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  1. #1
    Senior Member Lightyear's Avatar
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    Default INFJ-constant tug of war between liking people and needing my own space

    One thing that drives me a bit nutty about my type is that INFJs love people and are endlessly fascinated by them and want to dig deeper into their psyches but on the other hand get quickly exhausted by too much people contact, crave their own space again and keep every intruder into their private sphere at bay by giving them monosyllabic answers and the "Go away" look.

    Also I hate small talk, it is incredibly exhausting for me so combined with me needing a lot of alone-time I probably come off as a mixed messenger to people. I really like people but pull away as soon as I am exhausted, don't feel understood or feel that there won't be a deeper connection (the relationship seems like a waste of time without that) but once I have recharged I am back all witty and lively.

    How do other INFJs deal with that paradox? I want to know people and want to be known deeply but the steps to reach that end just seem exhausting, too many awkward, lukewarm conversations in between.

    Any thoughts?
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  2. #2
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Besides a lukewarm conversation ? No
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  3. #3
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I've heard a lot of people talk about the monosyllabic go away thing. I don't experience it, although I do feel the need to recharge. I usually only am uncommunicative if I'm upset and the other person will not acknowledge or deal with the problem. I don't know if it that there are different subtypes of us and I just am a different category or what it is. I find groups are the most draining because there are too many people's reactions to monitor and respond to or else they keep it so small talking or SP party atmosphere that I feel like I have nothing in common. One on one though, I am mostly okay. On the other hand, I have been alone at home sometimes and wished for company. I was reluctant to phone someone up though because either they weren't the right company to satisfy at the time (and therefore more work than help) or else I just wanted about a 20 minute in person exchange, which is awkward to arrange and difficult to find outside of a workday or university setting.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member amelie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightyear View Post
    One thing that drives me a bit nutty about my type is that INFJs love people and are endlessly fascinated by them and want to dig deeper into their psyches but on the other hand get quickly exhausted by too much people contact, crave their own space again and keep every intruder into their private sphere at bay by giving them monosyllabic answers and the "Go away" look.

    Also I hate small talk, it is incredibly exhausting for me so combined with me needing a lot of alone-time I probably come off as a mixed messenger to people. I really like people but pull away as soon as I am exhausted, don't feel understood or feel that there won't be a deeper connection (the relationship seems like a waste of time without that) but once I have recharged I am back all witty and lively.

    How do other INFJs deal with that paradox? I want to know people and want to be known deeply but the steps to reach that end just seem exhausting, too many awkward, lukewarm conversations in between.

    Any thoughts?
    I think just starting to develop an understanding of your own limits with social contact and setting boundaries with those in mind might be a big help for you, so that you can structure situations as much as possible to avoid the mixed messages. Make your exit before you get tired. Avoid getting into situations where you are going to be trapped for a long time with other people, or, if the situation is unavoidable, try to figure out ahead of time how to fulfill the need for alone time that you have.

    I have no idea where you are in your life, but if you haven't picked a career yet, that would probably be a really important thing to consider. If you're working, maybe you could tell people you are available to converse at X times, but at other times, you need to get your work done - or at least have people schedule appointments with you.

    If you can get around having to do the monosyllabic thing, even if it comes down to having to tell people - hey, I'm an introvert and I need some cave time - I'll get back with you in a hour (or whatever) that's probably going to be more likely to get you satisfying relationships with others than suddenly switching off.

  5. #5
    Senior Member the state i am in's Avatar
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    i think this has to do with many things: rigidity, self-recognition, social recognition, social support, idealism, PRACTICE, health/integration, etc.

    if you practice, you get better at actively controlling social experiences. maybe controlling is too much... you get better at asserting your own wishes and values, allowing those to have their own push, own sway, own expressive power.

    i need time to sift, we all do. we are dominant introverted perceivers. we have to catch up on sleep or we get really fucking tired, process all the connections or at least some of the main ones need some nightcrew road maintenance, to stay in touch with our vision (bc our vision is who we are) and to keep traffic flowing freely. and we need to process to stay in-touch, re-integrate our new information with the past, stay new and strive for accuracy.

    with other types/people who really totally get us, i really don't get all that tired. there is always a remainder left over, but i find the sense of forward motion is good and that it is easier to let go of extraneous solutions.

    at times i definitely can become very subdued and stop talking. this strategy is part of how i operate, but sometimes you can stop it with antihistamines before you start damaging yourself with protective measures.

  6. #6
    Senior Member MonkeyGrass's Avatar
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    I can especially relate to small talk being draining. I find it especially maddening when people yammer on for half an hour not noticing that I'm completely zoned out and glazed over. (At which point, I retreat inward whilst formulating theories about what happened to make them this way, or whether they're born like this...) It's sad when they don't notice .Then, guilt over not caring enough to listen ensues, which drains me completely.

    Overly intrusive people drain me as well, and those that require large amounts of energetic emotional reciprocation. (For this reason, one of my good guy friends in college stayed just a friend, when all other systems were "go".)

