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  1. #1
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    Default Help an INFP, pretty please.

    Typical INFP problem -

    I've improved my confrontation skills a little bit as I've gotten older, but I still really balk at any situations in which confronting someone is involved. Typically, the more emotional and important the situation, the more I shy away from confrontation. I let problems and issues slide for way longer than I ought to, until things are really bad. It's not healthy for myself or for others involved.

    I tend to get really flustered and upset in situations where I have to have heated discussions about personal matters, especially if I feel like people are hostile. I sort of clam up and lose all train of thought. Sometimes I literally get sick and can't eat just anticipating a confrontation. When I feel worried to this level, I try to write letters instead, to take the time to really organize my thoughts. I feel much more comfortable with that method. I've had friends and family members get angry at me for writing letters to try to express my thoughts and feelings rather than talking to them directly.

    1) Are you of the opinion that writing letters is a cowardly cop out? Would a letter vs. a face to face conversation offend you?

    2) Do you have any advice or strategies to work toward improvement in this area of confrontation? Is it something I just have to learn to get over myself and do, or are there ways I can build up to being better at it?
    I-71%, N-80%, F-74%, P-96%

  2. #2
    cast shadows metaphours's Avatar
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    Being and INFP, i find it easier to write letters to people about the way I feel, just cause it's easier and I feel like I can get all of my emotions out on paper better than I can verbally.

  3. #3
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Jewelchild, you offer a wonderful description. I wish that everyone that struggled with an "irrational" INFP would read your post, as you pretty much explain what goes inside our mind during such moments, and why we can freak out the way we do.

    1) A letter is better than nothing. However, try to use it as a sort of training wheel to verbal confrontation.

    2) Realize there are many ways to go about confrontation. A couple of quick ideas for you:

    - Confront as soon as possible. As soon as you feel the 'tinge' of something amiss, say something. Just blurt it out. After two or three successes (and perhaps a failure), it'll get easier.

    - Ask questions. This is a personal favorite. When someone starts upsetting me, my first reaction is to ask questions. Not only am I gathering more information to understand where the other person is coming from (and possibly realizing I just misunderstood), but I'm buying myself time to cool a bit before confronting them. Finally, I'm "hearing them out", which helps to disarm some people and make them willing to hear you out in turn.

    - Don't take it personally. This is very, very difficult for an INFP. You won't be able to stop the initial blunt trauma, but with work you'll learn how to quickly get back up, separate your values, and go into 'ask question' mode. Let Te shield you.

    - Reframe your views on argumentation. I know it's a long thread, but I think you could learn alot about how ENTPs view discussion. Notice how it's pretty much never personal for them at all. http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...ion-entps.html
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  4. #4
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Excellent advice from Udog.

    I don't like confrontation either, but I've learned that it's necessary to take care of a small problem before it becomes a big problem.

    In many cases, I would enjoy a letter over a verbal discussion. But, since there's already some type of disagreement or misunderstanding, a letter sometimes goes into too much depth about one person's perspective. This can be frustrating if the problem is misunderstanding in the first place. It just depends on the situation. Usually, an immediate discussion (but at an appropriate time and setting) is the best communication.

    I think making "owning" statements of your thoughts and feelings is a good start in verbal discussion. Such as:

    "I feel rejected when you don't talk to me in the morning."
    "I think we might both be happier if we spent less time on the Internet. What do you think?"
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  5. #5
    Senior Member stigmatica's Avatar
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    Yes, I suppose a letter is better than nothing, but taking the time to put it in writing for someone tends to amplify the level of affront taken by the second party. It also doesn't allow for immediate feedback, nor are either party able to observe facial/body expressions as ques to the feelings behind the words. A simple example - Tell somebody they need a bath on paper, and it will always come off as condescending and rude. In person, and your vocal inflections/tones combined with your body language can make the same exact words come across a hundred different ways.

    That said, if two people are in an irrational state of mind, they should stay as far away from each other as possible. Perhaps it depends on who your confronting?

  6. #6
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    Great advice suggested above and I can completely empathize with you Jewelchild. I agree in using the letter as a good first step and then follow up with a face to face (this is what I have done and never received a negative reaction from someone), and in the letter make sure you tell them you want to discuss it in person at a good time for both of you. The letter is a good avenue to introduce your concerns.

