Friday, October 3, 2014

Can INTJs Fangirl?

There you have it.

Actually, that's not true. As most of you know, I am an INTJ, which is hardly the fangirliest type--we have a general reputation of being sarcastic loners with no emotions whose only purpose is to take over the world.

Gee. Fun.
So, a few weeks ago, just out of curiosity, I did a Google search on the fangirling capabilities of the INTJ type. As I was typing, I found some interesting suggestions...

Another search proved even more interesting...
...apparently people have doubts as to our having feelings, or hearts, at all...
"I've been reliably informed that I don't have one."
...but we all know that's not quite true. 
True, INTJs are not 'emotional.' If someone asks how we are feeling, we might respond with a moment of reflection and 'fine,' because we literally don't feel anything at the moment--a perfectly normal state of being for us. When we're talking, we probably say something like "I think that that is not a good idea" where others would say 'I feel like that's not a good idea." Emotion is not a go-to state. And that's all right. An INTJ (or this one, at least) is 'happy' when her brain is occupied, usually on some hypothetical scenario or some long, twisty train of thought (usually philosophical, in my case). We think. We judge. It's what we DO.*  We don't normally feel sad--frustrated is a better word. If something's wrong, we try to fix it, or at least figure out how it could be fixed, or what made it go wrong in the first place. We aren't easily manipulated by pathos arguments.
This doesn't happen a lot to me, luckily. But I understand.

That doesn't leave much room for this, does it?
a gif of fangirling. Thanks, Pinterest.

Most INTJs probably feel--er, think, that fangirls/fanboys are completely ridiculous (to be fair, a good quantity are). They are disgusted by their gushing and blind adoration of flawed things.  For an INTJ to fangirl, she thinks she would have to turn her brain off. And thinking is everything. 

However,  the world does not and was not made to make perfect sense. It's messy. It's illogical. It's beautiful. A purely rationalistic viewpoint misses out on some of the best things this crazy life has to offer (read Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl for more information). There's nothing wrong with correctly moderated emotions. In fact, there's a lot right with them. 
This may sound ridiculous, but fangirling can actually be a sort of emotional exercise for the INTJ. When she enjoys something and exerts herself to show it, she is opening herself to others, making herself vulnerable--one of the most difficult things for an INTJ to do. When she talks to fellow fans, she's learning how to communicate better and even tolerate others' crazy feelings.  
When she obsesses over stories, she's not just gulping them down; she's analyzing every bit and her J (judging) is working like crazy. She's learning how to care about others, learning how people act and why they do what they do. 
And if a story makes her cry (which happens rarely), her understanding of pain and sorrow will become firsthand, without actually having to go through tragedy--when something breaks through the outer shell and touches an INTJ's heart, it usually leaves quite a mark. She'll learn how to deal with it. Maybe she'll even learn how to deal with people experiencing it. Catharsis, of sorts.
Even the Brain has his moments. 

So living in a fandom is quite beneficial to the INTJ, if she's careful.

As to the question of the capability of INTJs to fangirl, the answer is yes. However, there may be more going on than one would realise. 
 ~~An INTJ is likely to deliberately imitate the fangirls around her, because her emotions don't translate themselves well. She has to learn how to identify them and act accordingly. So, if you see an INTJ write 'SQUUUEEE!' in truth that was probably not her immediate reaction. 
~~the real reaction probably went like this: (after seeing an exciting announcement)
1. She reads the article
2. She verifies it by research from other sources
3. Her brain processes the implications of what she just read.
4. Here is where emotion starts to enter the picture. She feels a tickling in the pit of her stomach, and as she ate nothing to disrupt her digestion that day she assumes that it is excitement. She has read descriptions of such. Hmm. I think I am excited. I should alert my friends.
5. Hmm...I *am* excited. What do people say when they are excited? Ah yes. 
6.. She composes an appropriate response and sends it...

 ...although her actual response was nothing like the image she projects. She's not actually faking; she's simply trying to translate.
Well, there you have it, a quick guide to you INTJ fangirl. I hope this was helpful. And hopefully you also no longer doubt my credibility to post on the topic of fandoms, just because I have the personality type of Nietzsche or a not-short French dictator.** 

For further insight, remember that these are thought (at least by me) to be INTJs too...
Mr Darcy models my average INTJ fangirl/boy face. Lizzy taught Darcy about feelings and as a result he grew into the ideal of every Janeite today!
I'm only on episode 3 right now, but I'm loving seeing how Sherlock has changed since he became friends with John. He's still got a long way to go.
I love how Elsa goes through emotional developement--from hiding to 'let it go' to love.
Note: it has been pointed out to me that Elsa displays more INFJ-type qualities. I'm good with that, but I won't take her picture down because I like it.
and, of course...
our dear Jane. 

*bonus points if you guess this paraphrase's original source. Family members and Emery exempt. 
**if you thought of Horrible Histories and guessed Napoleon, you are awesome.
Disclaimer: I speak mainly from my own experience, thus the feminine pronouns.
 If you are an INTJ and feel I have misrepresented our type, please leave a comment--you know I love a good 'discussion.' Come to think of it, leave a comment anyway, angry INTJ or no.


Miss Brandon said...

Very throught provoking Catie :-)
and you mentioned HH so I might just go OHMYGOODNESS! (BAM classic example of an INFJ fangirling :P)
I have to write an essay now.. toodle pip! :)

Caroline L. said...

Heehee! As an INTJ myself, I enjoyed this. I do go into full-on fangirl mode, but only after much thought, and only for those things I most admire (*ahem* Les Miserables...).

You consider Elsa an INTJ? Interesting.... to me, she is the quintessential INFJ. Very introverted, intuitive, instinctive, protective, incredibly sensitive, and inwardly conflicted. She is driven by her emotions not rational thought or logic, acting spontaneously because of her feelings, caring deeply about Anna but shutting her out at the same time. She doesn't think through issues, but "feels" her way through them. She shoulders her emotional burdens and shuts herself off from others to protect them. She is essentially a "giver" but struggles to reconcile her huge capability to love and give and create with her need to protect others. My mom is very much an INFJ, and the similarities between the way she and Elsa operate are uncanny.

Catie Dunlap said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)
That's interesting. My sister Lainey (or Lu) is an INFJ, and now that I think about it, Elsa may well be one too. All that hugging at the end? Yes, I think you're right. Good news is, if Elsa can keep her kingdom sorted as well as Lu can organize her closet, then Arendelle is in very good hands.

Caroline L. said...

Hahahaha! Excellent! And kudos to your sister for a neat and tidy closet. =]

Rebekah said...

Interesting post, Catie!
Fun fact - I'm an ESFJ, but my fangirling is pretty laid back as well (If you don't count the occasional squeals). :)

Natalie Mulvahill said...

Awesome post! And thank you for not totally dissing emotion. As an INFJ who also analyzes everything to pieces, I appreciate not being represented as an emotional wimp with lower intellectual capacities. ;) Actually, I haven't quite embraced "fangirling" myself, but your blogs are helping me get there...

And according to a Disney Princess Personalities thingy I pinned, Elsa is an INFJ, and Belle is an INTJ, which is pretty awesome.

debrajan1517 said...

You graphics are great - where do you get your pictures/ videos?

Catie Dunlap said...

Mostly off Pinterest. Some are pics/screenshots I took myself, but fairly few images actually belong to me by any stretch of the imagination.