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  1. #31
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    I'm not sure if I'm intruding on this thread given I'm not an INFP or even an NF, but I have a few questions.

    I have an INFP friend who I often feel like is the easiest person to talk to when everything seems awful, yet we don't actually hang out that often. What sorts of behavior on my part would cause an INFP to feel used like this? I still definitely talk to her otherwise and am happy to listen to her (although of course I'm not really capable of the seemingly unconditional empathy an INFP can express), but I'm curious if this might still be an issue.

    Also, I will say that given how INFP's want to be valued as a good friend, there may be a tendency to feel like you're sacrificing for people when they don't really need your help. The need to be a martyr isn't selfless, and its definitely a tough balancing act to know how much of "helping" is actually helping versus doing it for yourself. Comparing this reaction in healthy NF's (whose friendship is downright priceless) to less healthy ones (who feel self absorbed in this context sometimes), I can see how tough it is to know if you really do have good intentions.

  2. #32
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udog View Post
    I've done that plenty of times - been there for someone when they are down, and had them disappear on me the second they were back on their feet.
    This is a reoccurring theme in my friendships. I'm going to start charging people for these therapy sessions



    Quote Originally Posted by musicheck View Post
    I'm not sure if I'm intruding on this thread given I'm not an INFP or even an NF, but I have a few questions.

    I have an INFP friend who I often feel like is the easiest person to talk to when everything seems awful, yet we don't actually hang out that often. What sorts of behavior on my part would cause an INFP to feel used like this? I still definitely talk to her otherwise and am happy to listen to her (although of course I'm not really capable of the seemingly unconditional empathy an INFP can express), but I'm curious if this might still be an issue.

    Also, I will say that given how INFP's want to be valued as a good friend, there may be a tendency to feel like you're sacrificing for people when they don't really need your help. The need to be a martyr isn't selfless, and its definitely a tough balancing act to know how much of "helping" is actually helping versus doing it for yourself. Comparing this reaction in healthy NF's (whose friendship is downright priceless) to less healthy ones (who feel self absorbed in this context sometimes), I can see how tough it is to know if you really do have good intentions.
    Don't only call an INFP when you are feeling down or have news to share. Call him/her just to see how he/she is doing. Try emailing...they may contact you more regularly that way.

    If they tell you about something they did, mention how you'd love to go along next time; they may actually invite you somewhere (gasp! ). If they invite you, then GO. If you cannot, then immediately offer an alternative. If you turn it down, they may never bother to ask you to hang out again. If an INFP says "we should hang out sometime", then press for concrete plans. We can suck at concrete plans, so things can get stuck in the "someday" zone.

    Don't just be "happy to listen", but actually make it clear that you are, ask questions to draw the INFP out, and give the INFP time to collect his/her thoughts and respond.

    I had a friend who would call me on the phone and go on and on about her personal drama for TWO HOURS. I'd give her what she was seeking: an ear to listen, some gentle advice, and general comfort. I was genuinely interested in her, so that's not what bugged me. What bugged me was, she'd ask how I was doing and I'd say, "well, I'm okay". Then she'd jump back to her life.... Then later she'd complain how I never "opened up to her.

    I had another friend who would tell me all about his depression and suicidal thoughts, and I would listen to it all, even when some of it was quite disturbing. When I was down and felt the need for a friend to listen, he'd cut me off, change the subject, and get off the phone ASAP.

    Not saying you do any of this, but it's good to take a step back and see if you've really been there for your friend and made them aware that you are there, and actually allowed them to open up to you.
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

    INFP | 4w5 sp/sx | RLUEI - Primary Inquisitive | Tritype is tripe

  3. #33
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    From reading your response, OrangeAppled, I think what I'm doing isn't so bad. We talk regularly (usually on AIM). Only twice since I've ever known her have I brought up my emotions without her asking, and I generally only talk about myself when she asks. We talk about her like maybe 70% of the time, but still, I can come across as pretty unsympathetic. Given that things rarely change (she just kind of floats along often), I have trouble biting my lip and being as kind as would be ideal.
    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    I had another friend who would tell me all about his depression and suicidal thoughts, and I would listen to it all, even when some of it was quite disturbing. When I was down and felt the need for a friend to listen, he'd cut me off, change the subject, and get off the phone ASAP.

