Updated: Oct 26, 2020
INTPs can have a difficult time with Interpersonal relationships but it's not true at all that INTPs can't learn new skills in the realm of love and relationships. It's also not true that INTPs can't use their naturals skills as a form of showing love and affection.
Let's talk about a few ways in which INTPs can show affection to some of the people they love without having to change who they are to do so.
The Traditional Route
Whether you've been new to dating or have been dating for a while, plenty of us have an idea of what a date looks like. A lovely dinner, conversation, perhaps a few drinks and a movie, for starters. There's nothing wrong with going the traditional route to show someone that you care. Do a little research to find a great spot and put on a little something nice. You don't have to be the perfect picture of a planner. Just do the best you can but do your research and have a few things in mind to show versatility if something doesn't work. Be smart about it. You're good at being smart.
If you're not trying to woo a romantic partner then change up the formula and do a lunch date instead or a chat at a coffee shop.
If the person is chill then just go with the flow.
Before the "I don't go outside excuses" or "I suck at planning" comes screaming into my inbox, need I remind you that this is all about effort, not innate talent. Showing someone you care is all about the effort you put in. If you don't put in the effort, why would they even guess that you care?
This is especially true if you want to have a good conversation and share your ideas with someone because no one cares about how much you know until they know how much you care. So do the work and show that you care. Do the research and know your options then show up ready to have fun.
Fun and Games
Have you ever have a successful date at a Wal-Mart? It sounds super lame but I have. We went to the toy section and made a ridiculous mess. I don't mean that we vandalized the place, we just tested all the toys and had fun.
That's the idea, to have fun and do something ridiculous. Engage that Extroverted Intuition within and open yourself up to a playful experience at a store, a local escape room, or roam around town. Many museums these days have interactive elements as well that engage the imagination and allow you to express yourself and be playful with your partner.
It's also important to note that activating the extraverted side of you brings the extraverted feeling along with it. So accessing play is a great way to safely and honestly express how you feel with your partner. Get the pressure off of extraverted feeling by letting your playful intuition take the wheel.
There's plenty of mileage to be gained in a relationship from simply talking. I don't mean just bantering about the thing you're obsessed about that they don't care about but asking questions that you would genuinely like to know about your partner. It can be as weird as you want it to be but asking anything is usually a good start to getting some deeper conversation going.
I like to ask things like "What makes you weird?" or "If you could create your own planet what would it be like? What animals would there be? Etc." There are loads of articles online with prompts for what kinds of questions to ask to get a conversation going. Don't be shy about how your brain works and go for the moon.
Curiosity about your partner is great for growth and longevity in a relationship as well. Your partner is going to change over time, as you are. Humans are just dynamic like that, so asking questions is a great way to avoid complacency in any type of longtime bond.
Do Something Personal and Unexpected
Some of us INTPs can be quite sentimental. There's something about that tertiary introverted sensing that is particularly fond of nostalgia and totems that remind us of good moments. Pay attention to those things in your partner's life that bring out this feeling in them.
Is there somewhere important you can take them on a date? Is there a story they told you once of an old toy they loved? Could you get that for them? Who was their favorite band when they were a teenager? If they're doing a reunion tour can you get them tickets to the show?
The idea here is that this shows you're paying attention and that you care about their personal history. You don't just love who they are now but you appreciate their entire journey. This is a particularly lovely way to show you care and chances are you've noticed it, so show that you've noticed it (don't just say it).
If you're having a hard time keeping track of these things there's no shame in the keeping of things you've noted. Extraverted Feeling means that emotional information is better served outside of you...that means to write it down.
Use Your Love of Language
Our introverted thinking is all about language and interpretation of language. Many INTPs love basic math, not because of the numbers but because math is a language. Language is a way of interpreting and understanding the complex subjective nature of existence, so why not use that to express how we feel about the person we love? The universe can't be explained in a single sentence and neither can affection. We can bend words however we need to share how we feel at the moment. Lean into that strength.
While an INTP may not be a poet in the way an INFP might, we can express love through a wonderfully intertwined set of words that show the depths of our affection for someone. We often love this person because it makes sense for us to love this person after all the resistance we've faced in our mind around being better off alone (cause plenty of us have felt that, I'm sure). They make us feel good, they make life more fulfilling, they add something to our lives and provide a sense of emotional security.
To others, this just may be a list of reasons but to us, the reasons why this love makes sense are poetic and romantic. The deeper you go the more romantic the language will become and the more you'll catch yourself becoming more expressive in your tone.
There are benefits to learning how to turn a phrase, new ways to express yourself, new words, and even new languages to better define how you feel.
"I love you so so much" isn't quite as genuine as "I love you so much that I struggle to find the right words to express it but you make me want to keep trying"
I mean "awww" right? Fuck.
Just be honest and share your truth. Your truth is romantic.
Join our Finding and Maintaining Relationships for INTPs to find and nurture community and connection without sacrificing who you are as an INTP. This course also features my partner Molly, an ENFP, to bring some of the feeler-perspective to the table.
This is our way of showing that you are capable of loving and being loved just like any other personality type.