Loneliness and Desire

5s are most explicitly antisocial of all the types. They are that way because they are so sensitive.

5s are polarised about boundary issues in the following way: They are extremely emotionally sensitive — often hypersensitive — so to protect this sensitivity, they develop unusually strong boundaries. These boundaries feature detachment. Non-involvement — being just an observer — is one way of ensuring that one is not invaded. Fives fear invasion and of being overwhelmed. Their island is protected by distance, not by hostility or placation.

Even though a 5 loves someone, a 5 keeps their distance (‘Un Coeur en Hiver‘). This is a special 5 loop that causes them much pain. People are attracted to them because of their sensitivity and intelligence. But 5s can be in love with their own constructs. Like 4s who are in love with their own emotions, 5s are in love with their own understandings. This is the reality behind the metaphor of the Ivory Tower.

5s practise the sin of avarice, in Enneagram tradition. But they don’t just hoard money. More frequently, they hoard emotions, time, and the personal giving of time and energy. 5s are antisocial, though not in their manners or even behaviour. They see people as draining them. People are not an asset as much as a liability. The self-talk is that: “I only have so many inner resources, and as often as I interact with people, I am depleted. Not that people are bad, it’s just that they are draining.” 5s describe themselves as a battery: they are drained by social interaction and recharged by solitude.

The Lonely Five

Loneliness — it takes me aback whenever people ascribe it to themselves with such ease.

I realised I’ve been lonely all my life, and this is how I will always be.  I’d never fully understood what loneliness was until someone gave me this definition: the feeling of being alone and the yearning for social interaction.  Then it clicked.

Ascribing it to myself feels far too needy.  I don’t like coming across to others as overdependent.   I want to be fiercely independent — always have.  If the desire is so strong, why must this be?


If the desire is so strong, why can’t I have it?  Why can’t desire and reality go hand in hand?  I thought it was a viable option.  How ignorant could I have been?  I’m trapped in this limbo, in the physical constraints — of my body, and of this world.

Why can’t the desire be enough?  I don’t want this anymore.  I don’t want to be here.  But here is where I will have to remain, against my will.


Working Day and Night

I’m with a Japanese student — a mother — at a café or some sort, and she’s just walked off, leaving me with her 3 young children, the youngest one on my lap.  With my free hand, I reach for a phone on the table and realise that it’s hers, but I decide that it’s fine to sign out of her account and log into mine.

I feel a tap on my arm and the atmosphere changes drastically.  She tells me sternly, “No,” and takes her phone back.  Chills shoot down my spine as I sense that I’m in a lot of trouble.  This is a great offence to her.  Thoughts whizz through my mind about whether (and how) I should admit my wrongdoing honestly, or lie and feign ignorance — that I wasn’t aware it was her phone and not mine.  But it occurs to me that, since I logged out of her account, this lie will fall through, so my mind scrambles to think of something else.  

Then I’m in her home — in her bedroom alone, while she’s somewhere else in the home.  I’m packing my things up to leave but also pacing around the room thinking about how much trouble I’m in and how awkward it’ll be when I have to pass by her to take my leave.  My heart’s racing.  My face scrunches up and I start crying.  And then I feel really tired and I find myself falling asleep on her bed. 

I wake up in a jolt, still incredibly tired and not knowing how much time has passed or whether she’s seen me sleeping on her bed.  I’m in much deeper trouble now if she’s seen me.  I notice that the bedroom door’s ajar and it worries me.  I have no other choice but to grab my bag, head out, and face the music. 

In the living room, I come face to face with her and her husband.  He questions me about certain things from a book that I’ve been going through together with his wife, nitpicking at things and challenging if they’re right — if I’m right.  There are multiple ways to answer the questions in the exercises, but he’s strictly following the answer key at the back of the book and refuses to listen to my explanations.  He asks if I prefer to be abstract or concrete.  I answer, “Abstract.”  He tells me in a sarcastic tone that that’s good then because there can always be multiple correct answers to everything. 

He then goes through and picks things out from her written notes in the book.  There are some errors in her personal notes and I point them out, wondering if what they’re trying to get at is that I should constantly check her personal note-taking as well for grammatical and spelling mistakes.  They are highly dissatisfied with me and my work. 