    Not saying you do any of this, but it's good to take a step back and see if you've really been there for your friend and made them aware that you are there, and actually allowed them to open up to you.
    She has plenty of friends like this. (The worst example I can think of was a guy who hooked up with her for a couple weeks and then said he dumped her because he didn't realize he wouldn't like her when she was happy.) I often tell her to cut the parasites out of her life, but again, its hard to say that in an uncritical way. She agrees but claims she is incapable of taking advice.

    Also, I only feel like I can really relate to her emphatically when I'm feeling kind of down myself. Its not that I don't care otherwise, but I only do so in a more detached and analytic way. What's the best way to treat someone who repeatedly gets stuck in the pattern discussed in this thread? While I do think I'm overall good to her, there's a part of me that disparages my treatment of her as just using her as a way to help me feel my own pain and then looking down on her otherwise.

    (Again, if people feel I'm intruding on this topic with my own personal stuff, do let me know if this is out of line and self-absorbed. I'm still a but unsure of the social norms on how segregated NF/NT/SP/SJ forums are.)

  4. #34
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    The thing that makes me feel used is what I call 'foul weather friending.' If the other person has a problem or something going on I am supposed to listen. If I have something going on, they have to go. If something bad is going on, they call me. If something fun is going on, they call someone else. OTOH, sometimes after hearing and helping with the bad stuff, I don't feel so much like socializing anyway.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  5. #35
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    This is a reoccurring theme in my friendships. I'm going to start charging people for these therapy sessions
    Hah! I actually made that joke once when I had made it clear that I didn't think I was a good person to talk to about a particular issue, and she continued anyway. Her response, paraphrased: "Well, that would be the end of the friendship then."

    Needless to say, the friendship was indeed over shortly after that.

  6. #36
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Udog, yikes.

    And Musicheck, I'm not the OP but I for one am very glad you are giving your input in this thread! I think it is *very* important and illuminating for NF/INFPs to hear the honest truth from non 'same types' to really see how other people are seeing/thinking about them.

    You can't really argue or deny the truth and sometimes people need to hear things unadorned, without sugar coating (but also without the added bite of judgement or scorn) - to really have things sink in.

    Metaphours - I hear what you are saying about being selective already - but honestly I think maybe that is part of the problem? You think you are being selective but perhaps you are being overly guarded? If you have set it up and pre-selct so you can only have a very people you allow yourself to befriend or get close to, than that sets up a blown up sense of importance and preciousness to that person and relationship.

    Not saying that you should have as many random friends as possible to 'spread your bet' - but I have seen exactly this tendency in other INXPs who have gotten used. You think you're protecting yourself and reserving your time and energy for 'quality people' by limiting yourself (or being 'selective') but actually, you are isolating yourself and creating a heightened sense of urgency in making friends and helping to create a false sense intimacy with people.

    The fact that someone needs you or needs something that you provide does not mean that you click or that you are truly compatible or that you should be friends.

    And/Or someone may be a good person and someone that you could make a real connection with and build a real solid friendship with BUT 1)they aren't in a space to do that (they are in crisis mode, depressed, etc.) and 2)you aren't building the proper framework with checks and balances to create a healthy long lasting relationship.

    Especially with people 'in need' - you need to put down some clear guidelines and not be afraid to check people for bad behavior. Once people learn how they need to respect you and your time and what your expectations are, they will either learn to follow those guidelines or else they will walk or else you will end the progress of your relationship and move on.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

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  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by musicheck View Post
    I'm not sure if I'm intruding on this thread given I'm not an INFP or even an NF, but I have a few questions.

