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  1. #1
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    Default INFJ's horrible communication skills

    I could really use some help and advice on this one, thanks in advance. This is my first post here btw. Hello everyone!

    I'm an INTJ woman dating an INFJ (I think) guy for over 2 years. I know for sure as far as tests are concerned, Iím an intj. I don't know about my boyfriend mostly because as the title says: he has very poor communication skills. I've given him mbti tests a few times, different ones, and the same ones again, and every time he came out as a different type: intj mostly, intp, istp. His results have always been poor on N and T mostly, and sometimes J.

    I've read about my type, and his possible types intp and istp, and he wasn't fitting in them at all. He read about them and said it isnít him. So that's clear. He's a strong introvert and combined with other weak functions N, T and P, I've concluded he must be an INFJ. He read about that type and agreed most of it is true, some is not at all of course. I can recognize him as an INFJ easily. But he seems not to know himself well and is not interested in mbti or working on his personality in general. I've known him for two years so I think that him being an artist, musician, poet, humanistically oriented professionally, caring about people, love, me, and many other hints, he looks very INFJish given all that.

    I've read INFJs have a hard time expressing themselves verbally and discussing their emotions. I as INTJ do not feel threatened with conflict or constructive criticism. I like to argue in a form of a debate or something. It's impossible to do that with him as he shuts down, doesn't listen, becomes moody, ignores me, and changes the subject and so on. There are always a lot of misunderstandings between us. I have to guess what he is thinking and I can't read his mind. He always finds some of my statements rejecting but as a matter of fact there's just my questions out of curiosity.

    This has drained us both and no matter how sensitive I am and try to talk, he cannot say what he thinks or feels easily and he walks away on me. Iíve suggested him to write down his thoughts in a letter so we could discuss our normal relationship problems like healthy couples do together. He doesn't like the idea and says it's easier to say than write. But he's contradicting himself.

    He can't even listen to me. Well he listens, but it's very hard for him to concentrate on my words and to reply back. So I feel like I don't exist for him. Iím patient with him and he can't give it back to me. I want to help him/us and he sees that as a message he's not good enough for me and that I don' want him.

    We love each other and have a beautiful connection. Iím 24, he's 29, but I don't know how to approach him. I like that he's a feeler, he compliments my so called intj coldness nicely but we're so different, so I usually get along great with NT types but not romantically. Those have been just incredible friendships.

    I'm sorry for my English and Iíve omitted a lot and simplified some complicated issues between us, I'm also distressed form this too. I hope Iíll get some answers from all of you, Iíd be especially glad to hear from INFJ males if possible. Thanks once again.

  2. #2
    Circus Maximus Sarcasticus's Avatar
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    He doesn't sound very INFJ to me. INFJs generally are the ones in the relationship that seek harmony and intimacy and want to discuss the relationship and their feelings. Often to the point that an INTJ such as yourself might become annoyed.

    If he is weak on N why do you think INFJ. Perhaps he is ISFJ?

    BTW I see this is your first post-- welcome to the forums.

  3. #3
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    Hi, and thanks for welcoming me! Like I said Iím clueless who is he in general and speaking of mbti type. It's very hard to tell.
    Thanks for your opinion, but I seriously doubt he is ISFJ. My mother is isfj and we don't get along good at all unfortunately. They've met too and only thing they have in common is this annoying Feeling, borderline insecure caring messy thing. And maybe a bit of J as far as organizing things.

    Any other opinions what type he is, or what is going on with him in general? I have this mission/call to fix things when broken so this is bugging me when my relationship is not functioning.
    I realized now Iíve been just bashing him in my first post, he's nice and smart; I wouldn't be with him otherwise, of course.

  4. #4
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I don't behave in the way that you are describing, at least not in relation to my partner, who is an INTP. Of course we are both conflict averse, he more so than I. Maybe it's an INFJ guy thing? I dunno.

    When I'm upset about something the first thing I do is try to identify and understand the feeling and what is causing it. I'm usually very good at communicating what my emotions are.

