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Thread: INFJ Trouble

  1. #1
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Default INFJ Trouble

    So I have recently (within the past six months) become kind-of friends with someone whom I believe to be INFJ. She has a quiet, sober exterior, is sensitive to words (meaning she will get upset by the phrasing of something, even if she knows that the intent behind the words is benign), does not appreciate my joking or ribbing at her playfully, and is basically a super-nice, conscientious person (though admittedly a little over-anxious and anal).

    The trouble with her is that (1) I'm never sure if I'm offending her or not, or (2) if she actually likes me or is just being nice. We initially got along because we were the two most quiet in the group, and could relate on that level. However, I got the impression that, after a while, she didn't really appreciate my style of humor or communication too much. In one instance, I recall her being upset over my playful ridiculing of the communist party, and in another, more recent instance, she was upset because she didn't like the argumentative tone of my response to one of her writings (that we had to do as a class assignment, no less). I mean, she should know by now that I am almost never serious about anything, even silly arguments for school projects. I jokingly ridicule everything and everyone while in her presence. Why, then, would that bother her (the phrasing of the argument was intended to purposely goad people, and thus used exaggerated levels of sarcasm)? This same sort of thing has happened before, many times (with the whole arguments thing, and her continuous misconstrual of my intentionally playful communication as being serious).

    Also, regarding (2), I'm not sure if it's my lack of initiation (of conversation, even, sometimes), but I get the sense that she doesn't always like me. It's like, if I don't reach out to her (which I never do initially, and I am significantly more reserved about revealing details about myself in casual conversation than she is), she becomes offended and distant. It's very subtle. Nothing that I overtly did, or that I can even really recognize, but the behavior on her part is decidedly different. She's not like my INTJ friend, with whom I can simply pick up conversation easily where we last left off...it's like I have to rebuild my relationship with her each time we meet. At first I thought it was my behavior that was off, but as this only happens with her, I concluded that it was not me being weird, but me responding to her being weird. Yet, we still get along well enough to remain on friend-ish terms for the most part (hang out sometimes, talk, dinner, etc.,).

    Also, sometimes we think in such divergent ways that it seems we have nothing in common. We consistently, and independently, come to the opposite conclusions about issues under discussion, and about likes and dislikes. The thing is, though, that I find her style of thinking through issues to be very smart (I would consider her to be significantly more erudite than me at this point)...I admire its fluidity and poetic tendency. It works wonders in my current field, so I sort of envy her. My little logical deconstructions and analyses gets sneered at or ignored often, while her intuitive pieces (even if they don't really argue for anything whatever) are praised to high heaven. But I'm not sure that she really respects my way of thinking (yes, my field is a total reversal of the dominant tendency to value logic over feeling or intuition...so I feel like a feeler in a hard science field. My natural way of thinking, which I have always over-relied upon to do smart work instead of putting a lot of effort and hours in to achieve the same thing, does not help me here).

    Anyway, I'd like to know if any of these observations of our interactions resonates with other people on this board. If it does, do by all means share. Or if it doesn't, and you think I'm wrong-headed in my perceptions, let me know.
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  2. #2
    Cat Wench ReadingRainbows's Avatar
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    It hurts us when the people we like are distant..it makes us think they no longer have an interest in knowing us. And ussally be just go with that..we dislike pressing people too far.
    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    St. Stephen took rocks and St. Sebastian took arrows. You only have to take some jerks on an internet forum. Nut up.

  3. #3
    Glycerine
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    Personally, I don't mind joking but I am a bit slow at realizing if its a joke or not so it appears like I am offended when I'm really not. Also, sometimes INFJs don't really know how they come off to others. They may like someone but they will come off as cold when they don't mean to.