    I have an INFP friend who I often feel like is the easiest person to talk to when everything seems awful, yet we don't actually hang out that often. What sorts of behavior on my part would cause an INFP to feel used like this? I still definitely talk to her otherwise and am happy to listen to her (although of course I'm not really capable of the seemingly unconditional empathy an INFP can express), but I'm curious if this might still be an issue.
    I think INFP have a lot of friendships with Ts like this. It's probably not a big deal as long as you express appreciation for what she gives you when you get it. I am also not so sure that is what the OP was talking about. It seemed he was more talking about actual relationships, like romance. I could be wrong however...

  8. #38
    Senior Member Scott N Denver's Avatar
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    Hmmmm, fwiw, many people have come to me for advice or help "sorting things out." I find that I tend to be pretty practical with my comments, and won't allow "theatrics" for very long. I'll listen, ask questions, rephrase what people are saying, and then make "suggestions" with various levels of "mandatoryness" So people who actually want *help* with something get someone who to hear them out and then practical considerations to consider and/or implement.

    People who "just want to whine" get some of my time, and then I give suggestions which they ignore or blow off, and then I tell them "well, there's nothing more I can do for you"

    Examples
    Case 1: "My boyfriend is SO mean! I ask him for things and he doesn't listen. I TELL him things and he still doesn't listen. This makes me SO mad." Me: "Well, I'm sorry to hear that, its always frustrating when people don't listen to you, especially when they are you SO. Have you tried pointing out to him that your asking him for help and then also asked him why he doesn't then help you out? Sometimes people interpret words in different ways, or respond to moods instead of words. Have you tried politely asking him to help you with something and explaining why you need the help and how much it would mean to you?"

    Case 2: "Boo hoo hoo, life is SO horrible!!! MY girlfriend just broke up with me and I feel like my life will never go on. I can't sleep at night, I can't concentrate in class, it CONSUMES me. My life will never be the same!!! I am *devastated*. But I do still manage to find time to play Magic cards for 4 hours/day, can't say no to that now can I? My life is OVER!" Me: Well, I'm very sorry to hear about your breakup. That's always tough for people. It sounds like you've found at least some time to not focus on it though, that 4 hrs/day of magic cards. Perhaps you can carve out some tie to go jogging or lift weights or engage in some other physical activity? Exercise is one of the best ways to get your mind off of something. Plus its just good for you and will help you sleep better. Them: "You don't understand. I am SO devastated! My life is over, forever, period. How can I even live anymore. Boo hoo hoo. Feel my pain and cry with me scott, feel my pain and cry with me. I NEED you to cry with me. It's been three weeks now but, HEY Scott your not crying!!! Boo hoo hoo I am SO devastated..." Me: Okay, I said I'm sorry for your loss, I listened to you intently, I suggested exercising which you shot down, there's juts nothing more I can do here.



    Well, something like that anyways. Is my military T "identify the problem, analyze the problem, fix the problem" background showing through???

  9. #39
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    You are an INFP who was in the military? There was another INFP member here who was not only in the military, he was in the marines and also served during the Vietnam War. How's that for breaking type stereotype??
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

    "I'm outtie 5000" ― Romulux

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  10. #40
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott N Denver View Post
    Well, something like that anyways. Is my military T "identify the problem, analyze the problem, fix the problem" background showing through???
    This just kind of sounds like a man approach

    I try my best to never invalidate a person's feelings, even if their feeling is a bit unwarranted. I remind them of their positive qualities that equip them to deal with the issue. If I give advice, I'll acknowledge it can be easier said than done. Essentially, fixing the problem just cannot be done in a condescending way, as if it's so easy and they are dense for missing the solution. That's never effective; the person simply becomes defensive and more hurt, which justifies any over-reacting, and then they disregard all of your advice.

    I will admit that the friends who come crying do often listen to my input, and I get a sense of satisfaction from being useful, even if I feel like I get blown off.
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

    INFP | 4w5 sp/sx | RLUEI - Primary Inquisitive | Tritype is tripe

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