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philonous89

Innuendo -- completely missing clues

After watching this video on innuendo from Steven Pinker, psychologist/linguist, I thought: Am I missing innuendo completely?

Are there times when you've missed innuendo? In the video they talked about a situation in which a man tells a woman, "Would you like to go back to my place and see my etchings?" They say this is a stereotypical case of a sexual proposition.

The funny thing was I once told a girl I liked, after a date, if she would like to come back to my place to see my drawings... but I had no idea at the time that it could be construed as a sexual proposition. I mean, I knew she drew, she knew I drew... and I showed her my drawings and didn't make a move on her. She was pretty tense the whole time, in retrospect, and I was wondering if I was giving off a bad vibe or something.

But what I'm wondering is: How pervasive is innuendo, and how often do people rely on it? Am I, and others, so completely oblivious, or are there many instances where there actually isn't any innuendo going on, and people who believe there is innuendo are actually just reading into things too much?

I think this has big implications. For example, if I knew we both knew that she was assenting to innuendo, then I would have known she liked me and wanted to have sex. On the other hand, if I wasn't reading it correctly, then I'd believe her to have intentions she may in fact not have had.

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More words then not can probably be used as innuendo, and more people then not have sex on the brain. They are a very simple way to entertain many people and are useful as such. Also, you should just bluntly ask if she was referring to sex whenever you suspect that may be happening, don't worry if your wrong because know you have brought it to the table and can blame it on her vague choice of wording. Soo win/win.

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well if your both into drawings and both of you were genuinely interested in it, what you said isn't necessarily a sex proposition. But generally speaking whenever you ask anyone back to your place, that quick 'sex' thought usually runs through your brain.

---------- Post added 03-18-2011 at 01:23 AM ----------

i just watched that vid, got to say it was alot more interesting than i thought it would be.

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But what I'm wondering is: How pervasive is innuendo, and how often do people rely on it? Am I, and others, so completely oblivious, or are there many instances where there actually isn't any innuendo going on, and people who believe there is innuendo are actually just reading into things too much?

Oh my god, I started watching the video just so I'd be able to know what I was talking about and seriously got sucked in and will now have to watch everything in that channel. Thanks for consuming the next day of my life.

As far as the innuendo goes, one reason I was fascinated was that I do actually participate in this social phenomenon! I live day-to-day with the assumption that I don't really participate in most social niceties, but the "If you could do X, that would be awesome," made me laugh because I say that in my 'unsure' relationships (for instance, leaving a voicemail and requesting a call). Sometimes, if I'm feeling confident, I will come right out and say, "Please call me back," but if I am not quite as acquainted, I will admittedly play that social role.

That video really helped me understand the types of relationships I'm good at versus the ones I'm not. Do any other INTJs feel like they're better at Dominance relationships than the other two? I've always been better dealing with a dominance relationship because I know where I stand and what conventions I have to follow. Being on equal ground is a lot harder for me and I tend to use more innuendo.

In terms of sexual innuendo, I usually make it pretty clear. I think those innuendos are probably the most-thinly veiled.

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What I thought was interesting was the reasoning behind innuendo: "If Sally turns down Harry's question 'would you like to come up and see my etchings' they could maintain the fiction of friendship. But if Harry asked Sally directly 'Do you want to have sex?' they would not be able to maintain the fiction of friendship."

I've kind of know that at some level, but I've never really had it click.

Thanks for that link, philonous89

Now, towards the OP - I usually miss innuendo, usually because I'm spending so much time inside my head I only give a little attention to what the other person says. After the inside-my-head moment passes, I'll review the conversation in my head and kick myself if it was an innuendo I would've rather partaken upon.

Very interesting...

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It's based on uncertainty, so yeah, you're probably going to misinterpret it at least some of the time.

I think the point of the video is that you should pay attention to what's implied between the words that are actually said, but you shouldn't over emphasize the implications. You need a cluster of indicators to be certain of something.

So, in the case of your drawings, a cluster might have been: 1) she agreed to be alone with you in your place 2) the two of you had been hitting it off and 3) she made no mention of needing to be somewhere else. Just one data point isn't going to tell you anything, but a group of points can let you "triangulate" the truth (in a sense).