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    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rainbows View Post
    It hurts us when the people we like are distant..it makes us think they no longer have an interest in knowing us. And ussally be just go with that..we dislike pressing people too far.
    This is interesting. If this is the case, it seems that we are in a bit of a double bind. For some reason she thinks that I am being distant towards her, and so acts distant towards me, causing me to respond by acting distant. I admit that I'm not the easiest person to get along with- I don't contact people very much over vacations, I can go long periods of time without talking to anyone in everyday circumstances, and I can sometimes act very reserved if there are too many people around us (who aren't strangers). She acts similarly, though she is more outgoing and self-revealing in groups, and a lot more nurturing and conscientious of people in general.

    I suspected that she might be interpreting these things personally, especially since I can talk so easily with our mutual INTJ friend in comparable circumstances. I wish she wouldn't, though, because it only makes communication between us that much more difficult. I only communicate so well with the INTJ because there is none of that sensitivity between us...no inferences drawn from long periods of non-communication. If the INFJ didn't do that, I would be able to talk almost as easily with her.

    Quote Originally Posted by IDK123 View Post
    Personally, I don't mind joking but I am a bit slow at realizing if its a joke or not so it appears like I am offended when I'm really not. Also, sometimes INFJs don't really know how they come off to others. They may like someone but they will come off as cold when they don't mean to.
    The thing you mentioned about joking could possibly be the case with her. I remember one time when she was all angry and defensive about some derisive jokes our professor had made about the theories that she values pretty intensely (she's big into pomo stuff). She came back about two weeks later and told me that she now understood that he was joking, because she finally noticed that he is the type of person who jokes about everything. When the jokes took place in that particular class period, though, I recall her face turning a deep shade of purple...it was kind of funny and sad at the same time.

    And thanks for the insight about lack of external self-perception. I guess that I should understand, since I rarely know how I come off to others either. It's funny that the things we have most in common serve the most to distance us, heh.
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    Senior Member tibby's Avatar
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    It's vital for INFJs to be able to see the other person's "intentions" and what he wants from us: I've noticed that is the reason why I usually enjoy the company of extraverts, cause they're easier to "accomodate" to.

    I don't know you or how you are and I don't know this infj, but I get very nervous around people that are sort of defaulted ultimately the same way I am, making it very hard for me to relate to the person if he/she is... Not that expressive. Does that make sense? But I'd guess it'd make me very self-conscious and unaware of the person's intentions and thoughts on how he/she feels about me. For me, it helps if it's transparent that he/she enjoys my company and is the one taking the iniative.

    I have no idea if it could be this, but becoming friends and building trust takes a long time at least for me, so the whole "starting and building the relationship again every time" sounds familiar in the sense I react excatly like that with new acquintances. I guess it's more of making sure the person is actually interested and that I'm not being pushy about myself in any way. Once that "stage" is over though, no more assurance is needed. And it usually happens with people that are themselves introverted too.

  6. #6
    Revelation Lauren Ashley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    (1) I'm never sure if I'm offending her or not, or (2) if she actually likes me or is just being nice...In one instance, I recall her being upset over my playful ridiculing of the communist party, and in another, more recent instance, she was upset because she didn't like the argumentative tone of my response to one of her writings (that we had to do as a class assignment, no less).
    If you're always joking or making fun, she may be getting annoyed. It seems like she holds her job close to her heart so if you're poking fun at any aspect of it, it's like you are poking fun at her. Also, even though she knew your response to her writing was for an assignment, she probably still questioned your tone. INFJs are somewhat averse to cold or harsh tones.


    I'm not sure if it's my lack of initiation (of conversation, even, sometimes), but I get the sense that she doesn't always like me. It's like, if I don't reach out to her (which I never do initially, and I am significantly more reserved about revealing details about myself in casual conversation than she is), she becomes offended and distant.
    Like Rainbows said, she may be interpreting your lack of initiative as saying that you have no interest in her. Your not opening up is being interpreted as your not feeling that she is important enough to know details of your life.

