This week Melissa is working with clients in New York during the day and sleeping at my apartment in Swarthmore. I wait for her to return each night at 9pm like I am like the cranky wife frustrated by her spouse’s long commute. My kids wait to light Chanukah candles with her like they are the cranky four-year-olds frustrated by the long wait for gifts.
And my older son says, “If you bought me socks for Chanukah then can I have them now? Because all mine are dirty.”
1. Give gifts that affirm what the recipient is doing is ok.
Melissa gets home. With gifts. And we light candles immediately. Most people scold me that my kids don’t like to read. Melissa doesn’t care: She bought both the boys books with no words.
She is particularly good at buying my older son gifts because they’re both INTJs. Tonight she gives him Crap Taxidermy. The botched procedures are disgusting. I am grossed out by the implications of torture. My son doesn’t care. He says, “This book really shows how difficult it is to stuff an animal.”
Melissa gives me a glycolic mask.
I put it on my face right away.
My older son says, “Why are you trying to be young?”
I talk without moving my lips so I don’t crack the mask: “Women who look younger make more money.”
He says, “That’s so great for women. You are really helping to break stereotypes.”
“If I weren’t trying to be younger you’d be starving.”
Melissa says to me, “Tell him he doesn’t need to care about breaking stereotypes. He should just leverage them.”
I say, “Believe me, he doesn’t need to be told more things to not care about.”
2. Know when to shut up.
Melissa curls up on the sofa just like she used to curl up when she lived with me on the farm. I curl up next to her and we click click on our phones while we talk.
Melissa specializes in recruiting for hipster startups so she is always reading news about hipster startups. She tells me about one she read about that focuses on making fatherhood cool.
I say, “Where is the startup that makes being a mom cool? When will that happen?”
“Is that a joke?”
“I don’t know. I don’t care about feminism.”
Feminism?!? I don’t think equating motherhood and consumerism is about feminism, but Melissa doesn’t even care enough about feminism to know what qualifies as feminism. So I have to move on.
3. Assuage a person’s deepest fear.
I am sitting close enough to Melissa that we can see each others’ screens when we get bored of our own; we are cozy and productive which is I think all I want in life.
One emailer asks me how to motivate each personality type. I tell her to take the Personality Type Master Class but then I see she said she loved it. So I have to write a real answer.
Her question turns out to be a hard one because motivating could be managing or incentivizing or something else.
I define motivating someone as making them feel good, and then the list also applies to a future post I might write about how to win over a date. My productivity level just doubled. I type:
INFJ – praise their rational approach
ENTP– praise their amazing productivity
INTP – predict their intellectual impact
ENFJ – tell them they’re smart
ENFP – predict their humanitarian impact
INFP – praise their logical thinking
I tell Melissa about my game. I tell her, “I need you to do the Ss.”
“What?” she says. “Why? You’re the one who loves Ss.”
“Well, do them with me.”
ISFJ – thank them for their insight
ISTJ – thank them for being flexible
ESTJ – fawn over their vision
ISTP – thank them for being fair
ISFP – thank them for their loyalty
ESFP – ask them for their opinion
ESFJ – let them lead by example
ESTP – praise their decision making
4. Teach them something about themselves.
Its fun until we get to our own types. For my type, ENTJ, I suggest: tell them they’re inspirational.
Melissa says, “You already know you’re inspirational.”
“But INTJs always say ENTJs are full of shit.”
“We don’t care. But whatever. You want to be admired for winning.”
“Oh. You’re right.That’s so exciting. Winning is so exciting. Wait, what am I winning at?”
“Whatever. Just write it down.”
ENTJ – tell them they’re winning
Then we get to INTJ. Melissa’s type.
I say INTJs want to hear their ideas are good.
Melissa says, “We know we don’t have ideas. And we don’t care.”
I look at the list for a pattern to see what fits for INTJ.
I say, “Look, everything on this list is not nice. We zeroed in on the thing that each person deludes themselves about and we recommend motivating that person by catering to their delusions.”
“Who cares? As long as it’s accurate.”
“Ok, so how can I motivate you?”
“Thank me for caring.”