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  1. #31
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Sorry you and your daughter has such a stressful time around her college decision. Sounds like other people didn't make that any easier (regardless of their intent). I've certainly seen that when someone is deciding on colleges, many adults feel free to dispense lots of (contradictory) advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caerulea View Post
    Oooh... look at all those cute little emoticons over there on the posting screen...

    Sorry, this is only my second post ever. I had even forgotten my password.

    However, I'm delurking because this thread is really bugging me (even more than many others). You see...

    Over and over, it's mentioned how INFJ's give advice to an annoying degree. But I'm an INFJ, and I almost never do.
    First, let me say that ascribing specific behaviors to type is always dicey. We know that there can be many motivations for the same behavior and conversely that similar motivations can also lead to very different behaviors. So, not every generalization is going to be a good fit for all individuals of a given type.

    However, it makes sense that the combination of Ni and Fe would be likely to lead to seeing social patterns clearly and letting judgments arising from that clarity be known. Extraverted judging is more externally directed and visible than introverted feeling. All that doesn't mean that if one feels that giving advice isn't appropriate to a situation one can't (or won't) refrain, regardless of type.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caerulea View Post
    One example. My daughter had a really difficult college decision to make this spring. She'd researched her two top options, researched the field she wanted to go into, visited both universities more than once, and even discussed the two possibilities with graduate schools to see what the long term holds. I listened to her, discussed all the options and aspects, drove her to the universities so she wouldn't be tired, etc. - just really tried to be there for her. The listening part is the most important one for me - for both of us, really.

    However, I didn't give her any advice until it came down to the wire. It's her choice. She knows herself best, knows what she loves, and what she'll react to. She knows all the practical details too. I'm not in her head; how can I give advice? Even the advice I did give was more of an "If... then..." scenario. She could take it or leave it.

    She got so much advice from NFPs, though (both E and I) - weekly, even daily from some relatives and people she knows from work - none of whom had listened to even a fraction of what I listened to. Some of them hadn't listened at all. She (an ISFJ) felt like they didn't respect her. :steam:

    I did mention to my INFP husband that she was getting really annoyed at all the advice - including his.

    When he and I discussed this (we're great at really long discussions), he said that NFPs are so aware of other people's emotions that they have to give advice in order to fix the other people so that the NFP can relax. Which means that, if you're a caring FJ on the receiving end of this, you have to pretend to be "fixed" so that the NFP can relax.
    I think you're right that NFPs have a hard time being around a loved one who is in emotional distress. Usually, though, we're not terribly focused on the practical advice giving, and tend to be more focused on relieving the emotional distress. Still, I think the focus tends to be more on comforting/relieving distress rather than "fixing" the person or pushing them towards a particular answer. It sounds like you daughter was quite distressed in order for so many people to be aware and feel the need to try to "help" pretty much daily.

    I do think our trying to escape emotional upset of others can lead to a certain kind of selfishness in which we want to make the other person happy in order to not have to suffer the negative emotion along with them. That's one way in which practical sympathy is superior to entering into the emotional state of the other person (as we perceive it).

    Most of us aren't good at receiving advice (we tend to find it insulting, since we've likely already spent a lot of time mulling over our issue) and tend to give advice more on the order of teasing out how the other person feels. Usually I feel like the other person has really already decided on some level, and I'm just helping them clarify their motivation a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caerulea View Post
    Whereas, I feel like I used my J, not to give her advice, but to make myself give her the space to make her own decision in. Would my spring have been better if I had "cut short" her angst about her decision by giving her lots of advice? It was an angsty spring - for both of us.

    If I'd done that, the spring would have been "easier" in some sense, I suppose. As difficult as it was at times, and as much as I would have liked to wave a magic wand and make it easier for her, I wouldn't go back and do anything different. She needed to work through it herself. I learned so much about her from listening to the way she thought through it and her feelings about all sorts of issues involved. I think she felt cared for by the way I listened (at least I hope that came across!).
    From what you said it sounds like she did appreciate it. And, does sound like you decided that giving advice wasn't helpful or appropriate, so you didn't give advice. You also still sound pretty angry at people who kept on offering advice. (Understandable, since they were causing your daughter distress and doing something you were keeping yourself from.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Caerulea View Post
    No, it goes even further than that. I had a difficult time figuring out which would be best because I really understood everything going into her indecision. Those who came up with with easy answers was only looking at a few aspects of the decision - not at the whole of what she cared about and experienced.