    It's very subtle. Nothing that I overtly did, or that I can even really recognize, but the behavior on her part is decidedly different. She's not like my INTJ friend, with whom I can simply pick up conversation easily where we last left off...it's like I have to rebuild my relationship with her each time we meet.
    This is related to the above response. She is responding to what she believes is indifference on your part. INFJs will slowly become less and less responsive if they detect indifference or hostility from a person they were formerly friendly with. They won't press the person to engage with them if they feel like the person has no interest in doing so.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Snow Turtle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    She's not like my INTJ friend, with whom I can simply pick up conversation easily where we last left off...it's like I have to rebuild my relationship with her each time we meet.

    Also, sometimes we think in such divergent ways that it seems we have nothing in common. We consistently, and independently, come to the opposite conclusions about issues under discussion, and about likes and dislikes.

    Anyway, I'd like to know if any of these observations of our interactions resonates with other people on this board. If it does, do by all means share. Or if it doesn't, and you think I'm wrong-headed in my perceptions, let me know.
    These two paragraphs resonate with my experiences. I find it kind of unique and odd that conversations, after a long period of time end up having to go through the whole 'formal polite conversation' phase once again. Why do people engage in this sort of behaviour and what does it mean?

    Question for the INFJs out there. (Apologies for hijacking the thread.)
    The paradox that is...

    INFJ decides that there is not much in common. INFJ doesn't let other person know what's been happening in their life. Therefore confirming their own belief that things have changed between both people. This cycle seems to occur more often when people haven't spoken to each others for long period of times. All based off my own experience when the INFJ would sometimes comment 'so much has happened' without really going into much depth.

    Any identification?

  8. #8
    Cat Wench ReadingRainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    These two paragraphs resonate with my experiences. I find it kind of unique and odd that conversations, after a long period of time end up having to go through the whole 'formal polite conversation' phase once again. Why do people engage in this sort of behaviour and what does it mean?

    Question for the INFJs out there. (Apologies for hijacking the thread.)
    The paradox that is...

    INFJ decides that there is not much in common. INFJ doesn't let other person know what's been happening in their life. Therefore confirming their own belief that things have changed between both people. This cycle seems to occur more often when people haven't spoken to each others for long period of times. All based off my own experience when the INFJ would sometimes comment 'so much has happened' without really going into much depth.

    Any identification?
    Yes, because so much HAS happened. I don't know about other INFJs but sometimes days feel like months or years, time doesnt move a constant rate. Also I personally find it hard to go into certain details of my personal life. Either thinking they are irrelevent, or simply they just are or not wanting to take the energy to go into details.
    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    St. Stephen took rocks and St. Sebastian took arrows. You only have to take some jerks on an internet forum. Nut up.

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    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tibby View Post
    I don't know you or how you are and I don't know this infj, but I get very nervous around people that are sort of defaulted ultimately the same way I am, making it very hard for me to relate to the person if he/she is... Not that expressive. Does that make sense? But I'd guess it'd make me very self-conscious and unaware of the person's intentions and thoughts on how he/she feels about me. For me, it helps if it's transparent that he/she enjoys my company and is the one taking the iniative.
    I think this makes perfect sense if I apply it to my situation. I very rarely express my feelings about anyone unless it's irritation or vexation, and I often express these feelings when I'm around her and we are engaging in commiseration or reflection on a certain mutual experience. I sometimes think that she takes her observations of me on these occasions and assumes that in the absence of any outright or straightforward expressions of my positive regard for her (and there is quite a dearth), that I must be feeling these irritations and vexations towards her. So then she trusts me less and less without me even doing anything except not expressing affirmative feelings towards our relationship.

    I suppose, then, that I should try to be more outwardly affirming and appreciative to encourage our communication. It's just hard and unnatural for me to do that, and I will probably end up over-planning it and inadvertently making the gestures seem perfunctory, which will make her trust me even less.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren Ashley View Post
    If you're always joking or making fun, she may be getting annoyed. It seems like she holds her job close to her heart so if you're poking fun at any aspect of it, it's like you are poking fun at her. Also, even though she knew your response to her writing was for an assignment, she probably still questioned your tone. INFJs are somewhat averse to cold or harsh tones.
    Yeah, as I mention in the concurrent INFJ thread, it took me a while to realize that what she must feel when her ideas get attacked (even in jest) is real, and that thinking of this as a silly or overblown reaction does not make her any more inclined to be my friend.

