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Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.

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What’s Your Temperament? An Introverted Idealist Talks Soul Mates

Tyler approached me after my Myers Briggs presentation in his high school classroom.  A tall young African-American man with long limbs and a wide smile, he’d asked engaging questions and made validating eye contact with me during my speech. There were a couple of other head- nodders and eye-contact holders in the class (Thank God for them!) but Tyler stood out. He had sincerity and a calming nature. As we spoke afterwards, he told me his father was encouraging him to get a business degree but he felt drawn to a field where he could help people. As an INFJ (Myers Briggs personality type), he definitely embodied the diplomatic communication skills of the Idealist temperament (NF) and the reflective skills of the introvert (I). He even mentioned carefully choosing the people in his life — keeping some close and letting some go. I praised him for his incredible self-awareness at such a young age. He thanked me for the information I imparted during my presentation.

I left the classroom just before the school bell chimed and hoards of kids flooded the hallways. I walked out into the brisk sunshine and noticed a significant uptick in my energy level. Perhaps it was because I was done with my presentations for the day (I had given one at 7:30AM as well), but I think it had more to do with the feeling of making a difference in someone’s life and the deep resonance I felt talking with Tyler. Every once in a while, I meet someone whose vibe is completely in line with mine. There is a warm, smooth, feeling of complete mutual understanding and enlightenment that is palpable and uplifting. The connection is   somewhat spiritual. I feel absolutely at home and at ease, a soul mate connection.

Soul mate definitions

I have two seemingly contradictory views of the phrase soul mates. Both types of soul mate encourage personal evolution through relationship (not necessarily a romantic relationship). I think of soul mates as individuals who are either exactly on the same page as you temperament and values-wise therefore validating your very being or as individuals who are vastly different from you temperament-wise but meant to be a part of your life in order to teach you something.

In the above classroom situation with Tyler it obviously was not a romantic soul mate connection, but it was a meaningful meeting of two spiritually similar temperaments. I see you in me and me in you. 

What is your temperament? temp_overview

In his book, Please Understand Me II, Dr. David Keirsey talks about four temperaments. They are based on the sixteen personality types as defined by the Myers Briggs Personality Inventory. Keirsey’s four temperaments are as follows:

Artisans (SPs): Action oriented, bold, impressive, like risk and adventure. Need freedom to follow their impulses. Usually quite skilled with tools —anything from a scalpel to a bulldozer to a fighter plane. Often athletes, actors, entrepreneurs, musicians, rescue team workers.

Guardians (SJs): Deep need to belong. Membership oriented. Dutiful, responsible, and loyal. Pillars of society. Often work in large institutions like hospitals, the government, military, churches, schools, etc. Great with logistics and following through. Accountants, family doctors, dentists, pharmacists, bankers.

Rationals (NTs):Theory based. Need competence and achievement. Calm, serious and precise in thought. Can handle complex theoretical analysis. Probing. Excellent with systems. Mathematicians, scientists, philosophers, architects, computer science, engineers.

Idealists (NFs): Relationship oriented. Live to help others reach their full potential. Authentic. Ethical. Believe in self-actualization. Good rapport with others. Excellent diplomatic skills. Excel at written and verbal expression. Social workers, therapists, psychologists, teachers, writers, ministers, group facilitators.

The introverted Idealistbliss-11

I am an Idealist. If I was a sound wave I would be long wide waves of soothing tones. I prefer calm and relaxed environments where I can listen to and learn from people. I love a slow-paced lifestyle mixed with stints of excitement fueled by curiosity. My thoughts are often future-oriented. I see possibilities and try to thwart complications. I only know how to be true. I have the most difficult time playing the game (now, when I was younger this was not so). In a relationship, I cannot fake happiness, either I feel it or I don’t. You will know. I may try to sugar-coat or hide my feelings at first but they will definitely surface. I am constantly working on myself. I want beautiful relationships. I want harmony. I live for meaningful discussions with close companions. I choose my words carefully and often express myself through writing. Expression is essential for my well-being. I usually see the good in others but have a low tolerance for intolerance or meanness. If I can inspire someone, make them feel less alone or give them hope, I am in heaven.old smiling couple

When I meet other introverted idealists I am instantly smitten. It’s all namaste. The light in me honors the light in them. I’ve even met animals whose temperaments align with mine in this way. This is not to say that other temperaments cannot be soul mates. They certainly can, but it is a more complementary, learning based combination which sparks growth and love even, but may require more effort.

When I connect with my Idealist values or an Idealist individual it is almost effortless, my energy spikes and I feel purposeful and validated. As an introvert, I deeply appreciate ease and energy creation.

