who associates closely with an INTJ will learn (hopefully sooner than later) that bad news is always better received as soon as it is known. Our feelings just don’t need any protection, and if the problem can be solved (as nearly any can), we will get to solving it immediately.

And may the Universe stand by the person who withheld information, which the INTJ discovered on their own after the fact. You could burn my house down on accident, tell me right away and we will fix the situation together. Accidents happen. If you burned my house down on accident, played dumb and I find out later that it was you, after wasted weeks of investigation? You will experience the extremely rare wrath of the INTJ. Not because you burned my house down, but because you wasted my time and thought I wouldn’t find out.

That, my friends, is not an invitation to burn my house down.


Also published on Medium.

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