    I almost never give advice, even when asked, because I feel that life is too complex for me to really be able to understand from my point of view. But INFJ's are supposed to easily (even annoyingly) give advice - so what type does that make me?!
    That attitude sounds similar to a common INFP attitude... that each person has their own values and perspective, and that each person's autonomy should be respected. However, holding that value doesn't make one a particular type. Nor does it mean that every INFP holds that value in every situation.

    I can see how if one saw advice as bad, having advice associated with one's type would be irritating. Sorry for hitting a nerve!


    Edit: The last time I talked to my INFJ best friend from college, he apologized for having been so cavalier with advice when he was younger (we're both early 40s). Maybe it's a characteristic that gets tempered with age and experience, too.

  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    It sounds like you daughter was quite distressed in order for so many people to be aware and feel the need to try to "help" pretty much daily.
    Actually, her older brother got just as much advice from the same people. He took a few years to work and save money before going to college, and lots of people didn't like that (strange as that may seem). He's an INTP though, so he was mildly irritated and mildly amused.

    By the way, she's not the sort to show any distress to most people - just close family and close friends. To everyone else, she's friendly and polite - even if they're irritating her.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    Most of us aren't good at receiving advice (we tend to find it insulting, since we've likely already spent a lot of time mulling over our issue) and tend to give advice more on the order of teasing out how the other person feels. Usually I feel like the other person has really already decided on some level, and I'm just helping them clarify their motivation a bit.
    That's why the advice irritated her so much (and me too) - it seemed insulting and disrespectful, especially given all the time she'd spent on the decision.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    From what you said it sounds like she did appreciate it. And, does sound like you decided that giving advice wasn't helpful or appropriate, so you didn't give advice. You also still sound pretty angry at people who kept on offering advice. (Understandable, since they were causing your daughter distress and doing something you were keeping yourself from.)
    You're right, I'm still pretty angry. It will probably take some distance and time for me to calm down.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    That attitude sounds similar to a common INFP attitude... that each person has their own values and perspective, and that each person's autonomy should be respected. However, holding that value doesn't make one a particular type. Nor does it mean that every INFP holds that value in every situation.
    I'm just amazed at how often I see the opposite from NFPs since that attitude seems like it should go along with that type. I know a lot more NFPs (I and E) than I know NFJs. The only other INFJ I've known was my father, and he gave less advice than I do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    I can see how if one saw advice as bad, having advice associated with one's type would be irritating. Sorry for hitting a nerve!
    The pushier the advice, the more it bothers me. Mild advice, tossed out with a "try this if you want" attitude, doesn't bother me. I probably go to an extreme by very rarely giving any.

    Thank you!

  3. #33
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    One of the best descriptions of INFJs I've read. Everything was spot-on for me. There's even a small section on differences between the two types. :
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  4. #34
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caerulea View Post
    I almost never give advice, even when asked, because I feel that life is too complex for me to really be able to understand from my point of view. But INFJ's are supposed to easily (even annoyingly) give advice - so what type does that make me?!
    For what it's worth, Caerulea, I think I am the same way. I have always been one who does not like giving advice, simply because, like you, how can I possibly know enough of the situation? I'm not that person; plus, the choice *I* might make in the given situation has everything to do with how *I* operate, which might run totally counter to the other persons' values/priorities. So I tend to be one who listens and can be uncomfortable when placed in the role of being asked for advice. Whenever someone wants my input, I try to be careful to caveat all of it by saying the above... that I'm not them, etc etc, that it's ultimately their choice. I don't want to be placed in the situation where they would actually take my advice and down the road resent me for it because of repercussions to said choice, or whatever. It needs to be in their hands, of their free will. My 'advice' even in the case of giving advice tends to be so utterly vague that it's sort of useless. Or, maybe not. Maybe they gain something. Actually this just happened yesterday with a friend - they asked my thought on something, and I showed them a different perspective, but said in the end whichever choice they made, it's up to them, I can't know what they truly want deep within. They came back and thanked me, saying they'd never looked at it that way before.

    It may be, however, that when I sometimes try to show someone another perspective, or another way of looking at a situation, that it comes across as advice or judgement to some people. That very well may be the case.

