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  1. #1
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    Default NFs and Negative Judgment

    From Kiersey:
    At times, ENFPs find themselves interpreting events in terms of another's "hidden motive," giving special meaning to words or actions. This interpretation tends to be negative and, more often than not, inaccurately negative. In the process, an ENFP may find that he or she has introduced an unnecessary, toxic element into the relationship. While ENFPs are brilliantly perceptive, they can make serious mistakes in judgment, which works to their discomfort. These mistakes derive from their tendency to focus on data which confirm their own biases. They may be absolutely correct in their perceptions but wrong in their conclusions.

    I've been thinking the above and how it is very applicable in my case. I'm so used to reading between the lines, sometimes I forget to acknowledge the lines at all. Do other NFs, ENFPs in particular, do this too?

    For me, it's not in all cases. In most, I like to give people the benefit of doubt and hold back judgment until absolutely necessary (not a great strategy in itself). Recently, seeing a romantic interaction come to an end has made it difficult to see anything said by the other person as sincere or positive. I spend too much time thinking up probable (negative) scenarios that would guide me towards understanding their hidden motivations better.

    Do others impute negative motives to people when you finally do apply judgment when the evidence is not clear? Is it more of an ENFP thing?

    How do you move away from assuming negative motives when regardless of true motives, sometimes taking what's said at face value may be the best for you in the long run?

    Could you share examples of when you did this and how you relaxed the negative judgment/found it difficult to relax the negative judgment.

  2. #2
    movin melodies kiddykat's Avatar
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    I know I've been thinking about this topic A LOT lately.. From my friends'/families' perspective? They always tell me, "Take things at face value!!"

    Whatever happened to listening to myself/to my hunches?

    I think that sometimes, I attribute negative feelings towards people whom I don't want to associate with anymore. So I find a reason to push them away, by using little reasons as an excuse or scapegoat, whether or not it's valid.

    I don't know, but I think deep down inside, there are things that vibe with me better than others. So whenever something/someone just doesn't 'click' with me, I tend to listen to myself, and that's where I question whether or not my decisions are right or not, or if I'm slipping back into that comfort zone.. self-confirming bias, maybe.

    I think, in the end, we probably shouldn't doubt ourselves too much, and instead ask what it is that's really bothering us? Instead of attributing whatever we may perceive of the other person, look within and ask why? Then we can have a more constructive understanding for the situation, if we delve deeply enough. In other words, reflect on whatever's bothering us internally, instead of focusing externally..

  3. #3
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    Yes, most people have suggested the same for me and have seen what was said at face value. It's hard though, isn't it, when you're so used to intuiting underlying motivations?

    I think part of the problem is I'm beginning to doubt my own intuition. Perhaps it needs some sharpening and more guidance from Fi and Te.

    Yes, some introspective reflection is in order. Thank you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MrME's Avatar
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    Oh, man, I used to have the conclusion-jumping problem like MAD. I always read the worst into conversations. I would frequently leave a conversation having already convinced myself that the other person was annoyed or irritated with me. Then I would spiral into depression.

    It was a sick, sick mindset to be in.

    Here's the deal. If you've offended or annoyed an ESxx, they'll come right out and tell you. So, you've got a fair amount of the population licked right there. Many ENTx types will come right out and tell you, too.

    For the rest, I solve this problem very simply. I ask, "Did I just say something stupid or annoying?" 999 times out of 1000, I'll get a look from them like and they'll tell me "No." Then I'll make a self-deprecating joke and move on. I take them at face-value and think nothing more of it.

    After a while, you stop jumping to conclusions because you've got enough evidence to realize that it's all about what's going on in your head and not actually the reality of the situation.
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    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    I wouldn't consider myself a judgemental person at all. In fact, I'm very forgiving of faults and a lot more likely to give people the benefit of the doubt than most of the population. But of course we are all predisposed to be prejudicial to some degree. I think I can focus on the negatives in people too much but not necessarily in their motives. If I think someone is behaving improperly in one way or another I don't perceive it to be reflective of inappropriate motive but of their lack of control over (and often their lack of comprehension of) the personality flaws I see in them. So if I am wrongly prejudicial of a person its not specifically because I think they have negative alterior motives but because I think they will be prone to have them. I guess I'm trying to skip a step and pre-empt their behaviour.
    How do you move away from assuming negative motives when regardless of true motives, sometimes taking what's said at face value may be the best for you in the long run?
    I don't believe in just taking thing at face value - its against everything I believe in. People fake emotions all the time but more often than not its for reasons such as self-preservation, reserve, politeness, or because they feel uncomfortable. What I think this is more about is taking a realistic attitude and avoiding projecting your own fears on to others. Most people don't spend their time thinking constantly how they are going to screw other people over - they have their own more basic every day personal concerns.

    Could you share examples of when you did this and how you relaxed the negative judgment/found it difficult to relax the negative judgment.
    I spent 5 months last year working on a kibbutz in Israel and I learned so much about people in the experience. You're really stuck with the same small group of people without the usual defense mechanisims. Its amazing because it really forces you to get to know people you would otherwise dimiss out of hand.