We’re now outside of their home, in a public space, and I’m walking off.  The husband isn’t happy that I’m leaving and I turn around to see him running towards me with a huge stack of books to chuck at me.  I wonder if I should run for my safety or stand there and handle it professionally.  But the moment passes too quickly to make a decision and he throws the tower of books right at me.  I cower immediately and the books land on the floor right beside me.  He’s shouting at me and I’m walking fast now, trying to escape.  I can sense them running after me.  The husband catches up to me and kicks me.  I falter to the ground but get back up again and continue walking briskly in an effort to get away.  I wonder if the people around will do anything to help stop this, or if it’ll just be the bystander effect.  The kicking continues as the husband and wife take turns running up to me, kicking me, and then running away.

I’m now a man on a bus, pondering if I should talk about this ordeal with the other men sitting around, including the bus driver, since I’m ‘one of the guys’.  I decide against it and now I’m on top of the moving bus on my own, deliberating whether I should sit right at the front of the bus and dangle my legs over, but wondering if the bus driver and the passengers would be able to notice through the windshield.  

I’m working at a clinic as a dispenser.  Previously, at the start of my job, I did really well on a test they gave me and got almost the full score.  This time round, I only managed to get 41 or so out of 80.  I’m in trouble. 

Glancing back at the questions, it dawns on me that some are personality-based or asking about perceptions, like:

  • Do you feel that we are a family?
  • Are you an energetic person?

I realise that they’re looking for a specific kind of person through this test, and that I would have scored much higher had I figured this out earlier.  

The doctor — my boss — approaches me to discuss the test and my meager result. 

Push, Pull

Push, pull.
Hot, cold.
The internal turmoil.

Emerge, retreat.
Reach out, withdraw.
The eternal glass shell.

Anger and frustration
Percolate and permeate.
The silent treatment.

Their words, my words.
My words, their words.
The deep meanings held behind.

The things I read from what they say and don’t say,
From what they do and don’t do,
From what they ask and don’t ask —

It builds resentment in me,
It grows within me.
The withdrawal into my shell.

Right or wrong.
Insightful or not.
The self-fulfilling prophecy.

Intake, intake.
Consumption, absorption.
Always a one-way direction.

Museums, books, the stage,
Movies, music, interactions.
They’re all an intake for me.

Knowledge, insights, feelings,
Meanings, and connections.
Never an output or an outwards direction — the Ni-Fi loop.

I’m greedy and I want all.
I want to know all, to comprehend all.
I can’t ever have enough.

I want it all, but I won’t ever give my all.
I can’t, so it’s unfair.
It won’t be fair to them.

I cannot do this to them, to anyone.
I cannot put them through it, I don’t wish to.
But the longing to connect is still there.

What is love?
A deep like, care, and concern?
Their description: a best friend that encompasses the physical aspects.

I need to understand completely, before I can claim to love.
Otherwise, how will I know if I do love or not,
When there‘s an unknown yet to be known?

But then I contradict myself,
By claiming that I love animals,
When I do not yet comprehend them completely, and never will.

It’s the same pattern over and over again.
It’s a never-ending cycle.
A loop I can never break out of.

The same things keep happening again and again.
I see the same patterns,
And I see them continuing to happen in the future.

It’s like I’m on a Ferris wheel and I can’t get off.
It’s exhausting and exasperating.
I just want it all to end.


Those people are not the enemy, Mother.  We are.
White Oleander

Don’t Unplug Me

Bottles of Memories Floating at Sea

I’m on my own island, separated by rifts.  Bottles of my memories float at sea, and some wash up on the shore from time to time.  These bottles each hold something that was shared with me, from the people I’ve met.  It’s as though I have a piece of them with me.

As I walk on the shore, I pick up an old and weathered glass bottle and peer inside it.  This memory is about how I came to know of Garbage all those years ago in my early teens from an adult INFJ online — back when it was still AOL and Yahoo chat over dial-up — who said that his sister played Androgyny on repeat in her room.  I still follow the band to this day, and I still think about him from time to time.  Tossing the bottle back to sea, I walk further down the beach. 

The second bottle I come across is on my sharing of The Hunger Games trilogy and mother! with an INFJ, and how we discussed about them extensively since she was as deeply impacted by them as I was.  I let it soak in for a while before tossing it back to the ocean.

