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Thread: Common INFP Issues

  1. #71
    にゃん Array runvardh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I think you're very right in that. What does create the right environment for a Fi user to express those feelings (other than it not being expected or even implied by convention that it is)?
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  2. #72
    Vaguely Precise Array Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I think you're very right in that. What does create the right environment for a Fi user to express those feelings (other than it not being expected or even implied by convention that it is)?
    So, I was thinking about why those societal expectations are problematic for Fi self-expression. I'm wondering if part of it is that we tend to use our internal emotional state as our primary barometer. When that gets impinged upon, it muddies our internal reading and makes it harder to separate out our feelings from those of others.

    For example, if I feel I'm expected to return a compliment, suddenly my emotional state becomes very complex: I may feel a bit resentful, afraid of coming across as insincere, feeling an internal echo of the other person's emotional state, yet trying to remain aware of my internal state.

    In some ways, it seems intertwined with the tendency of Fi-doms to treat each person as an independent moral agent. Perhaps the dynamic for both has to do with trying to act from clarity of motivation when possible.

    It seems like Fe wouldn't have the same issue, because acting in such situations strengthens one's connection to others and to the community. Maybe identity for Fe-users is more tied in with one's relationships to groups and communities than it is for Fi-uers. Or maybe Fe-users also gage their own emotions in part by the reactions of those around them. That doesn't mean that Fe is about mindlessly being part of the group, but rather that relationships to various communities (whether for or against) are seen as part of one's self definition. How one is a part of a family, church or other group is perhaps more a reflection of who you are. Maybe kinda sorta?

    Anyway, I certainly don't have it all worked out. Just some random related thoughts. I also apologize for getting a bit off topic. I do think that dealing with social expectations positively can be problematic for some INFPs.

  3. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    Sure wasn't trying to imply insincerity or anything. I was more trying to capture that social expectations seems to create a barrier to Fi-based emotional expression, but creates more of a space or medium to express things for Fe-users. I see warm, genuine Fe-style expressions from others and appreciate them, but somehow still struggle with expressing myself that way personally.
    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I think you're very right in that. What does create the right environment for a Fi user to express those feelings (other than it not being expected or even implied by convention that it is)?
    This is all very interesting. I agree with Seymour that INFJs are no social slaves, but enjoy the possibility to delight people using convention as some sort of base for their actions. The J is a lot more in tune with it, and feel it natural.

    For me, the way I enjoy giving a present is that it is either something I made particularly for the person, or something that I found in a store that gave me the feeling "this is just his style". I have kind of a perfectionism when it comes to presents. If I don't feel like it is somehow just for this person, I can't do it. So birthdays and xmas are times of stress for me.

  4. #74
    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    So, I was thinking about why those societal expectations are problematic for Fi self-expression. I'm wondering if part of it is that we tend to use our internal emotional state as our primary barometer. When that gets impinged upon, it muddies our internal reading and makes it harder to separate out our feelings from those of others.

    For example, if I feel I'm expected to return a compliment, suddenly my emotional state becomes very complex: I may feel a bit resentful, afraid of coming across as insincere, feeling an internal echo of the other person's emotional state, yet trying to remain aware of my internal state.

    In some ways, it seems intertwined with the tendency of Fi-doms to treat each person as an independent moral agent. Perhaps the dynamic for both has to do with trying to act from clarity of motivation when possible.

    It seems like Fe wouldn't have the same issue, because acting in such situations strengthens one's connection to others and to the community. Maybe identity for Fe-users is more tied in with one's relationships to groups and communities than it is for Fi-uers. Or maybe Fe-users also gage their own emotions in part by the reactions of those around them. That doesn't mean that Fe is about mindlessly being part of the group, but rather that relationships to various communities (whether for or against) are seen as part of one's self definition. How one is a part of a family, church or other group is perhaps more a reflection of who you are. Maybe kinda sorta?

    Anyway, I certainly don't have it all worked out. Just some random related thoughts. I also apologize for getting a bit off topic. I do think that dealing with social expectations positively can be problematic for some INFPs.

    Lots of useful ideas in here. I liked what you wrote about the expectation aspect muddying up the Fi users' own perceptions so they can't properly read them. You touched on the Fe equivalent of that feeling (which I would term when people important to them do not give enough feedback, praise, criticism etc for them to figure out their own perceptions. They need outside input from which to glean enough information to work with on the inside.

    What you wrote about Fe-users' identity being found in their relationships to groups and communities is absolutely true for me. However, it's not just any community. It's the one that I have put value on. So my role in my family and what I do to carry it out and how people respond to that is huge to me. My identity in a relationship as someone who can help take care of the other person's needs (or be their "answer" in even a small sense whether it is emotionally, physically or whatever else) is a big part of who I am. If I get no feedback of whether I'm doing well or whether it is appreciated, it affects how I view myself and shakes my confidence.