    I have two INFJ friends who are similar to myself, and how you describe yourself - not ones to give unsolicited feedback/advice, at all.

    I have a third INFJ friend, though, who I think falls into the infj advice-giving/opinionated pattern being described in earlier posts as contrasted to infp's.... and she comes across very, very J. However, it's interesting with her, and she's run into this issue in numerous relationships (I haven't: so I must be doing something differently, either body-language wise or something else): She I think recognizes it's not her place, much of the time, to state her opinions or to tell her friends she doesn't exactly approve of what they're doing, so she keeps quiet and listens. However, her body language/lack of response, in turn, really comes across as *silent judgment* (Disapproval) -- which she's been accused of by more than one person. So people end up constantly thinking they're being judged by her. Which, in some cases, is true. I dunno. I quite possibly might give a similar impression in comparison to NFP's (I mean, I don't know), but if so, it's much milder as I've never been called out on it like my friend has, and it's never caused a snag in my relationships.

    Re. NFP's and 'advice' giving... I think with nfp's what I've run across is a different sort of Pressure - them pushing me into being more spontaneous, saying I 'should' do such and such, in a light-hearted way, so I definitely at times feel more pressured by nfp's than my nfj friends who give me the time and space to come to my own conclusion and idea about something. I sometimes think the NFP's don't want to accept my more serious, deliberating nature, and are trying to change that. I wrote about this a while back, and I'm not coming up with a good example of it, at all. But, needless to say, I think the NFP mode/method of nudging is quite different from that of the NFJ. Both do it, just in different ways. And I think we as human beings tend to be more distrustful of the method that is different from ours.
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  5. #35
    Senior Member Rebe's Avatar
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    Re. NFP's and 'advice' giving... I think with nfp's what I've run across is a different sort of Pressure - them pushing me into being more spontaneous, saying I 'should' do such and such, in a light-hearted way, so I definitely at times feel more pressured by nfp's than my nfj friends who give me the time and space to come to my own conclusion and idea about something. I sometimes think the NFP's don't want to accept my more serious, deliberating nature, and are trying to change that. I wrote about this a while back, and I'm not coming up with a good example of it, at all. But, needless to say, I think the NFP mode/method of nudging is quite different from that of the NFJ. Both do it, just in different ways. And I think we as human beings tend to be more distrustful of the method that is different from ours.
    I am more inclined to give advice along the lines of ... You need to experience life! Feel free to experience life! Don't always take the safe route, you need to pursue your passion! Don't be afraid. If you get hurt, you will pick yourself up again! Experience! Taste! Have fun! Get your elbows dirty!

    Even if I foresee them making a bad decision and hurting themselves emotionally in relationship-based issues, if they won't accept that they are going to hurt themselves in the predictable outcome, if I have sufficiently warned them and they still won't listen... I will back off and assure me and her that it's okay to experience and have fun.

    And my FJ friends are more like ... health insurance, car insurance, back up back up, what to do in ten years, rent, back up back up, salary...

  6. #36
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebe View Post
    I am more inclined to give advice along the lines of ... You need to experience life! Feel free to experience life! Don't always take the safe route, you need to pursue your passion! Don't be afraid. If you get hurt, you will pick yourself up again! Experience! Taste! Have fun! Get your elbows dirty!
    Yeah.. that's kind of what I was referring to! tbh I can have an adverse reaction to that, and it can come across as pushy or as disrespectful of some of my larger concerns (or if not that, more that I feel you are glossing over my actual concerns without understanding them), as I am one who ponders all of the other ramifications of any decision I make. For me, passion isn't everything.