The next bottle appears blurry.  I can just about make out Cigarettes After Sex (what a name) from a brief encounter with an INFJ.  A frosty bottle just beside it is about another INFJ’s reminder to read Atlas Shrugged, 1984, and Brave New WorldToss.

Two other bottles I pick up as I make my way further down the shore depict my learning of The Prisoner’s Dilemma from an INFP colleague, and reading of a self-published book from another INFPToss.

I hear the next bottle even before I reach it.  Music flows from it: Bullets, Maze of Life, Sweeny Todd, Pure Imagination, I’m Yours Forever, and Cosmic Calendar.  Music that touches me deeply, shared by an INFP.  I let the waves carry it back out to sea.

A bottle further down the shore appears deceptively new.  It holds the memories of going through the 36 questions for ‘The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness’ that “gradually escalates reciprocal self-disclosure and intimacy-related behaviours”.  I first attempted it 3 years back, but it feels like a lifetime ago — how my responses have varied and stayed the same.  The bottle plays a snippet of an ENFP using a mountain analogy: She said it was as though we were each on our own solo mountains, and she’s building bridges to reach others, to reach me.  But even though she’s built her bridge out midway, I’m not building one to meet hers.  Verbal validation was what she asked for, “at least just once” she pleaded.  I release the bottle back to the ocean.

Then there are the self-written novellas, Make Me Feel and Cœur Croisé, and The Outsiders from the ENTPs; and Alexithymia, Fermi(‘s) Paradox, and Run with the Wolves, Banana Pancakes, Music is Math, and Svefn-g-englar from the INTPs.  I return them all back to the sea.

Conversations in passing are all I have to hold on to.  I got my wish granted — I’m able to connect with others.  But perhaps I should have been more specific and wished for connections that last.

The starfishes I’ve connected with have since drifted away.  For the few I’m still in contact with, sometimes the tide brings them closer, sometimes further.  And I’m here on this deserted island, wandering the beach from time to time, picking up starfishes and seashells from the sand now and then, listening to their music and the words they say.

How many more rifts does it take before it rips me to shreds?

Contemporary Dance

At the theater, I sit and watch as a distanced and detached observer — an admirer from afar.  How they’re so in tuned with their bodies, how they’re so comfortable with that much physical contact and touching, how they’re so at ease with being watched.

It incites neither envy nor jealousy, just admiration and fascination.  It’s all so alien to me.  I deny my physical existence as much as possible, and wish it away.  A disembodied, cerebral mind.

When I first started watching contemporary dance at the theater a couple of years ago, this dance segment (in the video above) captivated me.  I remember talking about it with INFJ française, who had been trained before in contemporary dance, and she taught me about the difference between contemporary and modern.  This dance had me crying within the first couple of minutes at the theater.  It pierced me right through my core.  The choreographic process takes away some of the magic, so I try to keep it out of my mind.  Each time I listen to or watch it, it never fails to give me goosebumps or bring tears to my eyes.  (English translation of the song here.)

Some contemporary dance pieces didn’t connect with me or were just horrible to me.  There was one where a woman was screaming straight into a mic for 10 continuous minutes or so, which gave me a pounding headache.  Some seemed to me to create (meaningless) meaning out of nothing, but go I must in hopes of catching a(nother) good one.

Always in the audience, an observer from the sidelines — that is what I am.  Observing how different people are from one another, and how different they are from me, or how different I am from them.  It’s odd: I find people odd, but time and time again, I realise that I’m the odd one — I’m the alien.


On this faraway deserted island,
The clouds always are dense and grey.
Carried never away by wind,
On thy heart—heavy it weighs.

Lightning and thunder there once were,
Though no longer and nevermore.
Soaked and weighed down thou wilt be
From the torrential downpours.

Slightly the clouds do at times part,
And a sunbeam shineth through.
Such are moments ever rare
To delight in its golden hue.

This dark ominous sky
Doth soak up all thoughts and fears.
Then spilleth them out,
Overflowing with all its tears.

