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Thread: Common INFJ issues

  1. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post
    I literally guffawed when I read this. So true. So true. Perhaps Esoteric Wench overuses that literary technique.

    Perhaps facebook status updates got me in the habit... and now I'm ruined.
    FaceBook has ruined many a hardy soul.
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    Absolutely loved this post, very insightful!

    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    The bolded part I understand very well. My relationship has been a huge learning process for me and one of the most surprising things is that what seems natural and normal to me is completely foreign to him and vice versa. I was totally caught by surprise when my INFP said to me, "I appreciate your concern, but you don't have to fix everything. It's all right to be sad."

    I realize there is a huge gap in our understanding. Like I've said somewhere before, I feel that INFPs are like a mirror image of myself. I can recognize myself in you, and we can see that we are so similar, but my right is your left, my left is your right. This makes the dance much harder than it looks in the first place.

    So as not to stray too far from the topic, I will stick to what Fe (at least for INFJs) does and why Fe relationships end. The basic thing is: Fe needs that constant exchanging of emotional energy, or it shrivels and dies.

    Because of its merging nature, Fe needs constant communication. Like a river, it comes from somewhere, and it goes somewhere. Everyone's feelings are connected. Also like a river, when it goes to dry land, it tries to work its way through, to moisten it. Its perfect vision is to bring life to it, and little by little the grass grows, and a forest grows, and the dry land is not dry anymore. Finally, with a forest there, it rains. The rain fills the river and the river can continue to flow more to the land. On the other hand, if the river perceives that there is no hope for the land, meaning that the grass won't grow, and whatever effort it puts in seem to go through the cracks in the ground and disappears, it gets disheartened. If this persists for a long time it dries up for good.

    Fi is like a deep well. We truly admire the fact that your feelings are pure and true and, at least compared to ours, unaffected by the environment. We truly admire that Fi love can hang on for years and years and years even when there is no hope. There doesn't have to be rainfall to replenish it. However, coming from our perspective, we don't know what is there in your deep well. In the end, we don't even know if there is water in there. This, together with the changing nature of Fi -- you want one thing one moment and another thing the next -- scares us. We have no idea what you are thinking about, what you want, what you are really like inside. Sometimes we feel like we don't really know you. Who is it that comes out once in a while with all those wonderful qualities, deep, caring, sensitive? Is it the same person as the one who shuts us out without warning and leaves us in the dark? When we perceive no consistency, we cannot be sure that what we have is really good. We can't even be sure about what we have at all. This scares us to the core and as time goes on we are convinced that it will not work.

    Going back to the light analogy, if we cannot keep the 'us beam' blue, or whatever color we both have decided is good for us (which, with INFPs, most of the time we have not even decided on the color we want in the first place -- and most likely we will decide for you, because we cannot NOT focus on a color, and which you might not like), we get confused, we panic, we feel like we are doing something wrong. We feel like a failure and that it's our fault that we cannot make you happy. Then we despair. Over all this time, with all the effort, all the caring, we feel unappreciated, unloved.

    This is why good communication is the key. Give us something. We need a sense of direction. Sometimes it helps to be able to tell us objectively what it is all about. Let us know there is water in the well even when we cannot see it, and that it will not dry overnight. A river flows constantly. The only time it doesn't is when it gives up. For us, when we don't feel the water, we think you have given up, and we try to figure out what we have done wrong to make you withdraw your love so easily.

    The thing is, we need the very thing that might feel intrusive to you. We are reassured when you let us in on your problems, when you tell us what you want from us. Explaining to us how you don't need for something to be a certain way helps a lot more than you think. When you feel we are intruding, tell us.