    I remember a quite a few situations of me overturning my attitudes toward people. One example: there was this guy who came across as an drunken, ignorant, obnoxious frat-boy type. After a while I realized a lot of that was an act - playing class clown and pretending like he didn't care about what others think. Really he was quite insecure, lonely and clearly found it difficult to form relationships with people. He had such sensitive heart underneath but he tried so hard to be this tough guy he put some people off. I really think its important to give people a second chance at presenting their real personality to you. The only way they will feel safe and comfortable enough to do so is if they feel you are open and receptive. You really need to make the effort to look at all the factors in a persons behaviour before making snap judgements about what it says about them. You have to think realistically why that person would do what they do and you must make your opinion of them amendable.

  6. #6
    12 and a half weeks BerberElla's Avatar
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    I don't see it as a bad thing though, I usually take things at face value, give people the benefit of the doubt etc, innocent until proven guilty.

    But once they are proven guilty I don't see why I should question why it is that I no longer take what they are saying at face value anymore.

    I only suspect people who deserve to be suspected, and really I believe it is up to them to understand why they are now in that position with me, not the other way around.

    I'm really really forgiving, and open and I give people my trust once I let them into my life, if they say "this this and this", but do "that that and that" after that point, then and only then do I start to sniff around for inconsistencies and read between their very badly put together lines.
    Echo - "So are you trying to say she is Evil"

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    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    I've learned over the years to hold back, give people the benefit of the doubt and if I have a hunch...to test it out. See if I read that one reaction correctly, as such. What you're describing though, happens mostly when our own judgement gets impaired by strong emotional reactions, or at least, that's how I experience it. The moment I'm not emotionally stable myself, I loose all capacity of interpreting the data I get correctly.

    And I always keep in mind that there's a slight chance I might be having an off day or not have all the data I need when I do make that judgement, so I can readjust it if necessary.
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    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Being forgiving of faults doesn't necessarily mean you're not judgemental. To believe there's a fault in need of forgiveness implies that a judgement has already been made.

    Just sayin'...
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  9. #9
    Member MattC333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    I've learned over the years to hold back, give people the benefit of the doubt and if I have a hunch...to test it out. See if I read that one reaction correctly, as such. What you're describing though, happens mostly when our own judgement gets impaired by strong emotional reactions, or at least, that's how I experience it. The moment I'm not emotionally stable myself, I loose all capacity of interpreting the data I get correctly.

    And I always keep in mind that there's a slight chance I might be having an off day or not have all the data I need when I do make that judgement, so I can readjust it if necessary.
    That makes total sense. I give people lots of leeway but when things stop adding up, forget it. Fell out with a friend of 7 years because I got sick of him and his ways. He used to go mad at me when I was depressed, really shout and tell me my suicidal behaviour was stupid and pointless. Then a year or so ago, he starts experiencing it for himself and then doesn't think I understand him?

    The whole thing with ENFPs (and other NFs I think) for me of people not lining up with my values so they get cut off is pretty true. I let these people in because they share some part of my world view, my sense of fun or I've taken them on as a pet project (i.e helping them achieve something, like gaining more confidence or something creative, sounds rather impersonal but it's not). If they cease to line up, then they're no longer who I thought they were. I'm not nasty, I just leave them basically and think 'well our time is past, time to make room for new people'. No fuss, no muss, just the cycle of life, I suppose. 6 billion more out there for the both of us, all new to me.

    About having off days, yeah, sometimes it's good to wait, but it doesn't stop the mind making it's normal pre-conceptions anyway til the new data arrives. Once it does, I'll re-evaluate. But when my own feelings are more involved it's hard to be empathic about things. When I'm purely focused on their emotions its 100x easier to get into their head and see what their thinking and feeling about their situation.

    I can't do my usual 'I'm so sagely, everyone comes to me for advice, agony uncle bit' that I love so much if I can't remain reasonably impartial to my own feelings about their situation (i.e if it affects me, like it's about my ex, as opposed to their ex, sorry just trying to be clear).

    Sorry for the post being a little disjointed, had severe lack of sleep (looong story) and couldn't quite be precise with what I was trying to say.

  10. #10
    Member MattC333's Avatar
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    "I don't believe in just taking thing at face value - its against everything I believe in. People fake emotions all the time but more often than not its for reasons such as self-preservation, reserve, politeness, or because they feel uncomfortable. What I think this is more about is taking a realistic attitude and avoiding projecting your own fears on to others. Most people don't spend their time thinking constantly how they are going to screw other people over - they have their own more basic every day personal concerns."

    Agreed, very few people truly speak their mind bluntly. There's always something personal behind it, like you said, politeness or fear of rejection, confrontation. The trouble starts when that's misinterpreted as something manipulative and malicious.
    I try to look past that and see why they are choosing to do things the way they are, are they protecting themselves, someone else etc?

    I'm idealistic about a person, til they prove otherwise and even then it's quite gradual. I have to see more proof that it wasn't just a one-off situation.
    I pride myself on trying to dig into people to find the best them, like your israeli friend, see what layers are there and why they have created them, what traumas/experiences caused them to need them?
    I'm not saying I don't judge or I don't assume the face vaule at times. That kind of guy certainly would've put me off at a glance and that would've caused him to stay that way in front me. A total stalemate. Shame, when I think of how many potential friendships are missed from crossed wires like this.

    "Here's the deal. If you've offended or annoyed an ESxx, they'll come right out and tell you. So, you've got a fair amount of the population licked right there. Many ENTx types will come right out and tell you, too."

    I've found that NFs will, but not in so many words. I certainly hate telling people, look man you hurt me or that was wrong. You get more out of the E's and get more discussion and diplomacy and mediation but they still struggle with it at times.

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