    There are a few people who never drain me, several of them fellow INFJs, and a couple of INTJs. Also my whimsical little ISFP...she's just as happy to do something sensory-oriented alongside me without talking. We have a pretty peaceful coexistence.


    The_State_I_Am_In- I'm nodding about everything you said. +100
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  7. #7
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Big nod to those first two paragraphs MG!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightyear View Post
    One thing that drives me a bit nutty about my type is that INFJs love people and are endlessly fascinated by them and want to dig deeper into their psyches but on the other hand get quickly exhausted by too much people contact, crave their own space again and keep every intruder into their private sphere at bay by giving them monosyllabic answers and the "Go away" look.
    I can't stress how important it is to have your own space where you can go and just be alone. If you pay attention to your cycles of behavior, you can figure out your average time limit. It's important to clearly to communicate to people, "I just need time to process, please do not take it personally." I can't stress how importanct self-awareness is here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightyear View Post
    Also I hate small talk, it is incredibly exhausting for me so combined with me needing a lot of alone-time I probably come off as a mixed messenger to people. I really like people but pull away as soon as I am exhausted, don't feel understood or feel that there won't be a deeper connection (the relationship seems like a waste of time without that) but once I have recharged I am back all witty and lively.
    It doesn't hurt to think about topics beforehand that you won't find taxing. Ask people about themselves, once you can find some enthusiasm that should make things easier. I respond to excited people by raising my energy level sometimes. Again, self-awareness is important here to as well. Learn to use your skills to peg how much energy someone will take, so you can anticipate the situation. This takes time and effort, but with enough time you can find a balance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightyear View Post
    How do other INFJs deal with that paradox? I want to know people and want to be known deeply but the steps to reach that end just seem exhausting, too many awkward, lukewarm conversations in between.
    In order to know people deeply, you need to pace yourself. It takes time. I do not suggest using all your resources at once to probe people. Allow them to reveal themselves at their pace and let them set the tone for personal interaction. Sometimes offer some information about yourself and allow them to relate or comment. This sets the tone for some kind of trust.

    Activities are also a good way to spend time with people, but not have conversation be draining. For example, you could join an intramural sports team of some kind. This is a group experience where you aren't required to probe, but it is a shared experience. This builds familiarity and bridges. Or you could also go to a concert.

    Realize that knowing someone isn't necessarily just bonding with them over conversation, but doing stuff together that doesn't require tons of conversations is good too. Also, it's important to understand you will not know everyone deeply. That's a lot of energy and you need to be able to assess who you want to spend that much energy on and why. There is nothing wrong with also having casual acquaintances that you don't see often, but enjoy their company.

    Above all, be patient and allow things to unfold naturally.
    Last edited by Oddly Refined; 07-28-2009 at 04:10 PM. Reason: grammar..
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  9. #9
    violaine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightyear View Post
    One thing that drives me a bit nutty about my type is that INFJs love people and are endlessly fascinated by them and want to dig deeper into their psyches but on the other hand get quickly exhausted by too much people contact, crave their own space again and keep every intruder into their private sphere at bay by giving them monosyllabic answers and the "Go away" look.

    Also I hate small talk, it is incredibly exhausting for me so combined with me needing a lot of alone-time I probably come off as a mixed messenger to people. I really like people but pull away as soon as I am exhausted, don't feel understood or feel that there won't be a deeper connection (the relationship seems like a waste of time without that) but once I have recharged I am back all witty and lively.

    How do other INFJs deal with that paradox? I want to know people and want to be known deeply but the steps to reach that end just seem exhausting, too many awkward, lukewarm conversations in between.

    Any thoughts?
    I am very much as you describe. It used to bother me but as I recently discussed with Peguy, I think our bodies find it hard to keep up with our minds... And our interest in people. I need processing time or I become overextended.

    Realizing that has helped me to accept how I am and pace myself. I tell people who may have seen a very outgoing side of me that that is not how I usually am to avoid misunderstandings when I decline to socialize all the time.

    The people I can be around a great deal are generally interesting and interested, very accepting and easygoing, low drama, firm boundaries (i.e. not emotional vampires). Or committed to good communication. Being misunderstood is distressing/frustrating. I don't have to worry if someone is very accepting or committed to communicating well with me. I won't be around someone who repeatedly takes me the wrong way despite my best efforts or people with whom I only have a surface interaction after knowing them awhile.

    My interest in a person is more intellectual than personal to begin with and therefore usually arresting in the moment. I used to feel a little bad about the hit-and-run style conversations (i.e. getting very deep very quickly with someone only to never talk to them again). I modified my style somewhat so that I'm less intense in casual meetings. It feels more fair somehow. I save all of that up for my intimates now, (poor things!)
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  10. #10
    Sniffles
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    I actually had a discussion on a similar topic earlier. Sadly I'm too tired atm to go into details. But I will say that my perspective is very similar to Sanveane's above.

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