    The difference between J and P is that being a J, we want at least one color on the wall that we can work towards. You, on the other hand, don't mind if it keeps changing. We feel that the changing colors are too confusing, because we orient ourselves to the color we see on the wall. Too much change and we feel like we are constantly being tossed around in a whirlwind and we feel very uneasy and restless. For you, one color seems too constricting. You feel trapped, caged. The whole thing feels forced. At the very core, I think the only way for an Fe/Fi relationship to work out is to be able to find that balance, that middle-ground between stillness and movement. Find a range of shades you can both live with and within that range let the colors shift.

    So, you need a whole lot of adjustments on both sides. Communication is everything. So far, in this relationship, sometimes the only way I can get through to him is to drop all my defenses and lay bare my soul for him to see. It takes a lot of courage, as I become completely vulnerable. But that's my leap of faith -- faith that he will catch me and not let me fall.

    If that well is constantly being tapped for water...it dries up.

    It needs time to replenish. For that matter, it needs time to become pure water again. Tapping into that well with your river is..draining if done too long. And, as most of us tend to want to please and make others happy...it leaves us guiltridden and in despair when we cannot replenish you and your thirst seems unquenchable...

    That is not to say we do not appreciate the merging of river and well..however, our capacity for such a merging is greater when the well is overflowing as it is. When our reserves are running low however.. Remember, continuity and moderation is your strenght, whereas spontaneous abundance tends to be our field.
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  3. #243
    Professional Trickster Array Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    Perhaps the very best thing we can all do is recognize the lack of ill intent on all parts and be extremely cognizant that we are misunderstanding the other person by default..then very carefully probe the part we missed to try and identify where the breakdown occurred.
    I agree with this.

    And, I would say that since the only thing we can control is ourselves, then it seems like the most direct route to success is to look inside oneself at one's own behavior and thought processes to see how we can change our approach to bridge such communication gaps.

    Now this doesn't get the other person off the hook. And, sometimes, you can change your approach a thousand times and it won't work because the other person is being a bonehead. But in general, this seems to be the most adaptive way to handle things... at least to me.

    I bring this up now because a couple of people have said that I was communicating in a way that was preventing me from being heard. (And, that very well may be so. I'm not above re-examining my reasoning.)

    Nonetheless, I just don't get this. Seems like an externalizing of one's locus of control. When I'm engaged in a bi-directional conversation, doesn't the burden of understanding someone fall on ME? Now maybe that has to do with cognitive functions... I don't know. But to me, common sense dictates that since you can't control what the other person does, that you focus on adjusting (within limits) your behavior/communication style to solve the problem.

    Even as I write this, it sounds soooo Te. But even if this approach is in Te's roundhouse, isn't this still the best approach? Though part of me cringes at the possible backlash I'll face for doing so, I can't help but allude to what I wrote in an earlier, more controversial () post:

    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post
    ...[Success is about] using the most appropriate cognitive process based on the needs of the situation, not just with what we are more comfortable.
    So in other words, even if this doesn't come naturally to INFJs, it might be a useful skill for them to acquire.


    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    if ENFPS are the ESTJs of Fi...kinda bossy but well meaning...INFJs would be the ISTPs of Fe...emotional mechanics? emotional artisians? kind prickly-precise but well meaning...i love making stuff up )
    ^^^
    Oh and that was pretty funny.
    ENFP with kick*ss Te | 7w8 so | ♀

  4. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Yes, Fe users are repeating the same issue over and over. We're waiting until you acknowledge that we've said what we did and then responded in some way to either discount something, include more information, ask a question, make an objection or agree. Then, we'll happily get on with solving things TOGETHER with you. Not acknowledging this seems very disrespectful and we feel like you don't understand what it is that you're trying to solve.

    Te on the other hand says in the head of the receiver, "Yeah, I GET it. You don't have to hit me over the head. Now, why can't you see that I've got a good solution right here? Why are we going around and around and around with this?"

    I think there's even a lot of room for your point of view, if you realize that we are looking for expanded information to explain your perspective when we state the problem that we are having with it. Not acknowledging that seems more like you're trying to push your own agenda, but are not willing to give us enough information to see you in a better light or to explain your position.
    This one sentence has made all of the antics on this thread worth it.