    If I can't sort the feelings out, I compulsively talk about and rehash the situation, etc until I figure it out or I am exhausted from thinking about it -- I will set it down to pick it up again later.

    It's very important to my sense of well-being to understand what I'm feeling and why. I need to have closure with it to move on.

    If I don't feel like someone is really interested or I feel that expressing my feelings will do more harm than good, I might choose to keep them to myself, but otherwise, I am pretty open about them.

    So I'd say he's either not an INFJ, he somehow believes it's not in his best interest to share what he's feeling, or it has something to with gender that I have no idea about.
    ‚ÄúThere are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old‚Äôs 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.‚ÄĚ
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  5. #5
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    INFJs can take or leave this idea, but..

    If he's felt criticized by you in the past, it could be that it's very hard for him to trust you enough to be able to open up to you now. He might want an outward expression and admission of this fact from you, or he may want to get a sense that you actually do understand him.

    I think the letter idea is a good route.. it's a shame that he doesn't want to pursue it right now.

  6. #6
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    Welcome, ntgirl. Sorry to hear about your frustration, I hope you can get some good help on here or at least some catharsis.

    As an INFJ, I find that it might be hard for me to be prompted to speak, but when I do I really work to use the best words to communicate all my feelings. It is said INFJs have wide vocabularies. In real life, I know that some people get distracted with my word choice sometimes. I like using precise language as well as expressing things in analogies. Also I love listening to people and restating what they said (most like it too, makes them feel heard). So I wonder that bit about INFJs having horrible communication skills is actually referencing that they simply are harder to elicit communication from. I wonder what other INFJs think.

    But back to your guy, I know someone who is ISFP who has some similarities with your boyfriend. I am not skilled at typing people at all, I'm just throwing this out there to ask if you ever investigated that type.

    ISFPs:
    do not express themselves directly, but through action
    are fine arts inclined
    are very very kind
    are not interested in developing facility speaking, writing, or conversation
    are very misunderstood
    the formless thing which gives things form!
    Found Forum Haiku Project


    Positive Spin | your feedback welcomed | Darker Criticism

  7. #7
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    Thanks cafe, you sound like a healthy infj. I know I might be wrong about him being infj.

    Greed, thank you for the ideas, Iím naturally not good at seeing such things; I will apologise for criticizing him, even if I meant only good. He says Iím the only person he can talk with this way and so much, and Iíve never betrayed his trust, Iím sorry if he sees it that way.

    Vasilisa, yeah Iím frustrated and not good at hiding it. Maybe that scares him away too. Iíve read about other types, all combinations introverts can have. He's brilliant in my eyes and totally non conventional, he can't be S, we think alike and he has an intuition like mine and an interest in spirituality outside religion, purely based on his internal sense of something being or not being there. I donít want to stand out as judgmental but, no, no, he canít be, isfj and isfp are very boring to me.

    Why I thought he's an infj is because the chemistry between us is amazing, when we do get along he seems like me. There was a moment of Ąwe're soul matesď(even though we don't believe in such a thing) when we first met. It wasn't just infatuation, me being intj, I can see through that and rationalize situation asap. Heís seemed like intj with external feeling and obviously some issues.

    He's so difficult with expressing his feelings and protective to them that he sometimes purposely or not as he says, hurts me by making obnoxious comments to put me down or something. Thatís why Iíve used word ďhorribleĒ in the title. (Which is not a big deal for me and I can handle it, my intj shell working.) But I do not accept that and want to change it, so does he. When he senses a rejection even if it's not actually there, he will go into some destructive mood to escape his imaginary loss of me or our relationship. (I thought about ending it of course and itís not I canít let go but first Iíd like to know if thereís really nothing that can be done.)

    Itís not that important to put him into a category, he hates it anyway, but I think it would be useful to know his type, and to go further and analyze our type of interaction and so on, and then deal with the issues. He is not interested in mbti, but he enjoys theories and SF and fantasy books. I'm definitely more rational and future oriented.