All you have to do is pay attention...that's the hard part for INTJs...remembering to care about the stuff that everyone else thinks about all the time.

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\

That video really helped me understand the types of relationships I'm good at versus the ones I'm not. Do any other INTJs feel like they're better at Dominance relationships than the other two? I've always been better dealing with a dominance relationship because I know where I stand and what conventions I have to follow. Being on equal ground is a lot harder for me and I tend to use more innuendo.

Definitely. I think it relates to how INTJ's are very confident in structured situations because the INTJ can rely on his systematic knowledge of the structured situation. We thrive when it comes to operating within systems. Dominance relationships tend to be highly structured.

I think the video makes a great point about how awkwardness consists in an ambiguity in understanding which kind of relationship we're in with the other person. If we ought to have a dominance relationship but I act as if it is a reciprocal one, then there might be awkwardness, for example. It's in these cases that we use innuendo to test the waters and prevent overtly and mistakenly committing to one kind of relationship when another kind is actually warranted.

I think the real allure of the video is how it elucidates these social phenomena and couches them in fascinating multidisciplinary academic terminology.

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But what I'm wondering is: How pervasive is innuendo, and how often do people rely on it? Am I, and others, so completely oblivious, or are there many instances where there actually isn't any innuendo going on, and people who believe there is innuendo are actually just reading into things too much?

I was once talking to a girl about a movie. I told her I thought she would enjoy it. She then told me she would like someone to go with her. I wished her good luck on finding someone.

My friend who was nearby afterward informed me that she was indirectly asking if I wanted to go with her. Of course, I did not know this. This happens to me all the time.

I think people rely on it quite a bit. I think I miss it quite a bit.

Edited by John01

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...she was indirectly asking if I wanted to go with her. Of course, I did not. This happens to me all the time.

Maybe if you HAD wanted to go with her you would have noticed the opening?

I think part of it is that INTJs tend to abstract and objectify ideas. We specifically try to separate confounding details (like sex, individuals, etc) from abstract ideas. It's on purpose, because it makes the ideas more universaly applicable. But when other people do it, like when they say "I wish I could find someone to go with me" we assume they are interested in the abstract idea, rather than assuming they are speaking abstractly so that they don't have to cross that "I know that he knows that I know" boundary.

Basically, all this innuendo stuff is playing with the various boundaries between knowledge. Like, person A will drop a comment that IMPLIES they know something about person B, but since they didn't come right out and say it person B can't be sure. If person B asks for clarification they will be letting person A know 1) they consider something important and 2 they don't know what person A knows, which crosses a boundary. So person B might just sit tight and stew in the uncertainty instead of asking the question. If person B, like person A, is also good at innuendo, they will figure out how to put person A into an equally frustrating position. But if person B doesn't have the slightest clue how innuendo works, like an INTJ, the interaction will be unbalanced.

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Maybe if you HAD wanted to go with her you would have noticed the opening?

I apologize. I had to edit my post as I did not finish the sentence the way I originally intended. I would have gone with her had I understood.

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I think context has a lot to do with it as well. Where I work, co-workers that I consider friends go out together for coffee all the time, before or after work...sometimes on breaks. Sometimes in groups, sometimes one-on-one. One person in said group, who didn't usually go out for coffee with us, but would eat lunch with us in the cafeteria (and knew that the rest of us frequent this coffee-shop), approached me and asked if I wanted to go for coffee. I went, and it turned out to be a date (I won't go into the details on this one, but it definitely was what he intended for it to be), and I was horrified.

Were either of us naiive, or was he being manipulative? Either way he turned out to be a total creeper, I was in a long-term relationship at the time, and he knew it.

---------- Post added 03-20-2011 at 11:13 AM ----------

I apologize. I had to edit my post as I did not finish the sentence the way I originally intended. I would have gone with her had I understood.

I'm an observer of your described situation, but here's my unsolicited two cents: If that's how a woman goes about trying to get someone to ask them on a date, then that's how they'll probably conduct themselves in a relationship as well. I'm not saying it's wrong for her to want to be asked, but if you missed the insinuation now, and you still somehow ended up in a relationship with her, you'd probably keep missing them for quite some time, or enough to make the first couple of months rocky. It wouldn't be your fault, it'd just be a potential incompatibility. I personally don't see anything wrong or unusual with the kind of girl who would have said instead 'We should go [to the movie] together!' outright.

