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Thread: Common INFJ issues

  1. #1
    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    Default Common INFJ issues

    I've been thinking over some of the threads I've read, the discussions I've had with others about INFJs, and my own experiences. I thought it would be interesting to summarize what I've found to be the most common sources of misunderstanding, as well as some of the most frustrating (perhaps type related?) issues that seem to have come up in my relationships/close friendships. I'd be interested in your own thoughts on this as well.

    Misunderstandings:
    1)Delayed processing time - INFJs often seem to be basing their responses to the person in question on the last interaction they had with them, more often than the current one. They prefer to have time to think things over, which is why it's not a great idea to try to push an INFJ into making a decision before they feel they have had enough time to mull everything that has been brought up.

    2) Need for resolution - What may look to some like being nitpicky or unforgiving or even holding onto the past often has more to do with their need to get everything put away in it's proper place before closing the chapter on it. Without doing so, it keeps coming up again and again.

    3) Considering every hobby, person or idea expressed as an extension of themselves - INFJs tend to be very self-protective, and rarely bring something up unless they have already implemented it into their main framework of thought or affection. Therefore when any of these things are dismissed or mocked, they will feel it as a personal rejection, unlike someone who tends to verbalize new ideas out loud. Similarly, INFJs will sometimes be confused by someone who seemed committed to a thought or a plan, only to abandon it later.

    4) Dislike of emotional surprises - this leads INFJs to sometimes inconvenience others in their effort to know what to expect. I'm fine with a change of plans, but find it harder to quickly adjust to someone's sudden annoyance, to a change in something I had really been hoping for/counting on etc. Makes me more likely to try to be the one to take on any inconvenience because that is more predictable. I also tend to need to watch a situation for awhile (either social or skillwise) before I am comfortable jumping in. I think with maturity we can become less focussed on their own reactions and feelings and also realize that someone else being upset is not the very worst that can happen. Sometimes avoiding that happening actually creates more conflict.

    5) Hold those close to them to a higher degree of accountability than those that are less important to them - This may seem judgemental and unfair, but because those close to them are an extension of their own self, integrity is paramount to them and they choose to invest heavily in a few close relationships, they expect more of those people than they do of casual acquaintance friends. When they feel you are worth risking conflict with and you start hearing the negatives about yourself as well as the positives, you're in!

    6) Easily embarrassed and quite private - May mean that they take awhile before talking about something that is painful to them. This doesn't mean they don't care about the support you could give them. It's just that they need to get it thought out in a framework and untangled before they are ready to be more open. I tend to talk about it more after I think I'm going to be alright.

    7) Long gaps in correspondance or putting off a job that matters a lot - This seems to be linked to wanting to do an excellent job of it and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of time or effort or organization required. The longer it is put off, the worse we feel. As a result, it is usually my most valued friends that I correspond with least. Usually I try to overcome this by phoning them, catching up on the bulk of it, and then writing the rest.

    Tendancies:
    8) Not creating clear enough boundaries for people around them - there's a tendancy to respond to those who are most actively demanding attention, especially when younger. Also the need to be sure that they've looked at everything from all angles, made a correct assessment of all possible motivations and exhausted what they can do to impact the situation before really drawing a hard and fast line. I think this improves with age.

    9) Find it difficult to assess when is the time to make a Big Deal out of something - Their reaction to something really depends on the other person's response. They may find it easy to forgive something or deal with it on their own if the person recognizes that they are making a concession. If the person trivializes or continues on with more of the same behaviour, it's the last straw (in a very big load of straws!) and the other examples of where they have seen the same behaviour will be brought up.

    10) Hate being not in control of their emotions, yet sometimes underestimate how strong those emotions are till they are swamped by them. - (Note, not a good time for Ts to talk about how over-sensitive and emotional they are, as they despise being that way and are already terribly embarrassed).

    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.

    12) Sometimes have a hard time recognizing when they need to pull back or give less so that they can continue doing so cheerfully. This seems to be the case especially with Ts.