Video: INFJ take on INTJ

An accurate, in-depth video describing and explaining the INTJ type:


  • INTJ Ni Openness:
    • Gentle Ni openness but then with a strong, solid Te response (which feels like a push-pull to some others).
  • INTJ Sarcasm:
    • “In order to keep themselves amused and almost entertaining themselves, they can sometimes rely on sarcasm as a way to just keep their minds stimulated, just playing word games and things like that with themselves.  If you’re on the receiving end of it or you’re in a conversation where an INTJ might show some sarcasm — I think a lot of people think sarcasm is a form of passive-aggressiveness, but I don’t think that’s true, for the most part, for INTJs — I think it’s just them just entertaining themselves and enjoying, in a sense, their own mind.”
  • The Misunderstood INTJ:
    • “I think maybe with the INTJ’s Te, I wonder sometimes if they can feel misunderstood because they’ve got their Fi part of them underneath — in their cognitive stack, it’s underneath their Te, but within themselves, it’s underneath.  They’ve got the Te extraverting of their thinking, and then they’ve got a deeper (Fi) feeling part of themselves.  That Fi can be an elusive part for the INTJ to get to know, let alone for others to get to know.  I think there’s an obvious thing going on where the INTJ can feel misunderstood a lot of the time and even judged for their Te as either cold or harsh or impersonal.  And I guess Te is kind of an impersonal function, but I don’t think that means that the INTJ is an impersonable person.  I think there is a care for relationships, at least their close relationships.”
  • INTJ Fi Vulnerability:
    • “Looking at the INTJ, it’s almost like you can see the Fi vulnerability in them a lot of the time.  Not that I think necessarily that the INTJ is even consciously aware of that vulnerability or has a conscious issue with that vulnerability, but it lurks underneath the surface.”
  • Te-Fi dance (it reminds me of this post)
  • INTJ Ni-Fi Innocence (naivety)
  • How The INTJ May Show Appreciation:
    • “I think it can be hard for others to know if they’re being appreciated by the INTJ because if you’re sitting there talking to an INTJ, the INTJ is having two conversations with you: they’re having a conversation with you and with themselves — they’re engaging intellectually in that conversation both with you and with themselves.  And the INTJ’s not too consciously focused on showing appreciation or Fe gestures of validation.  They certainly can experience that for themselves in a conversation, but it’s, for the most part, private.  They can keep themselves quite contained.  So I think the way to see if you’re being appreciated is that they’ll stick around, they’ll stay in the conversation, or they’ll continue a friendship.  That, essentially, is them showing appreciation for who you are and that you have value in their lives.  But I wouldn’t necessarily be looking for grand gestures of appreciation from the INTJ. The fact that you’re allowed to stick around, in a sense, is them showing appreciation.
  • Where In The World Are INTJs?:
    • “There’s a sense with the INTJ that they’re very private people.  And they might be just as difficult to find as the INFJ, in some respects, maybe even more so when they’re sort of locked away in their thoughts and ideas and their researching and perfecting their theories of whatever it is that they’re interested in.  There’s a sense that, for the INTJ, people are necessary but they could live without them, to some extent.  It’s not black and white there, but it’s almost like people are optional, even though we all need people.  For the INTJ, I think sometimes people get in the way of the INTJ’s relationship and interaction with themselves, which may seem shallow or self-centered, and I don’t think that’s what’s really happening.  I don’t think it’s self-centeredness at all, I think it’s that they do their best processing when they’re on their own to kind of sift through their ideas and what they’re learning, and build their structures, their logical systems, and the way they see the world and so on.  And sometimes at least, people can get in the way of that process.  It’s almost like they’re the mystical sort of princess locked in the tower high above the city, but intentionally so.  They want to be locked away up there to formulate their thoughts and opinions and ideas. Privacy is highly valued.”
  • The INTJ Private Ni Mind & Physical Se Space:
    • “An INTJ’s bedroom or their house are like sanctuaries.  They’re very much private and they don’t let anyone into their space lightly. The house is almost like an extension of the metaphor or the extension of their mind.  They’re mind is sacrosanct: they guard it, they guard that space, they don’t want just anything or anyone in there.  And I think it’s the same with their physical space (their bedroom or their house).  In a sense, they wouldn’t let anyone and anything in through the door.  If they’re letting people through the door willy-nilly, they’re opening themselves up to disturbance.  So their physical space can be an extension of their mental space.”
  • Who The INTJ Lets In, And The Why:
    • “You’ll know quite quickly if the INTJ wants to be around you.  Basically, if they stay there and they’re listening, it’s more likely because they want to be rather than them being polite.  I think INTJs can be polite to a certain degree before they’ll just need to move on.  So if an INTJ is making it clear that they want you around, then you’re probably important or they’re basically just enjoying your company.  Now that’s no different to any other human being, but the why the INTJ wants you around is different to the other types.  It’s often more around that intellectual stimulation and ability to have those kinds of conversations.  But at the same time, when those conversations aren’t taking place, when you are around and not communicating, you’re not a burden to them.  You’re not pestering them for lots and lots of one-on-one time, or being emotionally clingy or needy.  If you’re more contained within yourself, then you’re probably going to be more attractive to an INTJ and they’ll want you around a little more.  It’s not to say that they don’t want to have connections with people that may be more complex than that, or at least more complex emotionally, I think INTJs can have big hearts for sure, but I guess we’re talking more of their inner sanctum, their inner space.  That’s where they’re probably a lot more guarded than perhaps some of the other areas they may be involved in their lives where they see a need to accommodate more of the problematic nature of the emotional realm. They may be more accommodating and almost choose to be more empathetic when it’s outside of their inner sanctum.”
  • The INTJ Thinking About Their Thinking:
    • “I think some of the reasons why INTJs might be seen as closed or closed-off is because, like what I said before, they’re having a relationship with themselves — an intellectual relationship with themselves — so they’re thinking about what they’re thinking about.  When an INTJ is doing that, it could seem as though they’re not interested or not respecting you or snobbish or something like that, but I think for the most part, the INTJ, especially if they’re doing it after you’ve said something, they’re actually very much respecting you because they’re thinking about what you’ve said and they’re thinking about what they think about what you’ve said.  So it’s just recognising that if that’s taking place, that it’s probably the opposite — it’s not disrespectful, it’s actually respect.”
  • INTJ & INFJ: Viewing The World’s Problems:
    • “When we think about the problems of the world, I think the INTJ and the INFJ see the same problems, or have the ability to see the same problems, but think about them in vastly different ways.  Just generally speaking, the INFJ is going to be looking at the emotional state of the world and the people in it and kind of despair in regards to the amount of pain that people are in, yet, at the same time, see all the possibilities to get out of the pain.  I think the INTJs are maybe bewildered at the amount of emotional pain and crises going on in the world, whereas the INFJ got that kind of feeling and empathy response to what they’re seeing.”
  • INTJ Calm Eyes & Stormy Ni Intellectual Mind:
    • “It’s like they look really still, and they seem to have, on one level, quite still eyes.  They can kind of carry this stillness, but behind the stillness of the eyes, is this sort of Ni storm.  Not a chaotic storm; you could say it’s like the perfect storm — the perfect intellectual storm — where the Ni is just kind of taking in all of this information all the time. It can kind of give them a little bit of this out-of-this-world look sometimes.  So they look still but they’re not on the inside, at least not in their mind, so their eyes kind of camouflage that a bit.”
  • INTJ Nodding In Potential Disagreement:
    • “Because of their ability to take in a lot of information, you could get the wrong idea that the INTJ agrees with you because they’re listening to what you’re saying, and they’re nodding and they’re hearing what you’re saying.  That nodding doesn’t necessarily mean at all that they agree with you.  It means that they’re receiving you, they’re taking it in, they’re open to what you have to say, they’re curious about what you’re going to say next, and they’re wondering where you’re going to go and what this all means.  So there’s this outward taking in of what you’re saying but certainly in no way are they agreeing with what you’re saying.”
  • INTJ Music to Help Connect to Fi:
    • “Music helps them to feel.  It could be that the INTJ — when they’re on their own, they think about what they think about, and when they’re with other people, they’re having a connectedness with the other person and a connectedness with themselves — that when it comes to music, it’s like the removing of the other person and bringing the music in as something to engage with is a lot less complicated, in a way. It gives them freedom to feel. They’re not dealing with another person and having their extroverted thinking (Te) part of themselves activated. Perhaps listening to music helps them to soothe their thinking a little bit and helps them to go to their feeling (Fi).”