    I printed this out. And, I feel great because I feel like the light is at the end of my understanding tunnel. (Boy that's a terrible metaphor. It's so bad that I'm leaving it in b/c it's funny bad.)

    I think it interesting that I've no natural intuitive sense about this. It's like a blind spot for me. And usually I read people so well... <Sigh.>

    Normally my intuition about people guides me on stuff like this, but this time I'm going to have to read it over several times first. The intuition will come later.
    ENFP with kick*ss Te | 7w8 so | ♀

  5. #245

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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    Until we feel heard and understood, it's really hard to move onto the solution because we don't believe that she has any idea what the actual problem is.
    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Yes, Fe users are repeating the same issue over and over. We're waiting until you acknowledge that we've said what we did and then responded in some way to either discount something, include more information, ask a question, make an objection or agree. Then, we'll happily get on with solving things TOGETHER with you. Not acknowledging this seems very disrespectful and we feel like you don't understand what it is that you're trying to solve.

    I think there's even a lot of room for your point of view, if you realize that we are looking for expanded information to explain your perspective when we state the problem that we are having with it. Not acknowledging that seems more like you're trying to push your own agenda, but are not willing to give us enough information to see you in a better light or to explain your position.
    An ENFJ once mentioned this really annoying this Fi users do. She says we hear something an Fe user says and then just start talking about ourselves. So the Fe user may say "I am having an issue with bob, the enfp..." Then I go "Enfps are X, Y, and Z..." or even "Once I had an issue with an ENFP..."

    So it sounds like we never heard you. Two Fi users will do this back and forth at each other-without saying so, the refluxed "I" statement, is a way of affirming what the other person said...sort of an unspoken agreement that it really is an issue. Even worse, I will jump straight into Te-never even acknowledging the statement externally.

    Should we instead take the time to restate what we heard you say and then inquire in more depth about parts we do not understand for clarification? It also sounds like you are requesting Ti connectivities during the discussion-we have to tie our thoughts together.

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    However, in cases where the person has chosen to enter the discussion and their input has not been requested in that sense although they are welcome to observe and make some comment, it makes it difficult to invest the effort. Kind of like if you were having a good conversation at your restaurant table and some random passerby not only came to join the discussion (which could be okay) but then insisted on speaking in a different language without making any attempt to relate in their own and told everyone at the table that they must as well.
    hehehe, can I blame Ne? I forgot that NeTe vs NiTi may also play a role. An NeTe approach is really like a random passer by. Or a low flying plane. Ne can drag us very fast over a topic. We will see very broad patterns. But very will introduce very divergent thoughts quickly and tend to overgeneralize the problem. I would assume NiTi would tend to focus inwards specifically on the details and core difference in a very specific problem? This is only a guess though as Ni is not at all in my worldview.

    (I know I can annoy my INTJ as I will Ne him to death sometimes and not let him finish talking. The ideas make my brain explode )

    Interestingly NeTe and NiTi are both very different ways of looking at the world. Most dont use them routinely, but by listening to what it is we "see" when utilizing these odd combos of functions, we can gain very useful insight about areas of life in which we are blind and will never be able to see.

  6. #246
    Professional Trickster Array Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    The main thing to note is that the "e" and "i" functions "sound the same" to their opposites, but are distinctly not the same.

    Fe and Te sound exactly alike, much of the time. They're about dealing with other people. They're the basis by which you judge your interactions. Te demands that the interactions be functional (accomplish an objective goal), while Fe demands that they be smooth (i.e., work with people). There is a lot of commonality. Fe isn't stupid, and Te isn't "heartless": they're just priorities, and the priorities can often be the same. E.g., both understand money management, and both understand how political considerations can get in the way. The differences is what they work with.

