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  1. #1
    Patron Saint Of Smileys Gloriana's Avatar
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    Default Avoiding Being The "Guru" or "Savior"

    Ack, I got a problem.

    I've been meeting tons of new people since last September, I've been joining lots of local groups and doing a lot of new things. This has been enjoyable, but I'm starting to withdraw a little because I'm getting those potential 'clingers'.

    When I was younger, I'd pretty much take up ANY friendship because I was just so low on myself and thought I was so lucky if anyone liked me, that sort of shit. I'm over that now, I'm more selective about my friendships.

    I'm still attracting those people who seem to consider me this beacon, or guru, or savior and it's blowing my mind. When I was younger I loved that because I felt validated by feeling I was useful to someone. Now I want to avoid it like the plague. I am not saying I want friends that have absolutely no baggage or issues, I just mean that I want people who own their own shit and really want to handle it themselves just with perhaps help along the way. I'm getting those people who fawn all over my 'wisdom' and start running every little thing by me for approval.

    I am getting hesitant to go out right now because I'm trying to put my finger on just what it is I do to attract these sorts. My marriage was sort of like this too, my ex was passive, indecisive, and did not like taking personal responsibility. He seemed to 'fee' vicariously through me and resented it if I was in a low period because it's like he couldn't get his fix. I'm introverted, but when I'm out and about I'm all up in everything. My ex often seemed to revel in this 'glow' he said I had, and I think he became somewhat dependent on it.

    I'm feeling cornered, because out of all the people I've met in the past year, it's the people who have a tendency for that sort of thing who most want to do things with me and are always asking to go out with me. There is one exception, a guy who has his shit together, is self assured, and seems to appreciate my enthusiasm as being right alongside his rather than being a replacement for what he doesn't have, if that makes sense.

    These others are not sure of themselves, they're insecure and painfully shy. There is one who will come talk to me, hear what I have to say, then repeat it word for word as if it all just 'occurred' to her. This wouldn't bother me so much, but she'll be all confident when repeating, then get low, then come back to me for 'a refresher' if that makes sense, and sends these paranoid "Did I offend you? Why haven't you been in touch???" emails constantly. I've been avoiding her lately and I do not really want to encourage this friendship at all any longer.

    I'm conflicted about it because I honestly relate to being shy, insecure, and unsure of one's self. I myself am working to overcome these things within me and I have empathy, I don't think these things make them bad people at all. I just do not want to be in that damn guru/beacon/savior position. I can accept "Thanks so much for the advice" from someone I've known for a few weeks. I can't accept "You are so amazing and I don't know what I'd do without your help!" from someone I barely know, I hear that shit and I have the strong urge to make a beeline.

    I have an old, really good friend who is also an INFJ. When we talk we go into depth about the stuff we're up against, and lend each other the shoulder and ear, but it's like this unspoken thing that we're not expecting each other to lead or give the answers. My ex wanted me to give him the instructions/answers and this is what I'm getting from a lot of these new people as well. I had a lot of 'vampire' friendships in the past and I do not want this again.

    So, after all that, I guess basically what I'm saying is "WTF??". I know there must be something I am doing to make this happen, I'm not blaming everyone else. I just am not sure what the hell I do or how the hell to make changes in my own behavior to attract more independent folks.
    "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you...amazing things will happen" --Conan O'Brien

  2. #2
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I don't know about your ex's confidence level, but my ISTJ dad is passive, looking to my mum to take responsibility/make decisions, set goals, find out what he thinks on different topics, kind of rides on her coat tails as far as maintaining or building relationships with family members, acquaintances or friends. He's an all round "nice guy" that would anything for people, but there is no feeling of personal direction or responsibility to take initiative regarding making things happen or maintaining relationships. This is very frustrating to my mother. She (ENFJ) is often perceived by others as being pushy, when really she'd prefer for him to lead, but he won't. Maybe it's the personality combo? I think in their case, he was attracted to her warmth and strong connection to family. He really admires her and he is a good guy, but avoids talking things through, at great cost to their relationship.

    However, as far as the people thing, I really relate to that as well. I think it is an INFJ thing because we are usually not as intolerant of those sorts of people as others are. Because we often put ourselves in their shoes, it makes it difficult to be unkindly blunt. We also tend to want to help people and to share our experiences. Because those people have often been hurt and rejected, they have erected emotional defences to protect them from that, but those defenses also keep them from seeing where they are not welcome/when they've overstepped, etc so they keep blundering right into the middle of those situations, which in turn hurts them more and the cycle continues.