    When you do talk in person, perhaps it would be a good idea to make a list of the things that are important to you so you don't forget something important and it may help you stay on topic. I know I can drift off onto tangents which can be incredibly frustrating for everyone involved (including me).

    Using the "I language" above can be effective since it takes ownership of your feelings, and doesn't place blame on the other person. Also be aware of your body language (uncrossed arms, leaning towards the person).

    I used to be painfully shy and afraid to rock the boat, but you find it becomes a necessity for the health of a long-term relationship to be able to address conflicts. I know I haven't mastered it either, but it is necessary to take a deep breath, step out of your comfort zone and attempt to understand one another.
    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
    I really don't know life at all

    Joni Mitchell

  7. #7
    Badoom~ Skyward's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAVO View Post
    Excellent advice from Udog.

    I don't like confrontation either, but I've learned that it's necessary to take care of a small problem before it becomes a big problem.

    In many cases, I would enjoy a letter over a verbal discussion. But, since there's already some type of disagreement or misunderstanding, a letter sometimes goes into too much depth about one person's perspective. This can be frustrating if the problem is misunderstanding in the first place. It just depends on the situation. Usually, an immediate discussion (but at an appropriate time and setting) is the best communication.

    I think making "owning" statements of your thoughts and feelings is a good start in verbal discussion. Such as:

    "I feel rejected when you don't talk to me in the morning."
    "I think we might both be happier if we spent less time on the Internet. What do you think?"
    Excellent advice. It's a less threatening way to make discussion, rather than arguments or letting the situation fester. Everyone should use a tactic like this unless the situation truly deserves a bash on the head.
    'Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and its better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.' - Marilyn Monroe

    This is who I am, escapist, paradise-seeker.
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    Anthropology Major out of Hamline University. St. Paul, Minnesota.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Coeur's Avatar
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    Well, here some tips that have helped me...

    I think that confrontations are best done in person. It it much easier to write it down, but so much emotion gets lost in between the lines.

    What I do when I'm dreading a confrontation is to just make a move. Say: "I need to talk to you later today. Meet me at [whatever time and place]." If you are too scared to do it right then, at least you know you HAVE to do it later that day. You can't back out of something that you've scheduled.

    Usually, people do not get defensive if you are not hostile. If you approach the matter delicately, you have nothing to worry about. If the person becomes needlessly harsh, realize that you have the ability to walk away. You could say something like: "I see that this is an important issue for you, but I'd prefer to talk to you after you've calmed down."

    Remembering that listening to their point of view is as important as saying what you need to say. There should only be one person talking at once, with no interruptions.

    What helps me accept arguments is that they can be a form of bonding- if handled properly. You need to see that being direct helps your relationships with people. What would you rather have- a friend who is straight with you when they are upset, or somoene who is grudgy and passive-aggressive? A fight, or rather, a conversation, can strengthen relationships in the aftermath. Very few fights end up in big explosions, so you really have nothing to worry about. =]
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  9. #9
    HAHHAHHAH! INTJ123's Avatar
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    You guys worry so much anticipating what happens it probably causes you more stress than the actual confrontation itself. That's why I'd rather blab it all out, get it over with, and get quicker to feeling better after it's all over.

    But depending on the person it might just cause an escalation of hostility. Maybe that's where all this stuff you guys think about comes to use.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member SurlyAdam's Avatar
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    I think saying that INFPs avoid conflict is an oversimplification. The reason INFPs avoid conflict is that experience has taught us it rarely turns out as we'd hoped, which is utterly frustrating. What we're feeling so strongly just does not come across verbally.

    Strong Fi and messy Ti make it nearly impossible to express what we want at the moment it's happening, especially if we get too emotional. You feel so strongly about something, so much so that it's too important to let it go and also so critical that you must convey yourself concisely, yet the words always come out wrong.

    I've used Ti in arguments, and it's been very biting, but I've also regretted what was said because it's what I though was appropriate at the moment, and even truthful, but wasn't necessarily how I felt about the situation.

    I think the most effective way for an INFP to confront someone is to calming tell them where you're coming from (what you see) and how you're affected (feel). If you do this calmly and confidently, people tend to see this as simply who you are and understand that they'll need to accept it.

    I also suggest you avoid heatedly arguing with an INTP. Avoid this if at all possible. They're REALLY good at it!

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