    Fe users, I believe, use other peoples' mirrors of themselves to build a sense of identity and self-perception. Usually all of those mirrors are averaged together with one's own feelings about themselves to create an overall impression. However, the more important someone is in our lives, or the less people in our world, the more significance certain mirrors take on. If we are getting nothing back, we often will either be frustrated from the lack of information to work with or assume it's too ugly to even show. This is one of the reasons that Fe gets so hurt when you choose not to attend an important event in our lives or when you don't check in. Your opinion matters terribly and we need it to go back and ruminate, and yet we're coming up with nothing. It's the equivalent feeling of the man saying to his girlfriend or wife (without even glancing up), "Yeah, you look fine".

  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    For INFJs, I think the biggest compliment you can give them is wanting to understand them completely and really know who they are at their core. Not asking seems like a rejection or lack of interest, particularly if they have invested a lot of time trying to get to know and understand you. Also not expressing something in my world usually means that I'm either neutral or holding back something negative (which I would probably only say if asked).

    Conversely, I think that probing questions can sometimes be seen as intrusive by INFPs (although I think in person I have a pretty good sense usually of where that line is in relationship to how close we are). INFJs would see it as a compliment that they are interested enough to try to figure out how you work best. The big difference between us is that nothing is seen as totally neutral behaviour. Fe users tend to usually nothing=negative. Therefore if you don't tell an INFJ your positive feelings about them, they will assume there aren't any or that you even are beginning to feel quite negatively towards them. They'll try to ask about it sometimes and that seems even more annoying, I'm sure. I kind of think that INFPs like maintaining some sense of mystery too. If someone were to know everything about them, I think maybe it would engender some feeling of loss or being too exposed even if they really like that person.


    So, how would you know if an INFPs feelings towards you are cooling off?
    Thank you thank you thank you, Fidelia!!! This is such a gem of a post.

    I often wish I could better understand my INFJ friends so this is very helpful to get some insight into their perspective.

    You mentioned earlier about INFPs being afraid to pry, and I definitely agree with that. I am so incredibly curious about people (especially INFJs... they have so many layers to their personality, and I do truly want to know more about them), but I wonder how I can make the other person feel comfortable enough to really disclose things about themselves. I don't want to be too direct as to scare people away with my questions, and I don't want to pressure them. I want them to feel at ease and safe.

    My lack of Fe makes this process more difficult as well; I always worry over the questions I might ask. Is this too personal to ask? How will he or she react if I question them about this? Is this the right thing to say? Yet despite the anxiety about it, I feel like I still have less of a sense of when it is appropriate to ask certain questions or say certain things. I could use numerous lessons on how to really utilize Fe...
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  6. #76
    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    Generally Fe appreciates a little prying from what I've seen. If they really aren't comfortable talking about it, they will either say so or they will change the subject. NFJ Fe users at least often need to know that you actually are interested before they'll go ahead and share anything. This goes for stories, opinions, advice and so on. Ask questions, starting with surfacey stuff. If the NFJ mentions something deeper, that's an invitation they are throwing out there for you to ask about it. If you don't, they'll continue on (although they may note for future occasions that either you don't feel comfortable going there, you aren't interested, or that they can't share more with you). If you do ask, they'll usually tell you.

    For me, I need someone to talk to in order to clarify, untangle and sort out my own thoughts. You are the catalyst for me to do this. By asking questions, you help spark my own thinking. It's kind of like House uses his team to find the answers. It's not that they are giving him the answers but something they say triggers something else, or in ruling out their diagnoses, he figures out what else he hasn't tried. You perform a very valuable function in doing this.

    Secondly, before I can get to this stage, I need someone to help me bleed off the excess emotion I feel by allowing me to vent about what the problem is. I will probably paint things even blacker and more dismal than they actually are once I've unburdened myself. (Usually when I'm done I try to thank the other person and acknowledge that things really aren't that bad). It's the emotional equivalent of allowing me to lay my burdens by the side of the road when I feel like I can't go on anymore. Cutting off the process or seeming disinterested is kind of like adding a couple more things onto the load. During that time, don't share a lot of your own personal experiences. Just keep listening and asking questions and don't try to tell me things will be alright. I want you to see just how not alright they are. One I'm done, then I will probably start asking about you, invite your advice, or be okay with you sharing something.

