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  1. #1
    beyondaurora
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    Question Functions and comforting others

    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!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Engler's Avatar
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    That's interesting, I had always assumed that INFPs were relatively good at comforting others.

    I am terrible at comforting others when they are physically present. It seems as though they expect me to embrace them, and tell them things that may or may not be true, if only to bring them temporary comfort.

    However, I am relatively good at "comforting" others over the internet, as this seems to give me more time to collect my thoughts, so that I might tactfully tell them something that is both within the boundaries of reason and comforting.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member placebo's Avatar
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    I have to say I am better at comforting friends (I don't know about strangers) than my family. There is this really strange feeling I get about comforting my family, possibly because of certain dynamics. Everyone is my elder, and it feels strange to me that I should be in a position of the comforter. As well, when I want to be comforted, my family usually does not with me. But with friends it is a lot easier to be a shoulder to lean on, physically and emotionally.

  4. #4
    Senior Member LindseyLadybug's Avatar
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    I think (for me anyway) it goes along with how well I know the person and how comfortable I am with them. If it's someone I really love and am close to, it's easier for me to hug them and say something like, "I'm so sorry they said that to you. That person is so messed up! I still love you and that's all that matters.", etc. If it's someone I'm not familar with, I get kinda stuck but I try. I guess it bothers me that it feels forced. I do end up forcing it though because I like being comforted when I cry....I would feel even worse if someone just sat there and stared at me. Plus, when someone is upset, most of the time they don't care if you know them well, they just want to be comforted.

  5. #5
    Senior Member LindseyLadybug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by placebo View Post
    There is this really strange feeling I get about comforting my family, possibly because of certain dynamics. Everyone is my elder, and it feels strange to me that I should be in a position of the comforter.
    Yeah, same here to a certain extent.

  6. #6
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    I'm horrendous at comforting people. When I'm in a situation that calls for it, I usually say something brief (like "I'm so sorry") and then I leave as gracefully as possible, making it seem like I think they need space. Rarely works, and I usually look like a major asshole.

    It's the same with family as with friends.
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

  7. #7
    Senior Member Simplexity's Avatar
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    It depends on the situation. In terms of straight emotional breakdowns I'm usually at a loss, I'm terrible at impulsive emotive reactions. I need time to contemplate. When it's a much calmer situation in terms of the ebb and flow I feel a lot more reassured. I think I've had a lot of experience because people really treat me like some sort of consultant. Friends, family, teachers, and significant others. I think sometimes the best thing is lending your ear. I'm rather willing and accepting of considering others view points and have a knack for expressing something in a manner that is both descriptive and enlightening of the situation.

    The emotional severity of a situation is rather important I stress, though, online and in written form I feel I can even handle those situations. I think the biggest factor in my ability to comfort others is their ability to be in contemplative mode. I need something to put me at ease and allow me to contribute. The fleeting, explosive, intensive, and somewhat arbitrary emotions that we all fall victim to are nowhere near my domain of "expertise." I have an annoying habit of absorbing the emotional state of a situation, especially when it's in a more aggressive format. I can't even watch some emotionally intense scenes in movies sometimes for that reason. I like being detached in some essence. There needs to be somewhat of an agreement, that in addition to listening there will be some perspectives explored, if your looking for a couple nods and tissue sharing look elsewhere. I'm not about that at all. I flee.
    My cold, snide, intellectual life is just a veneer, behind which lies the plywood of loneliness.

  8. #8
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    I suck at being comforting- first off, seeing people cry gives me an immediate, almost uncontrollable urge to be elsewhere. Secondly, I have no clue what to do to get them to stop crying since I'm not all that squishy or anything. It usually boils down to me doing something like singing them "walkin' on sunshine" and dancing and then offering to take them out for a drink to cheer up

    my ESFJ friends are much better at comforting people- it's downright ENVIABLE!
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  9. #9
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    ESFjs and ISFps are the best at comforting and seducing.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BlahBlahNounBlah's Avatar
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    I try to offer practical advice.

    If that doesn't work, I try to distract them.

    And if that doesn't work, I:

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