    My own (maybe INFJ related) problems

    13) Tendancy to be poor with paperwork, locating items quickly under pressure - I've largely solved this by having a big lanyard for my keys, carrying a decent sized purse and having a file folder that things go into immediately.

    14) Am a responder more than an initiator - as a result I've missed out on many good friendships. I've learned that people respond much more warmly when you go out on a limb and make the first move. I've been working to actively improve this.

    15) Not good at paying attention to detail (in my environment, and in instructions) - This is why I try to stock a lot of sensors in my life. They are happy to fill in my gaps and give me reminders when needed. They also tend to think in terms of smaller practical details that must be attented to.

    16) My intimidation by Te, and some oversensitivity leads me to sometimes not express my opinions when I should - working on this one. Thinking it out ahead of time helps.

    17) Over-indulgent when under stress - eat bad food and buy make-up/magazines that I don't need - Am working to replace these responses with exercise, drinking water etc.

    18) Put off jobs that are unpleasant or that I am not sure how to do - I'm sure this isn't totally type related, but I think avoidance is a greater tendancy with INFJs than Te driven people. Sometimes Ni and Ti create a loop that doesn't work well.

    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.

    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.

    21) Lazy about figuring out technological stuff or leave it to others - This one probably isn't INFJ related. I usually wish that some nice ENTP or ESTP is around to give me the Cliff's Notes on something new. While I am very curious about some things, I am not interested in discovering something for myself because I enjoy the process.

    22) Sometimes my very closest friends may feel that I disagree with them but don't express it. That is occasionally true, but if it is not a huge issue of integrity, I'm not sure how expressing it would be helpful. And yet, I don't think that I have to change my mind about it either, as long as I still like and respect them and am not being passive-aggressive. I think INFPs are much better friends in this respect.

    I'm wondering if any of these traits are influences by enneagram (1w2 so/sx) or if they fit with other INFJ's experiences (or those of other types with INFJs). Oh yeah - and did I mention long-windedness? ...
    Last edited by fidelia; 07-19-2010 at 11:27 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Tiltyred's Avatar
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    It would be easier to respond to if you numbered your items (if you can still edit).
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  3. #3
    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    Hmm, you're right. Hang on a sec...Better now, Tilty?
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    Just look at my friend list.. I like INFJs a lot.

    But the biggest issue with INFJs is right there in Fidelia's OP..

    Those are character flaws, not other people's "misunderstandings"
    You can spin it and justify it all you want. INFJs tend to have a very one way view of humanity. It never occurs to them that they might be the problem.

    No INFJ.. you are not perfect nor are you emotionally and morally pure.

    The Clue is in your humanity, and it's OK to be weak and flawed. Other people are not crazy or overstepping the boundaries for noticing. Other people still love and care about you even though they notice and mention things. And heaven forbid, if they don't follow the 19 rules of approaching an INFJ when presenting criticism.

    All this talk of insight and Fe and it's astounding how little you understand people sometimes.

  5. #5
    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    I don't think I've claimed to be emotionally pure or perfect. I do think those things at the beginning are a part of INFJ basic nature that is unlikely to change. It's like me saying that INFPs should not withdraw at all from the world when they are trying to process things or that they shouldn't feel things so deeply or that they should enjoy conflict more. They aren't likely to change in those ways. They are common sources of misunderstanding, but I think are a basic part of the deal. Of course we all need to temper our natural tendancies with what works better with more people.

    Fe has nothing to do with being able to perfectly deal with people in all situations, any more than Fi does. It just means that those things are expressed differently. Really depends on who you are dealing with which approach is going to be more effective.

    However, I will buy your point that INFJs have a very definite view of there being a Right way to deal with all kinds of things that may seem rigid and stifling to some other types.

