Something interesting happened tonight with a neighbor, and it seems like a really good example of those microcosm moments that build up to a doorslam: I’m interested in hearing how other types would have dealt with it.
I have new neighbors that moved in this past week directly in back of me. Earlier this afternoon, their kids were throwing rocks at the back of my house and broke the glass in the patio door. I don’t remember what they were aiming for- they weren’t trying to break glass, but they did. I called the police instead of going to their house and talking to the parents directly because I wanted to intimidate the kids into not doing it again. About an hour later, the parents came over- with the kids- apologized profusely, made the kids admit what they’d done and apologize themselves, and assured me they would take care of the broken panes. They fully owned up to how unacceptable it is and overall gave me a solid impression that they are respectful people who are genuinely embarrassed. We exchanged phone numbers and planned to get in touch about how to replace the door.
All of that^ went down very respectfully**. My issue is with what happened next. I was washing my face, getting ready for bed when the grandfather knocked on the door- around 9 pm (the neighbors are grandparents, the kids were their grandchildren). I had to dry up and get somewhat re-dressed to answer the door, which took a couple of minutes. They were no longer at the door by the time I got there, so I walked into the front yard to see if I could catch whoever it was. I noticed the gate to my backyard was open.
My first reaction was to feel really angry. My first thought: if someone doesn’t answer the door- especially at 9 pm- then whatever needed to be checked out in that person’s backyard should wait until the next day. The shades I have covering my windows are translucent, the only way to see inside the house at night is to be standing up close to the window. And even so- I’ve got an 8 ft high wooden fence around my backyard- so it seems like I shouldn’t have to worry about someone seeing in my house. If I am home alone, I won’t think twice about walking around the house in my underwear sometimes. I am a really private person, the thought of someone taking the liberty of going in my backyard without my permission disturbs me.
I walked around into the backyard to find the neighbor measuring the dimensions on the door (standing up close to the window of my living room with the translucent shades). His grandson was with him, probably to hold the flashlight for him. In short: if I hadn’t heard him knock on the door, it’s entirely possible they both might have caught me dancing around my living room in my underwear- scratching my butt, picking my nose, or any other number of things people might do while they don’t have to worry about being seen.
Here’s the integral INFJ turning point: once I saw how frazzled he was, my anger immediately faded. This is a prime example of a situation where I go- from sensing something is clearly ‘off’, feeling offended and getting angry about it- straight into empathizing with the other side, thinking “it’s no big deal” and deciding not to make an issue out of it. I could see that getting the door replaced as soon as possible was weighing heavily on him, and I wasn’t willing to point out to him how I was more non-plussed about the privacy invasion than I was about the broken door. It truly, instantly felt like ‘no big deal’: no harm, no foul. I decided I’d wait and say something if it ever happened again. I didn’t want him to feel like his efforts to amend the situation respectfully by fixing the door as quickly as possible went unappreciated.
I realize, to some extent, my knee-jerk reaction to contain my anger and empathize is based on the wish that others would stop and think about both sides before exploding in anger at me for something I’ve done. But the ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ approach to getting along with people falls short sometimes in the sense that it can resemble ‘my way is the best way’. I think maybe INFJs have a more averse reaction to having someone snap at them in anger, I think we feel the weight of the other person’s anger/injured feelings more than most types. Sometimes I even think we sense more anger in that other person than is actually there (because it takes a LOT of anger for us to lash out in that same way).
Anyway, I’m trying to break out of ‘my way is the best way’. I’m wondering how that same event would go down for other types. How would you have reacted in that situation: both internally (thought process) and externally (how would you actually have behaved)?
I feel compelled to point out that- while I’m using this incident with my neighbor as an example- I really don’t think I’ll have a problem telling this specific person not to wander into my backyard without my knowing if it happens again. I’m trying to get at that underlying shift which tends to happen in INFJs- from intense annoyance to it being ‘no big deal’- and causes problems in friendships and/or relationships when it begins to accumulate. I want to see what that ‘annoyed/offended’ process looks like in other types.
**edit: OKAY. Things to know before you get critical of me for calling the police. The op was already too long-winded so I didn’t put these details in, but the thread is almost getting derailed by their omission. (1) When I say ‘kids throwing rocks at my house’, I mean junior highschool age kids, laughing- in broad daylight- throwing large rocks (2” diameter) directly at the back of my house from their backyard. (2) When I say they broke 2 panes on my patio door: it’s a sliding glass door, both 36X78” panes are shattered from top to bottom. And it’s old- so it isn’t a matter of replacing the panes- the entire door and frame are going to have to be removed and a new one put in: EXPENSIVE. I’m just glad I happened to be home at 3 pm, because I otherwise would have assumed someone tried to break in and would have ended up paying for it myself. (3) While some of my neighbors are nice, respectful people- there are enough questionable people in the area to make me wary. In the past 12 months alone: the entirety of my exposed wood fence has been tagged with gang graffiti twice and I’ve had a windshield wiper (the entire metal arm) ripped off of my car while it was parked in my driveway. There are enough kids living in my area getting their shits n giggles out of destroying property that it wasn’t unreasonable for me to assume that’s what I was dealing with- and I wanted them (the kids) to know that I won't hesitate to call the cops when they destroy my property.
For the record: I have a 16 year old son. If someone were to find him behaving like those kids when he was their age, I wouldn’t have a problem with the cops being called. That door will likely cost a thousand dollars or more to completely replace; they’ve got to learn it’s absolutely not acceptable to destroy someone else’s property like that for impulsive shits n giggles. If I had known the grandparents were so nice and respectful, *maybe* I would have called them first; but judging from the kids’ behaviors, I wouldn’t have guessed that’s what I’d find.