    For Te, the politics are the boundary condition, while the money management (or other objective concern) is what they work with. For Fe, the money is the boundary condition, and the politics is what they work with. (Yes, this is a very, very, very broad brush.) I can "play" with logistics without having to think very hard. I can understand politics, but I don't know how to play it. The reverse is true for Fe: Fe can understand logistical constraints, but is better at adjusting people to logistics than adjusting logistics to people, if that makes sense.

    So, because of this "sounds the same" problem, there is a LOT of cross talk possible. I can be talking of something completely objective in a Te way, and Fe can hear all sorts of Fe style implications that simply aren't there (because I'm juggling things, not people, in my head).

    However, I can "sort of" get Fe, if I let my mind go, think in "Ni", and instead of mapping over to Te (which is instinctive) I map to Fe. This works better dealing with 20/20 hindsight, I can reinterpret in Fe terms. It works badly in real time, because Ni normally needs a lot of time to interpret.

    In your ENFP case, I suspect it might be easier to switch from Fi to Fe (as I can also go from Te to Ti). Another way to put it is to react with your Fi to the Fe, and keep Te out of the picture. Fi will feel like the Fe is a bit overbearing, but if you keep your heart open and give others the benefit of the doubt, the Fe side should be able to read that. It won't be easy (it's outside of your comfort zone), but that's kind of the point, right?
    uumlau, that was AWESOME. I don't mind getting out of my comfort zone. In fact, I sort of relish it. I'm going to try that out and let you know how that works.

    Awwww.... you make me miss my INTJ boyfriend of yore. INTJs are so interesting and insightful.
    ENFP with kick*ss Te | 7w8 so | ♀

  7. #247
    Circus Maximus Array Sarcasticus's Avatar
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    Whew! This is a fast-moving (and epic) thread! I'm sure it's going to prove very helpful to a lot of people with INFJs in their lives that have been scratching their heads over some of these tendencies, and would like to know how to relate better to their INFJ.

    I wanted to jump in with my observations where these things are relevant with the INFJs in my life (my current girlfriend, and a couple of female friends) even if it's out of joint with the stream of current discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    1)Delayed processing time
    This didn't throw me too much; I was in a relationship with an ENFP that also needed to process things, so when I got into a relationship with an INFJ I was ready to provide space when needed.

    2) Need for resolution
    Fe need for closure.. my ESFJ ex-wife even had this one.


    4) Dislike of emotional surprises
    My girlfriend has been thrown for a loop more than once by my P tendencies to change course on a dime. Or felt blindsided by something that was lurking below my emotional waterline. Then again I wonder what she's thinking most of the time. Communication is an area we're both working on.

    5) Hold those close to them to a higher degree of accountability than those that are less important to them
    Ho boy. This is a big one, and caused me some hurt initially. It definitely feels unfair and that her friends get a pass on actions or words that she gets her back up with me over. Her friends are like gold to her and she'd move heaven or earth for them, so they seem as important as I do from my perspective, but we're clearly judged on different scorecards. Theirs is more lenient and forgiving, mine is eyed more critically.


    6) Easily embarrassed and quite private
    There's definitely a tendency to avoid being in the spotlight or put in a situation that would invite ridicule... seems like a general 'I' trait to me though.

    7) Long gaps in correspondance or putting off a job that matters a lot
    Yep. Seemingly oblivious that someone might be offended/hurt if they don't follow up communication in the rhythm that's been established over time in the relationship. Communication can go to zero and they seem oblivious or confused that this would be received poorly when it's pointed out to them. Yet conversely they can get wounded by much shorter gaps in communication due to a project or some other life situation.

    8) Not creating clear enough boundaries for people around them
    Definitely, though I see this more in a work setting. My INFJ gf (a E4 I think though she has some E1 traits) has an incredible work ethic; my INFJ friend seems more relaxed (she's probably a E9 which would explain it).


