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  1. #11
    Senior Member Pancreas's Avatar
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    Iím terrible at comforting people in a raw emotional state. I can usually figure out when I should have comforted someone but it doesnít happen. Itís to awkward for me physically or even verbally comfort someone. Physically, because thatís not my domain, verbally because in those situations I canít make the required BS sound sincere. Or I could, but Iím not willing to say what they want me to say.

    On the other hand, I often find myself as the person who is consulted after theyíve calmed down, and just want to chat, be distracted, seek advice, or have someone listen to them. And this situation suits me, because Iím generally good at those things. I can help out someone I care for without having to feel insincere or out of my depth.

  2. #12
    soft and silky sarah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beyondaurora View Post
    Last night I encountered an all too familiar situation in my family.

    My sister, having just had a fight with her boyfriend over the telephone, momentarily broke down crying to my mom and me.

    My mom looked at me, I looked at my mom, we both contorted our faces into "I don't know what to say" positions, after which my sister looked down at the floor.

    A moment later, my mom said, "I'm really sorry you're going through this."

    There was a pause, then I said, "you know, our family really sucks at this."

    It's true. I never really know what to say to make someone feel better. In the moment of their pain, I can sense their discomfort, but it is difficult for me to open my arms for a hug. And oddly enough, this is most often the case with those in my family, whereas with strangers, I am more apt to embrace them. I am also not much help when it comes to verbal comfort either; stock responses like, "it'll be okay" (when I have I no idea that it will!) are usually the first things that come to mind.

    I'm imagining how the different function combinations or temperaments would respond in the situation above. For example, I could see SF types being more physically comforting with NF's comforting with their words.

    I'm also wondering if the similar approach (or lack thereof) that my mom, sister and I take to each other's pain points to sharing temperaments or functions.

    I'd appreciate any thoughts!

    This is so understandable to me, and I think it's related to Fi. I can sense people's pain quite keenly, but be unable to say the right things that would mean something to that person, because the right things either don't come to mind, or if they do, it sounds trivial to say them aloud.

    My INFP friend can say the right thing, but not necessarily at the exact time it needs to be said -- sometimes she needs to think about it.

    My ENFJ husband, on the other hand, knows exactly what to say in order to comfort someone, and when he does, he can be genuine, heartfelt and real about it. I think it's the dominant Fe.

    (And as you say, I'm much better at giving hurting people physical comfort or physical expressions of love than verbal expressions. Often I just tell people I care about them and I'm willing to listen, but that I don't have anything profound to say.)

  3. #13
    Senior Member Kestrel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarah View Post

    My INFP friend can say the right thing, but not necessarily at the exact time it needs to be said -- sometimes she needs to think about it.

    My ENFJ husband, on the other hand, knows exactly what to say in order to comfort someone, and when he does, he can be genuine, heartfelt and real about it. I think it's the dominant Fe.

    (And as you say, I'm much better at giving hurting people physical comfort or physical expressions of love than verbal expressions. Often I just tell people I care about them and I'm willing to listen, but that I don't have anything profound to say.)
    Hmm, I'm still not 100% clear on how Fi is experienced. But based on what you said, Fi appears to have a more "in-the-body" physicality to it. Speaking for myself, if someone is going through some kind of emotional problems, I seem to always find some way of comforting them through words and gestures.

    However if someone needs physical comfort, I'm often at a loss as to how to approach them without appearing insincere or smothering. I'm just not sure physical comfort is what they need, even if it is what they need.

    In simple terms, during these kind of situations, I see Fi as pure empathy and Fe as outward compassion.
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  4. #14
    now! in shell form INA's Avatar
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    I suck at verbal comfort that is not a solution to the problem, so the comfort is along the lines of a hug + a variation of this, if I can get over myself enough to hack it:

    hoarding time and space
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  5. #15
    beyondaurora
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlahBlahNounBlah View Post
    And if that doesn't work, I:
    That's the look my mom and I had!

  6. #16
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    Well, lately I've been worse than usual at comforting. I used to really believe in me always knowing what to say. Lately, not so much. I feel as much as ever, but am more paralyzed nowadays. Speaking of most of my life however, I've actually seemed to shine my very brightest when I've been talking to someone in distress or hugging a crying person. I honestly want to be around when life's wrong. Because there is nothing that makes me happier than see someone rise from hardship. And if I could contribute a bit to it, talk someone through it, that would mean something to me.

  7. #17
    Senior Mugwump Apollanaut's Avatar
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    Knowing the right thing to say or do to make a person feel better about a situation falls firmly within the territory of Fe. I'm not saying that FJ types are necessarily better at giving comfort than other types (that depends on a lot of other factors, including experience). It's just that we typically feel drawn and compelled to offer support to those who are in pain.

    If I walk into a room and see someone crying, my immediate response will be to feel a rush of sympathy for the person, and then to offer whatever loving support seems appropriate. Listening to their story, offering gentle advice, giving them a big hug or just a simple touch - there is no one right way to suit everyone. Fe usually just "knows" what form of giving comfort is the most appropriate for an individual, especially if we know them at all well.

    Other functions can play a part in providing comfort, of course, but they are only partially effective by their very nature. For example, Fi is wonderful for feeling other's pain and empathising (Fe itself relies on this - Fe without Fi is insincere), but it is often at a loss as to what to do to actually help someone. The Thinking functions are great for analysing a problem and suggesting a course of action, but are truly hopeless at giving a person loving space to process their emotions.
    INFJ 9w1 sx/sp/so

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  8. #18
    DoubleplusUngoodNonperson
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    I can easily comfort in the OP's situation by just applying "positve logic" or "genuine inquiry" to help the person feel like they can understand the situation and be in control. Words of wisdom CAN heal wounds, imo!


    What I REALLY suck at is offering some loving support when really BAD things happen like losing a loved one. True story: one of my australian friend's grandfather died in a different city/province, and when told about this i actually said to her "wow, I'm so sorry..... have you ever been there?"

  9. #19
    12 and a half weeks BerberElla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beyondaurora View Post
    Last night I encountered an all too familiar situation in my family.

    My sister, having just had a fight with her boyfriend over the telephone, momentarily broke down crying to my mom and me.

    My mom looked at me, I looked at my mom, we both contorted our faces into "I don't know what to say" positions, after which my sister looked down at the floor.

    A moment later, my mom said, "I'm really sorry you're going through this."

    There was a pause, then I said, "you know, our family really sucks at this."

    It's true. I never really know what to say to make someone feel better. In the moment of their pain, I can sense their discomfort, but it is difficult for me to open my arms for a hug. And oddly enough, this is most often the case with those in my family, whereas with strangers, I am more apt to embrace them. I am also not much help when it comes to verbal comfort either; stock responses like, "it'll be okay" (when I have I no idea that it will!) are usually the first things that come to mind.

    I'm imagining how the different function combinations or temperaments would respond in the situation above. For example, I could see SF types being more physically comforting with NF's comforting with their words.

    I'm also wondering if the similar approach (or lack thereof) that my mom, sister and I take to each other's pain points to sharing temperaments or functions.

    I'd appreciate any thoughts!
    Wow, So I am not a freaky INFP anymore because I have the exact same problem.

    I can't reach out as easily as everyone else appears to be able to. I want to, I know that's what the person in distress needs, but I need to force myself to go past my discomfort before I can hug a person in need of comforting.

    Good to know I'm not alone in this.
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