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  1. #1
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Default Foot in mouth, excessive guilt

    Why do I have to feel so excessively terrible when I put my foot in my mouth and/or hurt someone else’s feelings?

    Maybe I pride myself a little too much on my diplomatic tendencies. I think that normally I am pretty careful about what I say and how it is likely to affect the other person, I try to reassure people that I’m not trying to say something hurtful (ie if it is critical) even if it might come across that way – etc. And mostly when I apologise for potentially hurting someone’s feelings, they are surprised and say there was nothing to apologise for.

    But I didn’t have a very good weekend in that regard, or more accurately, a very good yesterday. I think I managed to put my foot in my mouth twice, fairly majorly. Well – I’m not sure if the first one was really foot in mouth. I told a friend (INFJ) that she needs to reduce the drama in her life. Believe me – in all the years I have know her, it has been non-stop drama and lately it has been really frustrating me because it impacts on my life too. Maybe I had to say it, but I think at least I said it at a pretty insensitive moment. I’ve apologised and I doubt she’d hold it against me but she may take it as evidence that I don’t really understand her or her life (and maybe I don’t.)

    As for the other friend (ESFP?), I made a somewhat unpleasant joke at his expense which had some implications on his relationships and loyalties with certain of his friends (who are not really my friends, more acquaintances). It was just a dumb thing for me to say but I think I said it slightly out of jealousy and slightly out of frustration at what sometimes seems to be his rather conflicted and changing attitude toward these people. When I said it he said “what does that mean?” in a very cold way and I knew I had made a mistake. I said “sorry, that was supposed to be a joke but it wasn’t very funny” and he said “no, it wasn’t.” We then went off into other areas and later I mentioned it again and said “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it” and he said “it doesn’t matter”. I had a feeling though that he was still a bit upset about it which was confirmed when I exchanged a couple of texts with him today. Not that he said “what a terrible thing to say” or “I can’t forgive you for this” but what he did say confirmed that he had been thinking about it, and normally he forgets about things like that pretty quickly, so if he doesn’t, it confirms that it did hurt his feelings or make him angry. I apologised again and he seemed quite ok about it and said that we should just forget it. It turned out he was also feeling quite ill yesterday and was probably a bit more sensitive as a result.

    I just feel so bad about this kind of thing. I want to cry and I’m not even sure why. I think it makes me worry that my friends with whom I have had these exchanges may never see me in quite the same way again, which is probably utterly paranoid. I accept their imperfections, I hope that they can accept mine. It seems that I forgive others their insensitive remarks more easily than I forgive myself my own.

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  2. #2
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    I can relate to you, SilkRoad. When that happens to me, I feel so mad at myself for not seeing the full implication of something before I say it. And I will remember and replay mistakes like that for years. So, I'm sorry for what you are going through. What if you were to sincerely tell your friend what you admitted to us here, that the comment was rooted in those negative feelings and apologized again? Do you think it could make things any better? People may not realize that we can be so cautious not to offend that we inadvertently edit some of the the honest feedback that friendships need.

  3. #3
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasilisa View Post
    I can relate to you, SilkRoad. When that happens to me, I feel so mad at myself for not seeing the full implication of something before I say it. And I will remember and replay mistakes like that for years. So, I'm sorry for what you are going through. What if you were to sincerely tell your friend what you admitted to us here, that the comment was rooted in those negative feelings and apologized again? Do you think it could make things any better? People may not realize that we can be so cautious not to offend that we inadvertently edit some of the the honest feedback that friendships need.
    Thanks. Yup, I remember stuff like that for years too.

    I think in the case of the ESFP, further discussion would be too much. I suspect he would think I was over-reacting if I apologised again or started explaining. He already thanked me for my apology and also said "let's not mention it again", and I know the latter is his way of saying he's not going to hold it against me and he just wants to move on. We have had a couple of storms already in our friendship which were far worse and we rode those out eventually. But it has to be said that those were more his fault/his insensitivity, which wasn't pleasant for me but at least I had a feeling of righteousness to back me up He was was also honest enough to express why he didn't appreciate the comment. I guess the fact that it WASN'T just water off a duck's back for him makes me feel bad, even if he's totally over it. I have to admit, sometimes I want to hurt someone a bit for some reason or other. Then when I succeed...I feel so horrible...