    10) Hate being not in control of their emotions, yet sometimes underestimate how strong those emotions are till they are swamped by them.
    She hates crying during emotional exchanges and sees it as a sign of weakness. I've never seen my INFJ friend get emotional; the fact that I'm not in her inner circle could be the reason.

    11) Get less receptive to advice if the other person tries to skip over the venting that they need to do in order to bleed off excess emotion or when they feel the person hasn't taken enough time to understand the situation. Often their solutions are gained primarily from discussion with someone, not from getting the answers from someone.
    I've been guilty of not letting her vent, or taking it personally. Something I need to work on for sure. At least I don't make the typically male mistake of trying to "fix" the problem.

    19) Stubborn - I tend to need a lot of convincing with a new idea before I will adopt it, because it involves changing the whole structure over again.
    Yep. My ENTP tendency to change the agenda or mix things up just to avoid boredom can throw her into a complete tailspin. And if the idea's not hers she'll sometimes resist adopting it in an overtly obstinate way that I find cute.


    20) Promising more than I can actually deliver - I want so badly to take care of everything that sometimes I overestimate what I am able to do. I've learned as a teacher to promise less and make sure I actually do it every time.
    Yes. INFJs seem to hold themselves to a high standard too, one that's hard to live up to. It's frustrating to watch sometimes.

    21) Lazy about figuring out technological stuff or leave it to others
    The INFJs I know have a better-than-average grasp of technology and only occasionally need help with this stuff. My girlfriend likes to fix things and do minor home/car repairs too. Not something I'd expect with all that Ni floating around in their heads but they seem surprisingly self-sufficient. Which sometimes frustrates the would-be-hero in me.

  8. #248
    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    Esoteric - You are right about worrying only about the things you actually have control over instead of trying to influence those that you don't (someone else's approach). However, I had mistakenly understood at the time that you were wondering how to relate to an INFJ better, rather than explore our mutual communication styles and how we both needed to adjust them. Therefore I wanted you to see how something outside an INFJs control will greatly influence whether they even bother to put the effort into understanding you (which is your goal if you want to feel understood, heard and like it is a productive exchange.) I think INFJs will go to great lengths to try to see something from someone else's point of view and even do what they can to change their perceptions or their communication style. It is just that they are selective about whom they invest all of that effort into. If I can make my life easier by ignoring someone who doesn't have history with me, whose point of view I don't respect, whose possible reaction I'm not sure of and who isn't responding to anything I say and they've initiated the contact, I usually would. (Check out a lot of threads on here. INFJs will just disappear rather than go to the trouble of confrontation and resolution.)

    Why I responded better to the post that had the bolded Fact #1 etc stuff was: In your own way, you attempted to connect to me first before sharing anything. You still retained the clarity of organization (which I appreciated) but without any titles (which I hadn't appreciated in the former post before that which I had alluded to). You also used words like perhaps and explained your experience, rather than telling me what mine ought to be and why I was wrong. Again, the key to success here is to talk about specifics of what you see isn't working and why and then present several possible practical solutions and leave the INFJ to mull.

  9. #249
    Professional Trickster Array Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    Two Fi users will do this back and forth at each other-without saying so, the refluxed "I" statement, is a way of affirming what the other person said...sort of an unspoken agreement that it really is an issue. Even worse, I will jump straight into Te-never even acknowledging the statement externally.

    Should we instead take the time to restate what we heard you say and then inquire in more depth about parts we do not understand for clarification? It also sounds like you are requesting Ti connectivities during the discussion-we have to tie our thoughts together.
    Yes, yes, yes. This is dead on accurate. Wow Orobas. You have made several really awesome posts in the past 24 hours. You've got to put all this stuff in a book or something.

    We should have a thread where people can post little skits they write for various scenarios in which different cognitive functions interact.

    Another Episode of Cognitive Theatre

    Bob is driving Mary crazy at work. She's really stressed out about it, so she goes to her friend Margaret for support. How would this dialogue?