    It is very hard to resist poking fun at people like this, though, because the more closely they attach themselves to ideas, the more valuable a target they become for ribbing.

    I remember one time we had to write questions based on a set of articles that we read for a class, and I purposely phrased my question (based on an article that I knew she would like) in a goading and mocking way. Of course, in her response paper she picked right up on this, and later told me in private that she was seething over my question all the previous day. It gave me a weird sort of satisfaction to know that I had correctly predicted what her buttons were and pressed them. I will have to resist in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren Ashley View Post
    Like Rainbows said, she may be interpreting your lack of initiative as saying that you have no interest in her. Your not opening up is being interpreted as your not feeling that she is important enough to know details of your life.

    This is related to the above response. She is responding to what she believes is indifference on your part. INFJs will slowly become less and less responsive if they detect indifference or hostility from a person they were formerly friendly with. They won't press the person to engage with them if they feel like the person has no interest in doing so.
    Yeah, I will have to be more open I guess. In fact, I think I managed to piss her off in this manner just last week, as I had a relative (sibling) come into town to visit and I didn't let her know or make any plan or attempt to introduce them. She unfortunately found out about this because I happened to run into another of our mutual friends when I was out with my relative, and they were introduced (which this mutual friend then told the INFJ all about). She (the INFJ) has introduced me to some of her relatives in the past when they were in town. It didn't even occur to me that I should reciprocate until it was too late.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    These two paragraphs resonate with my experiences. I find it kind of unique and odd that conversations, after a long period of time end up having to go through the whole 'formal polite conversation' phase once again. Why do people engage in this sort of behaviour and what does it mean?
    This is puzzling behavior to me as well. After periods of not talking we always without fail go through the conversational niceties ritual. I do this with no other friends (or becoming-friends), except perhaps people that I haven't seen in like 5+ years without interaction.

    It is my intuitive sense that people engage in this sort of behavior because they feel distant and therefore adopt more of a formal approach to communication than you would with close friends. Sometimes it even seems to me (with the particular INFJ I'm talking about, at any rate) that there's a sort-of self-effacing assumption that the other person is probably not interested in you (brought on by perhaps lack of interaction over long periods of time, or accumulated perceptions that the person doesn't like you), so you default to formal communication to avoid vulnerability and rejection.
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    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    I remember one time we had to write questions based on a set of articles that we read for a class, and I purposely phrased my question (based on an article that I knew she would like) in a goading and mocking way. Of course, in her response paper she picked right up on this, and later told me in private that she was seething over my question all the previous day. It gave me a weird sort of satisfaction to know that I had correctly predicted what her buttons were and pressed them. I will have to resist in the future.
    ....
    Yeah, I will have to be more open I guess. In fact, I think I managed to piss her off in this manner just last week, as I had a relative (sibling) come into town to visit and I didn't let her know or make any plan or attempt to introduce them. She unfortunately found out about this because I happened to run into another of our mutual friends when I was out with my relative, and they were introduced (which this mutual friend then told the INFJ all about). She (the INFJ) has introduced me to some of her relatives in the past when they were in town. It didn't even occur to me that I should reciprocate until it was too late.
    Oh, I'm having a psychic flash ... it's ... wait a minute ... I can't quite make it out ... is that A DOOR SLAMMING ...

    It never came up in casual conversation that your sister/brother was coming to visit you? I mean, it's not like it's your 5th cousin or something ... you said your sibling came to visit ... yeah, i would be miffed if it was me and I had to sit there listening to somebody else tell me all about meeting your sister or brother when I didn't even know they were coming.

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