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    Senior Member Array Tiltyred's Avatar
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    1-4 Ditto
    I don't have 5.
    6-7 yup
    You're right about 8, it does get easier as you go, but for me never easy, just easier.
    9-13 yup
    14. I see this differently. Since I have to have a very high signal in myself that I should make an overture, I rely on that signal. If it means I don't make that many overtures, I tend to think I haven't missed much. I don't like to manual override my automatic instinct with people.
    15 in spades, oh yeah
    16 Yes, but I go about it backwards from you. I tend to try not to think too hard and just have trust and jump in. It still makes my stomach clench a little but it has surprised me how much it works out just fine.
    17, 18, 19, ongoing problems no matter how hard I try and the bane of my existence
    20 I believe I have conquered completely but it took sustained effort over years.
    21 Yes. I don't want someone to show me; I want someone to do it for me. :-)
    22 I need an example.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I don't think I've claimed to be emotionally pure or perfect. I do think those things at the beginning are a part of INFJ basic nature that is unlikely to change. It's like me saying that INFPs should not withdraw at all from the world when they are trying to process things or that they shouldn't feel things so deeply or that they should enjoy conflict more. They aren't likely to change in those ways. They are common sources of misunderstanding, but I think are a basic part of the deal. Of course we all need to temper our natural tendancies with what works better with more people.

    Fe has nothing to do with being able to perfectly deal with people in all situations, any more than Fi does. It just means that those things are expressed differently. Really depends on who you are dealing with which approach is going to be more effective.

    However, I will buy your point that INFJs have a very definite view of there being a Right way to deal with all kinds of things that may seem rigid and stifling to some other types.
    I would prefer if you did not paraphrase me here. I called them "Character flaws" because that is what they are, They can not be fixed or altered because they are not seen as such. The 1st step to change and growth is admitting it is needed.

    There is nothing wrong with being flawed, because it is a universal truth of the human condition.
    I will say it again.. It's a one way insight into humanity. " I see into you, I see into me, I see you better than you can see yourself, and you can't see into me at all."

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    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    I find it interesting that a type that is considered kind of rigid, like an ESTJ, is actually much more flexible and amenable to changing opinions than I am.

    Re example for 22: I used to have a fairly close group of friends, in which there was me, 3 guys and a few satellite friends. When my friend Diego (who was the hub of our group) got together with various combinations of people, his behaviour changed somewhat - language, types of jokes, behaviour, prickliness or warmth towards various people, attitudes regarding women, snobbiness about some things etc. This really didn't have a major impact on me. He was not doing anything morally reprehensible and it didn't matter much. However, I did privately think it seemed a little inconsistent and was not solely a function of different people bringing out slightly different sides of your character/personality. Others had observed the same out loud to him. He brought the issue up in conjunction with other people being upset at him over it and verbalized that he sometimes felt like there were things I didn't approve of but I didn't say anything. If he had been my boyfriend, it may have been different. As he was a close friend, but there was nothing truly wrong, I was okay with it even though I retained my private opinion about it.

    Another example would be a friend of mine in university who would get drunk and make out with people who were recent exes of other friends of ours etc. I thought it was probably a dumb idea to do so and not all that friendly to her friend either, particularly if they were still pining. However, she was not cheating with anyone's bf or anything, so unless she asked me for my opinion, I wouldn't say something.

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    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arclight View Post
    I would prefer if you did not paraphrase me here. I called them "Character flaws" because that is what they are, They can not be fixed or altered because they are not seen as such. The 1st step to change and growth is admitting it is needed.

    There is nothing wrong with being flawed, because it is a universal truth of the human condition.
    I will say it again.. It's a one way insight into humanity. " I see into you, I see into me, I see you better than you can see yourself, and you can't see into me at all."
    Alright then, I will not paraphrase you. I will express that INFJs do often see there being a Right way of doing things. However, I will not concur that I think the majority of those tendancies are character flaws. (I would term the extensive list of my own problems as character flaws though). They are a different way of viewing the world. I've finally accepted the fact that there are other equally frustrating things about other types that are part of the package that makes up who they are.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array Tiltyred's Avatar
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    I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I think it's wiser sometimes to keep your thoughts to yourself. There's no law that says you have to express everything you think.
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