    Scene One: Mary is an ENFP (Ne>Fi>Te); Margaret is an INFP (Fi>Ne>Si)

    Mary: Bob is driving me nuts. He's being sooo INTJ. He needs to turn on his social radar sometimes.
    Margaret: I've had that problem with INTJs, too. (grins.) My ex-husband was an INTJ. Let me tell you what he did...

    Color Commentary: Fi communicates with Fi via what Orobas so aptly called "the refluxed 'I' statement." And this is exactly how my INFP best friend and I would have this conversation. It's like we both have the same secret decoder ring, so we know that the other person is being affirming and supportive. In fact, this is how I most naturally feel affirmed and supported. So I'd love to see what an Fe user would write about an Fe-oriented scenario.

    Scene Two: Mary is an ENFJ (Fe>Ni>Se) and Margaret is an INFJ (Ni>Fe>Ti)

    Mary: ????
    Margaret: ????

    Color Commentary: ????

    I think this would be fascinating.

    (Oh, and sorry INTJs. I had to pick somebody's type. I figured an INTJ could take it. )
    ENFP with kick*ss Te | 7w8 so | ♀

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    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    An ENFJ once mentioned this really annoying this Fi users do. She says we hear something an Fe user says and then just start talking about ourselves. So the Fe user may say "I am having an issue with bob, the enfp..." Then I go "Enfps are X, Y, and Z..." or even "Once I had an issue with an ENFP..."

    So it sounds like we never heard you. Two Fi users will do this back and forth at each other-without saying so, the refluxed "I" statement, is a way of affirming what the other person said...sort of an unspoken agreement that it really is an issue. Even worse, I will jump straight into Te-never even acknowledging the statement externally.

    Should we instead take the time to restate what we heard you say and then inquire in more depth about parts we do not understand for clarification? It also sounds like you are requesting Ti connectivities during the discussion-we have to tie our thoughts together.


    hehehe, can I blame Ne? I forgot that NeTe vs NiTi may also play a role. An NeTe approach is really like a random passer by. Or a low flying plane. Ne can drag us very fast over a topic. We will see very broad patterns. But very will introduce very divergent thoughts quickly and tend to overgeneralize the problem. I would assume NiTi would tend to focus inwards specifically on the details and core difference in a very specific problem? This is only a guess though as Ni is not at all in my worldview.

    (I know I can annoy my INTJ as I will Ne him to death sometimes and not let him finish talking. The ideas make my brain explode )

    Interestingly NeTe and NiTi are both very different ways of looking at the world. Most dont use them routinely, but by listening to what it is we "see" when utilizing these odd combos of functions, we can gain very useful insight about areas of life in which we are blind and will never be able to see.
    Firstly, thank you! I'm glad that you are recognizing how this seems to derail us. I used to notice this especially in a very close INFP friend who was incredibly emotionally sensitive and perceptive went I went through something that was very emotionally difficult. Yet she would not ask directly and even when I threw out signals that I wanted to talk, and would instead talk about herself. When I finally said something about it in frustration as I burst into tears because I was in bad shape anyway (and I HATE doing that in front of people), she said, "Well, I just know that sometimes you aren't ready to talk right away and so I thought you'd just tell me what you had to say when you did feel comfortable". When this happens in a discussion, it feels like the person is not validating what you are saying, when in fact they are trying to do just the opposite by attempting to get it fixed! The solution is exactly what you are suggesting in the bolded part.

    I'm not very clear on what Ne does or how. I know that it's about taking random bits of information from outside sources and drawing it all together into something interesting or meaningful, but I don't have a very real sense of how that's done or what it means in practical terms. For Ni, despite it being my primary function, I think I'm close enough to it that it's hard to be aware of when I'm using it and how. (I actually found highlander's stars beside Ni related points quite useful!) I'd be interested in what you could say about NeTe or NiTi because I don't think I have a very good grasp of how it would affect interactions between people.

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