    I hope this was helpful to figure him out more if possible. I'd appreciate it.

  8. #8
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    Your situation sounds to me like the dynamic between my ENFP daughter and her ISFP ex-boyfriend. He was very open to her when she took him on his own terms and tried to listen (which is very hard for her) and didn't pressure him -- but when she tried to push too hard and tried to turn him into what she needed him to be, he stonewalled and backed further and further away until he broke up with her -- and she was shocked because she didn't understand that he was that upset, even though he'd tried to tell her (I'd tried to tell her, too, if that counts for anything!)

    If you're sure he's INFJ, I might add that I would shut down oftentimes when things got difficult with my ENTP husband a). because he was the world's worst listener and b). I absolutely, positively felt it was better not to communicate than to say what was on my mind and possibly cause a fight. This was early in our relationship and needless to say, we've both learned or we probably wouldn't still be together.

  9. #9
    Senior Member burymecloser's Avatar
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    Welcome, ntgirl!

    I was in an INTJ-INFJ relationship for 2Ĺ years. Communication was our biggest problem. I don't know how much of this was about INTJ-INFJ dynamics, and how much was just our individual personalities, but we had a lot of passive-aggressive conflicts. Neither of us would talk about problems, instead taking them out on each other through actions. The absolute worst was a 3-hour car ride with just the two of us, and after a trivial disagreement 30 minutes in, neither of us spoke a word the rest of the way, didn't even stop for dinner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lily Bart View Post
    I absolutely, positively felt it was better not to communicate than to say what was on my mind and possibly cause a fight.
    Wow does this sound familiar. This rings very true to me. We used to have fights over not wanting to say something that might cause a fight.

    Quote Originally Posted by ntgirl View Post
    He can't even listen to me. Well he listens, but it's very hard for him to concentrate on my words and to reply back. So I feel like I don't exist for him. Iím patient with him and he can't give it back to me. I want to help him/us and he sees that as a message he's not good enough for me and that I don' want him.
    I know there has been some question as to whether this guy is really an INFJ. This specifically does not seem like NF behavior to me. The communication problems in my relationship were about initiating discourse; I think we were both pretty good listeners. I would sometimes get frustrated with my INFJ not understanding exactly what I meant, but that's my issue as an NT, not a shortcoming on the other end.

    I do agree with those who have suggested that the possibly-INFJ boyfriend may be reacting to previous conflicts. In the relationship I mentioned, things deteriorated over time, so that eventually all problems became big problems. When I got upset about something, SO would stop talking to me until I explicitly said I wasn't mad any more. I became resentful because I felt like I was always the one who had to apologize, and the whole thing just snowballed. Point being, my INFJ was very sensitive to criticism and perceived displeasure, even potential conflict, and had an adverse reaction to it, especially in the communication department. ntgirl, I don't know if this applies to your relationship, but if so, it might be worth re-examining how you react to problems, especially unexpected ones.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
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    I've got a thought: are you sure he's an INFJ and not an INFP? From my experience, shutting you out during conflicts seems more Fi (INFP/ISFP), while 'righteous anger' (demanding that you see how you were wrong and how bad it hurt them) is more Fe (INFJ/ISFJ). INFPs are slightly more sensitive than INFJs, and they might react quite strongly to the 'potential rejection' that they perceive from how NTs word things. INFPs also shut down when they sense confrontation, and for NFs, NTs can come off as confrontational even when you're not trying to be so. If you're sure he is an NF, it is likely that the communication problem comes from the fact that he feels threatened by the 'debate' method of solving problems.

    I'm dating an INFP, and I thought I was sensitive I guess with NFs, the best way is to express how you feel (not as in "You made me feel bad", though, because that's also threatening), but more of something like "I felt like this when you did that. You probably didn't have the intention to hurt me, but I felt hurt because [insert honest self-psychoanalysis]". If he's an NF, he would definitely reach out to you, because you are opening yourself up -- showing vulnerability and offering a chance for emotional intimacy.

    Hmmm, maybe that applies to INFJs as well...

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