    (although I agreee with the 'experience life' thing too. I just need a lot more than that to also fall into place. Things need to make sense to me too. )
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by cascadeco View Post
    For what it's worth, Caerulea, I think I am the same way. I have always been one who does not like giving advice, simply because, like you, how can I possibly know enough of the situation? I'm not that person; plus, the choice *I* might make in the given situation has everything to do with how *I* operate, which might run totally counter to the other persons' values/priorities. So I tend to be one who listens and can be uncomfortable when placed in the role of being asked for advice. Whenever someone wants my input, I try to be careful to caveat all of it by saying the above... that I'm not them, etc etc, that it's ultimately their choice.
    Exactly! Given all that, I can't even picture giving advice most of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by cascadeco View Post
    Re. NFP's and 'advice' giving... I think with nfp's what I've run across is a different sort of Pressure - them pushing me into being more spontaneous, saying I 'should' do such and such, in a light-hearted way, so I definitely at times feel more pressured by nfp's than my nfj friends who give me the time and space to come to my own conclusion and idea about something. I sometimes think the NFP's don't want to accept my more serious, deliberating nature, and are trying to change that. I wrote about this a while back, and I'm not coming up with a good example of it, at all. But, needless to say, I think the NFP mode/method of nudging is quite different from that of the NFJ. Both do it, just in different ways. And I think we as human beings tend to be more distrustful of the method that is different from ours.
    Sigh. I wish the NFPs I know were more like that. It seems to me that they've forgotten what it's like to have just finished high school with the whole world opening up before you. In my daughter's situation, the NFPs were pushing for the most prestigious school, over any other consideration at all. If there was anything I was concerned about as a result of her choice, it was to make sure that, while majoring in Biology (which she enjoys), she would still have opportunities to do the dance and theater that give her so much energy.

    I do find that NFPs want much faster decisions than I'm comfortable making. OTOH, it makes me feel like I'm more open to uncertainty, which is also opposite to the way the types are supposed to be.

    Of course, being an INFJ and wanting to cover all my bases, I have to add the caveat here that I know that all NFPs aren't like this.

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebe View Post
    I am more inclined to give advice along the lines of ... You need to experience life! Feel free to experience life! Don't always take the safe route, you need to pursue your passion! Don't be afraid. If you get hurt, you will pick yourself up again! Experience! Taste! Have fun! Get your elbows dirty!
    Even though I'm not always not light hearted enough to give this advice, I love hearing it! Actually, even when I feel like giving it, I get back to not wanting to be pushy. I guess if someone wants to be safe and it makes them happy...

    I still prefer the passionate advice, though!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rebe View Post
    And my FJ friends are more like ... health insurance, car insurance, back up back up, what to do in ten years, rent, back up back up, salary...
    I get that stuff done, but I hate having to focus on it. I'm really not good at the "what to do in ten years" part. I'm in my mid-40's, and I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. Just in the last five years, I've gotten into theater dance, musical theater, and photography - all things that, ten years ago, I would have thought to be totally outside my abilities.

  9. #39
    Senior Member Rebe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascadeco View Post
    Yeah.. that's kind of what I was referring to! tbh I can have an adverse reaction to that, and it can come across as pushy or as disrespectful of some of my larger concerns (or if not that, more that I feel you are glossing over my actual concerns without understanding them), as I am one who ponders all of the other ramifications of any decision I make. For me, passion isn't everything.

    (although I agreee with the 'experience life' thing too. I just need a lot more than that to also fall into place. Things need to make sense to me too. )
    I am not always throwing it out just because the option exists. I focus in on what I think the individual who I am giving advice to really wants but don't because they have certain fears/they are more uptight. I don't want them to miss out and I point this out to them; you don't want to be regretting this in thirty years. I know passion isn't everything; I gave up being a full-time writer. But when I see that it is important to the person, and when I see that it is possible for them to pursue without them ending up in a box outside, I point it out very strongly. Yes, sometimes, I may not think so far because my mind does not automatically work in the is this financially secure/realistic based on economy/statistics way but when I see passion and will, I see a possibility for them to make it happen. I have always believed that if you are persistent enough and if you are passionate enough, you can make things happen and even if it doesn't happen, you know fully that you did try, that you did your part. That part of me is still hopeful.

  10. #40
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebe View Post
    I am not always throwing it out just because the option exists. I focus in on what I think the individual who I am giving advice to really wants but don't because they have certain fears/they are more uptight. I don't want them to miss out and I point this out to them; you don't want to be regretting this in thirty years. I know passion isn't everything; I gave up being a full-time writer. But when I see that it is important to the person, and when I see that it is possible for them to pursue without them ending up in a box outside, I point it out very strongly. Yes, sometimes, I may not think so far because my mind does not automatically work in the is this financially secure/realistic based on economy/statistics way but when I see passion and will, I see a possibility for them to make it happen. I have always believed that if you are persistent enough and if you are passionate enough, you can make things happen and even if it doesn't happen, you know fully that you did try, that you did your part. That part of me is still hopeful.
    Oh, I like that, and think that is very positive/beneficial. Thanks for expanding a bit!!
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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