    I think most INFJs are very open to talking about themselves, but may limit talking about their problems to talking about them once they feel that they have a handle on things or once they are in the past. Before that, we just need your sympathy (no devil's advocating then!) and maybe a hug or something. I will disclose things to people only if I have a very good idea of what their reaction might be and if the lesser things I've disclosed have been received openly and in a way that doesn't feel rejecting. I don't want someone to carry me through a painful experience. Seeing that I'm feeling emotional pain probably means more to me than you trying to help me through it. Some small acknowledgement (like cough candies if I'm sick or something that says you care etc) and frequent checking in means worlds for both physical and emotional pain. One of the things that shuts me down from sharing anything is if someone does something that embarrasses me or makes me feel stupid for liking it or caring about it. If you feel those things, don't let them register on your face (we're kind of hypersensitive to your opinion, especially if you are important to us) and just ask more questions about it to be sure you understand why we like it or why it matters.

  7. #77
    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    Hmm. I think I've managed to monopolize all three threads. If we get too off topic, or if you'd like more input from others, please say so! I've just got a bunch of questions and things I'd like to understand better and you are great resource people.

  8. #78
    Paragon Gone Wrong Array OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby
    In all honesty I have to share what I feel about all these threads - although I do find redeeming information in each, they lack the unique perspective of age and experience. Some of what's here reflects the challenges of INFP's in their teens, twenties, some in their thirties, and I would posit that since each person matures at different rates and times, and the components of what constitutes each of us matures at different times dependent upon our circumstances, this concept of genericizing "Common INFP Issues" is tricky to pin down.

    I am facing patently different challenges as I travel through my 40's than I did in the decades previous.

    No doubt, my perspectives will continue to change ... my accumulated experiences and what I think of as wisdom will transform again ... and as I look back then, I will only recognize the shadow of where I am now.

    And I don't feel like a "typical" INFP (I doubt any of us do) and cannot claim to speak for all, only myself. So take all my responses with that disclaimer attached. I will just talk about ... me. See what fits you and doesn't.
    This is definitely a good point....on this message board there is a greater variety of ages, but on PerC there are soooo many teenage INFPs, and the teenage INFP is like the INFP personality on steroids - it can be exaggerated and reinforce some of the more negative stereotypes.

    I also think there is quite a difference between INFP 4s and 9s (the most common enneagrams types for INFPs). A good chunk of what you write describing yourself does not ring true for me, and I don't think it's because it is not representative of some INFPs; it rings pretty true for how I imagine 9s would be, but as a 4, it is not very familiar to my experience and mindset. For instance, I don't think I come across as wishy-washy, and comments from other people seem to support that. I'm actually pretty firm and opinionated at times, which can surprise people, not because I've been wishy-washy, but because I'm simply very quiet. I'm also not all that self-sacrificing and not very optimistic.

    Anyway, there's a lot I want to comment on in this thread, but I don't have time right now. Hopefully the thread doesn't die before I do....
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  9. #79
    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    I'd be interested in what yu have to say, OA! Also, how much do the rest of you see enneagram differences playing into this? I know it certainly does for INFJs. 1s, 4s, and 5s are the most common and they all are pretty distinct.

  10. #80
    Away with the fairies Array Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Fe users, I believe, use other peoples' mirrors of themselves to build a sense of identity and self-perception. Usually all of those mirrors are averaged together with one's own feelings about themselves to create an overall impression. However, the more important someone is in our lives, or the less people in our world, the more significance certain mirrors take on. If we are getting nothing back, we often will either be frustrated from the lack of information to work with or assume it's too ugly to even show. This is one of the reasons that Fe gets so hurt when you choose not to attend an important event in our lives or when you don't check in. Your opinion matters terribly and we need it to go back and ruminate, and yet we're coming up with nothing. It's the equivalent feeling of the man saying to his girlfriend or wife (without even glancing up), "Yeah, you look fine".
    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    For me, I need someone to talk to in order to clarify, untangle and sort out my own thoughts. You are the catalyst for me to do this. By asking questions, you help spark my own thinking. It's kind of like House uses his team to find the answers. It's not that they are giving him the answers but something they say triggers something else, or in ruling out their diagnoses, he figures out what else he hasn't tried. You perform a very valuable function in doing this.
    Wow, I find this very interesting and revealing. This is a good way for me to get my head around Fe: that its like bouncing ideas off another to get a sense of what works and what feels right. I can get the fact that sometimes you just need to say something out loud to someone and talk it through as part of a discovery process.

    So what happens in your head when you don't get to do this? Does it create indecision, depression, confusion, panic? Does your relationship with the other person effect how well this process works (ie. the closer you are the better it works) or is this less of an issue? How does it work for you to be an introvert needing others to fuel your mind?
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    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

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