    The INFJ, we have a pretty solid and close friendship despite some of my recent frustrations. I think I have had a bit of a buildup of frustration, though, and I have wondered how I could express that constructively. I think this was me expressing it a little bit, but not very constructively.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Your ESFP is asking for space and needs a bit of time to forgive and forget. We can get kinda torn between Fi still feeling hurt and wanting to be pissy, and Te knowing it is best to move on.

    I would suggest perhaps one last email with a few lines of explanation Te style maybe? "I know what I said seemed a bit harsh and wasnt really funny. I was under a lot of stress and I was feeling frustrated on your behalf, but I know you care about these friends, so please accept my sincere apologies..."

    but just a suggestion as you are most familiar of course with your friend...

  5. #5
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    Your ESFP is asking for space and needs a bit of time to forgive and forget. We can get kinda torn between Fi still feeling hurt and wanting to be pissy, and Te knowing it is best to move on.

    I would suggest perhaps one last email with a few lines of explanation Te style maybe? "I know what I said seemed a bit harsh and wasnt really funny. I was under a lot of stress and I was feeling frustrated on your behalf, but I know you care about these friends, so please accept my sincere apologies..."

    but just a suggestion as you are most familiar of course with your friend...
    I think your comment about wanting some space, and feeling torn between the demands of Fi and Te, sounds accurate. My guess is that I will probably hear from him again anywhere in the next few days to 2 weeks and then he will be quite normal with me again. I’m inclined to let him bring it up again if he is still upset or if he really seems weird with me for an extended time I may bring it up again. He did suggest himself that more than this wasn’t necessary. I hope that’s the case.

    I do think I may have touched a raw nerve regarding his inconsistent attitude toward these people. Not that I’m justifying my stupid comment but he’s probably aware that he doesn’t really know himself how he feels about some of his friendships, acquaintanceships, etc. He has certainly expressed different feelings to me at different times. And I am a bit frustrated that he has such excellent people skills but isn’t making much of an effort with some new people in his life who might be worthwhile – while still hanging around with the older friends, who may not be the best for him on some levels, AND also sometimes complaining to me on the side about them/the type of social group they belong to.

    I’m not quite sure if he’s ESFP but it seems to fit the best, on the whole. I have realised gradually that he’s far more sensitive than most would guess. He can project a bit of a macho demeanour but underneath it he can be very, very sensitive and moody.

    He was quite nice about the whole thing really. It was really my own realisation that I’d said something insensitive and potentially hurtful that gets to me.
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  6. #6
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    Aw SilkRoad, I'm sure you are a great friend. We all say/do things we wish we hadn't! Most importantly, try not to be so hard on yourself (easier said than done, I am sure).

    But second of all, and I don't know how to say this without seeming harsh, but be careful to not make your interactions with these people only about YOU and trying to resolve your own negative feelings surrounding the incident. Believe me, I understand about feeling guilty about hurting someone, and I understand the instinct to want to confirm as quickly as possible that they aren't permanently hurt/offended. But in a way it is a little bit selfish if that's not necessarily what the other person needs. I'm not trying to make you feel more guilty... I promise.

    When I find myself making mistakes, particularly in social interactions, I try to evaluate:
    • What did I do wrong?
    • Can I make it better?
    • How can I work to avoid this in the future?


    Particularly if there's nothing I can do to make it better right now, it usually helps me from feeling so bad if I have something to WORK on. I have something to channel that energy into, beside worrying if the other person is upset.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    I have something to channel that energy into, beside worrying if the other person is upset.
    This

    Once a social 'mistake' has been made, it's often not worth an extended effort to go back and 'correct' it. This is because (a) the other person often forgets and forgives these sorts of mistakes much earlier than we do, (b) we can't always make sure that we're always completely understood anyway, and (c) it becomes more about ourselves and less about the other person.

    The best thing to do is to just recognize it and try not to repeat it, I suppose.

  8. #8
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I think your comment about wanting some space, and feeling torn between the demands of Fi and Te, sounds accurate. My guess is that I will probably hear from him again anywhere in the next few days to 2 weeks and then he will be quite normal with me again. I’m inclined to let him bring it up again if he is still upset or if he really seems weird with me for an extended time I may bring it up again. He did suggest himself that more than this wasn’t necessary. I hope that’s the case.