As the video states, the innuendo is usually to keep from potential perceived awkwardness of having something 'out in the open,' but by implying that she wanted you to ask her, it pushed the risk for blame of 'putting it out there in the open' on you instead of her!

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I was once talking to a girl about a movie. I told her I thought she would enjoy it. She then told me she would like someone to go with her. I wished her good luck on finding someone.

My friend who was nearby afterward informed me that she was indirectly asking if I wanted to go with her. Of course, I did not know this. This happens to me all the time.

I think people rely on it quite a bit. I think I miss it quite a bit.

I've gotten better at catching onto such things as I've gotten older but they still cause issues when women are so indirect. I think the issue is that I really don't like self-inviting: I don't go to events unless I'm sure I'll be welcome and for that I need an explicit invitation or it has to be open to everyone. Cue awkward pauses as I'm looking at the girl and wondering "so are you going to invite me or are you expecting me to invite myself? Give me something to work with!"

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I'm an observer of your described situation, but here's my unsolicited two cents: If that's how a woman goes about trying to get someone to ask them on a date, then that's how they'll probably conduct themselves in a relationship as well. I'm not saying it's wrong for her to want to be asked, but if you missed the insinuation now, and you still somehow ended up in a relationship with her, you'd probably keep missing them for quite some time, or enough to make the first couple of months rocky. It wouldn't be your fault, it'd just be a potential incompatibility. I personally don't see anything wrong or unusual with the kind of girl who would have said instead 'We should go [to the movie] together!' outright.

I just spent a couple of hours with some female friends of mine and brought up this topic. I also introduced this scenario and asked both of them whether or not they enjoy the art of innuendo.

One said she disliked it and wished that men would be straightforward with her. She doesn't like reading between the lines.

The other said she enjoys innuendo. She says she likes it when her boyfriend communicates his feelings for her in this way. She gave some examples, but I don't remember them.

I would never make a girl happy who would rather communicate with subtle suggestions rather than straightforward statements or questions. On the one hand, she would probably be frustrated by my direct communication, and I would be frustrated at her indirect communication.

It would be an application of the famous quote from Cool Hand Luke.

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I think the issue is that I really don't like self-inviting: I don't go to events unless I'm sure I'll be welcome and for that I need an explicit invitation or it has to be open to everyone. Cue awkward pauses as I'm looking at the girl and wondering "so are you going to invite me or are you expecting me to invite myself? Give me something to work with!"

Yeah, I run into that in social contexts in general as well. I have to be explicitly invited somewhere in order to me to attend, so I don't think I'm crashing it. So, events that I'm probably invited to, I don't attend because no one invited me. If I'm in a group, and one of the participants talks about an event that X, Y, and Z are going to, I still don't consider myself invited to it.

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The funny thing was I once told a girl I liked, after a date, if she would like to come back to my place to see my drawings... but I had no idea at the time that it could be construed as a sexual proposition. I mean, I knew she drew, she knew I drew... and I showed her my drawings and didn't make a move on her. She was pretty tense the whole time, in retrospect, and I was wondering if I was giving off a bad vibe or something.

Invited girls to movies to just watch a movie.

Invited girls to parks to sit and watch ducks and talk about life.

Invited girls to coffee more times than I can remember.

But these days I clarify that I'm actually being genuine.

Sad that its even in doubt - but that's the world we live in.

EDIT: Does no one else get the irresistible urge to sit on a park bench and watch ducks and talk about life before they run out of time and die?

Edited by Tactical Panda

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It's a shame you can't invite someone in without it seeming like more than it is. I mean, it probably is when I do, but absolutely not a in a sexual way. It means I dig the person and don't want the date to end. "Hey, would you like to come in and have some wine and listen to vinyls and have fun conversations and cuddle, while all the time I am only thinking about your pooner?" Who thinks that, really?

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and wonder if it still applies to INTJs (or any strong T, I guess) and/or psychopaths and sociopaths?

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