    I don't know if you've found that odd people also gravitate towards you, but I certainly have in the past. It seems to happen a little less often now. I'm getting better at pleasantly, but firmly setting boundaries for strangers and some acquaintances. The problem is because I hate to judge too hastily, I often let it go a little bit too long before I really deal with it and then it is a much more involved process.

    Anyway, I hear you and I think the problem is being both warm by nature and somewhat receptive at the get go. I don't know if you really want to curb that all across the board!

  3. #3
    Patron Saint Of Smileys Gloriana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post

    I think it is an INFJ thing because we are usually not as intolerant of those sorts of people as others are. Because we often put ourselves in their shoes, it makes it difficult to be unkindly blunt.

    We also tend to want to help people and to share our experiences.

    I don't know if you've found that odd people also gravitate towards you, but I certainly have in the past. It seems to happen a little less often now. I'm getting better at pleasantly, but firmly setting boundaries for strangers and some acquaintances. The problem is because I hate to judge too hastily, I often let it go a little bit too long before I really deal with it and then it is a much more involved process.

    Anyway, I hear you and I think the problem is being both warm by nature and somewhat receptive at the get go. I don't know if you really want to curb that all across the board!
    Yeah, I do love the diversity in people and I'm often tickled by hearing experiences, their take on experiences, etc (My ESFP friend once remarked he actually likes watching me listen to people because he says my eyes twinkle, lol). I think perhaps people feel good getting that interest, but perhaps the more confident ones just take it and it's not a big deal, but people who are insecure aren't used to it hence they want more of it so they are the ones who latch on the most?

    I indeed find it difficult to be blunt, it is hella harder for me to reject than it is for me to be rejected. Man I hate thinking I could cause that feeling of rejection in someone. That same ESFP friend once told me that I need to stop taking so much responsibility for the feelings in others. He pointed out that I own my own feelings (I.E. If I feel hurt by something someone said, I own that it's my hurt and that no one MADE me feel hurt) but I tend to own everyone else's too. I try to keep thinking about that because it made sense, telling myself that if I can own my own feelings and deal with rejection, others can too.

    Still, simply walking away when I know someone is most likely feeling rejected can get me feeling bad. I used to wear that on my sleeve and hence I had people who exploited the hell out of that guilt. I bury it now, but I can still feel it. I'm trying to get better at accepting that I can't control how people will react to me and it's impossible to keep everyone happy all of the time, lol.
    "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you...amazing things will happen" --Conan O'Brien

  4. #4
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I think I'd prefer rejection to rejecting because I know that at least I can control my reaction and I'll be okay, but I know that I can't control theirs if I'm the rejecter.

    You're absolutely right that those hanger on people just aren't used to someone paying attention to them and it becomes like crack - they can't get enough of it and they need it in larger and larger doses!

    One of the best things for me in learning to detach without feeling as badly has been teaching. I was devastated one year by a mother at parent teacher interviews and DREADED it for two years after (sick stomach, the whole thing). In retrospect, it was the reaction of a mother frustrated at her daughter who was being a knob and she was looking for someone to take it out on.

    Living in the north for five years in a community where there is a lot of addiction, poor communication skills, insecurity, and anger that could be let loose at any time also helped me to realize that very rarely did my behaviour really have that much to do with the reaction I saw. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I learned how to prevent getting into tenuous situations as easily, but ultimately had to learn how to roll with the punches, draw some lines of what I would/n't tolerate, suggest alternative methods of handling things and detach when necessary, realizing that they were not in a place where I could do anything for them and that it was unwise/dangerous/stupid to persist further. I think the same goes for this.

    I think rather than just avoiding though, it doesn't hurt to be pleasantly blunter, and offer advice and let them know the level of involvement you have time/interest for. If they take your advice, you've helped them a bit plus you have eased the frustration and awkwardness of the situation. If they don't, you just detach yourself from them without guilt because they aren't ready to do what they need to. That's my take on it anyway...

  5. #5
    Senior Member SciVo's Avatar
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    I've learned over the years to guard my boundaries better and keep things cordial but superficial with people that I don't really know. Just like how an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof, a shallow relationship requires shallow relating. I can sympathize with how painful that must sound if you prize authenticity and the quest for meaning like I do, but it really is as simple as that you're attracting people with boundary issues because you're acting like one.
    INFP ~ Fi/Ne/Ni/Te ~ 9-2-4 sp/so

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