    I do think I may have touched a raw nerve regarding his inconsistent attitude toward these people. Not that I’m justifying my stupid comment but he’s probably aware that he doesn’t really know himself how he feels about some of his friendships, acquaintanceships, etc. He has certainly expressed different feelings to me at different times. And I am a bit frustrated that he has such excellent people skills but isn’t making much of an effort with some new people in his life who might be worthwhile – while still hanging around with the older friends, who may not be the best for him on some levels, AND also sometimes complaining to me on the side about them/the type of social group they belong to.

    I’m not quite sure if he’s ESFP but it seems to fit the best, on the whole. I have realised gradually that he’s far more sensitive than most would guess. He can project a bit of a macho demeanour but underneath it he can be very, very sensitive and moody.

    He was quite nice about the whole thing really. It was really my own realisation that I’d said something insensitive and potentially hurtful that gets to me.
    very likely he forgives and forgets very quickly-both with respect to yourself AND the other people who may not be such ideal friends. Thus the inconsistency. It may be hard as they fill parts of his life he cant find in other places-but at the same time cause problems as well.

    He seeks to vent to you a bit about them as they frustrate him, but he then forgives them and still likes them a lot I bet. I did this when younger and still do sometimes. It also sounds like his emo fluctuates a bit as well-I think this may be a sorta common EXFP thing. So we can be kinda moody, which may seem like we are unhappy-but it is just sort of how we are built and it may average out.

    This nice thing about the Te though, is that once done, it really is done. So you dont have to worry yourself over it too much. If he needs to hear the honest truth for his own benefit though-if these friends are particularly destructive, then I would pull him aside and very directly explain that you care for him greatly-thus want to point out what you see.

  9. #9
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post

    But second of all, and I don't know how to say this without seeming harsh, but be careful to not make your interactions with these people only about YOU and trying to resolve your own negative feelings surrounding the incident. Believe me, I understand about feeling guilty about hurting someone, and I understand the instinct to want to confirm as quickly as possible that they aren't permanently hurt/offended. But in a way it is a little bit selfish if that's not necessarily what the other person needs. I'm not trying to make you feel more guilty... I promise.
    It's not harsh at all. I think I understand what you mean, and what Bologna said too. It's hard to know what the other person needs in this situation, though...unless they really spell it out and that tends not to happen.

    Maybe this is a Type 6 thing, on top of being INFJ, but I think I actually get frightened when I've done something like this. I feel like "I've broken this and maybe it can't be fixed". I think it's why I then find myself almost pushing for reassurance.

    I guess I've had to live around some touchy people who would lay guilt trips on me for anything remotely insensitive I said or did - but not all that recently. Maybe it had a long term effect on me. I'm not sure what there is in my life to explain this.

    Who knows, it might actually be good for me to realise that it's possible to have disagreements, fights, and hurt feelings between friends but for the friendship to continue without real permanent damage and sometimes to grow even stronger. It just seems like there's part of me that always thinks in these situations - "this might be it." And yet, when I look at the history of my close friendships, almost none of them have ever ended definitively and certainly not over a small insensitivity or disagreement or misunderstanding. I just have this underlying fear over how these things will play out in the long term.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    It's not harsh at all. I think I understand what you mean, and what Bologna said too. It's hard to know what the other person needs in this situation, though...unless they really spell it out and that tends not to happen.
    Hm… it IS hard to know what the other person needs, I agree. I think a huge part of it is being able to trust them to tell you if something is wrong or if they need something from you. It seems you have already made it clear that you’re sorry for acting as you did and that you're willing to talk about it further if they want to. That’s really all you can do. If it turns out the person wants to talk to you more, they probably will, when they're ready to. If they are fine with how things are, then they’ll just move on.

    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Who knows, it might actually be good for me to realise that it's possible to have disagreements, fights, and hurt feelings between friends but for the friendship to continue without real permanent damage and sometimes to grow even stronger. It just seems like there's part of me that always thinks in these situations - "this might be it." And yet, when I look at the history of my close friendships, almost none of them have ever ended definitively and certainly not over a small insensitivity or disagreement or misunderstanding. I just have this underlying fear over how these things will play out in the long term.
    But yes, I think that is what it comes down to. Is there any reason for me to feel that this person would end it over this particular situation? Usually it is just my own insecurities at play when I feel like I have ruined everything.

    I wouldn't be surprised if you found it difficult to trust due to unhealthy living situations in the past.

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