Are there individuals in your circles who especially energize you? What is your temperament? Does your significant other have the same or different temperament as you? 

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  1. Renee February 22, 2015 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    I am an INFJ as well. I truly appreciate your wise and insightful blog.

    • Brenda Knowles February 23, 2015 at 10:44 am - Reply

      Yay for Idealists.:) I often assess as an INFJ, although my true type is INFP. Thank you for your kind words and for reading space2live.

  2. Brett February 21, 2015 at 1:33 am - Reply

    Idealist – Ideal – Idea

    I looked up the origin of the word “idea” last week. It comes from a Greek word which means, “to see.”

    I love that. Future-oriented, seeing potential in others when they can’t see it for themselves, encouraging them, building consensus, facilitating… making them feel “seen” …. understood.

    Kudos to Tyler for an amazing grasp of self-knowledge. I envy him! I went down the path of my father’s recommendation for the business degree. So I guess I’m like a fish that’s learned how to climb trees really well. But God, it wears me out. It feels so unnatural.

    I wish there were more blogs with men talking about NF traits. Maybe I should start one. No offense, but I’m getting a little tired of relating to women on traits like ours.

    Where are all the dudes?

    I’m an Idealist. I’m an INFJ.

    I don’t have people in in my circles that are NFs. My wife is a classic Artisan. Communication is a hard and difficult chore if my aim is to be understood. So it’s a feeling of either being constantly drained, or mutually walking on eggshells to keep the peace, or just keeping a lid on what I’m really thinking/feeling since it won’t likely be received… active listening is non-existant around here.

    I used to think that the problem was language: she’s French and we speak French at the house… but I know better now.

    Her friend who is an INFP, I’m sure, is like a breath of fresh air. Communication is easy, effortless, energizing… and it’s in French, to boot. I don’t even need to complete a full idea, before realizing that the intuitive leap has been made, filling in the gaps & reading between the lines with complete understanding which always gets communicated back to me. It feels incredible.

    There’s no romantic attraction, but I really do appreciate the reciprocity of feeling understood so easily and effortlessly. It’s like night and day.

    I need to find more people like that.

    • Brenda Knowles February 22, 2015 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      Your ‘Where are the dudes?” made me laugh.:) I have a few male friends who are NFs and definitely have NF male readers. I recommend you checkout out I get a strong NF vibe from him. My writing group is a predominantly NF. Perhaps you should start a blog or writing group for intuitive feeling dudes.

      I love the origin of the word idea. It’s perfect!

      We Idealists do have a hard time matching up romantically. I was married to a Guardian. I think I liked the stability and follow through that comes with a Guardian but deep connection was missing. Your Artisan wife should at least have the flexibility of the P(receiving) in common with your type. Isabel Myers Briggs did a study years and years ago on married couples. The results showed that the second letter (S or N) in a person’s type is the most important to have in common with their partner. It’s how you see the world. It gives you a common language. I know what it is like to find a person outside your marriage who validates you and makes you feel completely understood. It’s a rush and comforting. Sadly, it often shines a light on the lack of connection with your spouse. Don’t focus on that. Focus on differentiating. Put energy into your own personal development and encourage your wife to do the same. My new strong belief is that air (space) puts the fire back into a relationship. Plus doing something you find fulfilling will give you energy.

      I’m cheering for your awesome self-actualization Brett. You have such amazing self-awareness and intuitive insight. Use your powers for good my friend.:) Thanks for your wonderful input. Always great to hear from you.

      • Brett February 25, 2015 at 12:00 am - Reply

        Thank you for your wonderful reply.

        If we ever had an Idealists convention, I imagine we’d all be walking around greeting and warmly saluting one another like the tribe of aliens in the movie Avatar saying, “I see you.”

        Thanks for “seeing” me.

        • Brenda Knowles February 27, 2015 at 10:25 am - Reply

          I remember that scene from Avatar! That movie really resonated with me spiritually. I definitely ‘see’ you.:)

  3. Catherine North February 20, 2015 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    You write so beautifully about the experience of connecting with others like you. I’m also an introverted idealist and I know very few people who are similar. It’s something I want and need to change in my life, though seeking out new friends can be challenging for me. Thank you once again for your inspiring words.

    • Brenda Knowles February 20, 2015 at 5:22 pm - Reply

      I’ve found I meet other idealists when I am out doing what I love – hanging out with writers, doing presentations in schools, taking in art exhibits. Once I found a few idealists they led me to others.:) We are a rare breed, less than 10% of the population. Rationals are the rarest though. Thanks for your kind words and readership Catherine.

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